Gettin’ Lucky: An Interview with Jamie Blair, author of LEAP OF FAITH

Today on the blog we’re interviewing Lucky13 author Jamie Blair, whose debut young adult novel LEAP OF FAITH comes out today.

Here’s a bit about LEAP OF FAITH:

Can true love be built on lies? A teen on the run seeks relief and redemption in this gripping, romantic read.

Leah Kurtz has finally found a place to call home, a town where she and baby Addy can live in peace, far from the drug-infested place she grew up. Chris is one of the best parts of her new life, the only person who’s ever made her feel safe. And now that she’s found him, there’s no way she can tell the truth:

Her real name is Faith, not Leah. She’s seventeen, not nineteen. And the baby isn’t hers—Faith kidnapped her.

Faith’s history catches up with her when a cop starts asking questions and Chris’s aunt spots her picture in the newspaper. She knows it’s time to run again, but if Faith leaves, she’ll lose Chris. If Chris is in love with a lie, though, did Faith ever really have him in the first place?

Thanks for dropping by the blog, Jamie! How did you get the idea for Leap of Faith?

A long time ago I saw a news story about a mother and father who had a few kids, but couldn’t afford to keep the one the mother was pregnant with, so they put the baby up for adoption. This made me wonder what their kids thought about having a sibling put up for adoption, if they thought of the baby as a brother or sister, if they wanted to be a part of the baby’s life. Eventually, it came around to Addy and Faith’s story.

One thing I enjoyed about the book were the detailed descriptions of Faith’s experiences — everything from caring for a newborn, to dealing with an irresponsible mother, to making pasta sauce. Did you draw from your own life experiences for any particular aspects of the book?

I have two kids, so I’ve been through caring for a newborn firsthand. I think my experience was much like Faith’s in that I hadn’t been around babies and was thrown to the wolves so to speak when it came down to having a newborn for the first time. There’s a lot of tasks that we take for granted before parenthood, like leaving the house, that become major planned events with a baby. Fortunately, I didn’t have the mother and home life Faith had, but I do make a mean pasta sauce.

Who’s your favorite secondary character in Leap of Faith, and why?

I’m going to consider Chris as a main character like Faith to answer this question and say it’s Mrs. Buckridge, Chris’s grandma. She’s big hearted, ready to bust heads if she has to for her family, and everything a grandma should be.

What’s your best advice for writers at the 1)drafting stage, 2) querying stage, and 3) post contract stage?

During the drafting stage, make sure you know the core of your story. Simplify it to the basic conflict and branch out from there to determine where your story should start and end. Query when you’ve had other writers read your work and you’ve had honest feedback and been through some revisions. Make sure your query is strong. You only have one chance to get pages read, so make each query count. After the contract, expect the unexpected. J

You write both YA and adult romance under a pen name. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

I write adult romance under a pen name, but I started in YA and was contracted for Leap of Faith before writing adult romance. I self-published my adult romance initially just for the experience of doing it. It worked out well and I’ll continue to write for both adult and YA markets.

And finally, as this community is All For One and One Four KidLit, we’d like to know what two or three books inspired you as a kid.

The books I loved as a kid were Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Fudge, Super Fudge.

Livia Blackburne is a fantasy writer and recovering neuroscientist. She wrote her debut MIDNIGHT THIEF while conducting her dissertation research at MIT on the neural correlates of reading in children. She blogs about the intersection of psychology and writing on her blog A Brain Scientist’s Take on Writing.

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