4 Weeks Till Truest: Dream Casting a (Non-Existent) Truest Movie

t4Wow, four weeks left till my dream of being a published author comes true! I’m absolutely thrilled.

Today is my bestie’s birthday! Happy birthday, Eir! ❤

People always say to me, “What if your book gets made into a movie??” That would be amazing, and– while there are NO PLANS for a movie— I’ve still created my dream cast.

Of course.

Truest dream cast

You’ll have to let me know if you think I got it right– or if I didn’t, who are your picks?

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

Truest Around the Web!

Sixteen to Read (plus giveaway!)

truest and summer

Sweet Sixteens Debut Club

One Well-Read Chick

Fellow Passengers

truest and cherries

5 Weeks Till Truest: Birthday Haiku for West from Silas

t5In Truest, Silas and West go swimming at the Green Lake beach after dark on her 18th birthday. I found a text conversation between the two from later that night.

It’s pretty adorable.

text 1text2text3text4

Learn more about Truest and pre-order your copy at jackieleasommers.com/truest.

6 Weeks Till Truest: Quiz! Who is Your Green Lake BFF?

t6Wow! Just six more weeks till Truest comes out!

My story takes place in the fictional town of Green Lake, Minnesota– based off of my own hometown of Kimball, Minnesota, pop. 700. Take this quiz and find out which of my characters would be your Green Lake BFF.

(I tried my darnedest to embed this sucker, but in the end, it’s going to take you temporarily to another site. Then come back and post your results, okay? I wanna know!)

Green Lake BFF Quiz

Learn more about Truest and pre-order your copy at jackieleasommers.com/truest.

7 Weeks Till Truest: Green Lake Summer Fashions

t7Truest features three very different main characters. Silas, West, and Laurel each have their own sense of style (or lack thereof!).

Check it out.

Silas fashion

Unreliable Narrator, Skreened | Holden Caulfield, DFTBA | Had Me at Bacon, IceCreamTees

West fashion

Pink Pintucked, ModCloth | Tube Dress, Nordstrom

Laurel fashion

Pajamas, Victoria’s Secret | Denim Vest, Madewell | Gathered Dress, Modcloth | Eyeshadow, Milani

Learn more about Truest and pre-order your copy at jackieleasommers.com/truest.

8 Weeks Till Truest: A Truest Playlist


Eight weeks to go! Fill your summer with the sounds of Truest!

And don’t miss below the playlist, where I share about a few of these songs and their influence on my story!


“Anchor of My Soul” by Josh Garrels | One night, on his roof, Silas plays a hymn on his guitar. I imagine that song is “The Old Rugged Cross” or else this gem by Josh Garrels (which I suppose can be a modern hymn).

“Carmina Burana: O Fortuna” played by the London Philharmonic Orchestra | I played this song in my high school band, and the melody– soft and haunting at first, then demanding and desperate later– made my blood pound. I loved that I got to work it into Truest when Silas, West, Laurel, and Whit go to see a dance performance in the Twin Cities.

“Mexico” by Vocal Few | This song inspired me to write a fun, fluffy scene that I didn’t imagine would be included in the story. I wrote it just for fun! But later, my editor asked for a sweet, everything’s-okay-now scene, and I immediately knew I’d found a home for that scene I’d written. When you read the book, you’ll absolutely know what scene this song inspired.

“Janie” by Further Seems Forever | I imagine this song playing as the summer ends in Green Lake. It’s so sad.

“Try Again” by Keane | No other song (except maybe “Find You” by Zedd) epitomizes Truest to me. If my book were a movie, this song would play as the credits started to roll.

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

alacrity truest

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!

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!

(More) Truest Around the Web!

Great review from Brooks Editorial here! “You guys, this book ripped me apart. (In good ways, like all the best books do.)” 

The view from Goodreads:

“Beautifully written and intriguing! Westlin’s story was one I couldn’t put down and didn’t want to end. And, Silas Hart just might be the most enigmatic and enchanting book boy since Augustus Waters.”

“Beyond her beautiful characters and amusing dialogue, Sommers’ story is relevant and raw in the best possible way. Sommers embraces some of life’s greatest and most difficult questions with untold grace and poise.”

“Truest is not your average teenage love story, it’s so much more. Both thought provoking and amusing, Silas and West will take you through a summer filled with crazy antics, friendship, love, sorrow, forgiveness, and growth. Don’t miss this wonderful trip to Green Lake.”

“If love and pain are two sides of the same coin, Truest is the mint. Sommers perfectly & precariously balances the two with masterful storytelling, rich symbolism, and gutwrenching honesty.”

“It was romantic, sad, moving, hopeful, and haunting all in one.”

“The characters are repeatable, dynamic, and make you want to move to Green Lake to discuss faith, love, and loss with your new friends.”

Truest 3d jpg

Big Questions

red shoe truest

What’s your worldview? I know that’s a big question. In Truest, the characters think of life in terms of Story.

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Click to tweet: In @jackieleawrites’s novel #Truest, the characters think of life in terms of Story. #worldview #deepthoughts #YAlit