A Heart-to-Heart with JLS

Unsplash47Pour yourself some coffee; I have hot cocoa. Fall has finally arrived in Minnesota. Let’s chat, friend.

Life is really good. I have a book in the world, and it’s hard to let your baby go! Reviews are overwhelmingly positive (so far), and that makes me so happy. People keep saying things like “Your book wrecked me” or “I’m ruined” and I think they mean it as praise– that’s how I’m taking it. That’s what my favorite books do to me too: wreck me. (I’m still recovering from The Wrath and the Dawn, which I read back in June.)

Reviews are coming in slowly, which is hard, because I want to be like, “People, I’ve been waiting for four years to hear your thoughts!” But maybe it’s better this way, spaced out. I can listen to each friend in turn.

I’ve had my first “outcry” against my book. I use quotes because it was not anything like an outcry, just a dear friend questioning some of the content of Truest and admitting he wouldn’t let his daughters read it. (Note: his daughters are currently 1.5 and 3.5, so they wouldn’t be reading the book anytime soon anyway!) But then yesterday, I talked to the chair of the psychology department at the university where I work, and she said, “I loved your book, and I can’t wait to have my daughters read it. It will be a great conversation starter.” And her words came at just the right time, to hold me together.

I’m about to start traveling for my job as a recruiter, and I can’t decide how I feel about it. This will be my thirteenth season of fall travel. Let’s hope it’s not unlucky. On the one hand, I am looking forward to being away from my desk, to meeting great teens, and to copious amounts of audiobook listening in my car (any suggestions, friends?). On the other, I don’t love being away from home, and the start of a new recruitment cycle is a little overwhelming. Admissions has changed a lot in the last year, and I’m still transitioning.

I got an extension on writing book #2 (which is currently untitled … we’re getting rid of the Mill City Heroes title), which will push back the publication to summer 2017, but it will also give me more time to make it something really special for readers. And for myself. I keep begging God to enter into the writing of it, and I believe that he will. It’s just not there yet. Which makes sense. It’s only draft two.

Writing takes a lot of faith. Let me tell you. Or at least, being a pantser does.

I’m so delighted that the fall weather is here. I’m so sick of the humidity and of feeling gross and hot all the time. I’m not ready yet for winter, but I open my arms to autumn.

Your turn. How have you been lately? Are you working on any projects you’re excited about? What are you looking forward to this fall? Tell me one fun thing in the comments, please! I want to hear from you!

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5 thoughts on “A Heart-to-Heart with JLS

  1. I loved this, Jackie!
    Ooh…audiobooks..I haven’t listened to them in so long! I listen to mostly podcasts now…Sara Zarr has one where she has interviewed a bunch of YA and MG authors….Let’s Get Busy is a kidlit podcast too where you can occasionally find YA writers. I like the SeanWes podcast, and 99 percent invisible. Such a fun one!

    I’m looking forward to the chili cookoff coming up in October! It was the first real date Danny and I went on, so we go every year. It’s fun and food and chili! I’m also looking forward to everyone getting their pumpkin spice flavored things back. Look, I like pumpkin as much as the next person, but I personally don’t get the whole craze about it. It’s a tad bit annoying.

  2. After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid. The characters make stupid decisions, but I loved them and the book anyway. It just came out on audiobook! Also Station Eleven and if you’re in the mood for something silly, The Eyre Affair.

  3. Jackie, wow this is all so great to read about. I imagine this is a very weird time for you.

    I am two weeks back in at school. I’m TAing a class so that takes up more time, but am still very excited to be back in school. At the suggestion of my instructor, I’m working on something completely new which feels like a very scary but fun departure from working my way through a second/third draft (depending on how you look at it) of the novel I’ve been working on this summer.

    Great to read about how you are doing!

  4. “People, I’ve been waiting for four years to hear your thoughts!”

    I’m working on it, but I read (and write) slowly 🙂 If you want, here are my thoughts so far (as of the end of Chapter 6).

    * Its clear that West has already left Elliot for Silas in her heart, despite her attempts to convince herself that she doesn’t even like him.

    * Elliot is gentle, loyal, hardworking, a good masseuse, and admirably self-controlled, especially for a teenage boy. At this point in the story, he seems to be the most respectable and perceptive of the main characters. You could have easily made him unlikeable so that the reader would be rooting for the dumping that already seems inevitable, but you did not, and I deeply appreciate that. I am also intrigued by what his purpose is in the story.

    * I wonder if the hay elevator incident is foreshadowing Elliot’s death in a similar incident, thus keeping West from actually having to choose between the two boys. You don’t seem like the kind of writer who would use that device, but I will just have to keep reading to find out.

    * The mysteries of Elliot’s place in the story and of Laurel’s illness are the most important things keeping me reading.

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