This week we had a blast chatting with Ayun Halliday on her board this week! Ayun was visiting us to chat about her graphic novel, collaborated with illustrator Paul Hoppe - Peanut! We thought the premise of a high schooler lying about having a peanut allergy (which can be pretty deadly) was really interesting!
Here's what we learned about Ayun:
- Once Ayun took her stepdad's car out for a secret drive - and got it stuck in the mud. Eek!
- Ayun does not have any food allergies
- Ayun chose to write her character Sadie choosing a peanut allergy because they can be life threatening, but are usually easily regulated
- Ayun wanted Sadie to be perceived as unthinking, but not unfeeling
- Two of Ayun's favorite foods: sushi and chipotle peppers with a side of wasabi sesame seeds
- Once in high school, Ayun fibbed about something she'd done to a cool guy, but her boyfriend was mortified by the story and made her take it back
- Ayun also chose a peanut allergy because it is something very definite, clear cut, and didn't require strenuous research (like a gluten allergy)
- Ayun went to the same school from second grade to high school
- Ayun's favorite parts about writing Peanut were Sadie's scenes with Zoo
- Ayun's favorite part about writing a graphic novel was the transition from "he said" "she shouted" to drawing it into panels
- Ayun spent five years working at a summer sleepaway camp in New Hampshire
- Ayun has a 15yo daughter who goes to LaGuardia high school in NYC and a 13yo son who is homeschooled
- Ayun is friends with author E. Lockhart, who encouraged her to write YA!
- Ayun majored in theater in college
- Once in middle school, Ayun flew by herself on a flight and pretended to be Scottish
- Ayun asked her illustrator Paul for two changes: for Zoo's haircut to be changed and for popular girls Celia and Leslie to have outfit changes
- Ayun's guilty pleasure movies are anything with Will Ferrell or Jack Black in them, or watching America's Next Top Model
That's just a little bit about what we learned about Ayun! To read the rest of her responses on faking allergies, switching the writing from longform to storyboard panels, and more, visit her board here! If you're curious about Peanut, you can also read this New York Times review!
Next week, author Clare Vanderpool will be visiting us on the blog to chat about her new book, Navigating Early! We'll be giving away ARCs from blog comments so remember to post whenever Clare's post goes up - and update your mailing address!