Fractured – Author Q&A
Fractured by Shay Siegel was released last week and it sounds so good. I received a copy of the book a few weeks ago and it’s on my tbr list. Here’s what the book is about:
Mason Vance is the guy everybody wants to be, and he knows it. He’s the best high school quarterback in New York and he’s expected to land in the NFL one day. That is, until a broken wrist leaves him fearing whether he’ll ever play again.
In an attempt to save his crippled ego, Mason sets his sights on Lace. She’s no cheerleader or homecoming queen like his usual type. She’s too wrapped in her own misery to care about him or his pickup lines. Slowly, she lets him into the sad workings of her mind and less-than-perfect life. That’s why neither of them sees his huge mistake coming—one that instantly fractures everything between them.
Will Mason be able to confront the ugliest side of himself, and in the process see who he’s capable of becoming, or will he fall back into the life he knew before Lace and his injury?
Q: What inspired you to write Fractured, and from the perspective of a teenage boy?
A: I had the idea for Fractured shortly after I broke my wrist on my 25 th birthday. I was writing a different book at the time as part of my MFA thesis, but once I graduated, I dove right into Fractured, and I finished a first (very rough) draft over that summer. The book I wrote for my thesis was also YA, but it was narrated by a teenage girl, and I knew that for my next book I wanted to try writing from the perspective of a boy and explore a totally different storyline. It was fun to embody a voice so drastically different from my own with Fractured, and once I decided on the type of character that I wanted Mason to be, his voice came to me really easily. I
started with an idea of literal fractures meeting metaphorical fractures, which I had been thinking about after breaking my own wrist, and how mental illness is very much a sort of brokenness that can’t be seen, and it’s viewed completely differently than a physical break or condition. So, I wanted to write from the perspective of a character who didn’t understand this, in the same way much of society still doesn’t, and have him learn about mental health while also being forced to confront his own inner fractures that he never realized he had.
Q: How did you choose the title? And what came first: the novel or the title?
A: The title came before I even started writing the book. I had a vague idea of the storyline and the idea of metaphorical and literal fractures meeting. I considered changing the title a few times because there are quite a few other books, TV shows, and movies with the same title. But I really love the title and feel like it’s the perfect encapsulation of the story, so I made the choice to stick with it.
Q: Some themes featured in the book such as sexual assault and mental health are difficult to talk about. Why do you feel it’s important to be transparent about these issues?
A: They are SO difficult to talk about, and, for me personally, it’s a lot easier to write about them than to speak about them out loud, but I guess the point is that whatever form we can manage to have the conversation in is important. So, I’m thankful for writing because it makes uncomfortable subjects just a bit more comfortable for me, and through reading and writing we can develop a level of comfort with broaching the uncomfortable. So, I may not always have an easy time with bringing these issues forth, but they’re important enough that we need to get past our uneasiness in order to give them the attention they need, and my way of doing that is through this story. Mental health is talked about so much now, as is consent, rape culture, and sexual assault, yet I think we forget that most of the time the people doing the “talking” about these issues are the
ones who already tend to have a general understanding and want to be a voice. This is an incredibly important role to take on, but the reach and encouragement for change needs to stretch wider than these circles, and although we have made progress there is always more to be made. Even with all the advocating, I think people tend to still shy away from really delving deeper intomthe issues. We say mental health matters all the time, but we should go a step further and consider what that truly means in this current society and how those who struggle with mental health are actually regarded aside from the tagline. Any open, empathic, and meaningful
conversation we can have with others in gaining new perspectives in order to enact a positive change where these issues are concerned is a step in the right direction
Q: Describe your main character in 3 words:
A: Arrogant, lost, willing
Q: What was the most challenging part of the book to write?
A: It wasn’t necessarily challenging, but a lot of Mason’s and his friends’ conversations about girls/ women were uncomfortable, as they were meant to be. They were actually scarily easy to write, and I initially had more of these scenes that I had to cut, but it was challenging in terms of
content, to say the least.
Q: What’s your favorite part of the story and why?
A: My favorite part of Fractured is probably the ending. I can’t say much more without being spoiler-y, but I loved creating the imagery and symbols that went along with the end. The first and last chapters may be the only parts of the book that didn’t change at all through rewrites.
Q: There’s also themes of toxic masculinity—the nature that “boys will be boys.” What do you hope male and female readers can learn from this discussion?
A: I hope that young readers will recognize how much reframing we still have to do with what is viewed as “cool” or when it comes to appearing a certain way to their peers. These ideas have been so deeply rooted in our society that even though we are absolutely making progress and moving in the right direction, there’s still a long way to go. Aside from toxic masculinity encouraging or excusing boys’ damaging behaviors toward others, another issue with it is that toxic masculinity also encourages boys not to be themselves. They probably don’t even realize they aren’t being themselves because society has molded them into what a boy “should be” like from the time they’re born. It’s the same for women, we have our roles that we’re supposed to fit into as well. And this is especially damaging from a young age because teens and young adults are already trying to figure out who they are and what their place is in the world, so when you’re telling them who they should be and it doesn’t necessarily leave space for who they feel they are, it’s extremely confusing. So, I hope male and female leaders will introspect about their identities and know that as long as their behavior isn’t harmful to others or themselves that they have permission to be whoever they want. Teenagers and young adults, and really everyone, are going to make mistakes as they change and grow. So, the earlier we can talk about these issues the better, and then maybe it won’t take such a long time for individuals to recognize problematic behavior. Rape culture is also a theme in Fractured, and in many ways rape culture is perpetuated by the
issue of toxic masculinity, as well as the ideals that society has set up for what women should be like. All these collective issues exist in a web and we have to keep educating ourselves to pull it apart little by little because even though we have made strides and maybe the web has lessened,
it still very much exists, whether everyone wants to believe it or not.
Q: What would be your advice to anyone reading this book who is going through a difficult time and experiencing some of these issues in their own lives?
A: First, I want them to know they are not alone, however much they may feel like they are. I can totally relate to the feeling of being alone in the very way you feel. I know that doesn’t necessarily make the struggle any easier, but hopefully it can bring some comfort. I also want readers to know that they don’t need a reason or excuse to feel the way that they do if they’re
having a difficult time, sometimes there really is no reason, just like Lace tries to express in the story. So, let’s remember to be as kind as possible to ourselves no matter our situations. You never know what the future holds, and even though it feels like hard times will last forever, circumstances will change, so just keep doing the best you can and trying to remain as positive as you can. One thing I struggle with most, that I have to remind myself daily, is that each quest, and life in general, is about the process, not the outcome. Try to enjoy the process the best you can. There is no failure as long as you are trying, that’s all any of us can do.
If you’re interested in checking the out book for yourself, you can click on the link at the top of the post or the photo below.
*I was sent this book complimentary, but all opinions are my own. This post also contains affiliate links.*