broken pencil

The Next Big Thing is an awareness blog campaign that began in Australia and became international. It features authors and illustrators of books for kids and young adults and their recently published books and/or those that are slated to be released this year.

Thank you to Anna Levine, who invited me to talk about my new novel! I am thrilled!!! If you haven’t seen these posts before, there are ten questions. I’m going to answer them all . . . sort of!

1) What is the working title of your next book?


(Come back to this blog soon to see the amazing cover and to hear more about my journey to publication!!)

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?


As in….the magazine. And Glamour.

Sometimes I am sure I have learned everything I need to know sitting in the chair at the salon.

Part of my ritual: I catch up on the tabloids, especially People.  

I will never forget the moment, a few years ago, when I stumbled on an update about Baby Jessica. Do you remember her? The baby that fell in the well? I did. That story had me riveted. And when you think about it, the coverage pretty much started the 24 hour news phenomena!

Well, let’s just say I couldn’t stop thinking about that story. All these years later, even though Jessica was clearly just an ordinary person, the public still cared what this woman was doing. I cared. I judged! And that wasn’t fair! That day, I decided to explore a character who, like Jessica, was famous for being saved . . . and wasn’t all that excited about it. (Did you know that one of the men who pulled her out of the well committed suicide…because he couldn’t deal with his fifteen minutes being over?)

3) What genre does your book fall under?

Believe is a young adult novel. Come back to this blog for more information about release dates and fun things like parties!

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Oh no! Not the actor question! My kids have always expressed a lot of conflict about seeing movies that depict their favorite books–they like having their own image of the characters. (Sorry Daniel Radcliffe!) So I don’t want to put a face on Janine or her friends. Not yet. But hey….maybe Madonna’s daughter, Lourdes? In her film debut? 🙂

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Ten years after the suicide bombing that killed her parents and shocked the world, Janine Collins, aka the Soul Survivor, must still deal with fame and the people who believe she is a faith healer.

6) Who is publishing your book?

Carolrhoda Lab:  It has been my pleasure to work with editor Andrew Karre and the entire team.

Right now, I’m reading Four Secrets. (It’s really good!) And I’m very excited about The Twelve Fingered Boy.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

About eight months.

Don’t ask how long it took to revise. Or how many versions I wrote. Let’s just say, the fact that this book exists is a testimony to perseverance and the power of re-imagination. And stubbornness. And a whole lot of good friends and chocolate.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I just read Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places. Her character and Janine would have a lot to talk about. 

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Baby Jessica. I owe her a glass of wine. I am so interested in how 24 hour news and our need for more information has made people famous…and what that has done to our culture and creativity.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

Janine might not always be the most likeable protagonist, but she is a product of our world right now, a place where you can be famous without being talented. She wants recognition and at the same time, she wants anonymity. She grapples with some pretty intense issues: legacy, mortality, friendship, and of course, fame and faith.

Again, three cheers to Anna Levine for sending me these questions. Next week, Jenny Meyerhoff, Cori McCarthy, Bethany Hegedus, and Leanne Lieberman will tell you about their books.

Cheers! xo s

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