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The Author’s Voice: interview with OneFour author Jaye Robin Brown

Serendipity, small towns and the Appalachian trail…. Jaye speaks with us about a few of the elements that create her YA contemporary debut NO PLACE TO FALL (HarperTeen). And she reads a particularly awesome snippet toward the end!

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Kate Boorman is an independent artist and writer from the Canadian prairies. She was born in Nepal (where she was carried up the Himalayas in a basket) and she grew up in a small Albertan town (where she rode her bike to Girl Guides). She is fond of creepy things. Speaking of! Her YA fantasy WINTERKILL is out now (Abrams/Amulet and Faber & Faber)!
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NO PLACE to FALL has made it onto the stage!

It’s hard to believe that launch day is finally here. I finished this novel in the summer of 2012. It sold in late September of the same year. Now a full two and a half years from when I closed the document on my revised manuscript draft, it’s landing on bookstore shelves. The only way to describe this moment is amazing and surreal. I wrote a book, y’all. Thank you for following my journey, having my back, and just being the best group of authors, readers, and friends a writer could ever have. Now I’m off to lurk at my local bookstores for a few hours!

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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.

**Early Praise for No Place To Fall**

“Lyrically written with a deep sense of place and music, Brown’s story allows the heroine to stumble, falter, and suffer consequences without forcing a tidy, happy ending. There is so much joy within the pages that the sorrow hits hard and emotions rise and fall and rise again like a vocalist running scales.” – Booklist

“Debut author Brown makes a small town in North Carolina—where everyone knows everyone, and the outside world comes in via Appalachian Trail hikers—feel real, but the heart of the story is Amber, as she tries to find herself, love, and her voice (she’s a talented singer, but is afraid of singing in front of crowds).” – Publisher’s Weekly

“Southern charm oozes off the page.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Debut author Brown is off to a wonderful start with authentic characters who speak in true voices. Amber could be the best friend you had in high school—she’s funny and moody and truthful and absolutely the real deal, and readers will clamor for another well-paced story featuring her and her friends.” – School Library Journal Review

“The writing shines when Amber describes the feelings that singing awakens in her, with ‘songs swirling inside me like butterflies.’ One could wish for an accompanying soundtrack to fill out the fragments of lyrics that appear throughout.” – VOYA

“I was completely smitten.” – Robin Constantine, author of The Promise of Amazing.

“Hits a chord with the dreamer in all of us.” – Megan Shepherd, author of The Madman’s Daughter series

**Where you can find Jaye Robin Brown**

My launch party is TONIGHT at Malaprop’s Bookstore in downtown Asheville. It starts at 7pm and the lovely teen singer/songwriter, Indigo Blue DeSouza, will be playing a couple of songs from the book and some of her own music as well. If you’re in the area, please stop by!

I’m doing a mini-book tour with a few other folks, here are the stops I know so far:

Sat. Dec 27 3-5 pm – Fiction Addiction in Greenville, SC with Alison Kemper

Sun. Dec. 28 2-3 pm – TallTales Book Shop in Atlanta, GA with Alison Kemper

Mon. Dec. 29 5-7 pm – The Little Professor in Homewood, AL with Stephen Duncan

Saturday, January 10th, Robin Constantine and I will be doing an author’s cafe at the Burke County Public Library in Morganton, NC.

And in April, I’ll be at the Southern Kentucky Bookfest along with a bunch of other OneFours!!

 

 

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, December ’14), is a love song to small town girls and mountain music.

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YouTube: Music by Jaye Robin Brown

This month’s YouTube topic is Music, and Jaye Robin Brown, author of No Place To Fall is here to talk to you about the music that inspires her protagonist, Amber Vaughn.

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.
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Jaye Robin Brown: NO PLACE TO FALL

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!

Jaye Robin Brown (blog)What’s your debut book about? Can you share any cool details with us?

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.