April 24, 2012

Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf: Author Interview {Teen Book Scene}


Do you draw any influence of your previous small town life in your writing?

Absolutely I drew from small town life when I wrote BREAKING BEAUTIFUL. I grew up in the tiny town of Wilford, Idaho which is a “suburb” of the small town of St. Anthony, Idaho. There are good things and bad things about growing up in a small town and I hope I touched on both in the story. I loved it, but I know it’s hard for someone to be new in a town where everyone has gone to school together since preschool and you’re often judged by family reputation as much as what you do (sometimes more so). For me, Pacific Cliffs is as much a character as anyone in the story. I used the setting to help facilitate Allie’s journey to finding where she belonged. I’m grateful to have lived in a place where people care about and help each other because everyone knows everyone. I love having a place to go back to where there are people who “knew me when,” and where I will always have a place to call home.

What do you love about writing YA?

I love writing YA because I love teens and all the great things that come with that part of growing up. Writing YA is like revisiting a really fun, crazy, exciting, and emotionally charged part of my life. There were so many possibilities ahead as well as opportunities to really mess things up. In writing YA, the plot twists are endless.

I also like to write for teens because I would like to be some small influence for good in the lives of the teens around me (including my own kids). Through my stories and characters I want to help them realize that they can overcome their problems, they can believe in themselves, they can make a difference, and even after bad things happen, life can move on and be really good again.

Did you base any characters (personality or physically) from Breaking Beautiful on others in your life?

The character of Andrew is based on a boy named Jason that I worked with when I was seventeen. The book is dedicated to him (along with my husband). Jason has cerebral palsy and is more handicapped then Andrew in the story, but through this character, I wanted to show a boy with limited abilities, but an unlimited spirit, like Jason. I also gave Andrew Jason’s beautiful brown eyes and infectious giggle because those are two of my favorite things about Jason.

What would you like readers to 'get' from your story?

Bad things happen, but there is a way out, there are people to help you, even when you don’t think there is. I also want to raise awareness of dating violence and abuse.

What is your favorite book from 2011?

That’s hard I read a lot of great books last year, but I’m going to have to go with Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez. When I picked it up I wasn’t sure it would be a subject I would be interested in, but I absolutely loved it! There was so much there; the love story, the conflict with her mother, the coming to terms with her violin teacher, her relationship with her step-father, her relationship with her grandparents. I felt like I was introduced to a whole new world, and the conflict and build up to the end was amazing. Wow! And as my daughter put it, you feel yourself falling in love with Jeremy along with Carmen. I would definitely recommend that book to anyone.

Thanks for stopping by Jennifer!!

Publisher: Walker & Company (April 24, 2012)
ARC: 368 Pages
Genre: YA Contemporary/Realistic Fiction
Jennifer Shaw Wolf's Website | Blog | Twitter
From Goodreads. Allie lost everything the night her boyfriend, Trip, died in a horrible car accident—including her memory of the event. As their small town mourns his death, Allie is afraid to remember because doing so means delving into what she’s kept hidden for so long: the horrible reality of their abusive relationship.

When the police reopen the investigation, it casts suspicion on Allie and her best friend, Blake, especially as their budding romance raises eyebrows around town. Allie knows she must tell the truth. Can she reach deep enough to remember that night so she can finally break free? Debut writer Jennifer Shaw Wolf takes readers on an emotional ride through the murky waters of love, shame, and, ultimately, forgiveness.

1 comment:

  1. I can tell from the way you talk about it that the small-town setting is very evocative in this book. Sounds great!

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