Jaye Robin Brown, or Jro to her friends, lives and writes in the mountains north of Asheville, North Carolina. She’s in awe of magic and beauty, and is a stalwart champion for the underdog, both human and other. When she’s not writing, you can find her in the art room of the high school where she teaches, or on her small farm hanging out with her dogs, cats, and horses.
Tell me as much as you can about yourself in only one sentence.
Laughter-loving introvert with a crazy level love for my two dogs, a need for daily creativity and hot baths, and a constant craving for salad and sweets almost simultaneously.
Share a favorite quote or small excerpt from your latest work.
This is Will, from WILL’S STORY, talking about playing the banjo. “My fingers fly across the strings and the sweet metallic sound weaves in and out of the dulcet sound of Jack’s guitar. I’m speed and motion. I’m pure unadulterated energy. When we wind up and up until the moment we drop all sound, I think this has got to be the next best thing to sex.”
Do you have any irrational fears that you can completely justify?
I have an irrational fear of driving on even the slightest bit of snow or ice. A single flake can set me off. And even though I have 2 4WD vehicles, I will still stay home on any and every snow day. I completely justify this by the fact I grew up in South Alabama where it only snowed twice in my ENTIRE childhood.
Tell me something interesting or unexpected about your current writing project:
I was surprised that Will’s dad, the judge, is not only a musician like his sons, but he’s a baker as well! I didn’t realize either of those things when I wrote No PLACE TO FALL. It only came out when I wrote the novella.
Do you have a “day” job or career outside of writing?
I’m a high school art teacher. It’s incredibly awesome and I feel so fortunate to do two things that I love, although sometimes it’s hard to keep a good balance between my two jobs and still be able to have any sort of social life. But then again, since I’m an introvert, it works out okay.
- Coffee, tea, soda, energy drinks, or I’m so undercaffeinated it’s frightening!
- Coffee or Lady Grey tea!
- Light side, dark side, or tragically caught on the edge of both worlds?
- Tragically caught in both worlds!
- E-reader, print book, audiobook, or a combination?
- Print book all the way!
- Cat person, dog person, or I forgot to feed my fish, and it died?
- Woof! Woof!
Oh, I wanna dance with somebody! Would you dance with me? If so, pick a style of dance you like and the best song to go with it:
Avril Lavigne’s Girlfriend (the one with Lil Mama) is the absolute best dance song when you need to up your energy! My style? Jumping around like crazy with absolutely no training and completely and fully the white girl that I am. I have no shame about my semi-rhythmic abilities and absolutely love a good dance party.
What do you do when you aren’t writing?
I’m in the middle of getting ready to sell my farm and move to a location closer to Asheville, so if I’m not painting, cleaning, sorting, I’m obsessing on Pinterest about what I want the new place to be like. I also love going to hear live music with friends, hiking these beautiful mountains, and spending time with my horses on the trails.
Do you stick to one genre or switch it up? Which genre scares you the most and why?
So far only my YA contemporary has been published. But I’ve tinkered with some Middle Grade, written a picture book or two, and have a YA sci-fi in the half written files. The genre that scares me the most? Probably historical because of the accurate research involved.
Predict the future: Yours or mine, I’m flexible. Just make it interesting.
After a dream trip to the Easter Islands where you fall in love with an itinerant biologist, the two of you will set up a home in a treehouse in Bora Bora. There you will write the ecological thriller that will land you a seven-figure deal with a big publishing house here in the States. You will use the money to start a charity for wayward monkeys and live happily ever after.
B.A. Wilson: You have no idea how much I hope this will come true, except replace monkeys with Great Danes! 🙂
What’s your biggest writing fear, and how do you manage it?
That I’ll run out of ideas. Haven’t really found a way to manage that fear, but I try to read the news, watch documentaries, listen to my students, all with an ear toward latching on to a big idea when it comes my way. Elizabeth Gilbert talks about this idea pool that floats around us in her book Big Magic and how if we’re not ready for the idea when it comes that it may float on to someone who is. So I try to trust in that process as well. You also have to keep going out and living life because if you stay in a cloistered bubble, what do you have to bring to your stories?
Aliens have conquered Earth and are forcing you to give up either reading or writing. What’s it going to be? (And no cheating. If you choose writing, you can’t read your own work after writing it.)
I’d have to give up writing and keep reading. I wouldn’t be a writer without it.
What has been your best moment as a writer, so far, and how did it make you feel?
Probably when I got my box of ARCs for No Place To Fall and held my story in my hands in book form. It was incredibly surreal and exciting. Second best? Having my students read it and tell me their opinions.
Here’s your chance to ask me any one question about myself, and whatever you decide to ask, I promise to answer honestly, with full disclosure:
How do you read so much??? And what are your favorite 2015 contemporaries (mine is not in the 2015 pool) you’ve read?
B.A. Wilson: You opened a can of worms, and with my promise of full disclosure, the answer to your first question could be lengthy, so I’ll start by listing some of my favorite 2015 contemporaries, in case you give up before getting to the end.
Favorite 2015 Contemporaries: (Linked to my reviews, in case you want/need explanation)
(In looking these up, I realized how many 2015 novels I still haven’t read, which gave me serious TBR guilt, for which I blame Jaye Robin Brown)
Now, I’ll answer: How do you read so much?
(For reference, I’ve read 123 books in 2016, so far: List on Goodreads)
- I love stories to an extreme.
- Addictive personality
- A deep desire to experience life in all the ways I never can or never will
- I believe reading helps my writing far more than just writing helps it.
- I’m single, live in a very small town where almost nothing ever happens, and I don’t fit in all that well.
- I can’t seem to help preferring books to people, in most instances.
- I feel like I owe it to myself, and my writing, to be well-read in the category I most want to write in (which is YA, though I can’t conform to one genre).
- I am a previous middle school librarian, turned public library director, turned public library services consultant. To be good at my job(s), especially as a middle school librarian, it was important to read and stay current, so I could talk books with my students. And love books with them. And despair over books with them.
- Due to my career, I’ve been really active in professional library organizations, which lead to committee work on state book awards committees, which require an extreme amount of reading.
- When I almost sold my house (just under 2 years ago), I turned off my cable and internet. When the sale fell through at the last moment, I opted not to turn back on my services (hoping the house would sell again fast, which it did not). I read so much more now that I wonder if I should leave cable off forever, though I also love the stories told on TV.
- Lately, I listen to a ton of audiobooks (thank you, Audible), but I’m not patient and like information to be delivered fast. Audiobook readers speak so painfully slow I zone out at a normal speed. However, I crank them up to double speed, and I pay far better attention (sounds frantic for 30 seconds, then my brain adjusts). A side perk, is that I finish books in half the time. YA novels are often in that 8-12 hour range, which is only 4-6 hours at double speed.
- 2.5 hours of commute plus 1.5 hours of lunch and breaks = 4 hours of reading time during “work” day.
- I often continue listening to my book after I arrive home at night, as I work on things around the house, so I can basically consume a book in a work day.
- I like to see if I can do things that seem impossible, which was how the reading 50 books in a month came about in January. That created a serious reading habit, and I use my time differently now and find more ways to squeeze in reading. However, I read a lot less when brainstorming and drafting, as I need more head space for that.
Thanks, Jaye Robin Brown for the chat! I enjoyed learning more about you.
Read on for more information about No Place to Fall and Will’s Story, and don’t miss the giveaways at the end of the post!
No Place to Fall by Jaye Robin Brown
Summary: 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.
Will’s Story: A No Place to Fall Novella by Jaye Robin Brown
Published April 5th 2016 by Epic Reads Impulse
Summary: Will McKinney is a bad boy. At least, he used to be. After nearly getting arrested for some poor decisions involving prescription drugs, Will has been trying to turn over a new leaf. Well, it’s that or suffer the wrath of his father, the judge. Will’s starting to get his life in Sevenmile, North Carolina, in order. He’s applying to colleges. He’s dating the most popular girl at school. And he recently discovered a love of playing the banjo and performing in front of a crowd. But it’s that same love of music that draws him to Amber Vaughn, his younger teenage brother’s best friend. Now Will finds himself wondering if he just might really be a bad guy because even though he’s got a girlfriend, he can’t stop thinking about Amber.
Will’s Story is a companion novella to Jaye Robin Brown’s young adult debut, No Place to Fall, and perfect for fans of her novel and newcomers alike.
(please note that one is specifically US ONLY and the other INTL ONLY)
– US ONLY-
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*Giveaways run from Monday April 11 – Monday April 25.*