Marit Weisenberg released her novel Select in 2017. Now, one year later, she has released the sequel, entitled Select Few. The series revolves around Julia Jaynes, who has a seemingly perfect life. And as if being a teenager isn’t difficult enough, she is slowly discovering details about herself, her family, and her surroundings that will change the course of her life. YEM spoke with Marit about her duopoly and writing for young adult readers.
Young Entertainment Mag: How did you first get started as a writer?
Marit Weisenberg: I was always happiest when I was reading or making up stories. I remember entertaining myself on road trips by staring out the window and coming up with story ideas in my head. By the time I was in high school, I knew I wanted to be a writer. My friend, Sophy, and I co-wrote a romance novel, passing it back and forth in Latin class! It took a really long time to actually get serious though. I worked in TV and film development, helping writers with their stories. So I surrounded myself with writers and stories but it took me years to get up the courage to actually try writing myself.
YEM: Are their any authors that have inspired you?
Marit: I fell in love with YA fiction when I read Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park. The depiction of first love and all the tension and nerves that come with that really blew me away. I still think about the main characters and how much I love Park’s family!
YEM: Your newest book is called Select Few. Tell us about it.
Marit: Select Few is the second book in The Select series. The premise of the series is about a group of highly evolved people who have been on the run for years and hide in plain sight. When the main character, the misfit daughter of the group’s leader, Julia, uses her abilities in public, she is punished. This sends her life in an entirely new direction, including meeting an outsider and developing very dangerous feelings for him. Julia begins to question everything she thought she knew about her family, the outside world and who she thought she was. If the first book is about Julia Jaynes’s coming to terms with her differences from the rest of her family, the second book is about solving the mystery of who she really is.
YEM: Select Few is the second book in the Select series. Will there be more books in this series?
Marit: Select Few concludes the series. I think a duology is just perfect for this particular story. Although there are some characters—Angus in particular—who I miss and there’s always a story for him brewing in the back of my mind.
YEM: How did you create the fantasy world in the Select series? Was that challenging?
Marit: It’s kind of a hodgepodge of places I’ve lived, as well as my obsessions at the time of writing the books. The series begins in Austin, Texas where I live and then travels to California where I grew up. For Select Few, my inspirations were the eerie western quality of HBO’s West World, which I was watching at the time, the San Francisco Bay Area where I’m from originally (and where I was visiting when I wrote a portion of the book) and also, road trip books and films. There is some Bonnie and Clyde in Julia and Angus! My goal was to put these extraordinary people in regular spaces so you can see how odd they are and what a bubble they live in.
YEM: Is the main character, Julia, based off of anyone that you know? Do you have any similarities to Julia?
Marit: No, but Julia is the name of one of my best friends! I think she was born out of my wanting to write a female character who, from the outside is incredibly tough and talented and capable. However, Julia’s family treats her as less-than for reasons she doesn’t quite understand. It’s natural to want to fit in and be accepted and internally, Julia struggles with that. Julia is defiant but she’s also sensitive and has self-doubt and vulnerability because that’s human!
YEM: Finally, what advice would you give to young readers that want to become writers?
Marit: Just keep going and finish a draft! It’s such a relief. I struggle with that every book–I want to keep tinkering instead of charging ahead. But there is something about having a finished first draft; even if it’s so rough and you cut big parts of it, you now have a whole story from beginning to end to work with. You can make sure you have the plot in place and then you can go back in and start editing in a more focused way.