Hi bibliovores! Welcome to the 2016 Debut Authors Bash. Today, I'll be hosting Julie Buxbaum, author of Tell Me Three Things!
Alyssa: Hi Julie! Thanks for joining me today! And congratulations on becoming a New York Times Bestselling author, with Tell Me Three Things! How does it feel to have your YA debut on that list?
Julie: Thank you! It was ridiculously exciting. When my editor called to tell me, I cried. Like a baby. It was a little embarrassing. But though Tell Me Three Things is my YA debut, it’s not my first novel. I have two adult book out, and so I’ve been writing and part of the publishing community for a long time. And so it was particularly wonderful and validating to have this book, which feels deeply personal to me, make the List!
Alyssa: Well-deserved, lady! Did you always plan for Tell Me Three Things to be a standalone novel?
Julie: Yes. I don’t think it would have been fair to not reveal the identity of SN in this book, and force readers to wait to find out. As a reader, I always find those sorts of endings frustrating and also I felt like I’d tortured my main character enough. It would have been cruel to keep Jessie from the truth. That’s not to say I may never revisit these characters again--who knows what the future holds--but the book was definitely written as a standalone.
Alyssa: Were you able to give your input on what you wanted to see in the cover? I know authors don’t get much say in covers. Your book’s cover is so perfect for the story!
Julie: Thanks so much! I love, love, love this cover. There was a previous cover that I liked, but did not feel nearly as passionately about, that almost ended up on the book, and at the last minute, I got an email from my editor saying, “We’ve decided to go in a different direction and we hope you like it!” attaching this final cover. And I was so happy, I sent about five million emojis back. I wish I could say the idea to put waffles on it was mine, but it wasn’t. It was all the designer’s. His name is Ray Shappell and he rocks.
Alyssa: And how about the title – was this the original title you had for the story?
Julie: Nope. The book was called Somebody Nobody for a while, and then one day in the shower it hit me that it should really be titled Tell Me Three Things. I pitched it to my editor and agent, and luckily they loved it as much as I did. It just felt right for the story.
Alyssa: What is one message that you’d love young readers to take away from Tell Me Three Things?
Julie: If just one or two teenagers see their own feelings of isolation or loss or heartbreak reflected in Jessie’s story and find comfort in the fact that they are not alone, then I will be happy. This book was very much written for sixteen year old me, who was grieving the death of my mom and didn’t have any books to turn to that mirrored my own experiences. And it was very much written for all the figurative sixteen year old mes that are out there now.
Alyssa: What’s another 2016 YA contemporary debut novel that you’ve really enjoyed?
Julie: I loved Jeff Zentner’s debut The Serpent King which is a beautiful contemporary coming of age story.
Alyssa: Do you have plans for more YA books? Contemporary? Anything related to Tell Me Three Things?
Julie: My next book is another standalone YA contemporary and it is set for release in Spring of 2017 and is currently titled What To Say Next. It is my favorite thing I’ve ever written, so I’m particularly terrified for it to come out in the world.
Alyssa: That sounds awesome! I'll definitely be on the lookout for it next year. And that is it from me! Thank you again for doing the interview, Julie!
Julie: Thank YOU so much!!!
About the Author:
Julie Buxbaum is the New York Times best selling author of Tell Me Three Things, her young adult debut, and the critically acclaimed novels The Opposite of Love and After You. Her work has been translated into twenty-five languages. Julie’s writing has appeared in various publications, including The New York Times. She is a former lawyer and graduate of Harvard Law School and lives in Los Angeles with her husband, two young children, and an immortal goldfish. Visit Julie online at www.juliebuxbaum.com and follow @juliebux on Twitter.
About the Book:
Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: April 5, 2016
Summary (from Goodreads):
Everything about Jessie is wrong. At least, that’s what it feels like during her first week of junior year at her new ultra-intimidating prep school in Los Angeles. Just when she’s thinking about hightailing it back to Chicago, she gets an email from a person calling themselves Somebody/Nobody (SN for short), offering to help her navigate the wilds of Wood Valley High School. Is it an elaborate hoax? Or can she rely on SN for some much-needed help?
It’s been barely two years since her mother’s death, and because her father eloped with a woman he met online, Jessie has been forced to move across the country to live with her stepmonster and her pretentious teenage son.
In a leap of faith—or an act of complete desperation—Jessie begins to rely on SN, and SN quickly becomes her lifeline and closest ally. Jessie can’t help wanting to meet SN in person. But are some mysteries better left unsolved?