How did you come to write this book and why?
Two factors combined to create the story. First, I read a news article about a bus accident that killed some students as they were returning from a school event. I wondered how a tragedy like that might affect the school. Would the students treat each other better? Would bullies even stop bullying because life is short and we never know what day may be our last? It reminded me of someone I knew from school that was ignored and bullied and I felt bad that I had never stood up for her or even talked to her. I actually tried to write a poem that was kind of an apology–what I would say to her now if given the chance. That was a fail! Instead I got the idea for a novel.
How do you think your book is unique compared to others with similar themes?
I tried not to go too dark with my subject matter. Taryn is depressed and grieving as the story opens, so I wanted her thoughts and behavior to be realistic without taking the reader down too low emotionally. I want my story to leave the YA reader with hope. Parents don’t have to worry about what their teenagers will find in my book…difficult topics, yes, but clean language and no sex or excessive violence.
What do you want your readers to come away with after reading your book?
Above all I want them to enjoy reading a good book. I want them to love Taryn and love the story. Anything else is a bonus, really, except I should mention HOPE again, definitely HOPE.