Y’all, I am beyond thrilled to be hosting GAYLE FORMAN today for one of the super awesome super amazing Just One Day tour stops. OH MY GOODNESS. Like, this is big. It’s like hosting Elvis on the blog. Or you know another of my idols. Gayle’s books have a magical way of making me feel ALL of the things – from body-wracking sobs – what up If I Stay to face cracking grins hey Where She Went how you doing to empathy and hope and swoons and a severe case of wanderlust, oh hi there Just One Day. It’s my absolute pleasure to host Gayle today.
Welcome to the JUST ONE DAY blog tour! We all know one of Gayle’s talents lies in writing the swooniest books possible, but she’s also a world traveler! Many of her experiences inspired scenes in JUST ONE DAY (and JUST ONE YEAR, out next fall!). Each day along the tour there will be a new photo from Gayle’s travels, along with the story behind the photo written by Gayle!
This is a shot of my husband and one of our closest friends, Greg, outside Shakespeare and Company, the famous left-bank bookstore in Paris. When Nick and I traveled around the world, we spent the last six weeks in Europe. Greg and his wife, Diane, met us for ten freezing, amazing days in Paris.
I’ve always liked Paris but I’m not one of those people who went gaga over it (Amsterdam was the European city that stole my heart). Similarly, I’ve always liked Shakespeare well enough, but I was not one of those people who went around quoting him or even taking advantage of New York City’s summer Shakespeare in the Park series.
But books surprise you. If I Stay’s big surprise was the cello—I hadn’t known I was a fan until Mia arrived a classical musician. And Just One Day bestowed twin surprises: First Paris, then Shakespeare.
The seed for Just One Day came in a dream. I saw a guy and a girl in an abandoned building of sorts. I knew they’d just had an intense day together and I knew they were away from home. As the story unspooled in my half-wake state, I recognized they were in Paris—but not the Paris I knew, which back then was the Paris most tourists knew. Theirs was a slightly fringier, less postcard-y Paris, and when I traveled back to get to know that city, I fell in love, hard.
As for Shakespeare, when I started writing Just One Day, I wanted to place Allyson on her Teen Tour! in a very touristy spot, hence Stratford-upon-Avon. You don’t do Stratford-upon-Avon if you aren’t seeing some Shakespeare, so I put Allyson in line for Hamlet. Then the love interest—a Dutch boy I’d already named Willem—showed up and as Allyson and I checked him out, it turned out that he was an actor, acting in an underground Shakespearian production. So, suddenly Shakespeare was here to stay.
Which meant research. Which in this case meant going to plays. One of which was As You Like It, which I watched with my heart in throat, for the entire play because it was so romantic and immediate. When I sat down to read it afterwards, I was amazed at the richness of the work, how timeless and transcendent it was, but also how specific it was to the books I was writing. It spoke to themes of identity, love, trust, and it was crazy sexy and funny.
I am now officially in love with Shakespeare. And with Paris. Just like Allyson, I suppose.
Start reading JUST ONE DAY right now!
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Want to see more of Gayle Forman’s amazing traveling? Penguin Teen is posting one picture a day on tumblr for a whole YEAR! [LINK:http://penguinteen.tumblr.com/tagged/gayle-forman-travels]
Pretty much Gayle Forman is the best and I’m beyond excited to have hosted her. I love how Gayle fell in love with Shakespeare and how Paris came as a surprise. Let me know in the comments if you’ve found a love for something that just kind of manifests out of nowhere — whether it’s for As You Like It or for a touristy city!