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17 February 2020

Q&A with Nina de Pass

At the beginning of last year I read a book that blew me away. The Year After You by Nina de Pass broke my heart and lifted my soul. It's a firm favourite and I've read it four five six seven times.

Q&A with Nina de Pass

Q&A with Nina de Pass

Can you describe The Year After You in five words?
It’s a book about guilt, grief, forgiveness & second chances – doused in snow.

What inspired you to write the The Year After You?
When I was seventeen, there was a terrible car accident at a nearby school – one that has stayed with me ever since. A girl of my age died; a girl of my age – the driver – survived. I didn’t know those involved personally, yet I have thought about them for over a decade – about what happened, about everything that came after. The Year After You is not about that accident – that’s not my story to tell – but the events in the novel are underpinned by a car crash. For years I had been thinking about the aftermath of such a tragedy and the complex relationship between guilt and grief – how do you reconcile yourself to a life without someone you love, when you feel responsible for their death?

In terms of creating the setting, when designing the school that my main character Cara is sent to in the book, I was inspired by the image of Wes Andersen’s iconic The Grand Budapest Hotel, the snowy landscape from snippets of old James Bond films and the winter scenes from The Night Manager BBC TV series. Winter is my favourite season, and the image in the opening scene of the book – a perilous journey up winding, icy roads to Cara’s new school – became stuck in my head.

Which of your characters would you most like to sit down and have a cuppa with?
Oh, that’s easy: Hector. I loved writing him – to me, he’s bright and engaging, and not totally straight-forward. I’m not sure it would be the most relaxing cuppa, but it certainly wouldn’t be boring!

How do you think you would cope if you were dropped into Cara's story?
That’s an interesting question. I would hope that I, like Cara, would find it within me to open up to the new people I met at Hope Hall. If I found friends like Ren, Hector and Fred, I hope I’d find a way through to the other side like Cara does.

Are you a planner or a pantser?
Hmm… A bit of both, I think. A huge part of the joy of writing for me is seeing where things go and being creative and imaginative as I write. I used to hate planning essays at school – I just wanted to get on with it! – and I feel the same about writing novels. That said, I don’t usually start writing if I don’t know in what direction the story is going. I have markers throughout – I know where I have to get to, or what has to happen, and then I just write as I go.

What is your favourite thing about writing?
I love stories; I love creating new characters. Sitting down and writing the first draft of a novel is always my favourite part. The page is a blank canvas and the possibilities are endless

Finally, what are you working on now? What can we expect from you in the future?
The Year After You is coming out in the US and Canada at the end of March, so that’s my big focus at the moment and something I am very over-excited about. I am also working on a couple of new projects and have lots of ideas spinning around my head – that’s all I can say for now!


So there we have it, my Q&A with the wonderful Nina de Pass. And both gorgeous covers, for the UK and US editions. Check out my Five Favourite Quotes from The Year After You by Nina de Pass and read my fan-girling book review. It's an incredible book, and I hope you pick it up.

Have you read The Year After You by Nina de Pass?


  1. It doesn't sound like a book for me but brilliant interview. Wish I could interview one of my favourite authors, so cool! Thanks for sharing x

  2. Fantastic Q&A. I really enjoyed reading this despite not having heard of the author before. This sounds like a really powerful book!

  3. I have this book on my shelf and have been meaning to read it for so long now! Great Q&A!

  4. I have the book to read, probably should get to that! Great q&a

  5. omg the US cover blew me away, i loveit!

  6. I have actually never heard of this book, but I think I might have to look into it! This was a great interview, and I look forward to learning more about this book.


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