A Q&A with Anna Sortino, author of GIVE ME A SIGN
Give Me a Sign by Anna Sortino is a big-hearted YA debut about first love and Deaf pride at a summer camp. We had some questions for Anna about her debut, and she had answers! From inspiration to dream casting, scroll down to read more about Give Me a Sign.
Hey there! I’m Anna Sortino, author of Give Me a Sign, a book about a girl named Lilah who wears hearing aids and has a life-changing summer at camp, figuring out her place and falling in love. This story has a large disabled cast to show some of the varied experiences within the Deaf community. It’s also a sweet story perfect for summertime! I’m here to answer some of Penguin Teen’s questions about my new book.
Q: Why did you write Give Me a Sign?
I wrote the representation I wish I’d had growing up. Lilah learns a lot over the course of a single summer, much of which took me many years to figure out in real life! I want readers to know there’s no “one way” to be deaf, and that finding community is such a wonderful thing.
Q: What are you most excited for readers to discover while reading it?
Just how much they relate to Lilah! Even if they’re not deaf, many people know what it’s like to feel caught in the middle. And for readers to discover that a place like Gray Wolf isn’t that different from your typical summer camp–kids there are having fun in the sun, swimming in the lake, and maybe even falling in love.
Q: Which character is most like you? Which character is least like you?
While I do have many obvious similarities to Lilah, I think the character most like me might be Bobby. I gave him a lot of my humor, and he brings more confidence to Gray Wolf from the get-go. I thrived at summer camp and was always very loud and enthusiastic. On the other hand, Mackenzie is probably the least like me, primarily because she was crafted more as a stand-in for online personalities, rather than anyone I actually knew in real life.
Q: What would be your dream cast for a film adaptation of Give Me a Sign?
There are so many amazing disabled actors out there! I’d love the opportunity to cast young up and coming talent, especially since Give Me a Sign would give them the chance to be the leading roles.
Q: What inspires you while writing?
A little bit of everything! I love to read and watch stories across all genres, age categories, fiction and nonfiction, you name it. I find the best inspiration from things that on the surface might have nothing to do with my current project but that their structure, or character development, or plot twists light a spark in my own creativity.
As for Give Me a Sign in particular, it was interesting to sort of observe my own life, looking for things I might not have put much thought to before. For example, wearing my hearing aids has been so routine, I wanted to step back and realize all the little details that come with this experience.
Q: If you went to Camp Gray Wolf, what would be your favorite thing to do?
Hang out by the campfire with all the counselors! The kind of evening where you sit around chatting about everything and nothing, feeling so warm and safe in the little circle together (despite being outdoors in the woods in the middle of the night.)
I love this book so much (ASL kiss-fist!) and hope you will too! Give Me a Sign is on the shelves now, available wherever books are sold.