Today I have a wonderful guest, Jamie Ayres, author of “18 Things”. You may have seen this book mentioned a few times on Twitter and Facebook. I even posted about it back in July of 2012. Today, Jamie is going to tell us why she wrote 18 Things, so sit back, kick your feet up and enjoy.
What Made Me Write . . .
The idea first came to me in the summer of 2009. My cousin’s son was diagnosed with leukemia, and that got me thinking of a cancer story and bucket lists. But when I sat down to write, that’s not what came out. Instead, a tale about a 16-year-old girl in turmoil kind of vomited onto the pages (probably more autobiographical than I intended, so it’s good it never got published. That, and it sucked. I use it to punish ‘bad’ students now;-)
After book #1 got rejected enough, I sat down to write my cancer story, but an interesting paranormal twist came about, and the bucket story never got written into that story either. Just like the first, book #2 got rejected.
Well, third time’s a charm! Originally, 18 Things was a bucket list cancer story, until people pointed out that’d already been done with The Bucket List movie and the Nicholas Sparks novel, A Walk to Remember *slaps forehead* And nobody was looking for a simple contemporary love story at the time. Everyone wanted the next “high concept” novel . . . they all said to look what was viral on the web. It needed to have a UNIQUE premise.
Jane Austen meets Fight Club
Amish Vampire novels
Football players in the Glee Club
An editor told me my writing was solid, so I should take what I wrote, (which had already been ‘done’) and put a twist on the existing idea. I knew I wanted a faith story that said something unique. With my new spin, I felt like I had an issue that wasn’t dealt with a lot in the YA publishing world . . . death and faith going hand in hand. When someone dies, especially someone young, most people cry out “Why God?” I wanted to write a story in which a teen experienced loss and was consumed with guilt, and how the loss inspired her to live freely. But I didn’t want to tie everything up in a neat bow at the end.
My childhood Catholic roots, my obsession with the television show Lost, my need for radical hope even in the face of death, and my belief that we’ll always end up with the person we’re supposed to, became the ultimate catalyst for 18 Things as it is today. Oh, but I may have given away too much already . . . you’ll just have to read 18 Things to see what I’m talking about. 🙂
Jamie Ayres writes young adult paranormal love stories by night and teaches very young adults as a public school teacher by day. When not at home on her laptop or at school, she can often be found at a local book store grabbing random children and reading to them. So far, she has not been arrested for this. She lives in southwest Florida with her prince charming, two children (sometimes three based on how Mr. Ayres is acting), and a basset hound. She spent her youthful summers in Grand Haven, Michigan and this setting provided the inspiration for her debut novel, 18 Things. She really does have grandmothers named Olga and Gay but unlike her heroine, she’s thankfully not named after either one of them. She loves lazy pajama days, the first page of a good book, stupid funny movies, and sharing stories with fantastic people like you. Visit her website at www.jamieayres.com.
Olga Gay Worontzoff thinks her biggest problems are an awful name (after her grandmothers of course) and not attending prom with Conner, her best friend and secret crush since kindergarten.
Then Conner is killed in a freak boating accident and Olga feels responsible. When she downs an entire bottle of pills to deal with the emotional pain, her parents force her into counseling. There, her therapist writes a prescription in the form of a life list titled 18 Things. Eighteen quests to complete the year of her eighteenth birthday.
All she has to do is fire-walk, try out for the cheerleading squad, break a world record, and err . . . go on her first date. Good thing Nate, a new hottie in town, enters her life with perfect timing. He brings the fun factor to her list and helps her discover the beauty and strength inside herself, then complicates things by falling in love with her.
But there’s more to Olga’s quests than meets the eye and when her therapist reveals a terrifying secret, her world is shaken.
There’s only one thing she knows for certain: her choices won’t just affect her future, but all eternity.
18 Things is available here:
Add 18 Things to your TBR list!
8 thoughts on ““18 Things””
Fascinating premise! I always hear to write something that hasn’t been done and this post is an excellent reminder. 🙂
Great post! I love hearing about a writer’s journey. Congrats Jamie! 🙂 It’s on my to read list.
Sounds like a wonderful book Jamie! All the best! 🙂
I need someone to explain to me what a “high concept” story is . . . Lordy.
Thanks for having me over again, Jenny!!! Miss you sooo much~hugs
Miss you, too. We have to get together soon
This sounds wonderful. It’s already on my kindle. I just have to find enough time to read it now!