Everything You Need to Know About THE READER Author Traci Chee
What book made you realize how important reading is to you? We’re obsessed with The Reader for countless reasons – the unique fantasy setting, swashbuckling pirates, merciless assassins, its beautiful cover – we could go on forever. But one of the most special parts of The Reader is that it celebrates how books can change your life: set in a world without reading, it follows young Sefia as she sets out to find out what happened to her family with the help of an odd rectangular object she’ll come to realize is a book. Here to tell us about the mind behind the masterpiece is author Traci Chee!
Name: Traci Chee
Novel: The Reader
Available: September 13, 2016
Who’s your favorite author, living or dead?
Oh, this question is so difficult! It’s impossible for me to name just one (or even five), but it’s probably telling that my collection of Italo Calvino keeps growing!
What’s your favorite thing about your book?
I think my favorite thing about The Reader changes at least two or three times a week, but right now, one of my favorite things is its unusual structure—four different storylines and eight points of view. We split our time between Sefia and Archer, trekking through the forest in search of answers; Lon, an Apprentice Librarian learning to master magic; and Captain Reed, a pirate on a journey to the edge of the world. The connections between these characters aren’t always obvious, but if you look closely, I think there’s all sorts of interesting hints and resonances that (I hope!) change your reading as you read it.
If you could spend one year on a deserted island with one character from literature, who would you choose?
Off the top of my head? Strider from Lord of the Rings—he’s a great survivalist, a member of the fellowship, not to mention a king, a fighter, and a skilled healer.
Where do you write?
I like to write at my desk with a cup of tea in the morning and a glass of water with lemon in the afternoon.
Who is your favorite hero or heroine of history?
So I recently started interviewing some of my Japanese-American family members, who were interned in WRA Relocation Centers during World War II, surrounded by strange mountains and barbed wire, and I think, hearing the things they endured and how they came through it afterward, that they’re among my favorite heroes from history.
Do you tweet? What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever tweeted?
I’m not a naturally funny person, but I once spent fifteen minutes composing a tweet about the different stages of revising a manuscript:
#amrevising, a story:
I. My book is garbage. 💩
II. Unremitting garbage. 🔥💩
III. Hey that’s not so bad. 🌈
IV. OMG HOW DO I FIX THIS. 😭😭🔥💩🔪🔪🔪💀
— Traci Chee (@tracichee) August 12, 2016
What is your favorite season?
My favorite time of year is the holiday season, ranging from Thanksgiving to New Years. I love spending time with friends and family, trying to find great presents for them, and eating all the delicious we-only-make-this-stuff-once-a-year food!
If you could teleport anywhere in the known universe right now, where would you go?
Right now, I’d love to go somewhere secluded and beautiful, where I could walk among the beaches or hills or mountains and listen to the waves or the wind in the trees and feel really at peace.
Do you have any writing rituals?
I like to have a cup of English Breakfast tea in the mornings when I sit down to work. Also I scroll through Twitter for probably too long.
What is your idea of earthly happiness?
I think some of the days when I’ve been happiest have been the days where I get to wander. Through the woods with my dog. Up and down the narrow cobblestone streets of some foreign city. Not having any place to be, not worrying about my schedule or my To Do list, just looking and experiencing and wondering? That’s a wonderful feeling.
What is the best concert you’ve ever been to?
One time in high school, my friend Carrie and I drove three hours to go to a show at the Fillmore in San Francisco, then drove three hours back (so we could make it to school the next day), deliriously tired, singing Disney songs at the top of our lungs to keep ourselves awake.
What are you currently working on?
Sea of Ink and Gold Books 2 and 3!
Get your copy of The Reader!