The time it was about Don’t Touch

Posted September 3, 2014 by Stacee in Blog Tours, Giveaways, Interviews | 2 Comments

If you follow me on Twitter, I’m sure you’ve seen me losing my mind over Don’t Touch by Rachel M. Wilson. After I was done reading it, I started bothering asked Rachel if there was going to be a blog tour because I was determined to get her on the blog in one way or another.

Thankfully, she wasn’t scared pointed me in the right direction and I was able to sign up for the tour. {Thank you, Anasheh!}


Before we get to Rachel’s interview, let’s check out the book.

DONT TOUCH HC(1)-1-2A powerful story of a girl who is afraid to touch another person’s skin, until the boy auditioning for Hamlet opposite her Ophelia gives her a reason to overcome her fears.

Step on a crack, break your mother’s back. Touch another person’s skin, and Dad’s gone for good.

Caddie can’t stop thinking that if she keeps from touching another person’s skin, her parents might get back together… which is why she wears full-length gloves to school and covers every inch of her skin.

It seems harmless at first, but Caddie’s obsession soon threatens her ambitions as an actress. She desperately wants to play Ophelia in her school’s production of Hamlet. But that would mean touching Peter, who’s auditioning for the title role—and kissing him. Part of Caddie would love nothing more than to kiss Peter—but the other part isn’t sure she’s brave enough to let herself fall.

Perfect for fans of Laurie Halse Anderson, this debut novel from Rachel M. Wilson is a moving story of a talented girl who’s fighting an increasingly severe anxiety disorder, and the friends and family who stand by her.

Sounds good, right? {It’s amazing and one of my top 3 for 2014.}


1. Where did the idea for Don’t Touch come from?

I experienced OCD as a kid, so the book had its spark in experience. Starting around fourth grade, I got tangled up in endless magical thinking games in my head—these are kind of like superstitions where you fear that taking a given action might have a terrible consequence . . . “step on a crack, break your mother’s back.” I had major trouble with hand-washing as well. Caddie’s fear of touch has more to do with magical thinking while mine had more to do with contamination. I chose to focus on touch with Caddie because it’s such a clear metaphor for how fear and anxiety can separate us from other people.

I gave an interview at Disability in Kidlit that goes into more depth about OCD for anyone who’s particularly interested in that.

2. I know why I love Caddie, Mandy and Peter.  Why do you love them and why should we root for them?

I root for Caddie because she’s going through a rough time, both with her family and with her mental health, and yet she’s trying so hard to keep it all together. She’s still driven, she’s capable of being funny and creative, and she wants, very much, to connect. I know she can be frustrating—like many with OCD, she’s highly secretive and savvy at keeping her compulsions hidden. But I feel for her because she’s trying to protect the people she cares about, and she’s challenging herself, little by little, to push past her fears.

And Mandy and Peter . . . I really do think of them like friends. They’re not based on particular people I know, but their excellence in the realm of friendship is inspired by many fantastic people I’ve been fortunate to call friends. Mandy’s loyal and fierce. Peter’s curious and open. They’re both playful and confident and creative. I’m a firm believer in surrounding yourself with people who possess some quality you want to enrich in yourself, and I don’t think Caddie could choose better.

3. What was the weirdest thing you googled while researching?

Amazing question! That would probably be a lot of detailed information about the Ave Maria Grotto in Cullman, AL. It’s a fascinating place full of 125 miniature buildings meticulously built by a Benedictine monk out of any materials he could find. I wanted to set a scene there because it’s a fun place for artsy students in Birmingham to go for a day trip and a natural place for reflection, but also because there’s a certain degree of obsession suggested by the monk’s attention to detail.

4. Without spoilers, is there anything you had to cut that you wish you could have kept in the story?

Not really. I’ve made peace with all my cuttings, but along the way, I cut enough material for one or two more books. To give you an idea, an early draft of this novel was called Manatee and featured a relationship with an endangered manatee named Grace. Maybe one day, I’ll write a book set in Florida and Grace will have her moment in the sun.

5. Describe Don’t Touch in 5 words.

Fear. Touch. Isolation. Friendship. Smooching.

Speed [ish] Round:

1. You get the call/email/letter that says you’re being published for the first time.  What happens next?

PANIC. In a good way, but yeah . . . The first week after my deal was sealed, I watched Grey’s Anatomy every night for the express purpose of crying out all the feelings.

2. What three things would you take to a desert island?

I assume my dog is a given, so I won’t offend him by listing him as a “thing,” and I’m not going to list survival items because when guys answer this question with “food, water, matches” on online dating profiles, it annoys me to no end.

How about a packed e-reader with a never-dying battery, a well-stocked knitting stash, and something to write on/with.

3. You can only read one book for the rest of your life.  What is it?

HORRORS! Maybe Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino. I adapted it for the stage in college, and never tired of it during that process. Thinking logically, I might pick a complete works of Shakespeare or something – if I’m only reading ONE BOOK again and again, it better be a big one.

4. Who are your favorite swoony boys?

Ooh! Well, I’m giving away my age, but Paul Rudd, duh. Another would be Spike from BTVS, always and forever. I like listening to Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series on long car trips in large part because James Marsters narrates them. And I’ll admit, I have an inexplicable, fierce attraction to Adam Scott. If I had to describe my “type,” it would be more of a tallish, strongish hippie cowboy, which Adam Scott is not, but what can you do?

5. What is the one thing about publishing you wish someone would have told you?

I feel fortunate that lots of people have told me lots of things. I’d been warned how much time and energy the publicity push around launching a book can take, but I might have benefitted from being violently shaken until the truth of that really sank in.


7350392Rachel M. Wilson is the author of the contemporary YA, DON’T TOUCH, forthcoming from HarperTeen, Sep. 2, 2014.

She graduated from Northwestern University and holds an MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Rachel grew up in Birmingham, AL, and she currently writes, acts, and teaches in Chicago, IL.


Huge thanks to Rachel for taking the time! Make sure you’re checking out her website, following her on Twitter, liking her Facebook page and adding her books to your TBR shelf on Goodreads.

Also, check out the other tour stops for other goodies.

Now.  Haven’t had a chance to get your greedy hands on a copy of Don’t Touch? Well, there’s a signed hardcover and a pair of evening gloves up for grabs!

**Good Luck!!**

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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2 responses to “The time it was about Don’t Touch

  1. Roy

    I heard a lot of awesome things about don’t touch all around the blogging community but reading the interview with the author definitely makes me want to pick it up and read it right away! I always love to hear what influenced the novel and how much effort the writer put into it. This, the overall premise and the cover really intrigues me and I hope I can pick up Don’t Touch in the near future! Great post :)

    Roy @ Phantom Reads

  2. YES! I’m so thrilled you loved this book. I’ve had it on my TBR for some time now…and wow, top 3 for 2014…I say I need to move this one towards the top! Thanks for the fun interview!!!

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