new-circle-Andrea-PortesOn Monday, I had the opportunity to speak with our Big Library Read author, Andrea Portes. We chatted about Anatomy of a Misfit, where her motivation comes from, her writing habits and much more. She also shared her favorite memories about her libraries growing up and offered advice to aspiring writers.

We started with a question that readers around the world (and around our office!) kept asking: Is Anatomy of a Misfit autobiographical? Andrea wanted everyone to know that yes, this is the story of her high school experience. I won’t give away any spoilers, in case you haven’t made it to the end just yet, but she informed me that the ending that moved us all did actually happen. Her community, however, acted like nothing ever happened and so writing this book was her way of fulfilling a promise to make sure the world knew the story.

When asked about whether or not she let her family know about this book ahead of time, she jokingly told me that she made sure her siblings were aware of it and that she just tells her dad not to read anything she writes so that they never have an awkward interaction about it. She told me that some of her favorite memories form her childhood were going to her small Nebraska library and that her favorite place in the whole world was her father’s library growing up. She also provided some great advice: never throw away old books! You’ll never know when you’ll look back and wish you had those old copies.

When I asked Andrea about her writing process, she says that it varies from day to day. She said that while she tries to make sure she has some structured writing sessions, you can’t help when inspiration hits you and so many of her notes end up being on napkins and old receipts. She also mentioned that she typically will write her endings at least three times before being happy with where it’s at. When asked what she would tell aspiring writers, the biggest piece of advice was to be patient and flexible. Writing something large in scope is difficult; you don’t need to do the entire story in one sitting, and often times ideas will come to you halfway through that will change the course of what you’re writing. It’s best to allow these changes to happen.

Anatomy of a Misfit is available to users of libraries that signed up for Big Library Read without any wait lists or holds through October 28. To learn more about Andrea Portes or the Big Library Read program, check out

Adam Sockel is a Marketing Communications Specialist with OverDrive. Andrea Portes has just been added to his celebrity crush list.

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