Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Interview with young adult author Cecily Wolfe

YA author Cecily Wolfe joins me today to chat about her new teen realistic fiction, That Night.

Ceci Wolfe writes whatever her characters tell her to write. A Harvest of Stars is realistic fiction about two teens dealing with abuse in a small Kentucky town. Throne of Grace is the first in a series of historical inspirational romances set in beautiful turn of the century Newport, Rhode Island. Reckless Treasure is a contemporary drama/romance retelling of a little-studied Henry James classic. That Night is about teens dealing with the heroin overdose death of a close friend. 

Ceci's stories have been published (under a different name) in a variety of literary journals.

Welcome, Ceci. Please tell us about your current release.
The official blurb: Drug overdoses don't happen to girls with good grades and athletic prowess, with longtime friends and a devoted boyfriend. Or do they?

When high school seniors Cassidy and Sarah, along with Kayla's boyfriend Paul, discover their best friend Kayla unconscious at a party, the idea that they have lost her to a heroin overdose is unbelievable. She didn't use drugs, except the pain medicine prescribed for a soccer injury, and she had no reason to accept any from a stranger. The month that follows her death is filled with anxiety, sadness, frustration, and questions. Answers won't bring Kayla back, however, so as Cass and Sarah struggle with the insensitive but predictable behavior of parents, classmates, and teachers, Paul falls into a depression that leads him down a dangerous path. With Kayla's younger sister Mia in mind, the three of them work towards forging ahead without the girl who has held them together since elementary school.

What inspired you to write this book?
I was inspired by my friend’s family’s recent loss of several young adults to heroin overdoses, which are a big problem in our area. I spent a lot of time talking to family members about their grief, the reaction of the community, and how their friends, classmates, and work colleagues acted in light of the knowledge that the deaths were heroin-related. It was very sad, but an honest look at the reality of what is happening.

Excerpt from That Night:
(this is from Kayla’s boyfriend Paul’s perspective, only days after her death)

It was the first day of their senior year, and if Saturday hadn’t happened, he would be standing in front of the coffee maker right now, stretching, then searching for a travel mug that wasn’t dirty to use for his second cup after his first had been gulped on the way to the bathroom before a shower. Kayla never cared how he dressed, and he had always enjoyed the advantage he had over so many other boys with girlfriends who either hassled them for what they wore or bought clothes for them and dressed them like dolls. Still, he knew that she had a preference for green to bring out the color in his eyes (is that too romantic, she would ask, as they whispered together, foreheads touching, their lips just about to meet), and had several shirts in the hues she preferred. He would be thinking, as always, of their future, of the next few months as they completed high school, decided on colleges, as he fought with himself over how to tell her that he wanted to marry her as soon as she would agree to it. Was it too much, he would worry, to bring that up? It wasn’t as if he didn’t want her to earn a degree and enjoy her time in college, find a career she loved, do what made her happy - he just wanted to be there with her along the way. He wanted to be a part of what it was that made her happy, and never let her forget how much she was a part of his own happiness. His mother often mentioned her concern that he and Kayla were too close, too young to be together so much. He just figured she was jealous that there was another woman in his life besides her, and while he was sorry that her own marriage hadn’t worked out, he had his own life, his own love, now. He had, until Saturday night.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I am working on a short story that is part of an anthology coming out this fall – a story that is an unpublished scene from my 2016 novella, A Harvest of Stars. I am also working on book two of my Cliff Walk Courtships series, Crown of Beauty, which is due out in October.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I was 8 when I started writing, and I haven’t looked back!

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I wish I could write full-time, but I’m a librarian, which is close. I write early in the morning, late at night, on weekends and holidays. A half hour here and there – it all adds up.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I eat Cocoa Puffs. Well, I eat them when I’m not writing, too, so maybe that’s not writing related. It just seems like I always have a bowl of them in front of me when I’m writing.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a ballerina or a writer. So – my hips expanded, but I kept writing.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Thank you for reading! I am happy to answer questions and discuss my stories and characters with readers, especially on Goodreads.

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Thanks for being here today, Ceci!

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