Today I'm posting an interview with friend and fellow writer, Denise Jaden, whose YA novel Losing Faith came out from Simon Pulse in September. Denise and I met online, as members of Critique Circle, a worldwide collaborative of writers at all stages of expertise critiquing and supporting one another's work.
PN: Please give a two sentence introduction to your book.
DJ: Losing Faith is about sixteen year old Brie, who loses her sister Faith in a tragic fall from a cliff. Through the bizarre and devastating process ofmourning, Brie realizes some of the things about Faith's final night just don't add up.
What were the main themes you wanted to deal with in writing Losing Faith?
I didn't go into writing with a planned theme in mind, but I definitelythink that certain themes emerged - finding strength within yourself; getting to know people before it's too late; finding true friends - to name a few.
Your character Brie is afraid of heights, and her sister dies in a fall. Do you have any fears that you consider irrational?
I'm also afraid of heights, but perhaps not to the same degree as Brie. I can't think of any other irrational fears (or maybe I just don't see them as irrational!)
What made you want to write about a cult? Do you know anyone you feel has been "lost" to a cult?
I don't know anyone personally who has been lost to a cult. The cult, for me, was never the important part of the story. The story was about two sisters and the gaps and secrets between them. The cult just happened to be one of the secrets that emerged in the writing.
Tell us about a discouraging moment in your progress with this book andhow you overcame it.
When advance copies of Losing Faith started to go out, I felt a certainamount of discouragement at the non-reaction at first. It gave me thefeeling that all of my heart-wrenching work meant...nothing.
I usually pick myself up from discouragement by talking to other writers.There is a great deal of perspective to be found in those who have gone before.
What do you hope young readers will come away with after reading your book?
I hope that readers would take away a renewed sense of inner strength, and maybe a drive to find answers to their big questions in life.
Can you tell us about one or two authors or books you admire and why?
I think Laurie Halse Anderson is brilliant, both in her writing and how she approaches life. I also really admire Tara Kelly for her honesty in her writing and in what can be a brutal world of publishing.
What is the best way for readers to buy your books?
I'm a big fan of independent bookstores. My book is available through all the big bookstore chains and through many online venues, but given the choice, I'd say go on down to your local indie and ask if they have Losing Faith or can bring it in.
Are you working on something new?
I'm working on another YA novel called Appetite For Beauty. It's about a cheeky and forthright girl who discovers a dangerous, self-destructive side in her sister, and has to decide between helping her sister and a powerful and unfamiliar desire to become appealing to a mysterious boy.
To see a book trailer for Losing Faith, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSGh1f8w4Z0