Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Six Days From Now and Ten Years Ago

Six days from now, my 4th book, Gone, Gone, Gone, comes out.

It's been getting really good reviews, which is pretty fucking cool. Look at these nice quotes!

"Moskowitz captures the teenage mentality and voice in this tender yet emotionally complex romance."
- Publisher's Weekly

“Moskowitz, as usual, imbues her prose with a dreamy quality that makes every off moment feel monumental….Despite featuring the very real sniper attacks of 2002, this is as amorphous as the author’s Invincible Summer—not necessarily a bad thing for those inclined to float along with the lullaby rhythm. The theme of the randomness of tragedy (literalized here by 9/11, the sniper, cancer, and Craig’s 14 lost pets) is particularly well-handled.”
- Booklist

So there's that, and that's awesome, but let's lay it on the line: this is my fourth book, and after four books it takes a lot to get my feathers ruffled (gross?) in either a good (yeah, it's gross) or a bad way. ANY review means that someone's picked up the book, and that's what's important to me at this point, and maybe that means I'm soulless, Supernatural or Zombie Tag-style.

Except the thing's different with this one. Even though I'm pretty fond of that magic gay fish thing, GGG gets a special section of my brain all to itself. GGG is just very, very me. Both 'me' as a writer--pretty much every hannah-trope you know and hopefully grudgingly accept is in this book, seriously, make a drinking game--and as a actual, real human.

And it's kind of the end of an era. As of right now, this is my last male-POV fully contemporary YA book. This was me doing everything I love so much, wringing into one book, and letting it rest.

This was me closing a door, for now.

That's not really why it's special.


John Allen Muhammad, the mastermind of the D.C. metro sniper shootings, was executed on November 10th, 2009.

I was at Brown then, and a friend of mine had a blog where he wrote about political events and such, and he asked me to take a look at a post he wrote criticizing the death penalty with regards to Muhammad's execution. Because I was from Maryland, and also because I'm a bleeding heart liberal who was attending a bleeding heart liberal school and I assume he was expecting me to have a certain reaction to the news that someone had been executed.

In any other circumstance, he would have been wrong, but the thing was...

I'd been waiting for John Allen Muhammad to be executed for seven years.

Except, if you'd have asked me, I would have said eight. Because I would have sworn up and down that the sniper shootings and 9/11 were the same year.

I was young--ten for 9/11, eleven for the sniper shootings, so it makes sense that my memories get muddled. But I don't think that's the reason I was so sure that the sniper shootings were a month after 9/11, rather than thirteen.

I think it's a Maryland thing. A suburbs-of-D.C. thing.

They're linked for us. They always will be. We sat right next to a city that lost 125 people in 9/11, and we very obviously were NOT in New York. We weren't even in D.C. We were Maryland, uncomfortably close and uncomfortably detached, and thirteen months (feels like one month) later we, we fucking suburbanites, were the playground for two snipers and two weeks and ten casualties.

We have issues.

It's a Maryland thing.

So I was at Brown in 2009, and my friend showed me the blog post, and the way he talked about Muhammad's execution was...


He talked about it like it was any other situation, any other murderer. He used it as a support in a larger argument.

It just made so much sense.

And there I was, seven years out of it. Seven years of reading the Wiki page obsessively, of reading about John Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo and timing the shootings and figuring out how far I was from each when it happened (not far, never far, and how the fuck could I use that as a reason something was important? People die all the time. Why the hell does it matter if I'm five miles away?)

Seven years out of running in zig-zags on my way to voice lessons and reading about a boy my age getting shot on his way to school. Seven years out of our chief of police crying on TV and our faculty members wearing orange vests and patrolling our grounds.

There was nothing else on the news.

People ducked while they pumped gas.

People talked, all the time, about 9/11.

Seven years out of it, and still shocked that anyone could think it made sense.

So I wrote a book.

(I did what I have to do to make anything make sense. I made a love story.)

So I wrote GGG over a few days a month after Muhammad was executed, during final exams, because I take my studies very seriously, obviously. And because I can't be objective about it. I can't. I can't let it go.

I can't shut this door.

So I wrote a book.

I hope you read it.


Christa Desir said...

I loved this book. I love this post. It is real and raw and feels so important. Bc there are things we can't let go of. They are too close, always part of us, even when the lens changes. Even when we think we're fucking OVER it...something can tug at us and unravel it all. That's what GGG was about for me. How stuff claims part of us.

For me, it's getting lost. If that happens, I am undone and I realize there is no getting over shit. It just all becomes part of your mosaic. Who you are, what you believe.

Good post, Hannah. As usual, I am humbled by the beautiful and complicated parts of you.

Laina said...

*looks up, blinking frantically* You made me cry. If I wasn't still in kid-brain-mode, I'd call you a bad word.

Angel (Mermaid Vision Books) said...

There are certain books that I feel quite possessive over, and GGG is one of them. It's gotten to the point where I never talk about it anymore because it affected me so much, and I'm so afraid that people won't understand that I just clam up. The entire time I was reading it, I was just in awe of your grasp of the story and its characters. Thank you for writing such a beautiful book, Hannah. And a very very happy birthday to you!

Joli @ Actin' Up with Books said...

Hannah, thank you for sharing this with us and for writing this book. I read a galley a while back and look forward to receiving my finished copy to read it all over again. My hope it to share this book with as many people as possible because you are an author who really gets it - characters, story, that human connection that so many readers search for in the books we select and the stories that we read. With Invincible Summer, I became a huge fan of yours, but with Gone, Gone, Gone, I'm even more so.

Thank you for putting this book out in the world. I hope that so many others grab a hold of it.

Stephanie said...

I love this post, Hannah.

I will never forget those years, or year, because it felt like the same year for me too.

God, I love this post.

hannah moskowitz said...

Oh, God, Angel, that is such an amazing compliment, because I totally know what you're talking about because obviously I've felt that with books and to think that someone feels that way about one of MINE...GOD. Thank you so much.

Thank you so much, guys.

Jessica @ Fictional Distraciton said...

I can't wait to read it...from another Marylander! I remember it so well. I was in Baltimore the day they were arrested. The huge line of cops that drove right by me as I was going to a No Doubt concert. It was surreal. So really, I can't wait to read this. Moreso than I was your other books. :-)

Lydia Sharp said...

This post... this book...


You always have such a way of rendering me speechless. And I'll never tire of it.

Rachel said...

Hannah, thank you for this post. Thank you for writing the books you do. Also a very Happy birthday and Happy we're-almost-done-with-Passover:) Happy 21st!!!!

hannah moskowitz said...

Thank you so much.

Zoe said...

Gone, Gone, Gone is an amazing book and this is an amazing post.

You made me cry.

I don't remember 9/11 or the DC sniper shootings but this post and this book, just affected me so much. Thank you for writing GGG.

Tom M Franklin said...

"Moskowitz captures the teenage mentality and voice in this tender yet emotionally complex romance."
- Publisher's Weekly"

This is about as freakin awesome as one can get in a PW review. Major congrats.

I was born in DC (third generation) but was living in NC when the shootings took place. I remember hearing from my brother during those weeks. He's usually a fairly carefree, smarmy kinda guy but the randomness of the shootings had him very on edge. He'd drive the kids to school and walk them into the building, something that still strikes me as both touching and, ultimately, pointless. There was nothing anyone could do to protect themselves or anyone else and still continue living their lives.

Then again, maybe that's the point. You do what little you can against the awful randomness to continue living your life, to show that you are stronger and won't hide yourself from the face of evil.


Anonymous said...

I adore this book! I read it back in the beginning and I loved it as a concept and a reality, and I can't wait to see the final product on Tuesday *dances around*

(I hope this posts)

Anonymous said...

This looks amazing. I know what I'll be reading this summer!