Margarita Montimore, author of Oona Out of Order, will join Daniel and me (Jenny) in conversation live on Zoom on March 10th at 7 pm cst! All our burning Oona questions will be asked, and I mean all, because unlike this interview, our Zoom with Margarita will be a spoiler-inclusive event. We will chat about choices, and we’ll chat about consequences. If you didn’t read this delightful, witty, and sometimes heartbreaking book in hardcover, you still have time to read the paperback.
Oona Out of Order made not just one Top Five of 2020 List here at Boswell, but actually made two, because both Kay and I both loved Oona. (Both of our reviews are here on the item page.) What intrigued us? Well, the best books make readers think, "Wow! This is quite the impossible situation! How would I manage?" while at the same time keeping the pages turning furiously to find out what the main character does with her ever-expanding number of problems.
Oona, it seems, is living her life out of order.
Jenny Chou: Welcome to the Boswellians Blog, Margarita! In Oona Out of Order, your twist on the time travel genre is wonderfully imagined. Can you tell us how you came up with the idea of writing about a woman living her life out of order?
Margarita Montimore: Thank you for having me! And thank you for all the wonderful support you and the other kind folks at Boswell have given Oona Out of Order.
JC: The 1980’s were my high school and college years, and the setting for some of my favorite scenes in your book. What makes that decade so much fun to write about? Because I could tell you were having fun!
Initially, I began writing this book as an excuse to revisit my favorite decade, and I intended to have much of it set in the 1980s. However, as the story unfolded, I ended up spending more time writing about subsequent decades, and even had to take out some of the ‘80s chapters. I did enjoy reliving the ‘90s more than I expected, but if I ever write a second Oona novel, there will definitely be more leaps set in the ‘80s!
JC: You really had to keep track of a complex puzzle of details while writing about Oona’s life. How did you manage? (I’m picturing a wall covered in different colored Post-it’s reminding you what she knows and doesn’t know about her past, present, and future during each leap.) And along with that, did you write Oona Out of Order in order?
JC: Oona never knows if her next jump into her future will actually be into her past. Or she might blink awake on New Year’s Day far into the future, while internally she’s still a twenty-something. Do you think Oona learns anything on the disorienting journey that makes up her life that the rest of us may never quite grasp?
MM: I think Oona has no choice but to embrace living in the moment. While the rest of us may try to do so, I think it’s tempting to look back on the past and indulge our nostalgia or to dream about a brighter future. Since the past and future are so tangled in Oona’s existence, the easiest way for her to make peace with her “time sickness” is to accept her internal and external age as it changes year to year and live fully in the present. It’s something I’m still working on myself.
JC: Here’s a question present Margarita can answer for both your past and future selves. What books were among your favorites in 2020, and what are you excited about reading in 2021?
MM: My favorite 2020 reads:
Followers - Megan Angelo
Underland: A Deep Time Journey - Robert Macfarlane
Fooling Houdini - Alex Stone
The Midnight Library - Matt Haig (Note from Jenny - I loved The Midnight Library! and ed. note: check out the video of Haig's virtual visit to Milwaukee right here, too!)
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo - Taylor Jenkins Reid (ed. note: Boswellian Jen is a big fan, too!)
My Brilliant Life - Ae-ran Kim (another 2021 release I had the pleasure of reading early)
Books I’m excited about reading in 2021 - so many! But here’s a sample of my TBR:
Catherine House - Elisabeth Thomas (currently reading - I’m utterly captivated!)
The Echo Wife - Sarah Gailey
Maxwell’s Demon - Steven Hall
The Kindest Lie - Nancy Johnson (ed. note: click here to register for our event featuring Nancy Johnson in conversation with Shannon Sims on Feb 18, 7 pm.)
Fake Accounts - Lauren Oyler
Paris is a Party, Paris is a Ghost - David Hoon Kim