Picture drawn by Maggie Stiefvater, 2009. Header made by S.F. Robertson, 2010.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Blog Tour- The Truth Commission by Susan Juby

The Truth Commission by Susan Juby
"Open secrets are the heart of gossip -- the obvious things that no one is brave or tactless enough to ask. Except for Normandy Pale and her friends. They are juniors at a high school for artistsl, and have no fear. They are the Truth Commission. Then, one of their truth targets says to Normandy: “If you want to know about the truth, you might want to look a little closer to home.” This dryly funny, knife-sharp novel, written as "narrative nonfiction" by Normandy herself, features footnotes and illustrations."- summary from Amazon

As part of the Truth Commission blog tour, each participant is doing the Two Truths and a Lie game! Leave your guesses in the comments below and I'll reveal my Lie later this week when I post my review of The Truth Commission!

1) I have been at a signing where I met Sarah Dessen and stood in line with David Levithan and Melissa Walker.

2) I do not like bacon.

3) I love rollercoasters.

Good luck guessing!

And now, here's an interview with Susan:
1) How did you come up with the idea for The Truth Commission? Were you ever involved in a Truth Commission yourself?

I was working on another novel, and was brought up short when I realized that I was using big chunks of the personal story of someone close to me. I abandoned that book and began thinking about who owns true stories, and what that means for artists and writers and their friends and family members. That led naturally to The Truth Commission. I have not been involved in a formal truth commission or even an informal one. I do love to speculate about what may be going on behind the scenes in peoples’ lives. I like to say it’s because I’m a writer, but it’s also because I’m nosy. That said, I don’t want anyone poking into my business!

2) Two books are releasing this year from you- this and the sequel to Home to Woefield. Can you tell us about this other book?

Republic of Dirt is a follow-up to Home to Woefield as it’s known in the U.S. and The Woefield Poultry Collective as it’s known in Canada.

Republic takes place a couple of months after the first book ends. Our intrepid farmer, Prudence, an overly idealistic Brooklyn girl who has inherited a derelict plot of land named Woefield Farm, feels like she finally has things on track. Then she’s felled by a mysterious health condition.

Her motley crew of farm hands consisting of Earl, an elderly, reclusive bluegrass legend; Seth, an agoraphobic heavy-metal blogger in early recovery from alcoholism; and Sara, an 11-year-old girl with a flock of elite show poultry, struggle to keep things together without her.

Efforts are complicated by a renegade mule, attempts to turn a hideously ugly child’s playhouse into a high yield roadside farm stand, and an electrical station’s worth of crossed wires.

The book is told in four, first person voices and is basically about what happens when passions collide with pride and what it takes to save each other, our small part of the planet, and ourselves. I had a lot of fun writing the further adventures of Woefield Farm and its incompetent but endearing inhabitants.

3) What is your favorite Jelly Belly jelly bean flavor(s)? Or if you don't like those, do you have a favorite snack to have while writing, or as a reward for writing?

Excellent question! I’m not a Jelly Belly person. My vice is sour jujubes. And raspberry chocolate sticks. And Barbra’s Jalapeno Cheese Puffs. I should really cut back on my vices.

4) What are you currently reading, or are about to start? Any 2015 books you're excited about reading?

2015 is shaping up to be a terrific year for books. Books I’ve read and adored recently include The World Without Us by Robin Stevenson, Best Friends Through Eternity by Sylvia McNicoll, Mosquitoland by David Arnold and The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma. I’m excited to get my hands on All the Rage by Courtney Summers. And I’m extremely thrilled to be going on tour in May with Susin Nielsen, whose new book, We Are All Made of Molecules, is astonishingly touching and charming.

5) You teach creative writing at two different universities and also give workshops. What do you love about teaching, and is there a piece of advice you love to give to writers?

I now just teach at one school: Vancouver Island University. I’ve loved teaching since the first time I tried it when I was in grad school. I’m still surprised and quite thrilled to find myself a writer. Writing our stories is empowering. It’s also tough. Teaching writing involves conveying what I know about craft and giving writers the permission to go for it. Writing classes also help writers get connected. This can be a lonely business. We need all the community we can get. When a new writer finds her or his voice, it’s like magic.

My advice is to a) do whatever it takes to get the words down and b) push past your comfort zone. Don’t be polite in your creative writing! Surprise yourself and others.

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