Thanks to Rachel of A Perfection Called Books for inviting me to join this blog tour. Meet The Newbies is focused on spotlighting 2016 debut authors. For my part of the tour, I get to host the lovely Jessica Taylor! She wrote Wandering Wild, a story filled with travel and magical realism.
First we have a quick bio, Jessica likens herself to a character from Friends.
First Day of School: May 3, 2016
Homeroom: Sky Pony Press
Grade: Magical Realism
Extracurricular Activities: Traveling, reading in sunny spots, playing Blackjack, and organizing my bookshelves
Favorite Class: Recess
Favorite Quote/Motto: “Don’t be afraid of death; be afraid of an unlived life. You don’t have tolive forever, you just have to live.” Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting
Next is my interview questions!
Magical realism can be hard to define because the books we call “magical realism” in kid lit today wouldn’t exactly pass the test in a college literature class. My favorite definition of magical realism is this: A story that is not decidedly supernatural but can possibly encompass the supernatural. Basically, Wandering Wild is set in a contemporary world and has some elements that could possibly be magical, but the existence of magic is up to the reader’s interpretation.
(Aentee’s Note: I love that Jessica stated the magical elements if up to someone’s interpretation, it’s why I love this genre so much)
Ooh, this is a fun one. In Wandering Wild, the main character, Tal, dreams of traveling to Africa. In the spirit of Tal, I’ll choose a faraway destination where my battered Chevy—I mean my sedan—can’t travel. I’ve always dreamed of visiting Spain. The culture is so rich and vibrant, and I think I remember just enough high-school Spanish to not embarrass myself.
(Aentee’s Note: I would LOVE to go to Spain myself, I find the language beautiful and the sights gorgeous. My partner also came top of his Spanish class in high school so he can help me out?)
From a writer’s standpoint, unrequited love is more interesting to write than love that’s reciprocated. It’s raw and achy—the kind of feelings I love to write about.
Sibling relationships in YA are my favorite to read and write. Friends come and go throughout a lifetime, and call me a cynic, but most romantic relationships that start in high school don’t last past college. Relationships with siblings, on the other hand, usually last for a lifetime. Wandering Wild isn’t my only novel about siblings—my next is a dark story about two sisters. It will be published by Dial Books for Young Readers/Penguin and it’s called A Map for Lost Girls.
(Aentee’s Note: A Map For Lost Girls sound freaking fantastic! I can’t wait, I love sisters especially when the book is dark!)
When Tal faces being sold as a bride, she never accepts the possibility that it might come to pass. Tal is very much the master of her own destiny. While writing, I feel like Tal and I were working hard together to fight her way out of the marriage. So, I can’t really say there were too many dark moments.
Keep hope alive. I’ve had some dark times over the last few years, but I didn’t anticipate how quickly things can turn around in publishing.
WANDERING WILD (Launching May 2, 2016)
“I believe in possibility. Of magic, of omens, of compasses, of love. Some of it’s a little bit true.”
Sixteen-year-old Tal is a Wanderer—a grifter whose life is built around the sound of wheels on the road, the customs of her camp, and the artful scams that keep her fed. With her brother, Wen, by her side, it’s the only life she’s ever known. It’s the only one she’s ever needed.
Then in a sleepy Southern town, the queen of cons picks the wrong mark when she meets Spencer Sway—the clean-cut Socially Secured boy who ends up hustling her instead of the other way around. For the first time, she sees a reason to stay. As her obligations to the camp begin to feel like a prison sentence, the pull to leave custom behind has never been so strong.
But the Wanderers live by signs, and the signs all say that Tal and Spencer will end only in heartache and disaster. Is a chance at freedom worth almost certain destruction?
Wandering Wild is an achingly romantic journey of tradition and self-discovery—a magical debut.
I adore sleepy southern settings, unrequited love, and characters who sneak out late at night. After graduating from law school, I realized I’d rather write my own stories than read dusty law books. I live in Northern California with a sweet-yet-spoiled dog and several teetering towers of books.
Wandering Wild, a young adult magical realism novel, is slated for spring 2016 release from Sky Pony Press. A Map for Lost Girls, a young adult contemporary novel, will launch in spring of 2018 from Dial Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin.
Open Internationally! One account per person. If you’re under 18 you should get your parent’s permission first.
The prize? 1 copy of a preorder OR finished copy of any debut novel featured on Meet The Newbies – as long as Book Depository ships to you.