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Fall 2017 Publishers’ Preview: Five Questions for David Barclay Moore

Publishers' Previews: Special advertising supplement in The Horn Book Magazine

This interview originally appeared in the September/October 2017 Horn Book Magazine as part of the Fall Publishers’ Preview, an advertising supplement that allows participating publishers a chance to each highlight a book from its current list. They choose the books; we ask the questions.

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After the death of his older brother Jermaine, The Stars Beneath Our Feet protagonist Lolly finds himself negotiating his grief, his tough Harlem neighborhood, and his complicated family life through…LEGOs?

Photo: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders.

1. Are we ever too old for LEGOs?

Never, nor for toys in general. In my home office I have a decent collection of toys and figurines, just as Lolly does. They help keep me in touch with the creative energy of my youth.

2. What is your own unlikeliest friendship?

Perhaps with the late, great Janet Wolfe, whom I met when I was in my twenties and she was a wonder woman in her eighties. We would hang out, go to dinner, enjoy classical music concerts. Janet would regale me with tales of her younger years when she was secretary for movie director Roberto Rosellini, toured with Orson Welles’s Mercury Theater, and was featured in a series of New Yorker stories, amongst many other amazing adventures. She could still dance the rhumba well into her nineties. When she passed in 2015 at the age of 101, her New York Times obituary trended on Twitter as an example of how to live one’s life fully.

3. Harlem has inspired many books; which one, in turn, inspires you?

James Baldwin’s Go Tell It on the Mountain. When I first read it in prep school, I absolutely hated it. It was so difficult to get through. But when I read it again in college, I appreciated its complexity and intelligence. And Baldwin, as a fellow Black gay author, is a powerful figure for me.

4. What is your favorite NYC building?

The Chrysler Building, same as Lolly’s.

5. How much of Lolly is you?

Like Lolly, I lost my brother a few years ago. He and I were very close. My own grieving process helped shape some of Lolly’s story. Though I put him through a lot of hardship, he emerges from it stronger. I also appreciate his creativity and intestinal fortitude — traits he and I share!

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Random House




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