2012 YA Debut Interview: SLIDE by Jill Hathaway (+Giveaway!)

My favorite part about a new year (besides building a wobbly tower of unrealistic expectations for how much I’ll write in the coming year, yay!) is the thought of all the new voices I’ll get to discover. There’s a whole crop of debut YA novelists coming out with books in 2012, and I can’t wait to read them! So, to share my excitement with you, I’m doing a new series of short interviews on this blog.

Starting December 5 and running through December 16, I’m featuring ten Winter/Spring 2012 debut authors who wrote books I want to read! Look for giveaways accompanying these interviews—as well as a chance to win a pre-order of your choice at the end of the series.

Read on to see how Jill Hathaway answered my questions about writing Slide and more (and if you comment on this post, you could win her book!)…


2012 YA Debut Interview:

Jill Hathaway, author of Slide (Balzer + Bray / HarperCollins, forthcoming March 27, 2012)

I’ll start with the dreaded question you may be hearing already from strangers on elevators, long-lost family members, and your doctor while you’re sitting on the examination table in the paper gown during your next checkup: “So what’s your book about?”

Vee Bell is certain of one irrefutable truth—her sister’s friend Sophie didn’t kill herself. She was murdered.

Vee knows this because she was there. Everyone believes Vee is narcoleptic, but she doesn’t actually fall asleep during these episodes: When she passes out, she slides into somebody else’s mind and experiences the world through that person’s eyes. She’s slid into her sister as she cheated on a math test, into a teacher sneaking a drink before class. She learned the worst about a supposed “friend” when she slid into her during a school dance. But nothing could have prepared Vee for what happens one October night when she slides into the mind of someone holding a bloody knife, standing over Sophie’s slashed body.

Vee desperately wishes she could share her secret, but who would believe her? It sounds so crazy that she can’t bring herself to tell her best friend, Rollins, let alone the police. Even if she could confide in Rollins, he has been acting off lately, more distant, especially now that she’s been spending more time with Zane.

Enmeshed in a terrifying web of secrets, lies, and danger and with no one to turn to, Vee must find a way to unmask the killer before he or she strikes again.

In my experience, every book wants to be written differently—and each one behaves differently from the one before it. Some novels like it out of order, and some rigidly insist on being written from start to finish. Some novels come out fast; others are excruciatingly slow. Some novels torment you, and some sing you to sleep. What did your novel want? Was there ever a moment when it misbehaved?

I birthed the skeleton of Slide (What? Too gross?) pretty quickly, within a month or two. It’s the revision that took months and months. I had to add flesh to the bones, explore the characters and their relationships more deeply, tweak the mystery so all the clues were in the right place. It was during this process of rewriting that I feel like I became a “real writer.”

What is the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?

Actually, I get pretty obsessed when I’m writing, so I don’t think there were any huge distractions. I go through periods where I’m completely immersed in a story and then, when I’m finished, I won’t write anything for another month.

Tell us about the place—as in the physical location: a messy office, a comfy couch, a certain corner table at the café—where you spent most of your time writing this book.

I probably split my time equally between Panera (this amazing bakery/coffee shop) and the public library. It’s really hard for me to write at home. I can never resist the pull of bad reality television.

What was the moment when the upcoming publication of your novel felt “real” for the first time—when you got your editorial letter, when you saw the cover, when you held the ARC in your hands… or something else? Or if it doesn’t feel “real” yet, when do you think it will?

Everything has been kind of surreal so far. Seeing the cover was a thrill, as was seeing my ARCs for the first time. But I don’t think it will really hit me until I see my book in a bookstore.

Dream question: If you could go on book tour anywhere in the world, with any two authors (living or dead), and serve any item of food at your book signing… where would you go, who with, and what delicious treat would you serve your fans?

I would love to go on tour with my writerly pal, Megan Miranda, whom I’ve never met in real life. And, actually, Nova… I’d love to go on tour with you! I adored Imaginary Girls and can’t wait to see what you’ve been working on lately. Um, we’d go on tour in Europe and eat lots of chocolate and cheese. [The interviewer must interject here and say YES!]

How do you plan to celebrate your book’s birthday on March 27?

Well, I’ll be teaching that day. So I’ll probably go to the bookstore after school and hope that my book is there. If it is, I’ll sign some stock. Then maybe I’ll get a burrito.


Jill Hathaway was born and raised in Iowa. She teaches English and lives with her husband and (soon to be!) two children. She likes burritos and World of Warcraft.

Visit Jill at www.jillhathaway.com.

Read Jill’s blog at jillscribbles.blogspot.com.

 Follow @jillscribbles on Twitter.


Do you want a chance to win Slide by Jill Hathaway? Jill is giving away a pre-order of her novel to ONE LUCKY COMMENTER on this post. Just comment below and you’re entered to win.

(If you tweet about this giveaway you get +1 extra entry… just let me know you did.)

RULES: One winner will be chosen randomly. The giveaway to win a pre-order of Slide ends Monday, December 12 at 5:00 p.m. EST. To win this giveaway, you must have a US mailing address. Be sure to include your email in the comment form (it is private and only I will see it), so I know how to reach you if you win.

And stay tuned for the end of the 2012 Debut Interview Series—for a chance to win the pre-order of your choice out of all ten featured authors!


What is the next Winter/Spring 2012 debut novel I’m looking forward to? Come back tomorrow to find out.

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