Friday, May 6, 2011

Eleven Up: Interview with Gae Polisner

by Megan Bostic

 My interview today is with Gae Polisner.  I'm proud to say, she is also
a good friend of mine. Her novel The Pull of Gravity releases on May 10th. 
She's beautiful, smart, and talented. Gae has inspired many by balancing 
writing with work and kids.  Not only that, she is a champion for unpublished 
writers, helping them with their manuscripts and query letters.  She's also a 
marketing dynamo.

What do you like to wear when writing?
I’m actually one of those writers who likes to get fully dressed when I write. Sure there are some days when I stay in pajamas (or sweats), but most days I get up and put on jeans and boots (or whatever my summer equivalent is) and, you know, a nice clean shirt. I fix my hair. Maybe put some make up on. I like to feel like I’m at work when I’m writing.

What other works have inspired your writing, or this book in particular?
It’s probably hard to know all the works that inspire us to write. I know that as a kid I read voraciously and wanted to write way back then. I was inspired by all the then-classic, contemporary YA writers: Judy Blume, Mary Rodgers, S.E. Hinton, Paul Zindel, E.L. Konigsburg, etc. and when I set out to write The Pull of Gravity, I really wanted to create a character-driven piece of fiction of the ilk I read as a kid (only current to today, of course).

In my late teens/early twenties, I discovered William Goldman who may still, in my book, be the best character-driven storyteller there is. His early stuff – Boys and Girls Together, The Color of Light – I couldn’t put them down. I wanted to write like he could. I can’t. But I wanted to.

As for a book that particularly inspired TPoG, that would be Don’t Take Teddy, by Babbis Friis-Baastad (translated from Norwegian and winner of the 1969 Mildred L. Batchelder Award). It is the first novel I remember reading breathlessly in one sitting, my sister having finished it first and waiting anxiously to discuss the story. Indeed, there’s a particular section in The Pull of Gravity that’s a total homage to Don’t Take Teddy, so clearly, I never forgot that book.

Do you ever go oh my god I suck?  If so, how do you get past it?
Do I ever NOT?!?! Um, are there people who don’t? I don’t usually question my ability to write well in a vacuum, but I often question whether I am writing a fresh story that will hook a reader and make them care enough to turn pages. There’s really only one way to get past it: write through it. For me, too, a swim will often hydrate the muse and bring her back up to form. ;)

Do you have a favorite line from your novel?
I have a few. One favorite line is right after Nick (my MC) throws a spoon at his brother Jeremy’s head during a fight and Jeremy is waiting for him to say he’s sorry:
“You’re an idiot,” I say, which probably isn’t the apology he’s hoping for. 

Is there a word you always misspell?
Misspell. True story. Also, occasionally always trips me up. And desperate. I always want to make that second e an a.
What one book did you wish you'd written?
Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork

If you could have dinner with any author, dead or alive, who would it be?
At the moment, John Steinbeck. I’d like to know if he approves of Nick and Jaycee. J

Do you like monkeys?
Does a bear build a cozy campfire and roast marshmallows in the woods?

Gae Polisner writes women’s and young adult fiction. She wrote The Pull of Gravity as an homage to the books she loved as a teen by the likes of Zindel, Konigsburg, Blume, and L’Engle.

When Gae is not writing, she is a practicing divorce attorney/mediator and in her spare time can be found swimming in a pool, or, better yet, in the open waters off Long Island.

The Pull of Gravity is her first novel.


  1. Pass the marshmallows, please. P.S. Steinbeck would love Nick and Jaycee! And he'd try to write like Gae after reading The Pull of Gravity.

    Good luck, John. Gae is a sentence genius. Reading Gae is like watching Einstein build a bomb... all the parts are meticulously beautiful and you know this fuckers going to explode any minute now.

  2. Great interview! I'll definitely be adding this novel to my TBR pile. :)

  3. Gae is a great interviewee. And she likes monkeys which makes me happy.


  4. Fantastic interview, on both ends! Saving up for both your books.....

  5. Hi Gae and Megan!! Thanks for more insight into the book, now I'm THAT much more anxious for it to hit my mailbox next week!

  6. Randy, thanks for all those fancy compliments up there.

    Megan, Apocalypsies, thanks for having me!