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Thursday, September 09, 2010

Story Secrets: LOSING FAITH by Denise Jaden + giveaway!

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!

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!


  1. Wow just reading what the story was about gave me chills! I think sibling relationships have the power to be the strongest relationships of all. My little sister is both my hero and best friend. And THAT is what fascinates me. :)

  2. great giveaway, really want to read this book because I never heard of the book and author before, makes me curious to read it! Faith isn't playing a big part in my life, I am more of an atheist. Siblings are always fascinating, many people say it is rare that I am a twin with my brother (but for me it is just normal!)

  3. All the questions are cool, so I'm answering them all! :) I would love to read this book because it sounds amazing and I've been seeing it everywhere. Faith has had a HUGE impact in my life. I believe in a relationship with God rather than religion, and that has made all the difference to me. I think faith is something we have to fight for sometimes since circumstances make it VERY easy to lose. I think the dynamic of siblings is so ... interesting ... My sister is someone I always loved but always had a sense of rivalry with as well. Now that we're both adults, though, it seems that our relationship has grown so much better.

    Thanks for being a part of this giveaway! :)

  4. Q. What you find fascinating about sibling relationships.

    The fact that siblings, no matter how annoying they can be, they really do pull through in the end. Maybe not all the time, there will definitely be discord, but really, the ups and downs of siblingdom is what makes it so beautiful and something to be cherished.

    Jaden, I really like the idea of Losing Faith. Until just now, I realised that it feels somewhat reminiscent of Tell Me a Secret-- in that at its core, it is ABOUT siblings, but that really isn't the case at all; it is about hope and faith and trying to get to that stage of acceptance and inner peace (at least I think so, from what I've read of LF).

    Cass :)

  5. I would love to read this book. I believe that sibling relationships are very important and can have such a deep and genuine effect with impacting someone. I know that its because its someone your close to and can pretty much relate to, and know matter what, they will all ways be there for you no matter what, 365 days, 24/7. It is very important to have a great sibling relationship it helps you learn things and you can grow from it. I really hope I get a chance to read this book.

  6. Thanks for the contest! Please enter me if this is International.
    1. why you want to read this book?
    The story seems wonderful and different. It seems realistic and insightful.
    2. what you find fascinating about sibling relationships.
    You can hate your siblings so much at times that you wish they never existed...but at the same time you know that you can never live without them.


  7. Great interview. And thanks for the giveaway!

    I want to read this book because I keep hearing amazing things about it. Plus, it sounds like a great, original contemporary read. Religious cults? Must be made of win!


  8. Great interview!
    I do have faith in my life. It plays a very important role.

    Sibling relationships are so complex!!! I know I have an older brother and a younger brother and all of our relationships are vastly different!

    dukesangel002 AT yahoo DOT com

  9. Faith plays a huge role in my life; it's who I am, and my belief in God shapes my every decision and thought. It's made me a stronger person, and without faith I don't know what I would do.

    As for sibling relationships, I think I find them interesting because I don't have any siblings. I've heard great things about this book, and I can't wait to pick it up!

  10. There is nothing stronger than a sister/sister relationship. I have 3 sisters. We range in age from 40-25. I cannot imagine what my life would be like with out any of my sisters.

    I really want to read this book because it sounds like it will be very intense. When someone truly finds themself because of a series of events, it shows me that no matter what you encounter in life, there is always a way. Denise sounds like a very promising author.

    Thank you for the chance to win!


  11. I want to read this book cos I read the sample chapter available online and now I have to know what happens after that. Plus, this book's got such an interesting premise.

    Also, I can't comment on sibling relationships in general but I got a younger brother and he's my best friend. There are times when he drives me up the wall, but heck, I can't live without him.



  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

  13. I think it's interesting how sibling relationships vary so much between families. Some sisters or brothers are extremely close and share a lot, others are practically estranged! It's an interesting dynamic that isn't mimicked by any other relationship (parents, friends, etc.) in our lives. Also, a sibling relationship is usually the longest relationship a person will have in their life.

    A Tapestry of Words

  14. I'm ready to read this book! Faith is life. I don't think it has to only do with religion though I am religious. It takes faith to step out of the front door :)

    I have really been trying to help my children be friends with each other. I want to see those relationships last through the years.

  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. I have a lot of siblings and they are the most important people to me, as well as my parents of course. I really don't know how I would survive without them-we're that close. I would hate to be an only child.


    Count me in please if this is international.

  17. Thanks for taking the time to interview Denise. It was interesting to know the steps she took to write Losing Faith.

    I too relate to Brie's story. I lost a friend, my best friend when I was 14. I didn't know how to deal with it. I didn't cry at first, but eventually I did when I moved and changed of school. Everything reminded me of her. And the worst thing was to keep my grieve a secret. Those moments I ached to have someone by my side, no matter if that someone said nothing at all, just to have someone by my side was enough to help me.

    Having strength and people who cared about you is what help us moving on. :)

    Thanks for sharing this with us, Denise.

  18. It's nice to have insight to the creative process. Great questions and answers.

    I have to say, though, I just about lost it when I got to the grass skirt debacle. Snorted water out my nose! Thanks!

  19. What an interesting discussion! Thanks, everyone, for all the kind words, and thanks so much, Holly, for hosting me!!

  20. I've heard such wonderful things about this book. I'm so excited that it's a NaNo book too. Totally cool.
    Sibling relationships are so integral to who we are. Along with our parents, they are our first relationships. From cradle to grave, they are the longest lasting relationships (generally speaking) that a person will have in their lives.
    Lisa ~ YA Literature Lover

  21. I love sister stories and adding in such a mystery at the same time makes it sound like a great book. Thanks for sharing!

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  22. Thanks for the wonderful interview! I'm more and more excited to read this book :D

    As someone who has 3 brothers (no sisters though), sibling relationships really do fascinate me because they can be so different between different siblings. I'm closest to my 16 year old brother who is 6 years younger than me. I have an older brother who is only 3 years my senior, but we have next to nothing in common.

    Sibling relationships are so complicated too. Because they are probably one of the closest relationships a person will ever have, but there's always so much that isn't said and that you don't know. And there's always that love there, but in my family, there's so much tension too. With 3 boys, there was/still is a lot of fighting. Siblings can act like they hate each other at times, but they'll fight tooth and nail to protect one another from others. It's kind of incredible really.

  23. Denise, you lost your skirt?! Yikes! (I hope it's an I-can-laugh-about-it-now kind of thing....)

    No need to enter me in the giveaway, Holly, cuz I have my copies of LF already. :) But I'll answer a question anyway! Faith plays a huge role in my life--it grounds me, & helps me put both the good and difficult parts of life into perspective, as part of a bigger picture. My faith is what gives me hope.

    I enjoyed the interview. Thanks, Denise & Holly!

  24. What I found fascinating about sibling relationships is even though you may have your rough patches or even though you yell at them or they get you in trouble, they're always there for you. Yeah, my brother gets on my nerves, but we can also have fun together. Sibling relationships are like no other because you can not LIKE them, but you'll always LOVE them :)

  25. As the middle kid with an older sister and a younger brother, sibling relationships really fascinate me. I have a 5 year difference with my brother and my sister is 6 years my senior, yet I get along equally with both of them! Faith is a big part of my life!

  26. Great giveaway. I find the push and pull of sibling relationships so interesting. Because they're the people who know where you come from the most, they're also the most dear and least dear to you

  27. Thanks for this awesome giveaway! I think that sibling relationships are just sooo..... weird! I mean you love them then you hate them! But you just can't hate them because, well I think that there's just a strong bond/relationship between siblings! And believe me, I know about siblings! I'm the middle child in my family! So I am basically left out all of the time, because my mom just favors my little brother, while my dad enjoys talking to my big sister(mostly because she is way, way more mature than me lol) Even though I get jealous of them, I still love them! I mean they totally understand me!.........I just love siblings and my family of course lol! :)


  28. Great interview! I want to read this book because I've heard good things about it and I love a good emotional read to get me crying. :)


  29. Thanks for hosting the giveaway. I want to read this book because I've always been fascinated with cults and their ability to attract smart, articulate people to their ranks.

  30. What I find most fascinating about my sibling relationships, and sibling relationships in general, is that while we are often the people that are the most mean to each other and know the best ways to push each others buttons, we also act as the best pillars of support to one another.

  31. I love the dynamics of a sibling relationship because of the competition, love-hate relationship and the shared dysfunctional history.

  32. Yay for Nanowrimo! I actually did the 2009 one, and I'm definitely going to do it again this year :)

    The reason I want to read this book is because it has grown on me. I first saw the cover a few months back, but never read the summary. Maybe a week after I saw the cover, I looked into it. The story sounded good, but it didn't pull me in. But as the book kept showing up here and there, I realized that it was a book that I really wanted to get my hands on. I don't even know why my thoughts on this book has changed...maybe it was because Denise is so awesome!


  33. I want to read Losing Faith because i'm interested to read about the cult activities in the book. I can't recall ever reading about that before.

  34. I have a younger sister and older sister, so I think sibling relationships are so very interesting. My older sister and I didn't get along until she got married and had a little girl. My older sister can't stand my younger sister, who is still in high school, but I really quite understand where she is coming from and we have a lot more in common than you'd think with a 10 year gap. :)

    Can't wait to read Losing Faith!

  35. What I find intriguing about sibling relationships is how they work over all. How hard times can bring some siblings closer together or tear them apart. How one sibling can hate and want nothing to do with her younger sibling but all her younger sibling wants is for her to love and acknowledge her. Where as some siblings both hate or love each other. Very complex.

    Really been wanting to read Losing Faith!


  36. Faith has always played a huge part in my life, and I enjoy reading about others who struggle with their faith.

    Some people seem so sure about their faith. When I was like that, I was a smug brat. I'd rather be humble, and confused, and always questioning. I guess that's NOT faith, then, huh?

    See what I mean about struggling? This is why I enjoy reading about it.

  37. Ahh...sibling relationships. I always used to think that my sister and I would never see eye to eye (we are 10 years apart) but as I got older, I realized how similar we really were. Sometimes I think that siblings have some kind of invisible thread that binds them (I'm not just talking about similar DNA here). It's like a way of communicating without words. A look, a laugh, a smile, it's like finding your soulmate...minus the romance of course!

    clderwee at gmail dot com