Thursday, March 10, 2016

Ontario Teen Book Fest Blog Tour: Author Spotlight on Jay Asher

Event Information:

When: March 12, 2016, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Where: Colony High School 
3850 East Riverside Drive, Ontario, California 91761
This event is a completely free and un-ticketed event!

You can visit the website, to see the full schedule of the day by visiting the official Ontario Teen Book Fest Website. Books, Posters & T-Shirts WILL be available for purchase at the event, available from Once Upon A Time Bookstore :)   

About Jay Asher:

Except for six months in Wyoming, I've lived my entire life in California. It was during those six months in Sheridan, Wyoming that I came up with the idea for Thirteen Reasons Why. I've worked at an independent bookstore, a chain bookstore, an outlet bookstore, and two public libraries. Before those jobs, I worked at a shoe store, a trophy shop, and an airline. My very first writing award earned me a free fruit smoothie every day for a year. I've won a lot of awards since then, but that one tasted the best!

Thirteen Reasons Why

Jay Asher

Oct. 18, 2007


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GR's Summary:

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier. 

On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list. 

Through Hannah and Clay's dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.

The Future of Us

Jay Asher

Nov. 21, 2011


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GR's Summary:

It's 1996, and Josh and Emma have been neighbors their whole lives. They've been best friends almost as long—at least, up until last November, when Josh did something that changed everything. Things have been weird between them ever since, but when Josh's family gets a free AOL CD in the mail, his mom makes him bring it over so that Emma can install it on her new computer. When they sign on, they're automatically logged onto their Facebook pages. But Facebook hasn't been invented yet. And they're looking at themselves fifteen years in the future. 

By refreshing their pages, they learn that making different decisions now will affect the outcome of their lives later. And as they grapple with the ups and downs of what their futures hold, they're forced to confront what they're doing right—and wrong—in the present. 

What Light

Jay Asher

Release Date:
Oct. 11, 2016

Penguin Young Readers

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GR's Summary:

Penguin Young Readers told The Associated Press on Wednesday it would be publishing Jay Asher's "What Light," billed as a "contemporary romance" in northern California that features a Christmas tree lot. According to Penguin, Asher was inspired to write the book after reading about a family in Oregon with a Christmas tree lot.

Coming Soon!

Interview with Jay Asher:

Hi Mr. Asher :) Welcome to A Bookish Escape! We are so honored to have you here with us today. We hope to get to know you a little better, and we know that your other fans do too! Thanks for participating in this interview spotlight! We are looking forward to meeting you at the Ontario Teen Book Festival. Let's get started.

1. When did you know that you wanted to be a writer, and how old were you when you started writing? 

I began keeping notebooks of story ideas in junior high--for "eventual" books-but it wasn't until my first semester in college that I committed to becoming an author. I was going to school to become an elementary school teacher, and the pivotal class for me was called Children's Literature Appreciation. For my final project, I wrote the text to two picture books. From then on, my goal was to become published. 

2. Name 5 of your favorite authors and books written by them. 

These are all authors who've written several books I've loved, along with their book that had the most impact on me. 

Carolyn Macker - Vegan, Virgin, 
Valentine Chris Crutcher - Stotan! 
Jerry Spinelli - Stargirl 
Nathaniel Philbrick - Mayflower 
Ray Bradbury - The Halloween Tree 

3. What are some of your favorite hobbies besides writing? 

I have a five-year-old son, and my favorite thing to do is to encourage his interests. When I was a child, my interests were all over the place, and I know I've accomplished what I have because my parents let me explore all of my fascinations. To be able to do that for my own son is so rewarding. 

4. What inspired you to write Thirteen Reasons Why? Was there a message that you wanted to deliver to your readers? 

For several years, I had the idea of writing a book with an audiotour format, but I held out for the right story to tell that way. I didn't want it to be just a gimmick. Long before I came up with the idea behind that book, a close relative of mine survived a suicide attempt. Like the girl in my story, she was a junior in high school. Eventually, the audiotour structure and the subject matter merged, and I knew it could be a powerful way to discuss that issue. The main thing I wanted to say is simply--for good and for bad--we all affect each other in ways we can't fully anticipate. We can never know everything another person is dealing with, or has dealt with. 

5. What did you do to prepare for the writing of Thirteen Reasons Why? For example, did you do research on teen suicide, conduct interviews, etc? How did you prepare in giving the main character, Hannah Baker, an authentic female teen voice? 

The moment the idea for the book came to me, Hannah's voice was right there. I was a little unsure, though, because I had never written from a female perspective. My wife convinced me that I was doing it well, so my job was to just let the character speak. I consciously chose to not do much research while writing because I didn't want a character who already felt so real to become diluted. Even subconsciously, it would have been tempting to try and fit her character into statistics or studies. Based on my own teen years, and talking to a lot of friends about their teen years, I came up with her "reasons" and then wrote the story. Afterwards, I did do some research. That was kind of eerie because, just based on my own understanding, Hannah's character did follow the typical emotional trajectory of someone losing hope of things getting better. 

6. The Future of Us was a unique and fresh story. How did you come up with the concept to use Facebook as a means to see fifteen years into the future? 

When Carolyn Mackler and I decided to work together, we didn't know much about each other personally, but we loved each other's work. So we talked a lot about our high school years as a way to get to know each other. Eventually, we wondered how our lives would be different if we could see--as teens--where we had ended up in our thirties. We knew there were other stories that had characters glimpsing their futures, so that wasn't a new idea, but we also realized that so much of what you'd want to know is shared on Facebook. That gave us a very unique way into the story, as well as a fun way to look at social media through the eyes of people with no concept of what it's all about. 

7. The Future of Us was co-written with author Carolyn Mackler. Can you tell me about the collaboration process. Did each of you write a different character's point of view? 

We brainstormed absolutely everything together and took lots of notes throughout the process. Early on, we knew who the characters were and the general storyline, and then we would heavily discuss a few chapters ahead of wherever we were so the person in charge of writing the next chapter knew where it needed to end up. Then we alternated chapters. An early decision, though, was that we wanted it to sound like one person could have written it. We didn't want two competing voices. So after one of us wrote a chapter, we gave it to the other person. That person then had free reign to edit--or even rewrite--as much or little as they wanted. That chapter would go back and forth, with further edits, until we found a place where we both loved it. After finishing the book, we went through the same process, but editing the entire book one at a time. 

8. What does your next writing project look like? Or, what do you hope to write about in the future? 

My next book, What Light, will be published this October. It's a love story I've been working on for about a decade and I am so excited to finally see it come out. On the surface, it seems different than what people would expect from me, but I very much consider it the bookend to Thirteen Reasons Why. It explores similar ideas, but from the opposite perspective. Hope instead of tragedy. It concerns a girl, Sierra, whose family owns a Christmas tree farm in Oregon. Every winter, they move to California to sell their trees on a small lot. So she's grown up with two sets of friends. This time, with her ever-shrinking number of days in California, she falls in love. And Sierra's one of the few people who can see this boy for who he truly is. 

9. Is there anything that you’d like to tell your fans? 

Thank you! Not only have my readers (I'm not a fan of the word "fans") made my dreams as an author go through the roof, they've personally added to my life in so many ways.

Blog Tour Giveaway:
Feb. 22-March 13th (U.S. Only)
Win an Ontario Teen Book Fest Poster Signed by all attending authors!!!

Follow the Blog Tour:

February 22ndSpotlight on Andrew Smith - 

February 23rdSpotlight on Alexandra Monir - The Consummate Reader  

February 24thSpotlight on April Tucholke - Adventures of a Book Junkie 

February 25thSpotlight on Alexis Bass -

February 26thSpotlight on Marissa Meyer - 

February 27thSpotlight on Sara Elizabeth Santana - Movies, Shows and Books  

February 28thSpotlight on Robin Reul - 

February 29thSpotlight on Katherine Kottaras - iFandoms Collide  

March 1stSpotlight on Stephanie Diaz - 

March 2ndSpotlight on Virginia Boecker - 

March 3rdSpotlight on Mary McCoy - 

March 4thSpotlight on Brad Gottfred - 

March 5thSpotlight on Michelle Levy - 

March 6thSpotlight on Elana K Arnold - 

March 7thSpotlight on Kristin Halbrook - 

March 8thSpotlight on Jessica Brody - 

March 9th Spotlight on Nicole Maggi - 

March 10thSpotlight on Jay Asher - 

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