9 Weeks Till Truest: 9 Things You Didn’t Know about Truest

t9To celebrate nine weeks until Truest is released, today I’m sharing nine things you probably didn’t know about my novel!

1. The main characters have middle names, but they never appear in the story: Westlin Adelaide Beck, Silas Ellison Hart, Laurel Judith Hart.

2. The towns in Truest are named after a few favorite writers of mine.

3. Alex and Adam Germaine are reminiscent (to me) of Alec and Alonzo from Anne of the Island, she of Green Gables fame.

4. In my head, Elliot Thomas, West’s boyfriend, looks like US short track speed skater JR Celski.

5. Although West’s and Laurel’s names were set from the beginning, Silas was very nearly named Henry.

6. The first draft took me six months to write and was virtually conflict-free and without an ending. I had a long way to go.

7. I started working on the second draft during a writing retreat in Duluth. I’d end up returning to that condo for the second-to-last and last drafts as well. (And then again twice for the first draft of my next novel. I think I’ve found my sweet spot.)

8. Truest is dedicated to four of my favorite children as well as my friends Cindy and Kristin. Kristin solved two of my biggest problems in the writing of the book, and Cindy read uncountable drafts and dialogued with me any time I needed. Truest as it is now would not have come about without them.

9. Öster means “east”– as in, the opposite of west. You’ll understand when you read it.

Find out more about Truest and pre-order your copy at jackieleasommers.com/truest!

5 Kickass YA Heroines

Liesel Meminger of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Liesel can hold her own against her best friend Rudy– in soccer, races, thievery, anything. She knows the power of words and wields it wisely. She didn’t hesitate to pulverize Ludwig Schmeikl for bullying her around– but she also graciously apologizes and helps him out later in the book. Liesel loves deeply, grieves intensely, and perseveres through tremendous loss.

Hermione Granger of Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
Are you kidding me? She’s the smartest wizard not only of her class but of her generation! Her quick wits and incredible intellect save Harry and Ron time and time again. She’s brave. She never gave up on Harry for one second. She has a strong sense of justice, incredible loyalty, and a beautiful, courageous heart.

Isaboe of The Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta
Fearsome. Unwavering. Isaboe’s resolution and leadership are a thing to behold. She is her own boss. She loves with ferocity. Her dedication to the people of Lumatere is humbling, and her vulnerability with those she loves best reminds me that even stones can bleed.

Quintana of The Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta
“‘Do you know who tells me my worth, Phaedra of Alonso?’
The princess pointed a hard finger at her own chest.
‘Me. I determine my own worth. If I had to rely on others I’d have lain down and died waiting.’”
‘Nuff said.

Shazi of The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
Her tremendous spirit inspires me. Her courage, tenacity, creativity, boldness, and will are like an unquenchable fire. Best of all, her ability to forgive makes her a worthy queen, honorable woman, and beautiful soul.

I want to be these women– grace and power, strength and vulnerability.

May I be these women.


State of the Blogger

Hi everyone!

Wow, it’s crazy how fast I can fall out of the habit of blogging. I posted on a regular schedule for the last four or so years, then decided to take May off and … now you barely hear from me. (I say a lot more on Twitter. You can follow me @jackieleawrites if you want!) I actually have a post a week lined up for the rest of the sumimer, plus I have ideas for other topics I want to blog about. I just have no time. And don’t know where to find any extra.

My house is still undergoing renovations, but it is really coming together. I LOVE IT, even if it’s still a total mess. I’ve been taking pictures along the way, so I’ll show you some once everything is done!

I’ve (barely) started revisions on my next novel, but I’m really, really excited to find a rhythm. (Again, not sure where or how to carve out extra time.)

Truest comes out in 9.5 weeks! My head is spinning!

But these are all GOOD things, and I am tremendously grateful. Who am I that I should have so many dreams come true?

If only I could add a few more hours in each day. Wouldn’t it be great if we had 28 hour days? That extra four hours would be amazing. Think how much you could accomplish!

Oh well. It’s not worth lamenting over something that’s unchangeable.

I’m off to rest a little (is 8 pm too late for a short nap? even if I plan to stay up late writing? are there nap rules?) and then dive into Mill City Heroes.

I miss you guys. Tell me about your lives: what are you most looking forward to this summer? I want to be excited with you!


10 Weeks Till Truest: The Evolution of a Book Cover

t10Join me in counting down the final weeks till Truest’s publication! Every Tuesday, I’ll be posting something Truest-related. Please feel free to re-blog, pin, tweet, share on Facebook, etc.– I’d love to get the word out! And, of course, you can pre-order your own copy here!

Today I’m excited to share with you how Truest‘s book cover came to be. (And please excuse the weird formatting toward the end– once I started inserting pictures, it all went haywire!)

At the end of April 2014, Laurel, an editor at Katherine Tegen Books, sent me this email:

While Jill is still working on gathering notes for you on the latest revision, I have another exciting step in the publication process. We get to start thinking about your cover! Jill and I will fill out a form to share with our designers—who work serious magic and make the best looking books in the industry—but we want your thoughts, too. What sort of design or image do you picture for your cover? Photographic or iconic? Is there anything you absolutely don’t want? Are there other books whose covers you admire? As much info you can give us will help us—and the designers—create the perfect look for TRUEST.

Please feel free to take a few days or even a couple weeks to think about this if you need to and let me know if you have any questions. This is one of my favorite parts of the process so I’m excited to get started!

“Feel free to take a couple of weeks”? The next day, I emailed her:

I’m absolutely no designer, but here are my thoughts (in my non-designer language):
My DREAM cover:
Silas and West, sitting in a lifeguard stand, looking out at the swans on Green Lake
An image like this:
I picture the book cover having this feel ... Silas and West in the lifeguard chair, looking out over the lake, which would have swans on it.
I really like the idea of a photographic cover, but I prefer to not see the actual faces (I think it’s better for the reader to imagine the characters than to be shown their faces).  I feel like Truest’s cover should have an element of seriousness/depth. I see a lot of books with just a girl on the front, but I’d hope Silas would be there too.
I dislike overly girly covers, covers that make it look like the book is ONLY a romance, covers boys would be embarrassed to be holding, covers that insinuate the book is the literary equivalent of a rom com.
I also sent along some images of covers I love (most with a darker theme):
The Madman's Daughter (The Madman's Daughter, #1)  love the photo/moodMidwinterblood - Marcus Sedgwick; new design after the Printz.  Beautiful cover.  And can we add the Printz sticker too? ;-)The Miseducation of Cameron Post  love this.The Secret Side of Empty by Maria E. Andreu | Publisher: Running Press Kids | Publication Date: March 11, 2014 | http://mariaeandreu.com | #YA Contemporary / social issues #immigration  I like the sad/lonely/serious mood of this.  You can tell it's not going to be the book equivalent of a rom com.Mister Death's Blue-Eyed Girls
And a couple illustrated covers I love too:
Love in the Time of Global Warming - cant wait to read this!!  What a gorgeous book cover ... and not too
At this point, I fell out of the mix, while designer Jenna Stempel (@likenickel) went to work.
truest doodles
In August 2014, my editor teased me a little, emailing, “The way they painted the word TRUEST is stunning.” Of course, I begged to see! There were eight options. Half of them had swans on the cover (if you read the book, you’ll understand why). One had teens in a car. One had a girl, reading in a road. Nearly all of them had Jenna’s beautiful hand-lettered title as we recognize it today, though sometimes it looked a little different!
Don't you love the little tail of hearts??

Don’t you love the little tail of hearts??

One had a girl in it, standing on grass, with book pages blowing in the wind around her.
This is going to look familiar, but look twice.
original Truest cover

The original of this also had the column of words in dark, bold black.

I loved this design, but I mentioned again how I’d prefer not to have a face on the cover, how West has long hair and is rarely seen wearing a dress. We also had a discussion about whether or not to blur out the end of the title– it references how West often describes herself as “blurry”– but in the grand scheme of the novel, she comes to recognize herself differently, so I pushed for no blurring.
Of course, in the end, we ended up with the cover that you’ve now seen me plaster all over my world. Here they are side-by-side for comparison.
comparison covers
Then I had to sit quietly and wait until the big cover reveal in the middle of February! That was hard! But that day was fantastic, so fun, so full of love for the cover! I’m so happy people like it so much– I just LOVE it!
Find out more about Truest and pre-order your copy at jackieleasommers.com/truest!

Truest Pub Day Email List

Sign up to help me spread the word about Truest on its launch day!


Want to help me promote Truest on its publication day? Enter your email address here to be sent ONE (just one!) email full of pre-made tweets, graphics, and text that you can use to help me promote my story.

Again, signing up will get you just ONE email. And my gratitude.

Click here. THANK YOU!!! ❤

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Book Review: Truest

I *love* this review of Truest! I hope you’ll click the link to read it all!

It begins:
I initially picked this book up because of the cover. That gorgeous, beautiful cover that only gets more beautiful and more meaningful with every page I read. This is an outstanding debut, charming, funny, unbelievably moving and a deep sort of soul searching.

Book Review: Truest.

Post-ERP Spiritual Growth

My ENTIRE LIFE changed in 2008 when I underwent ERP therapy to treat my OCD. Here are the changes to my spiritual life!


Flowers and the woman palm in the field. Lit evening sunI received these fantastic questions from a blog reader:

How has your faith grown since ERP? Have you found new ways to talk and relate to God now that you free from its influence?


Everything is different now.

I believe that my prayers are heard, that there is no glass ceiling over my head, preventing them from reaching God’s ear.

I walk in the lightness of freedom and not with the yoke of legalism.

I can picture Christ delighting in me and my work.

My new normal is feeling loved and accepted, redeemed and rescued.

I am anchored.

I can think about other worldviews without being triggered into a total meltdown.

My faith feels less about feelings and more about choice: I choose Christ and, better yet, he has chosen me.

Prayer feels more like a two-way conversation than just one-way pleading.

I experience God’s sense of humor more.


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My Bucket List



bucket list jls

1. Fall in love with someone who loves me back.

2. Write books that matter.

3. Get a book deal with a major publisher. (Check!)

4. Be a homeowner. (Check!)

5. Visit Australia and England.

6. Be blurbed by John Green and Melina Marchetta.

7. Meet John Green and Melina Marchetta.

8. Have fan fiction written about my characters.

9. Be a commencement speaker.

10. Meet my Compassion kids.

11. Endow a scholarship.

(Plus one more writing-related one that is too personal and embarrassing to share because it’s even more absurd than being blurbed by John Green.)

What’s on your bucket list?

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