Kristine Scarrow talks Throwaway Girl

Kristine Scarrow talks Throwaway Girl

Posted on February 13 by Kyle in Interview, Teens
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How did you come up with the idea for your work?

Throwaway Girl gives readers a glimpse into the harsh realities of the kids who end up in foster care. My educational background is in Psychology and Social Work, and I’ve always had a passion for working with the marginalized in our society, which has influenced my writing in many ways. I grew up in one of the poorest neighbourhoods in Saskatoon and I was surrounded by examples of people living in disadvantaged conditions. From a young age I recognized that other kids weren’t as fortunate as I was, especially from the standpoint of having a strong, supportive family life. Adolescence is a challenging time even when you come from a supportive situation where you are provided for. I wrote this book from the perspective of someone having to navigate through life without having had a healthy, solid base from which to draw support from. I wanted Throwaway Girl to shed light on what life is like for kids who feel like they have nothing.

 

In your own work, which character are you most attached to and why?

Andy, the main character in Throwaway Girl is a favourite character of mine. I love how determined she is. Despite her struggles, she is compassionate, intelligent, and strong willed. Even at her darkest moments, she has an unwavering belief in a better life. I love stories of people overcoming the odds and the idea that our strength lies in ourselves, not in our circumstances. Andy is a perfect example of resilience and the strength of the human spirit.

 

Did you have a specific readership in mind when you wrote your book?

I’ve been asked if this book was written specifically for foster children, since the book focuses on Andy’s journey through foster care. The short answer is no, however, I did want to give readers a glimpse into the foster care system. Foster children face a huge loss of control in their lives. They’re at the mercy of other people and what is decided for them. Andy’s perseverance and her desire for a better life ultimately allow her to rise above her circumstances. Her character demonstrates the courage, determination, and strength that I believe children in foster care possess.

Ultimately, Throwaway Girl is for anyone who desires a better life for themselves, even if they don’t know how to make that happen. The book tackles serious subject matter, and although it is fiction, there are kids who live in these very real circumstances. I hope the gritty nature of the book appeals to at-risk youth and reluctant readers.

I think the book is also a nod to teachers, foster parents, social workers, and all of the people who devote their time and energy to bettering the lives of these precious children. There are ordinary people doing extraordinary work to help children in difficult circumstances, and their support can make all the difference in the outcome of a child’s life.

 

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received as a writer?

That the only way to write a book is to sit down and write. Period. I used to think I needed a quiet house and long, uninterrupted spans of time in order to write. In my house, those days don’t come around very often!

I have three children and a husband who works long, unconventional hours. I also work as an editor, a freelance writer, and I teach workshops on writing and healing. Carving out the time to write a novel is a definite challenge! This book was written at odd hours, often very late at night.

Once at a writer’s conference I attended, Eric Walters, a prolific Canadian YA author of 90+ books, mentioned that he wrote even in the sparest of moments—jotting down ideas while sitting in traffic or waiting in airports, etc. His dedication to writing inspired me and motivated me to become more productive just by writing in small increments at any opportunity. I’ve also learned to tune out distractions better. Just showing up to the page and remaining diligent has helped me immensely.