Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Love Blind's release & Why I'm Grateful for Jolene

Hooray! Hooray! Hooray! The day for LOVE BLIND's release is finally here. The journey of this book has been a long one, and if you'd like to read more about it, you can do that here. Suffice it to say, we first wrote this book in a series of back and forth emails and a Word doc in 2011 before I'd ever met my collaboration partner Jolene Perry in real life. 

A few things you need to know about the book: 
1. This is probably the "lightest" book I've ever written. (Though fair warning, everything is relative and I'm me so don't think it's all kittens and unicorns. SLJ said, "it hits hard, exploring issues such as depression, homosexuality, and loss of virginity." But truthfully, it's quite a bit lighter than my other books. Oh Christa. )
2. I wrote Kyle's part, Jolene wrote Hailey's part. We wrote a lot on top of each other's parts. It was messy and fun and Jolene is the easiest collaboration partner a person could ask for.
3. This is the closest to a "happily ever after" that I've ever gotten. It was not really meant to be a love story when we started off. If you ever meet me in real life, I'll tell you how much this book changed from start to finish. (Fair warning again: "love story" is a relative term for me and I doubt anyone will be doing any swooning. I'm not really the swoon kind of writer. Poor Jolene. She writes a lot of swoony guys, and this time I made it next to impossible for her. Heh.)

And now I will make a list of my absolute favorite things about Jolene and why I'm so lucky to have her in my life:

1. Every time I call her she's in the midst of doing some project for someone else. I have never known anyone who is so willing to step in and lend a hand to whatever endeavor. 
I have no idea what Jo is doing here but this is not unusual behavior.
 2. Jolene is one of probably 4 liberals in her town in Alaska. She's married to a dude who prosecutes sex crimes and they are a real-deal love story. Also, while I'm wandering around Chicago walking my dog and taking my kids to the library, Jo and her husband are doing things like snow machining. Or whatever. ALASKA!
This is Jo & her husband. They live in this place with woods!
3. Jolene writes love stories, but more importantly Jolene writes about girls who make bad choices and who have a million reasons why they should probably give up and then they figure out a way to keep going. This is her central project as a writer and if you know anything about Jolene's relationship with her daughter, you know that lifting that girl up and making her believe that anything/everything is possible is Jo's central project in life.

I mean, for real, aren't they the cutest?
4. Jolene is one of the most chatty and warm people I have ever met. We have made our way to SCBWI in LA for several years because it's the halfway point between Alaska and Chicago and Jo manages to draw in everyone. She is hilarious and infectious and incredibly creative and easy to talk to. And probably the most important of all, she is up for whatever nonsense I am dropping at her feet.
With Jolene at the Bean when she decided to drop her life and finally come meet me here. 
So here's the book description:

Shy high schooler Kyle Jamieson and Hailey Bosler, a musician with degenerative blindness, team up to tackle a bucket list of greatest fears in this compelling novel that explores what it means to take risks.

It starts with a list of fears. Stupid things really. Things that Hailey shouldn t worry about, wouldn t worry about if she didn t wake up every morning with the world a little more blurry. Unable to see her two moms clearly. Unable to read the music for her guitar. One step closer to losing the things she cares about the most. 

For a while, the only thing that keeps Hailey moving forward is the feeling she gets when she crosses something off the list. Then she meets Kyle. He mumbles when he talks at all and listens to music to drown out his thoughts. He's loaded down with fears, too. So Hailey talks him into making his own list. 

Together, they stumble into an odd friendship, helping each other tackle one after another of their biggest fears. But fate and timing can change everything. And sometimes facing your worst fear makes you realize you had nothing to lose after all.

And here's where you can buy it: IndieBound, Barnes and Noble, Amazon