Remember NOTHING BUT BLUE? I chose it as my Waiting on Wednesday feature a couple of weeks back. And I’m pretty excited about it. But what’s more exciting? The fact that I was able to interview the author, Lisa Jahn-Clough. So without further ado, here she is! And be sure to scroll down to the end to read more about the book and enter the giveaway!
Lisa Jahn-Clough: I think it is best summed up on the jacket blurb: Jack Gantos says: “A girl with no memory, a magical dog, train-hoppers, and a boy named Snake make this suspenseful book a stand-out read!”
IceyBooks: When you first set eyes on the cover of NOTHING BUT BLUE, what were your initial thoughts?
Lisa Jahn-Clough: When I first saw the cover I thought, wow, disturbing and dark. And it’s sideways! It is perfect because Blue sees the world askew, almost as if everything is sideways and in a fog. I’m not a fan of covers with photos of teenagers, close-up of eyes or parts of the body, so I am glad this is a mood/setting cover. The hardcover copy has a really cool sheen to it which really emphasizes the fogginess of the title letters.
The photo the publisher used is titled Kensington Station by photographer Charles Hamilton You can see the original black and white photo here.
IceyBooks: Do you have a favorite line that was removed from the original draft of NOTHING BUT BLUE?
Lisa Jahn-Clough: There was no specific line I loved that was removed, only lines I revised or didn’t like, but there was a scene that was taken out. Blue is with her previous boyfriend, Jake when he kisses her forcefully and a wolf-like dog appears and stops him, then disappears. I liked this scene, but it didn’t quite fit. It was confusing with the dog that Blue does finally befriend in the present scenes. So at my editor’s wise suggestion I cut it. Thank god for editors!
IceyBooks: Give us the three:
-Items on your desk right now
Besides my laptop, piles of paper and a lot of junk there is:
1. A cigar box full of tubes of half-used gouache paint.
2. Stuffed dolls of my very first picture book character Alicia and her dog, Neptune (from Alicia Has a Bad Day, Houghton, 1994) that a group of my students had made for me as an end-of-the-semester gift. I cried when they presented it–it was so touching, and they were a great group of writers!
3. I have quite a variety of toys–metal robots, wind-ups, mini cars, cool figurines, etc…, but one of my favorites is an old metal, wind-up called “Duck-on-Bike.” It pedals around in a circle while the whirligigs on its head fly out.
-Books you can’t wait to read:
Lisa Jahn-Clough: There are so many I don’t know if I can limit to three–but here’s the ones on my list right now:
1. “When We Were the Kennedy’s” by Monica Wood. The author is a friend and fellow Mainer. Her memoir is getting a lot of great attention. I bought it last year at her launch signing, and I haven’t had the chance to read it yet as my pleasure reading is limited during the teaching semesters. It’s first on my list this summer.
2. “Stoner and Spaz” by Ron Koertge. Ron is also a friend of mine. I cannot believe I haven’t yet read this book of his!! I know the basic story, I’ve read read sections of it and many of my students have read it. It’s not long and it is heavily dialogue-driven, so it won’t take but an afternoon. I’ve read all his other books, so it’s finally time to read this in its entirety.
3. “Who Could That Be at This Hour?” by Lemony Snicket. I loved the subversiveness of his first series and am looking forward to this series.
4. The most recent novels by Isabel Allende, Mark Chabon, and John Irving–three of my all-time favorite authors.
-Types of snacks you’re craving right now:
Lisa Jahn-Clough: I work best when I am not snacking at all–just coffee. I cannot eat chocolate or sugar–it just puts me to sleep. So the snacks I generally crave are:
1. mini carrots
2. pop corn
3. sunflower or pumpkin seeds
These are all things I can keep in a big bowl, reach in for a handful, and crunch without losing concentration. Usually I like to write a scene, then reward myself with a snack, a walk, or a nap when I’m done.
Lisa Jahn-Clough writes and illustrates picture books and writes young adult novels. Her most recent novel NOTHING BUT BLUE (Houghton, May 2013).
Lisa has an MFA from Emerson College and has taught at Emerson, the Maine College of Art, Vermont College of Fine Arts, and Hamline University. She is now assistant professor at Rowan University. In addition, Lisa is a frequent speaker in schools and libraries.
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All dead. No one survived. All dead.
This morbid chant haunts seventeen-year-old Blue as she trudges through the countryside with just the clothes on her back, heading to her childhood home on the ocean. Something absolutely awful has happened, she knows it, but she doesn’t know what. She can’t even remember her name, so she calls herself Blue. This gripping survival story—peppered with flashbacks to bittersweet times with her boyfriend, Jake—strips life down to its bare bones. Blue learns, with the help of a seemingly magical stray dog and kind people along the road, that the important thing is to live.