JH: That is so true. That’s how you learn, that’s how you grow. But it is painful both in person and in print. On that note, what do you think are the most important issues that face today’s early 20 somethings?
Megan McCafferty: I think that there is this idea that once you graduate from college that that’s your automatic entry into adulthood. Like you are supposed to know what to do now, but if anything, getting your diploma heralds this new and confusing time of life. It’s also like a semi-autonomous time of life because you are on your own, but a lot of times you are so poor that you have to rely on the kindness of others, often parents or in Jessica’s case, her sister.
In my life, and in Jessica’s life, you grab onto the life lessons, and the lessons that apply in Sloppy Firsts are not relevant in Fourth Comings, the rules change over time. I think that’s true for all of us. I think part of the struggle in this book, and Charmed Thirds, too, I would say is the letting go of those old rules and those old ways of life that used to work for her but don’t anymore and letting go of friendships and other relationships that used to work but don’t work anymore. That’s a really difficult process but a necessary one for I think growing into the person that you want to be or aim to be.
JH: I can definitely relate to that. What personal experiences do you draw from when writing your novels?
Megan McCafferty: Jessica is definitely becoming more of her own person with each book. There is nothing that has happened in any of the books that happened to me in the same way they are depicted in the book. I’ll start with a grain of truth from my own life and then I start lying my butt off and making stuff up, because that’s the beauty and freedom of fiction.
So if you look at her and look at me you think oh it’s like her auto biography and it’s really not. In many many ways Jessica takes the roads that I didn’t take. In some ways I’m living through her.
JH: Why do you think that your characters are appealing to both older and younger than Jessica?
Megan McCafferty: I wrote the type of book I like to read. I wrote the type of story that appeals to me. I love comic, coming of age stories. I love teen angst, and I love all the John Hughes movies. So even though I’ve read a lot of books that were well written and entertaining I didn’t feel like there were any that reflected my high school reality. So I decided I want to try and write that book.