Author Interview: Everyone Dies Famous in a Small Town by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock
Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock’s second book is here and is an amazing crossover title. Everyone Dies Famous in a Small Town is a collection of short stories about teenagers growing up in small towns in Alaska and the American West that are interconnected, which is a cool way to tell a story. If you’ve read The Smell of People’s Houses, you know Bonnie-Sue is not to be missed. Check out our interview below and pick it up, out now!
Everyone Dies Famous in a Small Townby Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock
Published by: Random House/Lamb
on April 1, 2021
Genres: Young Adult
A lyrical and heartfelt collection by an award-winning writer that connects the lives of young people from small towns in Alaska and the American west. Each story is unique, yet universal.
In this book, the impact of wildfire, a wayward priest, or a mysterious disappearance ricochet across communities, threading through stories. Here, ordinary actions such as ice skating or going to church reveal hidden truths. One choice threatens a lifelong friendship. Siblings save each other. Rescue and second chances are possible, and so is revenge.
On the surface, it seems that nothing ever happens in these towns. But Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock shows that underneath that surface, teenagers' lives blaze with fury, with secrets, and with love so strong it burns a path to the future.
Interview with Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock
You set your stories within small towns, specifically Alaskan small towns, which become characters themselves. What do you hope readers will take from the experience?
Only two of the stories from Everyone Dies Famous in a Small Town are set in Alaska. I really don’t write about Alaska for any other reason than it’s what I know best. But I’ve finally spent time in other places and I am excited to introduce small towns from the West and Northwest as well. I think character driven stories like these can appeal to readers from anywhere, whether they’re urban or rural dwellers. The human experience is universal so I hope readers will just enjoy a small glimpse into the characters’ lives in this book. I read for pleasure and to get lost in new places, so that’s always first and foremost on my mind when writing for other people.
What will fans of The Smell of Other People’s Houses love about Everyone Dies Famous in a Small Town?
I am curious about this question as well. I’m not sure I have an answer. This is a very different book, but it’s commonalities are that both are character driven and both are meant to show ways that we’re connected, rather than highlighting all of the differences between people. I love multiple narrators for depth and getting to the heart of things, so while the short story format might seem strange to some readers, I hope they will see it through to the end.
Everyone Dies Famous in a Small Town is an interwoven set of stories. Were there stories you wanted to include but didn’t fit within what you hope the book will convey to readers?
Actually, that was more true for The Smell of Other People’s Houses. Originally that book looked a lot like Everyone Dies Famous in a Small Town, but after a lot of re-writes it became what it was supposed to be and I was left with about twenty characters on the cutting room floor. The first story in Everyone Dies Famous in a Small Town is called ‘Angry Starfish’ and it was one that got cut from ‘Houses.’ I re-worked it probably fifty times. I tried and tried to write this book as just a chronological novel and eventually begged my editors to let me go back to my original style, which is linked short stories. (I didn’t really beg, they were on board already). I think only one story got cut and that was just because it didn’t fit within the flow of the book, so who knows, perhaps that will be the jumping off story next time? I do hope that readers will walk away feeling like they’ve immersed themselves in a larger narrative that is more than just the sum of its parts. Quieter stories are can be found between those with a bit of a punch. I’d suggest not thinking too much about it but just sit with it for a few days after reading and then see how you feel about it. It’s meant to be a little bit sneaky, this book.