Q&A with ‘Cast Off’ author Eve Yohalem

Eve Yohalem photoEve Yohalem is the author of  “Escape Under the Forever Sky” and “Cast Off.” The following is a complete transcript of her interview with Cracking the Cover.

Have you always wanted to be a writer? Why?

I’ve always been a huge reader and a passionate lover of books, but the first thing I wanted to be was an opera singer. After a while, though, I decided I wanted to tell my own stories instead of other peoples’ stories.

Why do you write for young people?

My dad taught me that it’s always more fun at the kids’ table.

Where did the idea for “Cast Off” come from?

I have a really annoying answer to that question, which is that I can’t tell you because it would be a huge spoiler for the book that comes after Cast Off!

Eve Yohalem_Cracking the Cover_photo of research assistantHow much research was involved?

So much. You have no idea. When I got the idea for Cast Off, the only thing I knew about the 17th century was that it was the same thing as the 1600s. I spent a year doing nothing but research and then kept researching until the book went to print. Today my Cast Off file has more than 400 entries. Here’s a picture of my research assistant.

“Cast Off” is set in the 1660s. How did that affect the way your characters and story evolved?

The setting affected everything and nothing. How people live has changed dramatically in the last 350 years, but how people feel is timeless.

Cast OffDo you have a favorite plot element or character in “Cast Off”?

I love my two main characters, Petra and Bram, most and equally, but I have a particular fondness for the sailor “Barometer” Piet Pieterson. He can feel the weather in his left hand, even though he’s missing three fingers.

What are you working on now?

I just finished writing a book called True Fact about a diabetic girl and her German shepherd who spend the summer searching for sunken treasure in the waters off Long Island while saddled with the obnoxious daughter of a Hollywood director.

Is there a book from your own childhood that still resonates with you today?

Do you have all day? Seriously, this is a really hard question! I’ll pick two: My Side of the Mountain, because who wouldn’t want to live in a hollowed-out tree with a falcon you hand-trained yourself from infancy? And Little Women because I wanted to be Jo March.