It feels counterintuitive to write about my lowest point on the best day ever. Today! The release day of NO PLACE TO FALL!
Okay folks, let’s take a moment and let that sink in.
Are you smiling like I am?
Here it goes:
My lowest point came in the early winter of 2012. I’d signed with an agent only about seven months before that and we’d lightly shopped an upper middle grade manuscript. Though I got much praise, the novel was set in a post-apocalyptic world and the odds weren’t good for selling it. I requested we not send it out again and let me revise it and change the setting to an alternate world of some sort, as I didn’t want to burn all my chances.
The agent it seemed like it took me forever to sign with, sent me an email the following week expressing a change in circumstances and how, since we hadn’t sold anything together yet, it would be a good time to part ways.
I was crushed. Devastated. Had I done something wrong? Been too needy? Too obnoxious? I couldn’t take the email at face value and actually believe something was going on in the agent’s world. It surely had to be me. I crawled under the covers and gelled into a permanent state of fetal position. I felt like the biggest loser in loserdom. A real life, verifiable hack.
But the good thing about us writer types is we’re like those old toys, Weebles. We may wobble but we don’t fall down for long. Not when we have this drive inside.
I’d been true to the old adage of keep working, always be writing. And while that upper MG was out on submission, I was working on a contemporary YA about a western North Carolina girl who wants to sing on bigger stages. I’d mentioned this project to that let-me-go agent, but there’d never been any questions as to subject matter or sample pages. So, agentless once again, I kept writing. And I finished the manuscript. Revised it. And entered some pitch contests.
By July of 2012, I had a new (and fabulous) agent. By September of 2012 I had a book deal. And now, three full years after that darkest moment, I have a book on the shelves of Malaprops, TODAY, and a launch party to go to TONIGHT!!!!
So if you’re gelled into fetal position, be a Weeble. It’s okay to wobble, but it’s way more fun if you get back up.
Jaye Robin Brown, or Jro to her friends, lives and writes in the mountains north of Asheville, North Carolina. She is fond of horses, dogs, the absurd and the ironic. When not writing, you can find her in the art room of the high school where she teaches.
Her debut young adult novel, NO PLACE TO FALL, comes out in the fall of 2014 from Harper Teen. It’s about dreams, singing, friendship, love, betrayal, family, and mistakes. It’s also a love song to small town girls and mountain music, both of which shape the area that Jaye now calls home.
No Place To Fall – Harper Teen – Releases TODAY!
The Sky is Everywhere meets This lullaby in a poignant debut novel about family, friendships, and first romance.
“I was completely smitten.” Robin Constantine, author of The Promise of Amazing
“strikes a chord with the dreamer in all of us.” Megan Shepherd, author of The Madman’s Daughter & Her Dark Curiosity
“Debut author Brown is off to a wonderful start with authentic characters who speak in true voices. Amber could be the best friend you had in high school—she’s funny and moody and truthful and absolutely the real deal, and readers will clamor for another well-paced story featuring her and her friends.” ~School Library Journal Review
“Southern charm oozes off the page-the read is an enjoyable ride” ~ Kirkus Reviews
“Debut author Brown makes a small town in north carolina —where everyone knows everyone, and the outside world comes in via the appalachian trail hikers – feel real, but the heart of the story is amber , as she tries to find herself, love, and her voice.” – Publishers Weekly
Amber Vaughn is a good girl. She sings solos at church, babysits her nephew after school, and spends every Friday night hanging out at her best friend Devon’s house. It’s only when Amber goes exploring in the woods near her home, singing camp songs with the hikers she meets on the Appalachian Trail, that she feels free—and when the bigger world feels just a little bit more in reach.
When Amber learns about an audition at the North Carolina School of the Arts, she decides that her dream—to sing on bigger stages—could also be her ticket to a new life. Devon’s older (and unavailable) brother, Will, helps Amber prepare for her one chance to try out for the hypercompetitive arts school. But the more time Will and Amber spend together, the more complicated their relationship becomes . . . and Amber starts to wonder if she’s such a good girl, after all.
Then, in an afternoon, the bottom drops out of her family’s world—and Amber is faced with an impossible choice between her promise as an artist and the people she loves. Amber always thought she knew what a good girl would do. But between “right” and “wrong,” there’s a whole world of possibilities.