There is a LOT of emotional pain in Revolution. The MC is hurting through most of the book, & its vivid & tangible. I physically ached while reading it. How did you take something that could be considered angsty and translate it into emotion?
I never considered what Andi is feeling as mere angst. Angst is about dread, fear, anxiety. Andi’s heart is broken. She’s experiencing genuine, harrowing grief. She has lost her brother, and she feels responsible for his death. Her father has left the family. Her mother is suffering from a mental breakdown. If those circumtances don’t justify deep emotional pain, I don’t know what does.
Why did you choose the French Revolution as a main plot arch?
The French Revolution chose me. I read an article in the New York Times about the terrible treatment of Louis Charles, the young son of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI, at the hands of the revolutionaries and it upset me so much, that I had to work out my emotion the only way I know how — by writing a story. I needed answers — much as Andi and Alex did — and the book gave them to me.
And is the character in the diary based in any way on a real person, & how much is the truth…
Alex, the character in the diary, is fictional, but the things she sees and experiences during the revolution — the march on Versailles, the September massacres — are true events. I read and researched both broadly and deeply in order to convey not just the political events of the time, but the the everyday ones — what Andi saw and tasted and smelled and endured and enjoyed as a citizen of Paris and Versailles in the late 18th century.
BROOKLYN: Andi Alpers is on the edge. She’s angry at her father for leaving, angry at her mother for not being able to cope, and heartbroken by the loss of her younger brother, Truman. Rage and grief are destroying her. And she’s about to be expelled from Brooklyn Heights’ most prestigious private school when her father intervenes. Now Andi must accompany him to Paris for winter break.
PARIS: Alexandrine Paradis lived over two centuries ago. She dreamed of making her mark on the Paris stage, but a fateful encounter with a doomed prince of France cast her in a tragic role she didn’t want—and couldn’t escape.
Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi finds Alexandrine’s diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession. There’s comfort and distraction for Andi in the journal’s antique pages—until, on a midnight journey through the catacombs of Paris, Alexandrine’s words transcend paper and time, and the past becomes suddenly, terrifyingly present.
Jennifer Donnelly, author of the award-winning novel A Northern Light, artfully weaves two girls’ stories into one unforgettable account of life, loss, and enduring love. Revolution spans centuries and vividly depicts the eternal struggles of the human heart.