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CarlieStylez and Sarah talk to John Green at Vidcon and ask him your questions about "The Fault in Our Stars." Where did he get the inspiration for it? How long did it take him to write it? What are some of his favorite books? And MORE! Make sure to check out our book club discussion of this amazing book: Also give us other suggestions in the comments below and on our goodreads account .

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Hi, everybody!  So we have a really great follow-up video from our last Moms View Book Club, we actually have the author with us, John Green, who is a co-founder of VidCon, and we have this amazing opportunity to be able to ask him your questions and things you guys have wanted to ask, as well as some of our questions about this amazing book, so why don't you just tell us a little bit about yourself, John?

John: Well, uh, I grew up in Alabama and Florida, and then, now I live in Indianapolis, Indiana, and I write books, and when I'm not writing books, I make video blogs with my brother on the internet, and then sometimes occasionally run video blog conferences.  

We're at VidCon, we're here live at VidCon in Anaheim right now.

Yes, so we stole him, we're like, we're gonna pull you in, grill you with these questions, and we're really excited, so we're just going to jump in to it.  Um, Kayla O. wants to know, "Where did you find your inspiration for such emotionally investing characters?"  She found herself adoring them, rooting for them, laughing with them, and crying for them throughout the novel.  

John: Well, that's very nice of Kayla O. to say.  Um, you know, I think that my inspiration for my characters is--it always comes from something inside of me, I mean it has to, right?  Some, some emotional impulse in me, and I worked on this book for a really long time, but I didn't start to make a ton of progress until two things happened: The first is I became friends with a young woman who had cancer and the love that I had for her and for her family and the special friendship that we had was v--was really inspirational to me when writing the story, and then secondly, I became a father, um, and it was in becoming a father that I was able to re-imagine the relationship between, you know, a young woman and her parents, when she's living with cancer, and that really, in some ways, had been very tangential to the story up until the point I had a son, but when I had a kid, I imagined that relationship so differently, because I understood--I understood the nature of the unconditional love that we have for our kids.  

Which I think helped play a really great part in that book and which resonated really well for me as a mother, was the relationship of the parental structure in the book and how much strength and love they showed, and I think that could have only been resembled through a father or mother himself, so I really appreciated that part in the book.

John: Well, thanks.  Yeah, I mean, I really, I really loved--usually, I kind of ignore parents in my books, to be honest with you, um, I don't usually find them very interesting, but in Hazel and Augustus's case, I wanted them to have really loving parents, even though at times, you know, they could both be sort of dismissive of their parents and, you know, anybody who's ever been a teenager or had a teenager knows about that, but um, but even though you're dismissive of your parents sometimes when you're a teenager, you have this--you need them.  You still need them so, so much, and um, I really wanted to try to--to try to capture that, and to try to capture the--you know, the real, healthy, great love--so many books about sad families, you know, um, I wanted to write about a, you know, a happy family that's having very difficult things happen to them, where the love is not in question.  

Something we were really struck by was that you wrote so well from a teenage girl's point of view.  It sounds like you had an actual inspiration.  Did you ever find it challenging, were you worried you wouldn't sound authentic as Hazel?  How did you write from this 16 year old girl's point of view?

John: I did worry about it some, mostly with clothes, I don't--thank God the um, the flower print sundresses that were popular when I was in high school, when I last, you know, like, imagined teenage girls, were, you know--have come back, because all of sudden, I seem quite fashionable.  Um, but my wife always kids me that when she reads the first draft of my book, there's--everyone's wearing flower print sundresses.

That's so funny.

John: And all the boys are wearing Umbros.  Um, but uh, so my--but I am fortunate to be married to an extraordinarily fashionable woman who is able to tell me exactly what they should be wearing instead.  Um, so, you know, I did, I had a lot of help, um, I had a lot of help from my editor who's a woman, from my wife, um, and then I also had a lot of help because so many of the people who watch our videos on YouTube are young women--



John: --And I read their comments every day and so I--I--I'm--you know, and they're--we're blessed that they share their concerns with us, and um, and so that was really important too, and you know, I hear them talking, and I read the way they structure sentences so that was really helpful.  And the other thing that I told myself is that I'm not trying to write like a book from a girl's perspective, I'm trying to write a book from Hazel's perspective.  


John: As long as I'm inside of Hazel's mind, it's a lot easier.  

Jenny asks, "How long did it take you to write the book?"

John: More than 10 years, which is a lot longer than most of my books--


John: --take to write, but I started this book--I worked as a chaplain at a children's hospital for about six months, right after I graduated from college, I thought I was going to go to seminary, and then I ended up not going, but I started the book then, uh, but it was very different and it took lots of different forms and I could never really find a way into it until, like I said, I became a dad and I became friends with Esther.

I think that, I mean, now knowing that and looking through the process of the book, I really appreciate that you did become a father, because I just--the love and the expansion of the relationship of Hazel and her parents as well as Augustus and his parents as well as Hazel with Augustus's parents, I did the encompassing relationships with all of them, and like I said, I think becoming a father, I think probably benefited that book as well, so being a parent is amazing.

John: It is!  It's such a gift!  I mean, it's hard, um, I don't deny how hard it is, but it is such a gift and our kids give us this--well, the one thing, the main thing that Henry gives me on a daily basis is he helps me to understand uh, he helps me to notice, he helps me to pay attention, 'cause kids are really good at that, you know, they are soaking up information and--my son's two and a half, I should say, he's not like 13 or something, um, but he's just such--you know, and that makes me stop and pay attention, and so, yeah, it's a real blessing.  


We were wondering when we discussed this book for our book club, if you had someone in your life who had suffered from cancer, if this was personal?

John: It is, I mean, it's personal in the sense that when I worked as a chaplain, um, I knew a lot of kids with cancer, and the kids I knew with cancer were very different from the kinds of kids I read about in novels about teenagers with cancer, and I wanted to better reflect that, I wanted to reflect the kind of people who I knew who were smart and funny and never stopped being funny, and you know, and it wasn't one of these things of, you know, sort of some beautiful transcendent suffering--

Right, wise, right.

John: --right, like wise beyond their years with the secret to life and everything, I wanted them to just be kids.  Um, and so, I--that was a big driver for me, but then when I became friends with Esther, it really changed my life so profoundly, because to know and love someone who's sick is um, it's very difficult obviously, and Esther died in 2010 and never got to read this story, but um, it was really--I felt spurred on by her, um, and uh, you know, I hope that I--I hope--I don't--I didn't in any way try to tell her story, because that's--it's not my story to tell, that's her family's story to tell, but um, I did want to try to capture what I loved so much about her, and how lucky I feel to have been her friend, and it's--that's hard to say a lot of times when you lose someone. 

Right, we talked about that, actually, a lot, and I think this book was so meaningful to us, um, all of us personally that read it and you must have incredible fan feedback, um, we have one more question to ask you, I'm getting the wrap-up GloZell (?~7:48) coming sign, what are some of your favorite books?

John: Oh, I like so many books!  I mean, I read a lot 'cause it's kind of what I do for a living, too, so um, I'm a big fan of the writer Markus Zusak who wrote The Book Thief, I'm a big fan of the writer M.T. Anderson, I'm also a bit of a mom as a reader, I like a lot of--I like a lot of books that are associated with moms, like The Help, um, and uh, Téa Obreht, uh, so, yeah, a lot of the books that like, moms book clubs read.  My wife brings them home, and I'm like, this is awesome!  

We've gotta get you in our book club!

Yes, and on the Moms View, right?

John: I'd love to, I'd love to.  

He's gonna be on the Moms View.

Thank you so much.

Yes, we wanna thank you so much, John Green, for letting us have this opportunity to talk with you and to answer your guys' questions.  VidCon is amazing, you guys have to register for next year, and we will see you next time on The Moms View!  Bye, everybody.

John: Bye, thank you guys.