A powerful story of a girl who is afraid to touch another person’s skin, until the boy auditioning for Hamlet opposite her Ophelia gives her a reason to overcome her fears.
Step on a crack, break your mother’s back. Touch another person’s skin, and Dad’s gone for good.
Caddie can’t stop thinking that if she keeps from touching another person’s skin, her parents might get back together... which is why she wears full-length gloves to school and covers every inch of her skin.
It seems harmless at first, but Caddie’s obsession soon threatens her ambitions as an actress. She desperately wants to play Ophelia in her school’s production of Hamlet. But that would mean touching Peter, who’s auditioning for the title role—and kissing him. Part of Caddie would love nothing more than to kiss Peter—but the other part isn't sure she's brave enough to let herself fall.
Perfect for fans of Laurie Halse Anderson, this debut novel from Rachel M. Wilson is a moving story of a talented girl who's fighting an increasingly severe anxiety disorder, and the friends and family who stand by her.
And now the interview:
1. Your book is a romance that also tackles a very serious issue (OCD), how did you find the balance of these two things? Was one more important than the other in terms of what you wanted your readers to walk away with?
I might not call it a straight-up romance … I don’t want to disappoint. There’s definitely a strong romantic thread, but the friendships and family relationships often step in front of that. For me, this was always a book about fear. Any relationship Caddie wants to have is threatened by her fear, so the two are in conflict and feed off each other. In that sense, finding the balance between the two was the heart of the story and I don’t think they can be separated.
2. What was your research process like for this book?
Even though I had OCD as a kid, I did a lot of reading. I also had a psychiatrist friend read the book, and he gave me some great insight. Beyond that, I spent a ton of time with Hamlet—watching different versions and reading literary criticism. And I did the sort of research I’d do for any book—I love collecting images, interviewing my characters, collecting metaphors. A lot of these character-building activities are exercises I took from acting class, not unlike the character journals Caddie and Peter talk about in Don’t Touch.
3. I’m a huge theatre geek and love that you set this around staging Hamlet. Did you do theatre in high school as well or was that something you decided on as a good vehicle to address Caddie’s anxiety (or maybe both)?
I did do theater in high school, and I studied it in college and still perform. For a while I was avoiding writing about theater because it’s so close to me, but even when I wasn’t using theater as a vehicle, I was using performance as a metaphor. Caddie’s always performing, pretending like everything is fine. I think we all have our BIG metaphors—those threads that help us make sense of story in our day-to-day lives, and theater is one of mine.
4. This is your debut: what were you most excited about with this book coming out in the world? What were you most afraid of?
Oh, man. I was so excited for it to be an actual book—for there to be an object that people could hold in their hands and read. The idea of it being in libraries . . . One of my friends pointed out how cool it is that he’s going to be spending 12 hours or whatever it takes to read something I wrote, and yeah, that’s pretty crazy. Most afraid of? I think it’s a normal author fear, but that no one would care—that the book wouldn’t find an audience. Hearing from readers who really got it and loved it has been the best.
5. What author would you challenge to a dance-off?
Daniel Handler because I think that would be funny—and if I’m going to stand a chance in a dance-off, it’d better be a funny dance off.
6. Who would you most like to collaborate with on a project?
I’ve dreamed about doing a dual pov story with my buddy Varian Johnson, author of that amazing middle grade caper novel, The Great Greene Heist. But I’m a slow writer with a billion other balls in the air, so it’s hard to imagine the timing working out.
7. Which of your characters would you want to go to prom with?
Mandy, for sure. I mean, were I the appropriate age, yes, a date with Peter might be nice, but we’d have to double date with Mandy. She’s super fun.
8. What muppet are you most like?
Great question! I had a huge affinity for Miss Piggy as a child—Caddie’s lavender gloves are at least a little bit inspired by her. But I most identify with Kermit. Can I be Kermit and Piggy’s lovechild?
Thank you, Rachel. And for those of you who want to check out her awesome book trailer, you can find that here. And you can buy her book here. And you can enter her giveaway below (which is good until 12am on 10/31).
a Rafflecopter giveaway