Welcome to Halu-Halo's new series: Author-ish. Halu-halo as a blog has always focused on inspiration, and our interviews will ask authors about theirs. Author-ish is named as such because these interviews won't be about the craft of writing, but all the feelings behind it.
FEATURED AUTHOR :: JAYE ROBIN BROWN
Jaye Robin Brown, Jro to her friends, lives on a fourteen acre farm in the mountains north of Asheville, North Carolina. She is fond of dogs, horses, the absurd and the ironic. She truly believes laughter and music are the best medicine. When not writing you can find her in the art room of the high school where she teaches.
NO PLACE TO FALL - Publication Date: December 9th 2014 by Harper Teen
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.
Tif (Halu-halo) : I'm incredibly excited to have the kind and talented Jaye Robin Brown with us today. We met through #5amwritersclub (Twitter), a space where crazy early risers touch base on our progress and projects, or simply have coffee-talk. Jro's debut novel, NO PLACE TO FALL is out in just three weeks. *squeals* Tell us, Jro, what was your inspiration for NO PLACE TO FALL?
Jro : I was inspired by the place I live, the students I teach, and the idea of having a dream bigger than your circumstances. That feeling of longing, of knowing you’re made for greatness, but being a little bit humble and a lot clueless as to how to get there.
Tif : This alone makes me ache for your book in my hands. How did you keep this inspiration forefront while you worked?
Jro : I actually made a Wordle collage of a handful of words that drive the book. For No Place To Fall, the word “longing” took center page and was surrounded by words like family, song, mountains, etc. When I’d get stuck, I’d zero in on that collage and focus on the word, longing.
Tif : That's a wonderful method of refocusing. Often, we writers can get so sidetracked. When do you do your best work? Do you have a routine?
Jro : Obviously I’m an early morning writer. And it is truly my best drafting time because my inner editor is not yet awake. Though I’d say, I do better with revisions a bit later in the day. In the summer I work off and on all day long and it all works out until I hit the wall of done. Then I quit because anything after that point will be garbage.
Tif: Ah, yes, the point of writer-muscle failure. What if you find that this occurs over a long period of time? What fuels your spirit? What fills your tank?
Jro : I’m a complete nature girl and spending time outdoors is the best way to get out of my own head, whether I’m stuck on a story or some other life stressor. Walks, hikes, grooming my horses, going for rides, fresh air and observation does it for me. Though a random trip to T.J. Maxx with no specific need and fifty bucks in my pocket is also kind of fun.
Tif : There is surely nothing wrong with retail therapy! Speaking of which...what are your biggest distractions and how do you stay focused?
Jro : The Internet for sure. I’m a Twitter junkie, love to see what people are up to, and I’m also a member of various writer forums that I like to check in with. Lately I’ve become embarrassingly addicted to videos about foreign people reacting to American junk food. I don’t know why these delight me, but they do. I don’t even like junk food for the most part, so maybe it’s solidarity? Or just hearing some British teen calling Dr. Pepper, “brilliant.”
Tif : Girl, I've been watching Havanese puppy videos for days now. No judgement from me. Now, give me five words that describe NO PLACE TO FALL.
Jro : Lyrical, Heartfelt, Bittersweet, Honest, and Soulful
Tif : What do you love most about this book?
Jro : I love the relationship between Amber and her mother. It’s frustrating but also incredibly sweet. They are each other’s support systems, as kind of the only two sane people in the larger family. One of my favorite scenes is when Amber asks her mama to repeat the story of how she met Amber’s father. But there’s really a lot I love, one of the biggest things being that other people are going to get to read it!
Tif : Yes! Yes! Yes! I, for one, am looking forward to reading about Amber and her story. I cannot wait to read your artistic flair, and hear your voice. But I do have some *very* hard questions : Bagels or English muffins?
Jro : Though I like them both if I had the choice of an Everything bagel or an English muffin, I’d choose the former.
Tif : Ah, so you're a sassy one with that Everything bagel. *winks* Rake leaves or shovel snow?
Jro : Rock and a hard place, much? How about lay on the couch? Oh, okay. Rake leaves. I like it a bit warmer.
Tif : Hey! You said you were an outdoorsy author! *grins* Jammies or sweats?
Jro : I’m hard pressed to take off my jammies if I’m home for the day. Though sometimes I pull sweats over them to take the dogs for a walk.
Tif: Well, I can't wait to snuggle my jammies with your book in hand on December 9. CONGRATULATIONS, Jro! And, I hope to see you in the morning. *winks*