I'm so excited to get to host debut author Denise Jaden today, author of the brand spanking, on the shelf as of Tuesday, LOSING FAITH!
I had the priviledge of meeting Denise when I went to NYC for Book Expo America and landed at the Class of 2K10 event at Books of Wonder! Denise read a bit from LOSING FAITH, and I was hooked. Then I found out she only lives a couple of hours away from me. So I not only gained a friend, I gained a YA neighbor!
Please help me congratulate Denise on her debut...all about sisters and secrets, and a story I can't wait to chat with Denise about!
After Brie’s sister, Faith, dies in a mysterious accident, Brie uncovers her sister’s role in a dark and twisted religious cult…a cult that now wants Brie as a member.
Where did the story idea originate?
I wanted to write an unusual story about sisters, and I came up with the idea of one sister realizing how little she really knew her sister after her death. From there, I talked it through with my critique partner until I discovered Faith’s secrets. I lost a close friend of my own when I was sixteen, and I think that also, in part, was inspiration for the story.
Did it come all at once, or in layers?
Each layer of the mystery was revealed to me during different drafts of the book. I didn’t fully realize who many of the characters were, and their motivations, until quite late in the process. I was surprised when a brand new character showed up on the scene and took over every scene she was in. Tessa has grown to be one of my favorite characters.
What would you say is your biggest inspiration?
My biggest inspiration is God. I believe He’s the original author of creativity, and telling stories just feels like part of what I was made to do. In the natural realm, Laurie Halse Anderson and Sara Zarr are big inspirations.
I heard you wrote this during NaNoWriMo! Would you tell us about it?
I wrote the first draft of LOSING FAITH in 21 days during NaNoWriMo 2007. I did work for a couple of months prior to that on an outline, and spent about nine months afterward revising before selling it. I couldn’t say exactly how many drafts it went through because some revisions were only partial revisions, but I’d say at least five major revisions on my own and then another big one, plus two minor ones, with my editor. During my own revisions, the mystery became more involved and less predictable. When revising with my editor, I worked on bringing the reader into Brie’s head more and slowing down the course of the mystery reveal to make her grieving more authentic.
How did your own experiences play into the story of LOSING FAITH?
Losing a close friend as a teen was something I came back to regularly during the writing of LOSING FAITH. I also think that my own process to find my inner strength was something I looked at a lot while working on Brie’s story. Facing hard life situations has shown me the strength that’s really in me, as it did for Brie.
Any secrets in life or lit?
I’m a professional Polynesian dancer, and I once lost my grass skirt on stage while performing in my home town in front of, among others, my parents’ friends.
Eeek! What a secret. Thanks so much, Denise, for sharing your story secrets with us!
NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY:
To celebrate the launch of LOSING FAITH, Denise is holding a treasure hunt for signed copies...and we are an official treasure chest! Hooray! All you have to do for a chance to win is comment below one one of the following: a) why you want to read this book, b) whether faith has had a role in your life, or c) what you find fascinating about sibling relationships.
Comments are open until Monday at Midnight PST!