Friday, June 17, 2016

Author Spotlight: Dreamers Often Lie by Jacqueline West + Interview

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 1:00 PM

Jacqueline West is the author of the award-winning middle grade series The Books of Elsewhere.The Books of Elsewhere, Volume One: The Shadows (2010) garnered starred reviews, several state award nominations, and a spot on the New York Times Bestsellers List. The series is published by Dial Books for Young Readers (a division of Penguin Random House) in the USA and will also be published in Italy, Spain, Greece, Turkey, Indonesia, Sweden, Norway, France, Germany, Russia, China, and Catalonia. Her first YA novel, Dreamers Often Lie (Dial Books for Young Readers, April 2016), is a dark and twisty romance that braids HamletRomeo and Juliet, and A Midsummer Night's Dream into a modern-day teen's life.
Jacqueline's short fiction for adults and children has appeared in a variety of publications, and her poetry has received many honors, including two Pushcart nominations, a Rhysling Award nomination, and a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg prize. Cherma, her series of poems about Wisconsin's Bohemian immigrants, was published in March 2010 by the University of Wisconsin's Parallel Press chapbook series.
Jacqueline loves dogs of all shapes and sizes, is sadly allergic to cats (though she manages to write about them without developing a rash), and is at least a little bit afraid of all fish larger than a hot dog bun. If you are sharing a pizza, she will ask for the crust pieces. Don't get her talking about Kurt Vonnegut, Tori Amos, Northern Exposure, or Sylvia Plath, or you'll be sorry. Jacqueline lives amid the bluffs of Red Wing, Minnesota, with her husband, her son, and her dog, a Springer Spaniel mix named Brom Bones.
Title: Dreamers Often Lie
Publisher: Dial
Publication: April 5th 2016
Cover Rating: 4/5
If I was asked to describe Dreamers Often Lie in as few words as possible I would say it's a psychological roller-coaster. This would have been a 5 star book but that ending killed me.

Jaye is athletically impaired and being so lands her in the hospital with a pretty bad injury. This injury results in seeing things. Things that aren't there. Or, maybe they are. Who am I to judge whether someones delusions are real or not? But, delusions and head injuries aside, the show must go on!

This book is centered around a high school performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream so that just adds to the insanity of everything. Pierce, Jaye's former best friend turned hottest guy in school, joined the play and that makes for a lot of confusing feelings. But then there is Rob. The new guy. Or is he the new guy? Maybe he is just another one of Jaye's delusions. But having these two boys in the same area vying over Jaye's heart, who will win? Will there be bloodshed? We shall see.

Another thing the book centers around is Jaye's father. He was a coach at her school and everyone adored him. So how can Jaye ever fully grasp everything that has happened if she is constantly reminded of the past?

Pierce was Jaye's Dad's stars. He did all the sports and was so amazing and how could her father not love him? Pierce acted like it was his father this happened to. Pierce acted like a lot of things and I didn't like him at all. He was violent and full of rage. And him wanting to be a part of Jaye's life again wasn't a decision he made on his own. It is so sad that some people just can't think for themselves.

I feel like Sadie, Jaye's sister, was in on all of Pierce's crap. Which would bring a lot of questions and concerns to my mind. But Sadie just seemed iffy to me. One minute she was caring for Jaye and the next minute she was calling her a drama queen because she couldn't handle the truth of their father. I also didn't like Sadie because she made it seem like everything Jaye said was crazy. I know Jaye was seeing imaginary people after she hit her head but her sister treating her like an insane person wasn't called for.

I am glad that Jaye's mother came clean in the end about the entire living situation of the father. Her mother telling her nothing happened kind of added to the whole "Jaye is crazy" situation and I don't like how her mother or sister were treating her. I think one of the final, unanswered questions I still have is was her dad really how she said he was? Or was she really being a drama queen? Was Rob real? Was anything real? Real or not real?

The author did a wonderful job with this book. I would have lost my mind at least once trying to keep everything straight. But isn't that what a psychologically thrilling book is supposed to be? As previously stated, I would have loved some more answers but the book keeps you guessing and that is a great way to keep readers involved.

Overall, I gave the book 4.5/5 stars.




1) What was the inspiration behind Dreamers Often Lie?
Years ago, long before I started putting the story that would become DREAMERS OFTEN LIE on paper, I had this mental flash of a girl waking up in a hospital bed to find Shakespeare sitting across the room, staring back at her. This happens to me sometimes: it’s kind of like finding one puzzle piece and having no idea where the rest of the puzzle is or what kind of image it’s going to create. So I just set that piece aside and waited.

From 2007-2009, I taught high school English in a very small school district. I was the entire English department. And theatre department. And speech department. Sometimes I would teach three separate Shakespeare units a day and then direct the school play rehearsal, and I’d go home with my head full of Shakespeare and theatre and high school life—and out of these things, a story began to form. It took a while for it to solidify, but eventually I realized that I wanted to combine a girl’s relationship with her absent but still controlling father (Hamlet), her love of theatre and the concept of reality vs. dreams (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), and young romance and rash decisions (Romeo and Juliet). And I finally had the rest of my puzzle.

2) Who would you pick? Pierce or Rob?
In Romeo and Juliet, the nurse tells Juliet that by picking Romeo she has ‘made a simple choice.’ You can read that two ways: either the nurse is telling Juliet that she’s made a simple-minded, foolish choice and picking Romeo is going to cause all sorts of trouble, or she’s saying that it’s an easy choice, and of course Juliet should pick Romeo because he’s perfect for her (…or maybe the nurse is saying both, because Shakespeare is crafty like that). I wanted to use that same kind of choice in DREAMERS OFTEN LIE. Maybe there is no right choice, but there is only one choice that’s right for Jaye.

As for me? Rob. Of course. 100%.

3) Do you have a favorite Shakespeare play?
Ooh, I have lots of favorites, but I love Hamlet most of all. I could read that play from now until forever and still find new things in it.

4) Did you do any acting while in school?
I was a giant theatre nerd. (And I still am. I work with the theatre troupes in my town whenever I get the chance.) I acted in scads of community theatre and school theatre productions. During high school, I pretended I was a college student so I could do shows at our local university, and I spent summers performing at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. And when I was an actual college student, I paid my bills by acting at a nearby dinner theatre.

5) If you had to pitch your book to a potential buyer what would you say?
Do you like Shakespeare? Or theatre? Or dark, twisty romances? If the answer is a giant NO, then this book probably isn’t for you. I’m a terrible book pitcher.

6) Coffee or tea?
Coffee. Coffee, coffee, coffee. (Ideally, French Roast cafĂ© au lait or a nice cappuccino, but I’ll take almost anything.)

7) Did you always want to become an author?
I’ve loved stories for as long as I can remember, but it wasn’t my childhood dream to become an author. That would have been like saying I wanted to be a wizard when I grew up. I was pretty sure that I didn’t have the kind of brilliant magical powers it would take to create the worlds that I found in books. But I kept getting ideas for stories and poems and plays, and even though I was certain that I wasn’t qualified for any of this, I started to write them down—and then I hid them at the bottom of my dresser drawers. For years, I kept my writing secret. Finally, when I went off to college, I began to submit my poetry and short stories to various places, and I even started getting published, and eventually I got brave enough to submit a manuscript to agents, and that’s how I got my book deal for my middle grade series, THE BOOKS OF ELSEWHERE. I’ve been a full-time writer for the last six years, and I still feel astonishingly lucky that I get to do what I do.

*Disclaimer* I received this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review on an author spotlight. Thank you!

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