Just few more days until RIPPLE hit the shelves and author Heather Smith Meloche is here today on the blog for a short interview. I’ve been looking forward to read Ripple ever since I read Heather’s award-winning short story in verse, HIM and Crosswire Bend. I so like Heather’s style and I know I’m going to love Ripple just like her other works. Heather style is lyrical and evocative. When I first read HIM, I can easily picture her characters and feel all the emotions and conflicts they went through. For a short story, Him really is an affecting read. So just imagine what Heather can do in a full length novel like Ripple.
Ripple promise an intense, dark and beautiful story. If you haven’t pre-ordered your copy yet you may still have time to grab it online, or you can grab an eCopy and it will download automatically at midnight of release date.
And for those who are not familiar yet with this intriguing novel, scroll down to learn more about Ripple and the author, Heather Smith Meloche.
Also, don’t forget to check the super generous giveaway at the bottom for a chance to win one of the six seriously awesome prizes. Enjoy reading the interview.
Interview with Heather Smith Meloche
I have read from your website that writing has always been a life-long ambition to you. And now you are releasing your first full length novel. How does it feel?
It’s pretty whacked-out surreal! I’ve known for a long time that my contribution to this world is writing, and in all the different types of writing I’ve done – for TV, for advertising, for newsprint – I think writing for kids and young adults is the most challenging to succeed in. But I’ve realized the key to breaking into the children’s publishing business is to keep working on craft, keep submitting, and don’t give up. It might take a couple years or a couple decades, but if you read everything you can in the genre and age level you’re writing in, conference and network and take workshops to keep growing as a writer, eventually you’ll get there. But now that I’m here, it’s a really serious head-in-the-clouds feeling.
Can you tell us some details about your road to publication? What were the timescales involved between the first draft and the novel being accepted for publication?
RIPPLE has gone through three versions and endless revision over a span of 7 years. When it wasn’t selling as a novel at the time I first wrote it back in 2007, I revised it, relying on my poetry writing background. In 2011, as the short story in verse “HIM,” it won the Katherine Paterson Prize for Young Adult and Children’s Writing through VCFA’s HUNGER MOUNTAIN. Then agents started contacting me, which was amazing!! I chose Heather Schroeder, who at the time was with ICM, and now owns her own agency, Compass Talent. I didn’t sign a contract for RIPPLE until 2014, after I’d rewritten it entirely again. The process required a lot of patience, a ton of encouragement from friends and family, and a belief that, while the story might not resonate with everyone, it could really touch and speak to someone. That pushed me to not give up.
Ripple can be consider a dark book as you are dealing with some difficult themes – as a writer, do you feel a sense of responsibility? If so, how do you deal with this?
When I wrote the first version of the book back in 2007, it dealt with the same themes as the current novel, including intimacy addiction. The comments I got from editors and agents were that they loved the writing and thought it was a great story, but they couldn’t sell it because it was too “edgy.” That has completely changed now thanks to Stephanie Meyers’ TWILIGHT series and Suzanne Collins with THE HUNGER GAMES series. And while some think that sex and violence should be kept out of books for teens, I think books should represent the true young adult experience. Stories that reflect what young adults feel and go through help them evaluate the world and manage their emotions surrounding some of the tougher issues they may face or hear about. So my responsibility – and joy — as a writer is to assess, discover, and write what’s real and true as well as I can.
As a writer, do you feel like you are writing yourself or pieces of yourself in Ripple? Why?
RIPPLE is based on my own experience as a young adult as well as my husband’s, so it’s very personal. Like Tessa, I grew up in an alcoholic home and my biological father rarely communicated. I turned to boys to make myself feel confident and loved, even though most of those experiences were hollow and purely physical for the guys. Likewise, my husband is very much my male character, Jack, who dealt with an alcoholic and, most likely, mentally ill mother. With a genius I.Q., my husband was pretty good at punking, pranking, and all-around screwing with authority and very rarely getting caught. It was his release. When we met each other our senior year of high school, we could see ourselves in each other and could talk about the tough things we were living with that others didn’t quite understand. I worked hard to build that into Jack and Tessa, which, ultimately, takes RIPPLE beyond being a dark book and into being a hopeful one.
If Tessa and Jack could say one thing to you about the direction of their story, what would they say?
This is a great question. First, I think they’d say, “You put us through hell, you nasty writer!” But then, with regard to who they ultimately want to be, I think they’d say, “Let us take it slow. Let us just enjoy and learn about the world and each other. And let us find internal peace and confidence before we choose to give ourselves completely to the other.”
I have read your short stories in verse, HIM and Crosswire Bend. They are really good. Is there a chance for you to write a full novel in verse?
I’m so thrilled you sought those out to read them! Thank you!! My heart is with poetry, and I will absolutely write a novel in verse one day. Most of my short stories are in verse. RIPPLE was originally written in verse, but I felt that Tessa’s character worked that way while Jack’s didn’t. So I turned it into prose with a little poetic feel. But Ellen Hopkins’s work, Julie Berry’s mind-blowing poetic prose in ALL THE TRUTH THAT’S IN ME, Lisa Schroeder’s work, and Sonya Sones’ novels all are among my favorites. I love how the fewest, most well-chosen words can often create the biggest emotional response from the reader and for me, as the writer, while I’m writing them.
Are you working on any project right now? What we should expect from you in the near future?
I have a fantasy novel I’ve been working on with my agent for a while that I am just finishing up. I would never have said I was a fantasy writer, but then, at 3 a.m. one morning, this girl in this very isolated society started talking to me. And she wouldn’t shut up. So I got up and sat down to write her out of my head. When I was done with that little writing stint, I’d ended up with over 80 pages. I figured that girl was telling me it needed to be a book, and she made it very clear that she was going to keep nagging until I made it into a novel!
Thank you so much Heather for answering all my questions above. I’m excited to read Ripple when it releases in few days and also looking forward for your fantasy novel.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Heather Smith Meloche has had the honor of winning the Katherine Paterson Prize and the Writer’s Digest National Competition for her children’s/Young Adult writing. She lives with her family in Michigan and spends her days sampling a wide variety of chocolate, letting her dogs in and out constantly, and writing and reading as much as she can.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Author: Heather Smith Meloche
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 20, 2016
Format: Hardcover, eBook
When their too-adult lives lead them down self-destructive paths, these broken teens find a way to heal in this YA novel perfect for fans of Ellen Hopkins.
With her impossible-to-please grandmother on her back about college and her disapproving step-dad watching her every move, Tessa would do anything to escape the pressure-cooker she calls home. So she finds a shot of much-needed power and confidence by hooking up with boys, even though it means cheating on her boyfriend. But when she’s finally caught red-handed, she’ll do anything she can to cover up what she’s done.
Jack is a prankster who bucks the system every chance he gets—each transgression getting riskier and riskier. He loves the thrill, and each adventure allows a little release because his smug smile and suave demeanor in the face of authority doesn’t make life at home with his mom any less tough. He tries to take care of her, but the truth is he’s powerless in the face of her fragile mental health. So he copes in his own way, by defacing public property and pulling elaborate pranks, though he knows in the end this’ll only screw up his life even more.
As they both try not to let their self-destructive patterns get the best of them, Tessa and Jack gravitate toward one another, discovering the best parts of themselves in the process. An honest portrayal of the urges that drive us and finding the strength to overcome them.
What’s up for Grab?
- 3 copies of Ripple by Heather Smith Meloche
- 3 sets of swag pack (includes bookmark, postcard, pins, and lip balm)
- Open to US residents only
- There will be six (6) winners. 1 for each copy of Ripple and 1 for each swag pack
- Winner will be chosen and announced by rafflecopter
- Winner will be contacted thru email & should response within 48 hours
- Ends October 1st, 2016
- Prizes will be sent by publisher and author
To enter fill out the rafflecopter form
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