To ultimately be happy, we all have to experience periods in our lives where we are melancholy, gloomy and despondent. Because then how else would we know how to appreciate the happiness when we have it?
For most people it’s parts of their teenage years that are the most unbearable. Maybe this is because their understanding of our world increases or maybe it’s because they’re suddenly forced to being navigating the world on their own.
Jasmine Warga‘s My Heart and Other Black Holes is a captivating story about guilt, depression and anguish; it change your perspective on emotion, and reminds you that whoever you are, and whatever has happened to you, there is always an end to the arduous, obsidian tunnel of sadness. Warga opens up and talks about her novel, as well as talking about her writing and inspirations in an exclusive interview.
When talking about her writing, Warga spoke about how she always wanted to tell stories, and where she finds her inspiration. She said:
“I find inspiration everywhere, but especially through taking walks, reading, and observing people. And I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I don’t remember ever ‘choosing’ it–but I know for as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to tell stories and I feel so incredibly lucky to get to do so.”
She also mentioned a few writers that inspire her:
“Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Zadie Smith, Junot Diaz, and Jandy Nelson to name a few. “
When asked how she came up with the idea behind My Heart and Other Black Holes, Warga told us the story came after the main character. She said:
“It all started with Aysel’s character and sort of snowballed from there.”
My Heart and Other Black Holes is a powerful novel.
Aysel and Roman are practically strangers, but they’ve been drawn into an unthinkable partnership. In a month’s time, they plan to commit suicide – together.
Aysel knows why she wants to die: being the daughter of a murderer doesn’t equal normal, well-adjusted teenager. But she can’t figure out why handsome, popular Roman wants to end it all….and why he’s even more determined than she is.
With the deadline getting closer, something starts to grow between Aysel and Roman – a feeling she never thought she would experience. It seems there might be something to live for, after all – but is Aysel in so deep she can’t turn back?
When asked if she found it hard to write a book that focuses so much on depression and suicide, Warga had said it wasn’t. She told us:
“Honestly, I was in a place in my life where working on the novel was actually rather cathartic rather than hard.”
She also went on to say she never really had a plan for the story or knew how it would end before she began writing it. She said:
“I didn’t know! I hardly ever really know the ending of my books as I don’t outline or plot ahead.”
Warga also spoke about how she felt about giving My Heart and Other Black Holes a realistic ending rather than a happily-ever-after ending. Did she find it hard?
“At the time, not really. It felt right for the book. I’ve actually been surprised by how many readers want more closure. I get so many emails a week asking for a sequel, which I still think is such an odd request as to me the story is clearly done, but I’m flattered people want to spend more time with the characters.”
Warga also offers up some advice for aspiring writers, she tells her readers to read. She said:
“Read! Read anything you can get your hands on. Read all the freaking time.”