Sunday, September 23, 2012

Author Spotlight: Corrine Jackson of If I Lie

Many of you might know that I recently had the pleasure of reading If I Lie by Corrine Jackson. I absolutely loved this novel to pieces. It was emotional, heartfelt and full of awesome. To read my review and check out the give-away details on the book you can go HERE.
But today, I am extremely excited to share my recent interview with Corrine Jackson where I asked her a few questions about her novel as well as her upcoming projects.  It was such a pleasure to get to interact with Corrine and I hope you enjoy her responses as much as I did. Take a look!

What beautiful and emotionally charged novel! I truly enjoyed If I Lie from beginning to end. Can you tell me how you came up with the concept for your story?
I began writing IF I LIE with the idea of a girl who was getting condemned for a secret she was keeping to protect someone she loved. I liked the idea of exploring honor and loyalty. Initially, I thought it would be a reimagining of The Scarlet Letter. Then, the story began to shift and change, and I ran with it. You can still see a few references to my original idea in there. I mention Hester Prynne once, plus Carey’s name means light and Blake’s name means dark. At one point, they were going to be my take on Reverend Dimmesdale and Chillingsworth and their names came from that idea.

I loved how you weaved in George's character into the novel and included The Veteran's History Project. I have family that has served in the Armed forces so that means a ton to me. So I'm curious, what inspired this aspect of the story? Are you involved in this project?
Once I decided that the military would play a key role in IF I LIE, I set out on a mission to research every aspect of that life that I could. I spent hours watching video interviews and documentaries, and reading books about war and the military. As I was researching, I came across the Veterans History Project website. It proved invaluable and life changing. I learned what war and military life is like from the men and women who have experienced it firsthand. More than that, though, the stories left their print on me. I thought about my uncle, a Vietnam veteran who was changed by his experiences, and I wished that I could have recorded his story for the project. I had a bittersweet yearning for others to know about the project, and maybe be inspired to interview a veteran in their life. It’s a mark of respect to honor a soldier by listening to their story, and so George became an advocate and staunch supporter of the Veterans History Project. You can learn more about the project here and download a guide on how to create an entry for the project. I plan to interview one of my uncles for the project when I see him (he lives in Mexico now), and the Veterans History Project has been very supportive of IF I LIE. In fact, it’s going to be a featured book in their booth at the National Book Festival this weekend. That blows my mind.

I really fell for Quinn's character (great name BTW XD). She truly shows her integrity and strength throughout the book. If I could give a Great Character with Awesome Character Award she'd win it hands down. Is she modeled after anyone in your life, or a complete figment of your imagination?
Quinn comes from my imagination. The first scene that I wrote was the moment she walks into school for the first time, knowing that everyone has turned against her. She thinks about how she could clear her name, but refuses to do it out of loyalty to someone she loves. That was it. That was her. She already had this awesome voice full of empathy and anger and sadness. Those things about her never changed. I do think there are pieces of me in her. My family loves those moments when they see me in the text. There’s a part where Quinn says, “Freaking awesome” and I say that all that time. My sister loved that.

I have to say, it wasn't until the end of the novel that I started to feel compassion for Blake and Carey especially considering what Quinn had to face on her own. Was that intentional? How difficult was it to craft these two characters?
I think that the compassion you feel is a reflection of what Quinn feels. In the beginning, she is so full of anger and hurt towards these two boys. The story is told in a really close first-person POV, and it makes sense that you would align more closely with her. As she grows and changes, she discovers compassion for the boys, and I think that’s when the reader begins to feel it, too. I will say that it was difficult to craft Blake and Carey. Quinn goes through a lot for them, and I had to take care that they were three-dimensional because it would be so easy to vilify them.

It's great to see your book is getting an awesome response and positive reaction from readers. It was on my wish list for quite some time and it was so worth the wait. How did you feel to have your book finally hit the shelves? Were you expecting such a great response?
A few days before the official launch a couple of people tweeted that they’d spotted IF I LIE at Barnes and Noble already. My sister had come up to help me get ready for my launch party, and we immediately dropped everything to drive out to our local B&N. On the way there, she was giving me this pep talk. Like “if it’s not there, don’t stress, but if it is there play it cool.” So we got to the bookstore and headed to the teen section. My sister spotted it first and gasped so loudly that everyone turned to stare. Under my breath, I whispered calmly, “Way to play it cool.” I was surprised that I wasn’t more emotional when I saw it on the shelf. Then I opened my mouth to tell my sister something, and suddenly I sobbed one of those awkward hiccupping sobs. It was so unexpected that I started to giggle, and we were both crying. Honestly, it’s surreal and there are so many emotions that it’s hard to process it all. I’m glad I had my sister to share it with. We laughed about our reactions all day.

As for the positive reaction, it’s hard to gauge that kind of thing when you’re the author. I hoped for the best, and I worried that people wouldn’t love IF I LIE. I’ve been really touched by many of the reviews, and I’ve had some very warm, heartfelt notes from soldiers or the family members of soldiers. The main comment I see over and over is that people were moved to tears, and that’s a huge compliment to an author. Some readers have said that they want to get involved with the Veterans History Project, and I’m very proud of that.

So finally, do you have any future projects in the works that you can share with us?
My romantasy, TOUCHED, will be out on November 27. I recently turned in the edits on the sequel to TOUCHED, and I’m now working on the third book in that trilogy. I’m also working on a new contemporary. I have a lot of irons in the fire. :)

Thank you so much Corrine Jackson for taking the time to answer our questions! We can't wait to get our hands on your new book Touched.

Author Biography
Corrine Jackson (pronounced Cor-een) believes flip flops are appropriate footwear for any occasion, but concedes the need for boots since moving to San Francisco. She loves collecting degrees, including a BA and MA in English, and very soon, an MFA in Creative Writing. Her YA contemporary book, IF I LIE, will be published by Simon Pulse in September 2012. And TOUCHED, the first book in her paranormal romance trilogy will be published by Kensington in December 2012.

Find Corrine Jackson
Blog  /  Twitter  /  Goodreads

To learn more about Corrine Jackson's next novel, check this out!
Touched by Corrine Jackson
Publication Date: November 27, 2012
Publisher: Kensington Teen
Pre-order: Amazon  / Barnes & Noble

Remy O’Malley heals people with touch—but every injury she cures becomes her own. Living in a household with an abusive stepfather, she has healed untold numbers of broken bones, burns,and bruises. And then one night her stepfather goes too far.

Being sent to live with her estranged father offers a clean start and she is eager to take it. Enter Asher Blackwell. Once a Protector of Healers, Asher sacrificed his senses to become immortal. Only by killing a Healer can a Protector recover their human senses. Falling in love is against the rules between these two enemies. Because Remy has the power to make Protectors human again, and when they find out, they’ll becoming for her—if Asher doesn’t kill her first.

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