We all have important choices to make but what if that choice could change the course of your life forever? That’s the premise of Saskatoon author Alice Kuipers’ latest novel Me (and) Me. The work aimed at young adults, follows the story of Lark, a young girl faced with an impossible decision. It’s a story that Kuipers had rolling around in her mind for a long time. “I started thinking about the idea when I was 18 about a young woman who’s life splits in two.” Explains Kuipers, “Lark appeared to me about 4 years ago. She’s ambitious and curious about the world but she has a paralyzing fear of making big choices.”
The truly intriguing part of this book lies in its architecture. After a life changing decision Lark’s story splits. She has an opportunity to meet two versions of herself. Kuipers says the structure of the whole novel was tricky. “I was interested in the conversation Lark would have with herself about the choice and its consequences but I had to work really hard to make it authentic.” She jokes, ” My editor pointed out to me numerous times that I don’t always have to pick the most complicated narrative. For me, this is all about that movement between writing for pleasure and making sure it’s interesting for the reader.”
Kuipers doesn’t just deal with duality in her stories, she also has to juggle the work of being a writer and 4 busy, young children. “I can be in the middle of dealing with a problem on the page and in walks someone who needs a diaper change,” she says. Kuipers says that family life has forced her to be more organized and it helps to have a fellow writer in the house. Her husband Yann Martel is an international best selling author. “Yann and I love to talk about writing together, we bounce ideas off each other,” she explains of the partnership.
“I think there’s something energetic and dynamic about the choices we make as young adults because they have such an impact on who we become.”
For Kuipers, writing is all about her audience. “I love thinking about how we become the adults that we are.” She asserts, “I think there’s something energetic and dynamic about the choices we make as young adults because they have such an impact on who we become.” Kuipers says her audience is extremely honest if there’s something they don’t like about her books. She says Me (and) Me is a true look at teenage life and that the intimacy included in the novel is there to serve the story. “As a teenager, reading was my solace, my comfort and safe space. I’m writing for that younger version of myself.” She asserts, “There’s just something about seeing a kid connect with a book that’s a thrill and an honour.”
Me (and) Me is now available for pre-order here.
You can hear excerpts from the novel and get your own signed copy at the book launch on April 10th, 7:00p.m. at McNally Robinson in Saskatoon. Click this link for more details.
Here’s a taste of Me (and) Me read by Alice Kuipers