Anne Tibbets, author of Shut Up, kindly took the time to stop by and answer some questions.
1) First tell us a bit about Shut Up.
Shut Up is about Mary, whose teenage sister, Gwen, has screwed up her life, and by proxy, screwed up the whole family. Not only is Gwen pregnant at seventeen, but she also plans to marry The Creep who knocked her up, and Mary's parents and siblings are not dealing with the stress well. Mom is a violent volcano, Dad is hiding, Gwen likes to pick on Mary for sport, The Creep likes to sexually harass Mary, and even though her brother, Paul, advises Mary to shut up about it, Mary can't and ends up absorbing the brunt of the family's anger.
As things progressively fall apart, Mary suffers from depression and thoughts of suicide and becomes shut up inside herself.
The story is about Mary finding her strength when at every corner there lurks hardship.
2) What was the writing process like for Shut Up?
I worked on Shut Up, on and off, for about three years. I found it difficult to write about depression of that magnitude and not feel it myself, so I would write for a few weeks, then spend a week or two away from it, so I could come out of the dumps. It was not a fun book to write, but I was so personally driven, I couldn't work on anything else until I felt it was finished.
3) Did any music influence you while you were writing Shut Up?
I had been working on Shut Up for about a year when my brother moved out of state. We were both rather bummed about it at the time, but in retrospect it was the best thing for him - anyway, we started making CDs of our favorite music for each other and mailing back and forth, and one time he sent me a CD with the song "Simon" from Lifehouse on it. I didn't think twice about it, I just loaded it into my car and started listening and then one day when it came on, it hit me like a ton of bricks. Literally, it felt like an actual ton of bricks. This song was exactly how I felt about Mary. Exactly! Word for word! This song was instrumental in getting me focused on Mary's emotional journey, and still to this day, when I hear that song, it brings me to tears. I had to take it out of my car because my kids kept asking me why I was crying. (Listen to Simon on Youtube)
4) What is your favorite book?
I reserve the right to change my mind at any given moment, but for the past two years my favorite book has been "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak. If you haven't read it yet, you should. It's so beautifully crafted. Not a word is out of place. It's quite brilliant. I aspire to one day write something that sharp.
5) What was the last book you read?
I just finished "Old Man's War" by John Scalzi. I'm on a bit of a Sci-Fi bender. It was a good read!
6) Are you currently working on anything new?
Yes. I've got a Social Sci-Fi that I'm rewriting, at the moment, and I've got part of a first draft of a supernatural mystery cooking inside my brain. There are too many ideas and not enough hours in the day!
Thank you again Anne for stopping by! You can purchase Shut Up on Amazon. I definitely recommend this book. It's a quick read that you won't be able to get out of your head long after you finish it.