Sunday, August 13, 2017

Author Chat: Jessica Taylor (A MAP FOR WRECKED GIRLS)

"Jessica Taylor adores atmospheric settings, dangerous girls, and characters who sneak out late at night. She lives in Northern California, not far from San Francisco, with a law degree she isn’t using, one dog, and many teetering towers of books.

A MAP FOR WRECKED GIRLS, her first young adult contemporary thriller and a Junior Library Guild Selection, will be published August 15, 2017 by Dial Books for Young Readers/Penguin Random House."

(text and photo taken from Taylor's 

Have you always wanted to write a young adult novel?

Definitely. YA is what I gravitate toward most as a reader. I don't know if I should admit this part, but oh well . . . I usually like teens more than adults. Most of the teens I meet have educated themselves about social issues, they're committed to making a difference in the world, they're sensitive to other people's feelings, and they understand that words matter and can make a difference. Most adults I know could learn a lot from the teens in their lives.

Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what do you listen to?

Yes, I love creating playlists for my books. Lately I've been listening to a lot of Lord Heron and Alvvays while writing.

Are you more of a coffee or a tea person when writing?

I'm totally a Peet's Coffee girl. Their Honey Macchiato with almond milk is my go-to writing drink.

How did you select the names of your characters?

Henri (Henrietta) was the first character I named. I knew I wanted the sisters to be named after too great aunts, but I also wanted the names to feel fresh and not stand out too much in the contemporary story. To name Emma, I spent hours combing through census records from the 1920s to find a name that would complement Henri well.

Did you have a writing schedule while you worked on A Map for Wrecked Girls? What did your average day of writing look like?  

While working on Map, I had another job, so I would sit down every evening and write one chapter. I finished that first rough draft relatively quickly because by the time I got off work, I had thought about the coming scenes and knew exactly what to write.

What is one underrated book you would like to recommend to everyone?

This isn't necessarily underrated because every review I've checked out is deservingly incredible, but I'd love to see more people aware that The Rattled Bones by S.M. Parker will be out August 22nd. I loved this book! The main character, Rilla Brae, works on a lobster fishing boat. She's a tough-as-nails protagonist who makes my little feminist heart beat faster. It's also a deliciously creepy and frightening ghost story that explores a historically accurate attempt at cultural erasure. It's such an important book. Everyone should read it!

About Taylor's upcoming release, which will hit shelves on August 15:  

We sat at the edge of the ocean—my sister Henri and I—inches apart but not touching at all. We'd been so sure someone would find us by now.

Emma had always orbited Henri, her fierce, magnetic queen bee of an older sister, and the two had always been best friends. Until something happened that wrecked them.

I'd trusted Henri more than I'd trusted myself. Wherever she told me to go, I'd follow.
Then the unthinkable occurs—a watery nightmare off the dazzling coast. The girls wash up on shore, stranded. Their only companion is Alex, a troubled boy agonizing over his own secrets. Trapped in this gorgeous hell, Emma and Alex fall together as Emma and Henri fall catastrophically apart.

For the first time, I was afraid we'd die on this shore.

To find their way home, the sisters must find their way back to each other. But there’s no map for this—or anything. Can they survive the unearthing of the past and the upheaval of the present? (taken from