Monday, September 3, 2018

Author Spotlight: Ten After Closing by Jessica Bayliss + Interview

Posted by HelloJennyReviews at 9:00 AM

Jessica Bayliss is a fiction author with a Ph.D. in clinical psychology who loves all things reading and writing. Author of the young adult horror novella, BROKEN CHORDS, and her upcoming YA thriller, TEN AFTER CLOSING (Sky Pony Press, September 2018), she has been a lover thrillers and ghost tales since her days scanning VHS rental shelves—admittedly with eyes half-averted from the gory covers. She also loves to eat, cook, and exercise—in that order—and is a firm believer that coffee makes the world a better place.

In the psychology world, she has more than fifteen years of experience and training in the cognitive-behavioral model. She’s a psychotherapist, a teacher, and a researcher. One day it hit her: Why not combine writing and psychology? Just like that, PsychWRITE, her series of lectures, workshops, and coaching services for writers was born. Her blog features motivational posts for writers that combine her passion for writing with her love of psychology.

She has authored thirteen novels and several short stories that appear in anthologies such as BEWARE THE LITTLE WHITE RABBIT, FRIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS, and ZOMBIE CHUNKS and in such literary magazines as Sanitarium Magazine. Jessica is a Senior Editor for Allegory Magazine. Member: ITW, HWA, SCBWI, RWA.

Jessica is available for Skype Visits, Workshops, and talks about her books, writing, and related to her PsychWRITE workshops and webinars. For media kits, see the individual pages for each book. For more information, visit http://www.jessicabaylisswrites.com

Title: Ten After Closing
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Author: Jessica Bayliss
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Publication: September 4th 2018
Cover Rating: 4/5

Ten After Closing by Jessica Bayliss is a fantastic young adult book about a hostage situation and all the different demons each person could possibly be fighting each day. This book was such an interesting story. Not only do we get the hostage/shooting situation but we also get to see each character go through their own problems and some of their backstory. You get to watch Winny and Scott grow in the span of a few hours just because of an extremely tragic event.

Scott shouldn't have even been working at Cafe Flores that night. He was supposed to be going to a party with his girlfriend and finding a place to stay after because his dad was on one of his tirades. Instead of all that, Scott takes a shift from someone and ends up working that night. Winny should have been there either. Her friend dropped her off at Cafe Flores in a makeshift attempt at matchmaking Winny with Scott. But they are all there when three gunmen come into the cafe and turn their lives upside down.

It was just supposed to be a simple robbery-type situation but because of people still being in the cafe and certain events that had taken place earlier in the day, things aren't going as planned for the gunmen. Then.... someone gets shot and their plans are entirely ruined and they have to figure out what to do to get money within a short period of time before something even worse happens.

There were a few parts of the book that made me angry(aside from the whole hostages with guns situation) and most of them had to do with Sylvia, the owner of the cafe. I can understand loving and wanting to protect your family but when your family isn't giving you that same courtesy then what's the point? I know she felt guilty about some stuff she did in the past but she let her brother get away with way too much stuff and she angered me so greatly. 

I think watching the character development in a short period of time was the part I really enjoyed the most about this book. By the end, I was so proud of how two of the characters had grown and decided to take control of their lives. 

In the end, this book taught me a few things. One, you never know what you will do or be capable of in the face of actual danger. Two, life is too damn short to waste is trying to please everyone around you. And three, trying to wedge a giant canvas painting into the trunk of your car may result in the trunk lining being torn. 

Overall, I gave the book 4.5/5 stars.


1) TEN AFTER CLOSING is a very unique view on shootings. Most YA shooting books are about school shootings. What was your inspiration for this plot?
It’s interesting that you refer to it as a YA shooting book, because that’s not how I see TAC at all. For me, it’s really a hostage thriller that happens to contain a shooting. That said, it’s so easy to see how it would come across that way, especially after the numerous tragedies we’ve seen in the recent years. They entered into my mind during revisions of this book, but not during the drafting. 

When I initially wrote TEN AFTER CLOSING, I was thinking about stories I loved when I was a YA reader. One of those was the movie TOY SOLDIERS, which was also a book, though I didn’t know it at that time. I watched the movie back before I started writing TEN AFTER, and OMG, it was still so good—so many fabulous tense scenes and fast pacing. The thing that was always missing for me, though, was female characters. It took place at a boarding school for boys. So, I decided to write a book that contained all those deliciously tense moments I loved in TOY SOLDIERS that also added the swoony romance I felt was missing. 

Later, when I revised the book, I thought about some of the recent shootings, and that definitely influenced how Scott’s story played out. I wanted to show a teen character who is in pain and has a chance to use violence as his means of revenge but who opts for a different route. This plays out in one very specific scene in the book. 

2) My favorite character in TEN AFTER CLOSING was probably Winny. Who is your favorite character?
I don’t think I can decide between Winny and Scott (but a LOT of people love Winny the most, just like you). As I mentioned, TEN AFTER CLOSING is definitely, first and foremost, a hostage thriller. But it is also something of a coming-of-age story about two teens navigating the challenges of those first steps to independence. Winny and Scott come from different backgrounds, but both are in a similar situation at the start of the book—both have really big decisions in front of them, and they’re struggling to feel empowered to make those decisions and take action. Winny is stuck in a passive place—she’s let her parents decide much of her path thus far, going with the flow for so long, she isn’t sure how to shift out of that mode. Scott’s been quite active in trying to change his situation, but he’s struggling to see that the way he’s going about it isn’t working. Both are thinking about how others will respond if they put their needs first and are fearful of being assertive. Of course, the life-changing hostage situation at CafĂ© Flores impacts how they see things. I really wanted to show them using all their strengths, gaining insights about themselves, and thereby coming to new decisions by the end of TAC (but I can’t say any more without spoilers! Hehe!).

3) If you had the choice of writing really amazing books but getting paid very little or writing very crappy books but getting paid a lot, which would you pick and why?
OMG, I need to know how other people answer this one. For me, I would pick both! If the “crappy” books are making money, then people must be enjoying them, and if people are enjoying them, can they truly be crappy? All that money would help me be able to write the amazing books that are in my heart. Best of both worlds. (How’s that for a cheeky answer?)

4) I know that authors barely have time to breathe, but when do you get time to breathe, what are some of your hobbies?
I’m lucky because writing IS my hobby. I work full time as a clinical psychologist, and I specifically started writing as a way of destressing. It was something just for me, something I didn’t even tell people about for years. And it turned out that I love it, and here we are, eight years later. I’m very lucky, because even when it’s something in the writing world that’s stressing me out, my stories are the way I cope with that. It is a gift because there are two things that writers MUST do: we must write and get our work out there. As long as writing remains my stress-release, my hobby, I know I’ll stay on this often-difficult road.

5) Are you currently working on any other books?
AHH! I’m SO excited about my next books. Well, there are a couple that are drafted. One YA thriller is currently in the hands of my critique partners, and I’ll be sending it on to my agent. And I have another YA, more of a time-twisty detective story. AND, the one I’m about to start writing is an adult thriller. I actually started out NOT writing YA, and so it’s nice to switch it up and get back to adult books. I’m actively plotting that one. All I can say is that it’s going to involve the dark web. 

Thank you so much, Jenn, for interviewing me and reading my book! I’ve had so much fun talking with you.


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