Exciting news! I’m starting a new book-giveaway series. I’ll be chatting with authors who write about single parent and blended families. Please join me.
First up, I’m thrilled to introduce Erin Jade Lange (above), the 35-year-old Arizona author of Dead Ends.
Dead Ends (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2013) is a poignant story that pulled me right in. I couldn’t let go.
16-year-old Dane Washington is a bully who takes out his anger on anyone who dares to look at him the wrong way. Until Billy D. comes along.
Billy D. has Down syndrome. The boys bond over their missing fathers. Dane doesn’t know who his father is. Billy’s mother kicked his father out and then moved across the country. Together, the two boys decide to track down Billy’s father.
Q: You once said, “When we write a story, we put a little piece of ourselves into it….” What inspired you to write Dead Ends?
Erin Jade Lange: Unlike my characters, I was raised by two parents who are still married to this day. Maybe it’s because I came from that “nuclear family” model. I am so interested in exploring different family dynamics. As a kid, seeing the impact of divorce on my friends, I became almost phobic about it.
My parents can attest, I would break down crying at the word “divorce.” It was foreign to me, and therefore frightening. The piece of me that I put into Dead Ends was my curiosity about single parents, rather than my personal experience.
Q: When you’re not writing, you’re a TV producer?…
Erin Jade Lange: I am in charge of a local evening newscast. That involves a lot of tasks, but a big part of the job is writing. I write facts all day, and often those facts inspire my fiction. In the case of Dead Ends, I wrote the manuscript while we were going through the Recession, so I set the book against the backdrop of a poor economy.
Q: What’s your writing process like? I loved your personal “version of Scrivener post” on your Facebook page!
Erin Jade Lange: Ha! I’m glad you liked that. I’ve tried to use Scrivener’s virtual bulletin board, but I find I prefer the real-life version. Usually, my outlines are a very messy stream-of-consciousness that I keep in a word document. But when that stream gets so messy I can’t follow it, I will print it out and cut it up with scissors, then pin all the pieces to a board and move them around. It’s time-consuming, but it works for me.
Q: I heard you got married around the same time that Dead Ends was coming out. What was THAT like?
Erin Jade Lange: It was way too crazy. Planning a wedding is practically a full-time job, so during the 18 months I was engaged, I hardly wrote a word of new material. All of my normal writing time was devoted to editing and launching Dead Ends (and of course, going to work every day!) It’s been nice to settle back in to my normal life.
Q: And you have a forthcoming novel, called Rebel Bully Geek Pariah?
Erin Jade Lange: I don’t want to say too much, since it still has a lot of editing ahead, but I will say it is kind of Breakfast Club on wheels, with a side of thriller!
Erin is generously giving away one autographed copy of Dead Ends to one of my readers!
To enter the contest, simply leave a comment here before midnight PST on Friday, April 4.
P.S. If you have book suggestions, I’m all ears. I’m a big fan of young adult and middle grade novels.
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