Hi guys, today I have an interview with the fantastic Jenny Manzer, whose debut novel Save Me, Kurt Cobain comes out in just 10 days! If you’re a fan of 90s grunge like I am, or even if you’re just a fan of the idea of a rock star being your father…this book might be for you. I’m pretty sure this is a tearjerker. Check out more about the book and Jenny’s thoughts on grunge, Nirvana, and loss!
Save Me, Kurt Cobain Buy It: Indigo.ca | Amazon.com | The Book Depository | iBooks | Google Books | Audible
What if you discovered that Kurt Cobain is not only alive, but might be your real father?
Nicola Cavan has been an outsider since age four when her mother vanished from their home in Victoria, British Columbia. Now 15, Nico is determined to find her beautiful, music-obsessed mother. After glimpsing “Cobain” on a ferry from Seattle, Nico follows the man with the blazing blue eyes to a remote Vancouver Island cabin—and her life will never be the same.
“Save Me, Kurt Cobain is: Utterly gorgeous. Mesmerizing. Hypnotic. I was intoxicated by Nico's quest for her mother, father, and self, as well as by Jenny Manzer's magnetically lovely writing. I love this book.”–Jennifer Niven, New York Times bestselling author of All the Bright Places
“Raw and authentic.” –Jennifer Mathieu, author of The Truth About Alice and Devoted
This nuanced and bittersweet YA debut will keep you guessing until the end.
Without further ado, please join me in welcoming Jenny Manzer, author of Save Me, Kurt Cobain, to Mostly YA Lit!
Tiff @ Mostly YA Lit: Hi Jenny! Thanks for joining me on the blog for this interview. First of all, can you describe Save Me, Kurt Cobain in 10 words or less?
MYAL: We can’t talk about this book without discussing music! Tell me about your first experience listening to Nirvana. Which is your favorite Nirvana album? Do you love 90s grunge like Nico, and if not, what was the impetus for using that era of music as the basis for the book? Do you feel that teens will have a connection to grunge music?
JM: I listened to Nirvana in university and liked them, but I wouldn’t say I was a major fan—I was more into British bands then. I am a much bigger fan of Nirvana now, particularly their live, unplugged album. I remember when Cobain died. I was going to university, and I sat around a television in a basement apartment with all my friends who worked at the student newspaper. His death hit us hard.
I do like grunge music, but the story was triggered by another story. I read a newspaper article about a 1991 gig Nirvana played in Victoria, British Columbia, where I live. The city’s cool club was already booked, and almost no one attended the concert. It was intriguing. Just a few months later, Nirvana was the biggest band on the planet. This was really how the story formed—who was at that show? What happened? What if you thought Kurt Cobain could be your real father?
I don’ t know about all grunge, but I think today’s teens will understand Cobain’s music. He died young. He went against popular opinions. He was angry, and hurt, and broken, and beautiful. The music he made was raw and real—and I definitely think many teens will relate to his songs.
MYAL: Yeah, I agree…Cobain’s music crosses generations. I hope a lot more teens will get to hear Nirvana through this book!
Speaking of British Columbia, talk to me about setting the book in Vancouver Island and Seattle. Did you know right away that you wanted to set part of the book in Canada? How does the coastal landscape of BC and Washington and the remote cabin where Nico goes impact the book?
JM: Following the idea of this little-attended Nirvana show, it made sense that Nico would live in Victoria—then go on a quest to find the answers of her life. The Pacific Northwest lends itself well to myth, with the ocean, mountains, and towering trees. I really wanted the scenes in the snowbound cabin to have an otherworldly quality—almost as if within a play. At the same time, Nico lives in a poor part of Victoria with its share of urban problems. She goes on to have some misadventures in Seattle and even some frightening moments. I think the contrast of these two extremes probably suits the book—powerful nature and gritty urban reality. Nico has to decide how to balance the bad parts in her life with the good—and go forward.
MYAL: Kurt Cobain tragically committed suicide, and in this book, Nico is abandoned by her mother in this book. How does loss and acceptance play into the book? If there’s one message you feel like the book is trying to say, what would it be?
JM: I think the message in the book is the power of letting music and friendship into your life and how both can help you heal. And that at a certain point you have to walk through the hurt in your life and begin your next chapter.
Fave Nirvana song? “All Apologies”
Your 90s grunge outfit? Plaid shirt, cut-off shorts, and long johns. For real.
One 2016 book you’ve read and loved recently? So many to choose from. I’ll say THE FIRST TIME SHE DROWNED by Kerry Kletter. The writing is spectacular.
Thank you so much, Jenny, for stopping by the blog and talking all things Nirvana with me. I think this is going to be a seriously cathartic read for me – as a fan of Nirvana and as a child of his music! Will you be picking this one up? Let me know in the comments and you could win some sweet swag!
Guys, Jenny has some sweet bookmarks and stickers for her new book that are only available as a pre-order offer right now. If you would like to win some sweet swag, leave a comment and let us know if you’re a grunge or 90s music fan. If not, let us know why you want to read this book!
Contest ends at midnight EST on Wed, March 2nd – I’ll pick two winners then. Open internationally!