June 23, 2012 - Sydney Morning Herald
Sammy is in her bedroom with her mother, Jodi. It's a teenager's bedroom, and her mother is impressed that it isn't completely untidy. ''Though that's comparative,'' she says drily. It is a summer Sunday night in New Hampshire, and they are telling the tale of how they wrote a book together here - and what that means for mother-daughter politics.
Jodi Picoult is more a brand than a name - globally, she's sold 30 million copies of her 19 novels - so she hardly needs to prove that she can pull off the pre-teen genre as well. Her 16-year-old daughter Samantha van Leer, who hasn't even gone to college yet, has only a general idea of what she'd like to do when she grows up, and has no ambitions to spin-off from her mother's label.
To spend two years of weekends and most free time side by side, writing every single sentence together as a team, speaking every word out loud to see how it sounded … surely they didn't really need to do that. Still, Sammy's older brothers aren't exactly sitting by the pool: Kyle, 20, is in Egypt on an archaeological dig, while Jake, 18, is in China with his a capella group.
This evening, the pair are on speakerphone for the interview about the book they have co-written (Between the Lines) and the way they talk about each other is easy, humorous, respectful.
The book they've written might be fairytale-inspired - about a girl named Delilah who falls in love with a handsome prince who is actually a character in a book - but within it they grapple, albeit lightly, with some of the central questions of literature and philosophy (What is fiction? Are we all just actors on a stage? Is there only one reality?).
While they worked on this nevertheless rollicking tale downstairs, Picoult was also regularly shooting back up to her office to edit her latest release, the dramatic, emotionally charged Lone Wolf, as well as writing ''an even more depressing book about the Holocaust''.
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/books/interview-jodi-picoult-20120621-20p22.html#ixzz1yf6Mo9Jr
Between the Lines is published by Allen & Unwin, A$24.99. Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer will speak at Castle Hill Library on July 24, Chatswood's Concourse Theatre on July 25 and a Dymocks Literary Event at Sheraton on the Park on July 26.