Debut YA novel on sale July 23rd, Henry Holt Books For Young Readers

About Stacia



STACIA TOLMAN is a writer and freelance editor whose work has appeared in the Keene Sentinel and the Massachusetts Review, among others. She won a New Hampshire State Council of the Arts grant for fiction, based on an early excerpt of The Spaces Between Us. A former prep school English teacher, Stacia lives in New Hampshire.

About the inspiration for The Spaces Between Us:

 Sometimes it’s only after time has passed that you look back and understand how the places and people in your life have turned into the stories you tell. I had almost finished the first draft of my YA novel The Spaces Between Us when I looked up from the page I was writing, and said out loud into an empty room, “this is Teresa.” I remember the note of surprise I heard in my own voice. It was like she was in the room with me.

In junior high school, Teresa and I were best friends. We got into some innocent trouble together—we were attracted to places we weren’t supposed to be, so we would go up fire escapes and over chain link fences. Our favorite place was an abandoned railroad bridge over the Mohawk River, where we would smoke the cigarettes we’d filched from from her older brothers’ packs. We would leave school on a hot day to go for a swim in the creek, coming back after lunch with wet hair. Responsible people decided we should be separated, and I started attending another school. Without a best friend, my self-confidence evaporated. I turned into a reserved girl who hardly spoke and never broke the rules. Teresa, on the other hand, went dramatically in the opposite direction, and started getting into real trouble, with real consequences. After our separation, I saw her only once. We had nothing in common, and we forgot about each other. 

Time went on, the stages of life went by, and the idea for a story started to haunt me. Two girls, from very different class backgrounds, are best friends. In a small town like theirs, class can be an inheritance, a force that operates invisibly, defining people and the scope of their possibilities. As the best friends get older, these divisions start to pull them apart. I wanted to write a story about girls who although vulnerable, are still capable of acting on their own behalf, albeit with adolescent judgment. They might be victims of the ignorance, pain and even violence of their surroundings, but they are not passive to it. With everything they have, they fight to stay connected, to each other and to their dreams.

I dedicated the book to Teresa.