Today is the first stop on the blog tour for the new historical YA novel, UNSPEAKABLE by Caroline Pignat! I'm honored to participate in this blog tour, and have an awesome Q&A! Seriously guys, this book sounds so interesting and I cannot wait to read it! Check out the description:
On her first voyage as a stewardess aboard the Empress of Ireland, Ellie is drawn to the solitary fire stoker who stands by the ship’s rail late at night, often writing in a journal.
Jim. Ellie finds it hard to think of his name now. After their wonderful time in Quebec City, that awful night happened. The screams, the bodies, the frigid waters … she tries hard to tell herself that he survived, but it’s hard to believe when so many didn’t. So when Wyatt Steele, journalist at The New York Times asks her for her story, Ellie refuses. But when he shows her Jim’s journal, she jumps at the chance to be able to read it herself, to find some trace of the man she had fallen in love with, or perhaps a clue to what happened to him. There’s only one catch: she will have to tell her story to Steele and he’ll “pay” her by giving her the journal, one page at a time. (Summary from Goodreads)
Doesn't that summary sound so good? Thanks to Penguin Canada, I was able to ask Caroline Pignat a few questions about Unspeakable!
Lost at Midnight: How would you describe your main character Ellie?
Caroline Pignat: Ellie is a victim of her circumstances. Her wealthy childhood made her spoiled. Her secret makes her shameful. And now surviving the recent sinking makes her feel guilty. She has been powerless in all of these situations, but this tragedy forces her to dig deep and find her true self, her true strength. She is smart, creative, and resilient. She has integrity and compassion and ultimately she learns she is the hero of her story, not the victim of someone else’s.
LM: Why did you chose to tell the story of the Empress of Ireland through the perspective of a stewardess?
CP: Because the ship sinks so soon after sailing (9 hours) and so quickly after being struck (14 minutes) in the middle of the night, it didn’t give me much time to show the ship from a passenger’s point of view. Showing it from a crew member’s POV meant I could refer to previous voyages, I could travel anywhere on the ship, and the loss for them would be even greater. They would have had a greater attachment to the ship itself, a sense of responsibility for the passengers, and would mourn the many crew members and friends that were lost that night. Plus when I read that only one stewardess had survived, I knew I wanted to put Ellie in those circumstances.
LM: Was there any scene in the novel that you found was very difficult to write?
CP: Most of the sinking details and corpse recovery were very hard to research. I kept putting myself into each situation. I imagined what it must have been like to be trapped below as it tilted, knowing I couldn’t get out. Or standing on the hull as she sank looking for my loved ones. Or walking the rows of coffins looking for my missing family. I found all that extremely moving and at times overwhelming. But the writing came fairly easy because I had imagined it so vividly.
If anything, the romance scenes were difficult. :)
Caroline Pignat is the Governor General's Award winning author of the highly acclaimed novels Greener Grass, Wild Gees, Timber Wolf, and Egghead. Her freelance work appears in numerous publications for both children, teens and adults. An experienced and engaging educator, Caroline has taught elementary, intermediate and senior grades and currently teaches Grade 12 Writers Craft. (Summary from author's website)
Thanks for stopping by, Caroline!
Unspeakable is out TODAY guys! Stop by your local bookstore and grab a copy! Be sure to check out the rest of the stops on the tour! (I'll be tweeting/updating this post with links!)
- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)
Find This Book: Amazon | Chapters/Indigo | Goodreads | Caroline Pignat's Website