Behind the Book is an exclusive feature at Muggle-Born that gives readers an inside look into the editorial process of some of our favorite books. Plot changes, lost characters, and many more interesting topics are tackled in an interview with the author.
The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind by Meg Medina
Did You Know?
- The original title of the book had been called, Jaibera, which is slang for crab worker.
- Meg Medina worked with the same editor who edited her first picture book
- Medina started working on the novel all the way back in 2006
- Read on to find out more Behind the Book info about THE GIRL WHO COULD SILENCE THE WIND!
How many months did it take for you to write the original draft of THE GIRL WHO COULD SILENCE THE WIND?
There were actually many distinct drafts of this novel, and it went through very extensive changes. I started working on it early in 2006.
How long did the overall production of your book take from the moment you sent the book to your editor to the final publication date?
Four years – but mostly because the manuscript saw a huge overhaul. In March 2008, Kate Fletcher, my fantastic editor at Candlewick Press started to work with me on strengthening the manuscript from my original concept. This was an amazingly generous act on her part. We had worked together on my first picture book, and I shared with her the difficulties I was having with the manuscript for my second novel. She made suggestions and I worked on revisions. She acquired it in Dec 2008.
Throughout the editorial process were there any significant changes to your story in terms of plot?
This novel saw a complete revision – and I do mean re-vision. Originally, the novel was about young women who come north to work as crab workers. At its core was a look at the plight of people who travel north to find work and opportunity, but I was also leaning for a love story as well. When Kate read it, she fell in love with Sonia in her home country and all the characters that inhabited that place. Today, The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind is still a love story and a look at the sacrifices people make to find their future, but my characters inhabit a more magical world that is both foreign and familiar to all readers, especially those with Latin American roots. One of the loveliest surprises about making that change was that I was able to explore the truths about young love, poverty, power, and migration as I saw them. It was much easier to achieve that from the fictional town of Tres Montes and, later, the capital.
Did you lose any characters along the way or go through any name changes?
I lost characters and gained characters as I sharpened the story. When the story changed to a setting in Tres Montes and La Capital, I lost all the American characters, of course. I vaguely remember someone named Hector in one of the stories…and Señora Mason was originally Katherine Mason, a tough lady who ran a crab plant with an iron fist. But look at all I gained! Oscar, the evil Conchita Fo, Teresa, just to name a few. And best of all, Pancho. He started out as one line in my original draft…just a background taxiboy. Obviously, he emerged as my hero. I’ve never been able to resist the shy and chivalrous at heart.
What was the most challenging part of writing and the editorial process?
Having the courage to stick with a piece of writing and reinvent it. There were many, many times I wanted to give up on this story. It made me question whether I was a good writer at all. I was very lucky that Kate had faith in my willingness to rewrite and rewrite and rewrite.
Did THE GIRL WHO COULD SILENCE THE WIND go through any title changes?
The original title was Jaibera, which is slang for crab worker.
Is there anything else that you could tell us about THE GIRL WHO COULD SILENCE THE WIND that we wouldn’t know unless we were part of the editorial team at Candlewick Press?
Well, I’ve never adored the title, although I’m the one who came up with it. That’s the one skill I wish I had: Titles.
For more about THE GIRL WHO COULD SILENCE THE WIND, make sure to read my review.
Make sure to check out the other stops of THE GIRL WHO COULD SILENCE THE WIND Blog Tour!
Wednesday, March 7: http://www.wastepaperprose.
Thursday, March 8: http://bookbriefs.blogspot.
Friday, March 9: http://muggle-born.net/
Monday, March 12: www.thebookcellarx.com
Tuesday, March 13: http://www.teenreads.com/
Wednesday, March 14: http://www.mochalattereads.
Thursday, March 15: http://joyousreads.blogspot.
Friday, March 16: http://hispanicreader.com/
I love the cover of this book! And reading about how she has revised it over so many years gives me more hope for my book that I’ve been revising for what seems like forever.