Creator Corner: Meet author Monique Polak
Welcome to Creator Corner! Every month, we’ll be interviewing the creators of our recent books. This month, we interviewed For the Record author Monique Polak. Her middle-grade novel exploring the realities of parental alienation and divorce through the eyes of a child published March 15, 2022.
Owlkids Books: When did you know that you wanted to be an author?
Monique Polak: I knew I wanted to be an author when I was seven years old. That was about the time I started hiding under the dining room table when my parents had dinner parties — and I listened in on the conversations! The best conversations happened when the guests forgot I was listening! That was when I discovered my love for stories — hearing them, and later, telling them. In Grade Five, my teacher, Mrs. Browman, told me, “You are an author.” Mrs. Browman’s belief in me had a big influence on my life and my career. One of my books is dedicated to her.
OKB: What do you love to write about?
MP: Families. I love to write about families. And of course, kids. This might sound bad to you, but I think kids are more interesting than grownups. Kids are curious about everything, and they’re always asking questions and wondering about the world and themselves. I also love to uncover and write about secrets.
OKB: What inspired you to write this book?
MP: My sister Carolyn is a family law lawyer here in Montreal. She was the one who told me I had to write a book about a young person experiencing parental alienation. Parental alienation occurs when one parents attempts to turn a child against the other parent. My sister had seen this situation over and over again when she handled divorce cases. She said she’d never come across a book dealing with this subject, and that it might be helpful to kids and their families.
OKB: What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
MP: I hope my young readers will learn they are not responsible for solving their parents’ problems. Also, that life is complicated and there is always more than one side to a story. And perhaps above all, that reading fiction can help us cope better with life. I often think that some of the most meaningful lessons I have learned in my life come from the novels I have read.
OKB: What’s a fun fact that people may not know about you?
MP: Oh, there are a lot of fun facts about me! Here are a few:
- I have written three pages every morning for more than thirty years. I only skipped a few days — like this spring when I had COVID-19 and was too wiped out to write.
- I am a specialist in Lewis Carroll’s book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. I wrote my Master’s thesis about the two Alice books.
- I am a runner. I often solve writing problems when I am out for a run!
- I bake a lot of cookies. I also eat a lot of cookies. Sometimes crumbs get stuck in between the keys on my computer keyboard!!