October 31, 2016

Getting to Know Ms. Wunder!

We hope you've all had a chance to drop by the library desk to meet our wonderful new member of the library team, Ms. Wunder, who joined us this year! We're so happy to have her with us.

Our library intern extraordinaire, Rose Meier, took it upon herself to interview Ms. Wunder, so we can all get to know her better. Below is their conversation! Come say hi to Ms. Wunder (and Ms. Duncan and Ms. Dow!) next time you're in the library!

R: What drew you to working in libraries?

W: I've worked in books my whole life. My first job out of college was at a book distributor, where I wrote for their catalogue. So I wrote forty-word blurbs for their books for their marketing catalogues and it got me to write really quickly and concisely, and I loved that job and I lived being around books and people who loved books. I also had a job at the Emerson College Library where I was their circulation manager. Getting back to work, I decided to start at a high school.

R: Of all the libraries you've visited in your life, which has been your favorite, and why?

W: I love the BPL in Copley, I write in their quiet reading room often, and I think it's gorgeous and it was the first free public library in the United States and I feel really lucky to be able to use it. And the renovation is pretty awesome too.

R: They have quiet reading rooms?

W: Mhm, yeah, but it's kept quiet by some really ornery security guards that kick you when you fall asleep and stuff... I think they were fired in the renovation but I have this ongoing war with the security guards there. They would always give me dirty looks, and I would give them dirty looks back. Aside from that, I love that library (laughs).

R: What is your favorite book that takes place in the future?

W: I like Station 11, that was pretty amazing. I also liked The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell. Those are two of my more recent favorites. David Mitchell is one of my favorite authors; he's a speculative kind of guy, really has a unique mind.

R: What books are currently on your nightstand?

W: I'm reading La Rose by Louis Erdrich, and my book club is reading The Picture of Dorian Gray. The new E. Annie Proulx book, which is called Barking..? Something? [Editor's note: the title is Barkskins] Those are the big ones.

R: Is Louise Erdrich..?

W: She's a Native American writer, I have a thing for Native American fiction.

R: Oooh! That's going in the blog post.

R: Who is your favorite fictional hero or heroine?

W: I have to think about that for a second. A long time ago, I really loved the book Orlando by Virginia Woolf, and the protagonist was a sort of soul who traveled through time. So Orlando was a different gender like every century or something, and it was a really cool idea for a book, I thought, and I love the soul, the character, Orlando. I have to revisit it, because I'm not sure I still love it... But I also read, when I was your age, I loved The Mists of Avalon, and it was Morgan Le Fay, and they did a feminist revision of the King Arthur tales and I remember really loving that book and having that book blow my mind for some reason.

R: What kind of reader were you as a child?

W: I wasn't the most avid reader, I have to say. I loved the Judy Bloom stuff, I loved the realistic fiction that related to my life, and devoured all that stuff. But I wasn't a reader of the classics, I wasn't a Jane Austen fan or a Little House on the Prairie fan-- I hate that book... But I liked contemporary fiction as a kid.

R: Who would you want to write your life story?

W: Oh, nobody! (laughs)

R: Would you want to write it yourself?

W: Um... I guess I would want to write it myself, yeah.

R: Or, not have it published at all?

W: Or not have it published at all. (laughs)

R: Remain in the shadows.

W: Yeah, I don't really need to have my life story out there. I'm pretty open, I'm an open book anyway. So I feel like everyone who knows me knows my whole life story. I don't think it has to be out there.

R: How are you liking BB&N? (these questions are redundant so I'm going to wing it a little)

W: I'm liking it a lot! I haven't been working full-time in like 13 years, so the hours are exhausting, (laughs) but I think I'm getting more and more used to it. And I do a little bit of time at the middle school, and I love the change of environments, and the students are really fun. I'm excited to get to know the students a little bit more. I think that's going to make the job even better.

R: And you haven't worked with middle schoolers or high schoolers before?

W: No, I taught writing at Emerson, and at Northeastern, so I've worked with college freshmen.

R: So you taught writing?

W: Yeah, I taught writing and worked in the library after that.

R: And you've written several novels.

W: Two. They're YA books, so I don't know if you'd call them novels, but yeah. And then I have a third that's in the drafting process. It's not YA, it's a sort of an adult crime novel that's linked to a television series. So it's sort of a collaborative project with a TV writer.

R: So you're also screenwriting?

W: He wrote the screen stuff, but I'm writing the novel portion.

R: That's awesome! Are we going to see it someday soon on TV?

W: I don't know, they're still in negotiations about whether the TV will be sold. But the book has been sold, so the book will exist and the TV show may exist.

R: And what do you like to write about?

W: Families. Sad stuff with a sense of humor. The laughing through tears kind of stuff. I try to get to that somehow. Girls, families, emotions.

R: And you go with the realistic stuff?

W: Yeah, there is a bit of magic realism in my first book, a little bit of fantasy. I don't know if I did it well, but it was fun to try that. Quasi-magic realism.

R: What do you feel like you put into the writing process?

W: You can't avoid putting in your own life. That's what makes YA interesting, because I'm not writing about a forty-whatever year old woman, I'm writing about this teenager, so I can put myself into some other character and easily write a beginning middle and end because my teenager years are over; I can shape it better. That's why I'm attracted to YA, because I can remove myself from it. When I first started writing there was a little bit too much of myself in it, like I couldn't finish the story because the story..

R: Wasn't over?

W: Wasn't over! So I enjoy writing YA books because I can figure out an ending for the story, and a shape for the story. I do put a little bit of myself in it, but it's measured, which is good. And it's sort of interesting, I feel like the second book I wrote was sort of the two-sided, two characters were the different sides of myself. Like the Itt side [It side?] and the super-ego side battling it out in this friendship. So yeah, it's unavoidable to put yourself in there.

R: How would you describe your writing style?

W: I definitely enjoy writers who enjoy the act of writing, so there has to be some joy in the process. And some sense of humor. So I would describe it as dramedy. (laughs)

R: Is that how you describe your lifestyle? Your life is a dramedy?

W: (laughing) My life is a dramedy, yes.