We’ve got a great group of debut authors here at OneFour KidLit. Today we’re introducing Jaye Robin Brown. One author, four questions. Here we go!
NO PLACE TO FALL is a Southern flavored young adult contemporary about family, friendship, lust, love and the confusion that comes with those things when you’re sixteen and from a small town. Here’s the blurb I used in my query:
Singing and boys. The two ways Amber Vaughn is able to escape. Because her family, well, they’re one big mess. When a representative from NC-Arts hears about Amber’s talent, he invites her to an audition. Amber seizes the chance. It’s the thing that could help her rise above. But her brother-in-law has other plans. He knows about Amber’s extra-curricular activities and gives her a choice. Help him steal prescription drugs or he’ll tell her Mama the only angelic thing about Amber is her voice. Before the audition. And whichever way she turns, Amber’s going to lose. Either the something she’s been dreaming about, the someone who’s found his way to her heart, or her reputation, where it matters most. At home.
Cool details about the book — I overheard a wild story in my classroom that was the spark (teenagers – your teachers might be novelists, be careful what you say!), then I heard Amber’s voice on my drive in to work. I swear she could have been in the passenger’s seat. I immediately wrote a couple of paragraphs to nail her voice, and tucked it away in my future projects file. I hated this book halfway through. There were so many threads and so much craziness that I would type things into the body of the manuscript like “Gah, this bites. You are going to need a total rewrite here.” But funny thing, when I read back through it, it wasn’t nearly as awful as I thought.
What are you most excited about in the debut process?
Working with my editor, Sarah Dotts-Barley, and everything I’m going to learn from her. It’s amazing to have her as my guide and mentor in shaping NO PLACE TO FALL. She was the first editor to read, due to a cool set of ‘only in NYC’ circumstances, and ended up with the book.
Hanging out with the OneFourKidLit debut authors for a couple of years. Excellent.
Seeing my cover. I mean, come on, what debut author isn’t stoked about that?
And getting Amber out into the world so you can all learn to love or hate her little flawed self. One of my students said it best. She said, “It’s just so cool that you can create situations where people are going to connect with these characters you’ve made and they’re either going to love them or hate them, but they’re going to have, like, feelings about what you wrote!” And that’s really the crux of it, isn’t it?
What cool facts might readers not know about you?
I’m originally from L.A. – Lower Alabama that is. My childhood home’s front yard was Mobile Bay (not too terribly far from where the Bubba Gump shrimp boat was docked in Forrest Gump) and I spent my teenage years in a bathing suit tanning, on our Sunfish sailboat, or on the back of my horse, Rocker, harassing the neighborhood.
I was a full-time metalsmith for many years with my own line of handcrafted silver jewelry. I traveled around the country doing art fairs, selling to galleries, and driving back roads.
My uncle is a Grammy award winning songwriter and his daughter, my cousin, is a Sundance-nominated documentary filmmaker.The Browns are a creative tribe.
It’s not a cool fact, completely uncool really, but unlike my protagonist I can’t sing at all. Well I can, but it would ruin your ear drums. Seriously. A great voice is my first request if I get a chance at reincarnation!
What are your desert island books?
Like others before me, I’m totally cheating on this and going with desert island authors. John Irving because I love his layered, complex cast of characters and the quirkiness, humor, and humility that infuses his writing. Tom Robbins because he writes about flea circuses, hot cowgirls shot by silver bullets, and the goat god, Pan. There’s always something new to discover when reading his books. Besides, they’re smart and funny which is the best combination out there. Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series because there are flying dragons (um, versus the walking kind?) and sexual innuendos and they were the books of my young adult world. J.K. Rowling because, well, yeah, Luna Lovegood. Kate DiCamillo because her books give me all the Hallmark commercial feelings and I never tire of grabbing the box of tissues to wipe away the tears. And finally, Jandy Nelson, who I hope by the time I land on this desert island will have published more than just her COMPLETELY AMAZING debut novel, The Sky is Everywhere.
|Jaye Robin Brown, or JRo to most everyone but her mama, lives and writes in the Appalachian mountains north of Asheville, NC. She’s fond of dogs, horses, laughter, the absurd and the ironic. When not crafting stories she hangs out with teenagers in the high school art room where she teaches. Her debut novel, NO PLACE TO FALL (Harper Teen, Fall ’14), is a love song to small town girls and mountain music.|