I’m thrilled to host the next stop on Denise Jaden’s blog tour. Denise’s YA contemporary novel, LOSING FAITH, debuts this week.
Denise and I met through our agent, Michelle Humphrey of International Creative Management. We’ve since become critique partners. I value her honesty, sharp eye, and generous feedback.
Be sure to enter to win a signed copy of LOSING FAITH and a book bag made by my talented friend, Robyn Vines Smith of the Warehouse Fabrics Inc. blog. Deadline to enter is Sunday, September 12 at 3:00pm MDT. This contest is open internationally!
Can you tell us about LOSING FAITH?
Sure! LOSING FAITH is the story of Brie Jenkins, a sixteen-year-old girl who loses her sister, Faith, in a tragic fall from a cliff. Through the bizarre and devastating process of mourning her sister, Brie discovers that her so-called predictable sister had some pretty big secrets, including a strange religious home group she had joined and kept from Brie and the rest of her family.
What inspired you to write this story?
At first, I just knew I wanted to write a sister story. From there, I figured out that one of the sisters had a secret, and the secret would only be discovered after she died. I lost a close friend of mine when I was sixteen, and I’ve always felt there was a lot to explore with a teen experiencing such a big and devastating event. It’s hard to remember exactly where the story started in my mind, but that’s my best guess.
What was your publication process like, from initial idea to sale?
I came up with the idea for LOSING FAITH in the summer of 2007. Through the summer and early fall, I worked on a detailed outline for the book and had my critique partner go through and scrutinize it for me. By November, I was ready to launch into NaNoWriMo, and I wrote the first draft in 21 days. From there, I spent about nine months revising and then begun my agent search. I queried widely with several requests and many rejections and then went to a writer’s conference in October 2008, where I received some encouragement and advice from authors and editors. From there, I revised one more time and then sent out a new batch of queries. I got my first “Call” offering representation a couple of weeks later, and was absolutely floored when more offers followed. After signing with the *fabulous* Michelle Humphrey, she did a line edit on my book, sent it out on submission in January, 2009, and we had an offer in early March. So basically two years from idea to sale, but that doesn’t include all the other “practice” books on my hard drive…
What books have shaped you as a reader and writer, from childhood to the present?
To be honest, I never read much as a child or teen. I dabbled in a bit of Judy Blume, and still remember TALES OF A FOURTH GRADE NOTHING and ARE YOU THERE GOD, IT’S ME MARGARET? But really, I didn’t read much until I was well into adulthood, when a good friend passed me a book called KANE AND ABEL by Jeffrey Archer. That, I would say, was the book that really ignited my love for reading. Since then, I gobbled up all sorts of mainstream adult fiction until I discovered my true love of YA. Now I’m a big fan of Laurie Halse Anderson and Sarra Manning, among many other awesome up and coming writers.
What is one thing people misunderstand about young adult books?
Good question! I think many people have the general perception that YA fiction can be simple or talk down to teens. In my opinion, many teens have the time to be more introspective and in some ways deeper than adults.
Are you working on anything new?
Yes, I’m working on another contemporary YA novel called PERFECT AIM. It’s about a teenage archer whose plans to reunite her family go way off target and she finds solace in the arms of a young and understanding teacher.
Thank you, Denise, for sharing your story with us. I hope this the beginning of a long, satisfying career.
To enter the LOSING FAITH and book bag giveaway, share in the comments section one thing you’ll take away from this interview. The winner will be announced Monday, September 13.