It’s been too long since I featured a fellow debut author, so I am excited to welcome Jaye Robin Brown today, to talk about her upcoming book, No Place To Fall, being released by Harper Teen on December 9, 2014. LEAVE A COMMENT TO ENTER A DRAWING TO WIN AN ARC OF HER BOOK. YOUR NAME WILL BE ENTERED TWICE IF YOU JOIN THIS BLOG OR SHARE ON THE SOCIAL MEDIA OF YOUR CHOICE. WINNER WILL BE ANNOUNCED JUNE 9. Here is Jaye’s Goodreads synopsis:Amber Vaughn is a good girl. She sings solos at church, babysits her nephew after school, and spends every Friday night hanging out at her best friend Devon’s house. It’s only when Amber goes exploring in the woods near her home, singing camp songs with the hikers she meets on the Appalachian Trail, that she feels free—and when the bigger world feels just a little bit more in reach. When Amber learns about an audition at the North Carolina School of the Arts, she decides that her dream—to sing on bigger stages—could also be her ticket to a new life. Devon’s older (and unavailable) brother, Will, helps Amber prepare for her one chance to try out for the hypercompetitive arts school. But the more time Will and Amber spend together, the more complicated their relationship becomes . . . and Amber starts to wonder if she’s such a good girl, after all. Then, in an afternoon, the bottom drops out of her family’s world—and Amber is faced with an impossible choice between her promise as an artist and the people she loves. Amber always thought she knew what a good girl would do. But between “right” and “wrong,” there’s a whole world of possibilities.
Welcome, Jaye, and thank you for giving us your who, what, where, when, why responses:
Who: is your protagonist?
My protagonist is Amber Vaughn. She’s a small town mountain girl who loves singing but not in front of crowds. Which is a problem when you hope to make it your career. She loves her family but she also realizes they’re seriously messed up. Her daddy’s cheating on her mama, her brother-in-law’s selling drugs from the backyard, and her sister’s given up on her dream of being a vet tech. It’s only when Amber’s out on the trails, high up on a ridge top, that she feels free, like she can see beyond her holler and find a way out.
What: do you love writing about?
I love writing about families, social inequity, and the underdog. To me the perfect YA moment is when you realize you are not your parents. I love the struggle to find a way to be yourself while hanging on to family identity or how to still love people when you know you don’t want to be like them. Also kissing. Kissing is good.
Where: is your book set?
No Place to Fall is set in the fictional town of Sevenmile, North Carolina, but it’s somewhere north of Asheville near the Appalachian Trail. It might remind some of my students of the tiny town of Bakersville, but it’s not. Of course, all of the elements are decidedly western North Carolinian.
When: did you get your book inspiration?
This book was the result of a couple of events colliding. I heard a story about a super wild party in an abandoned cabin. Then I heard a story about a student’s family member who overdosed on prescription drugs. Combine that with the movie and the music from Songcatcher, and Amber Vaughn’s voice ringing in my head one morning on my drive into school and voila, the genesis of No Place To Fall was born. The book was actually much darker in earlier drafts, but as I revised, Amber’s love of music shone through and the story became more about her dream, her relationships with her friends, and less about the problems of her family members.
Why: did you decide to write about your book topic?
I love where I live. I’m not a native, but I’ve grown to admire the deep family ties, the reliance on faith when times are hard, and the brilliance of the landscape. Western North Carolina is this wild mix of super wealthy vacation home folks, back-to-the-land homesteaders, artists, and multi-generation Appalachian families. It’s the latter I wrote this book for. Though I think it’s changing, for a while it seemed so much of young adult literature featured protagonists for middle class or upper class families. Amber’s the first in her family to consider college, she doesn’t have a car, she has no smart phone, but she still has dreams like every other teenager on the planet. I wanted to spotlight a girl who could easily be one of my students. I wanted to show her beauty and her flaws and the depth of the love that ties her to her family and her family to her, even in times of struggle.
THANKS FOR JOINING US TODAY, JAYE! I can’t wait to read a fellow-Carolinian’s book set in the gorgeous western part of our state!
@jayerobinbrown on Twitter and Instagram