Subject: Nina De Gramont. Originally from Anglewood, N.J., Nina de Gramont moved to Wilmington, N.C. when her husband was offered a job at UNC-Wilmington. De Gramont recently released her debut novel, Gossip of the Starlings (Algonquin Books, 22.95), about an intense friendship between two girls at an East Coast all-girls school.
On Her Status As A Southern Writer: I keep reading this stuff that describes me as a Southern writer. The truth is I'm just a transplant. I'm honored to hear it, though. I think if I ever were to write a novel about the South, it would have to be the perspective of a Northerner moving to a Southern town, because that's the perspective I have.
The Inspiration For The Book: I went to a private school up north. My parents had enough money to give me a private education, but we weren't nearly as privileged as some of the families of the other girls I went to school with. I wanted people to get a view of that world -- a world where even very privileged people feel almost poor compared to the super-privileged. And some of the events in the book actually happened. I remember wanting to write about it at the time but just couldn't. So when I decided to write this novel, I felt I could finally put a little bit of what I was feeling at the time down on paper.
The Reason For Writing The Book: I read a lot of books when I was younger and they inspired me. So when I started teaching a class of young people, I wanted them to read the same books that inspired me at that age. When I went back and read the books again, I realized that I had a completely different take on them than I did as a young girl. I wanted to write a book that you could read at any age and take away different perspectives each time you read it.
On The Intense Nature Of Friendships Between Teenage Girls: When we're younger, we often are in relationships that aren't necessarily good for us because we don't know that they aren't. As we get older, we realize that there are certain things we can deal with and other things we cannot. When we're young, we find it hard to say no, as is the case with the two girls in the book.