Today, we’re interviewing Lucky13 author Chelsea Pitcher, whose book THE S-WORD hits the shelves on May 7th!
But one week after Lizzie kills herself, SUICIDE SLUT replaces it—in Lizzie’s looping scrawl.
Lizzie’s reputation is destroyed when she’s caught in bed with her best friend’s boyfriend on prom night. With the whole school turned against her, and Angie not speaking to her, Lizzie takes her own life. But someone isn’t letting her go quietly. As graffiti and photocopies of Lizzie’s diary plaster the school, Angie begins a relentless investigation into who, exactly, made Lizzie feel she didn’t deserve to keep living. And while she claims she simply wants to punish Lizzie’s tormentors, Angie’s own anguish over abandoning her best friend will drive her deep into the dark, twisted side of Verity High—and she might not be able to pull herself back out.
1. Can you tell us a bit about the road to publication?
I’ve been writing for most of my life, so there were a lot of blunders, a lot of terrible manuscripts, a lot of bad teen poetry…just a lot of bad. But all of it served as practice for my later stuff, the stories that (hopefully) read coherently and are relatable. I’m not going to say I never submitted anything to agents before it was ready. I definitely did (although, I thought the manuscripts were ready at the time). But I’ve learned a lot from my mistakes, and all of it led me to where I am today: published! Yay!
2. What was your inspiration for THE S-WORD?
I’d already been thinking a lot about the link between bullying and suicide when I heard a story about a teen boy who passed around a racy photograph of his girlfriend. People at school targeted her for months, until she eventually took her own life. I couldn’t get the story out of my head, so I started writing.
3. What has been the most exciting part of the publication process?
That’s a hard question! So many things about this process have been amazing: the original offer, seeing my cover for the first time, getting my pass pages. If I had to pick one thing that was really fantastic, I’d have to say it was having a reader tell me that my book shouldn’t just be on the shelf at every high school and junior high library—it should be required reading. It made me feel like the work I’m doing is important, that it’s reaching people. And that’s why I started writing in the first place.
4. One of your main characters, Jesse, is fairly unconventional (and awesome) in the world of YA. What was the inspiration for him?
Jesse was inspired by really sweet, charismatic characters like Rickie Vasquez from My So-Called Life and Angel from RENT. In the beginning, I saw him as a supporting role, but Jesse had other plans. As his backstory and secrets were revealed to me, I realized what a pivotal character he really was. And as for his fabulous fashion sense, well, that was something I knew about from the start.
5. What’s your feeling on reviews: to read or not to read?
Reading the first few positive reviews can be really fun! It’s great to hear that people are connecting with your story and understanding what you were trying to do. After those first few, though, I think it’s best not to seek reviews out. Everyone gets not-so-positive reviews—even our favorite authors of all time—and obsessing over other people’s opinions can make anyone doubt themselves.
6. Any big plans for your release day?
I’m probably going to lie low and celebrate with close friends. Bookstores don’t always have books unpacked the day of their release, so I’d hate to trek around town only to be disappointed (or annoy booksellers, ha!) I’ll probably book-stalk a little later though. And I’m having a launch party at Powell’s the following week!
7. Your PM announcement pitches THE S-WORD as a cross between The Scarlet Letter and Veronica Mars. On a scale of one to Logan shirtless, how excited are you for the Veronica Mars movie?
Ha! This question is the best! I’d have to say, on a scale of one to Logan shirtless, I am Logan-shirtless-wearing-a-smirk-and-kissing-Veronica-up-against-a-wall thrilled. I keep getting updates from Rob Thomas about it, and it’s so exciting! I really can’t wait!
8. Since this community is “All For One and OneFour KidLit,” we’d like to know what books most inspired you as a kid!
I am a huge fan of James Howe’s BUNNICULA series. When I was a kid, my mom used to read the BUNNICULA books to me using different voices for the characters. Her voice for Howie (the overly-energetic dachshund puppy) was the best!
Thanks so much for having me!!
Thank you, Chelsea and happy release day!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chelsea Pitcher is a native of Portland, OR where she received her BA in English Literature. Fascinated by all things literary, she began gobbling up stories as soon as she could read, and especially enjoys delving into the darker places to see if she can draw out some light.
Here’s where you can find Chelsea online:
Where to buy THE S-WORD:
|Elissa Sussman is a fairy tale nerd and lover of freshly baked bread. Her debut, STRAY (Greenwillow, Harper-Collins), is a homage to both. She lives in Los Angeles with her boyfriend and their rescue mutt, Basil.|