Kelly Fiore was nice enough to stop by and discuss Thicker Than Water!
Did you do any research for Thicker Than Water?
I did a MASSIVE amount of research for THICKER THAN WATER. It was absolutely essential for me to tap into all phases of an addiction, as well as all the players involved in navigating it – parents, friends, suppliers, doctors, etc. When we’re talking about an addiction in a teenager, it can be an interesting juxtaposition of isolation and immersion – the teen may feel completely alone, despite the fact that their parents or friends, etc. are all around them, begging them to seek treatment. More than anything, I wanted the journey of the addict and the addict’s family to feel authentic.
This seems a lot more serious than your first two books. Was this harder to write?
It was harder, yes. It took longer. I was more careful with word choice and I labored over small moments more. Frankly, it reminded me more of writing poetry than prose – in this book, ever word was selected intentionally and the weave of the narrative is a lot tighter and more strategic than my previous books.
What was the inspiration for Thicker Than Water?
I spent most of my 20’s living in a family invaded by Oxy Contin addiction. Once my family member found sobriety, I felt equipped to write this story. It took recovery though – my family’s and my own – to get to that place. When an addict gets sober, everyone enters recovery together and that was essential for the success of my family member’s sobriety and, frankly, this book.
Can you share the first sentence/paragraph?
This is the truth. The whole truth. Nothing but the truth.
If you could make one book mandatory, what would it be and why?
For writers? Bram Stoker’s DRACULA. It taught me everything about tight prose, intensity, suspense, and mixing genres.
For readers? Norton Juster’s THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH. It teaches amazing lessons to all ages about what it means to take a journey, to compromise, to build friendships, and to take risks.
What are your five favorite books? You can do authors, if that’s easier.
Well, so, the two books I just mentioned are also my favorite books, so… :)
DRACULA by Bram Stoker
THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH by Norton Juster
VELOCITIES by Stephen Dobyns (This is poetry and it’s STELLAR. Narrative, emotional, tight, and slightly edgy.)
PRODIGAL SUMMER by Barbara Kingsolver (My favorite Kingsolver book of all time – it is so incredibly evocative and it’s a master class in writing prosaic metaphor.)
THE LOVELY BONES by Alice Sebold (Again, I feel like all my favorite books are ones I chose because of their craft and their influence on my craft – this one is a fantastic example of how one draws a narrative back together through carefully and strategically placed threads. It’s gorgeous and brutal, which are two of my favorite things.)
What 2016 releases are you excited for?
This is hard – there are so many – but I’d love to take this opportunity to highlight a few of the upcoming LGBT books coming out next year!
THIS IS WHERE IT ENDS by Marieke Nijkamp
MY NAME IS EVERETT by Dahlia Adler
SYMPTOMS OF BEING HUMAN by Jeff Garvin
THE GREAT AMERICAN WHATEVER by Tim Federle