Four Questions for Laura Silverman

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Laura Silverman is an author and the editor of Up All Night: 13 Stories Between Sunset and Sunrise, a multi-genre YA anthology of short stories that each take place over the course of a single night. PW spoke with her about the birth of the collection, her collaboration with the other authors, and why intersectionality in young adult fiction is important.

What was the inspiration behind Up All Night? Did you decide early on that all the stories would take place over the course of one evening or was that theme noticed later?

This is my second anthology. My first anthology, It’s a Whole Spiel, is a collection of stories about Jewish teens. I had an incredible experience putting that anthology together with my co-editor, Katherine Locke, and I knew right away I wanted to create another anthology.

When I began to brainstorm new anthology themes, the subject and title of Up All Night came to me all at once. It was definitely a lightning bolt idea. I loved it. I knew it could be magical. As a teenager, some of my most transformative moments happened in the middle of the night. Once the adults were all asleep and the night grew quiet, it felt like I’d stepped into another world—one where I had more control, where anything could happen. From staying awake deep into the night with a flashlight under the covers to read a fantastical book, to staying up until sunrise with friends—toeing the rules and feeling like the world belonged to us—the midnight hours were always magical to me as a teenager.

I hoped authors would take the theme and run with it, exploring everything that can happen in the dark. They absolutely achieved that and more.

Have you worked with any of the other authors before? How did they each come to be a contributor for this collection?

I’m still gobsmacked every time I look at the contributor list. These are some of the most talented writers I’ve ever read and I can’t believe they agreed to contribute to this anthology. I’m very lucky indeed.

Up All Night is my first collaboration with all of these writers, but I do have personal and professional connections to many of them. I attended the New School Writing for Children MFA program with Amanda Joy and Anna Meriano. We became fast friends and still talk daily. Shout-out to them for helping me keep it together through this pandemic! We have critiqued each other’s work and been sounding boards for our projects for many years now. They are so talented and bring so much heart to their writing.

Even though I live in Brooklyn, I’m from Atlanta and friends with my fellow Atlanta writers, Kayla Whaley and Julian Winters. They both brought so much joy and magic to the anthology, and it was a true pleasure working with them.

I have some level of connection to all of the contributors since the YA world is small, but I reached out to these authors because they write the stories I love reading. I’m grateful to them and the timing of the universe that allowed them to join the project. Every author knocked it out of the park. All of these stories hold a special place in my heart and I can’t wait for readers to experience them.

How did you decide on the order in which the stories would be featured? Was there a specific pace you wanted or underlying message in the order?

I worked with our editor at Algonquin, Krestyna Lypen, on ordering the stories. They run the gamut of genres, from thrillers to romances. Ultimately, we decided to keep readers on their toes by alternating these genres throughout the anthology, so you never know what type of story you’re about to bump into next. I think we definitely set the tone for this adventure by opening with Karen M. McManus’s twisty thriller, “Never Have I Ever.”

The collection represents multiple forms of love and character identities over an array of genres. Was it important to you that the book be intersectional?

Absolutely. Intersectionality was a top priority when putting together this anthology. The middle of the night offers an endless multitude of experiences. I not only wanted the stories to span from ghost stories to love stories, I also wanted them to represent the world as it is—diverse and varied and beautiful.

I did my best to put together a collection of writers that offer different viewpoints on sexuality, race, gender, ability, and so on. But I also wanted to leave it to the writers to tell the story that intrigues them, whether that includes an exploration of identity or not.

I believe we ended up with something magical—13 unique stories with entirely different perspectives of what can happen before the sun comes up.

Up All Night: 13 Stories Between Sunset and Sunrise, edited by Laura Silverman. Algonquin, $17.95 July ISBN 978-1-64375-041-5

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