But first, I'd love to share a little bit more about the book with you guys.
Jackie Lea Sommers
Published: September 1. 2015
Age Demographic: YA Contemporary
Silas Hart has seriously shaken up Westlin Beck's small-town life.
Brand new to town, Silas is different than the guys in Green Lake. He's curious, poetic, philosophical, maddening-- and really, really cute.
But Silas has a sister-- and she has a secret.
And West has a boyfriend.
And life in Green Lake is about to change forever.
Hi Jackie, thank you for joining me today on the blog, it's nice to have you here. I'm really excited about reading your debut YA novel, Truest. From the synopsis alone, there's an air of mystery to this tender romance novel that has definitely gripped me, can you talk a little bit about that without giving too much of it away?
Thank you for having me here! Yes, while this book has a lot of sweet romance between Westlin, the pastor’s daughter, and Silas, the new guy in town, the mystery in the book surrounds Laurel, Silas’s twin sister, who is battling against a little-known mental disorder. All three teens try to help one another with their individual struggles, but the summer still surprises them.
I know with some authors, they draw inspiration and feeling from personal events and various moments of their lives, was there anything in particular that motivated you when you were writing Truest?
Yes, actually! The mental disorder that Laurel is facing is one that I’ve dealt with at various times in my own life, though at those times, I never knew it had a name. When I learned its name, I knew I would write about it eventually.
It seems that with YA fiction all of those tropes and cliches seem to come along, if there were anything that you could change about the genre or explore more of within the genre what would it be and where would you like to see YA within the next three to five years?
Wow, this is an amazing, deep question! I hope my answer is duly thoughtful. What would I like to see YA look like five years from now? I’d love to see YA fiction continue to embrace the realistic contemporary path. I once read this quote from a fantasy author who said that fantasy literature was exciting and magical and full of color and victory cries, and then he compared real life to paying taxes and white walls and the buzz of the lawnmower. And I just found that quote so faulty. I think that real life has so much magic in it-- and that’s why I love to write realistic contemporary YA, to show that. There are already so many tremendous authors writing contemp in ways that are literary and magical; in five years, I hope there’s even more.
Getting back to the book, Truest, I have just a fun little question for you. If the rights to Truest were ever optioned to become a feature adaptation film and you had the chance to cast the the two main roles in it, who would you choose and why would you chose them?
West would be Emma Watson BECAUSE EMMA WATSON.
Silas would be Grant Gustin from The Flash. He’s tall and cute and a runner. ;-)
Laurel would be played by Elizabeth Olsen; I look at that actress and see Laurel.
Since Truest is your debut novel into the YA market, what have you learned or experience that you think might be helpful to another author that might just be starting out?
I’ve learned just how much work it is, even post-book deal. I guess I had once assumed that all the hard work came before getting the contact, and then after that would be mostly gravy. I couldn’t have been more wrong! The book deal was the starting line to another year of tremendously hard work on Truest. I’m so grateful to my incredible editor at HarperCollins; she pushes me past my own boundaries in such beautiful, thoughtful, brilliant ways. I am so proud of her and so delighted I get to work with her again on my next novel.
Thank you, so much for being on the blog with me today Jackie, I really do appreciate you dropping by and sharing your thoughts and insights into the world of YA and what it's like writing a book for the first time and putting it out there. Is there anything else that you would like to say?
Truest is a labor of love, and the characters you’ll encounter are so real and dear to me. I hope you’ll fall in love with them too.