Our Wise Women Collective spotlights women whom we admire and inspire! Today, we are spotlighting Ann Napolitano, the author of this month's Boozy Book Club read, Hello Beautiful.
There is tension between William and Sylvie at the start, and drama between Julie and Sylvie as the book unfolds. If you were to cast it for screen, who would you choose as the sisters and William?
Oh, goodness, I’m too old to know actors young enough to play the characters! I imagine they’d need to cast actors in their early twenties, in order for them to be able to play the correct span of years. Another issue is that I see the William and the sisters in my head as if they’re real people (to me they are real people :)), so it’s difficult for me to reimagine their faces.
What about writing this story resonated for you? How is it different from your previous books, like Dear Edward?
There are definitely similarities between my last two books. In Dear Edward, a young boy climbs out of the physical wreckage of a plane crash, and in Hello Beautiful, William climbs out of the emotional wreckage of his loveless home. In both books, I needed to find out if those boys, who had suffered so much, could be okay. I honestly didn’t know if it was possible, and I had to write each book to find out the truth.
Your chapters move from one character to another. What made you choose this form of storytelling?
I love going into different points of view - if it made sense, I would go into every character’s head (unfortunately, that’s almost never a good idea in a story). I feel like I learn the most about a character—their fears, motivations, desires—by writing from their point of view, and by moving between characters, the story moves forward with what hopefully feels like natural momentum. For instance, Julia and Sylvie look at the world very differently, and want different things. Inevitably, their actions will move them into moments of tension, as well as moments of deep connection.
What do you want readers to take away from your novel the most?
It’s so hard to answer this question! I hope people leave the book knowing that it’s never too late to connect, or re-connect with someone they love. And of course, that it’s also never too late to begin loving yourself.
Can you share what writers you admire most?
There are so many! Here are some living writers whose writing I greatly admire: Ann Patchett, Barbara Kingsolver, Abraham Verghese, Geraldine Brooks, Gabrielle Zevin, Rachel Heng, Maggie O’Farrell, Honoree Jeffers, Richard Powers… I could go on and on.