I’m super excited to share with you an interview with two super fun authors and a book that sounds super intriguing!
About The Book:
Title: THE LOST CAUSES
Author: Jessica Etting & Alyssa Schwartz
Pub. Date: September 5, 2017
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
They’re the kids that no one knows — or no one wants to know. The rich depressive, the OCD chick, the hypochondriac, the drug abuser, the athlete with anger management issues. All chosen for intensive group therapy because they’re out of other options. They’re lost causes, the therapist tells them. She promises this support group will help them heal.
There’s only one problem. She’s not a therapist. And that water she offers? It contains a dangerous serum that gives each of the kids a psychic power.
Suddenly, they can think clearly, speak to ghosts, see the past, even move objects with their mind. Their earlier problems have vanished, but their new freedom comes with a price.
Sabrina, Gabby, Z, Justin and Andrew are to help the FBI solve the grisly murder that has rocked their small town. Their new powers will help them uncover clues and follow leads that have eluded the authorities. Their outsider status gives them the perfect cover.
But the same traits that make them top investigators also make them vulnerable. As they close in on the murderer, they expose a much larger conspiracy that puts them directly in harm’s way and makes them wonder who — if anyone — they can trust.
Your characters are so interesting – “the rich depressive, the OCD chick, the hypochondriac, the drug abuser, the athlete with anger management issues” – how did you choose them to talk about? Was there one that was the most fun to write about?
Thank you! We LOVE creating the characters – it’s our favorite part. We wanted to choose character traits that felt organic to each character before the serum and after the serum. We also chose issues that completely overwhelmed them to the point that their problems were not just how everyone else defined them, but how they defined themselves. We loved the chance to explore the journey of what it would be like to figure out who you are once you aren’t carrying around the weight of those issues.
The most fun character to write was probably Z. We loved getting inside her head and sharing her view on the world in all its cynical, nonconformist, sarcastic glory.
There are mysteries upon mysteries in this novel. There is a grisly murder that is rocking a small town and also a much larger conspiracy that our brilliant heroes and heroines discover. How much do their powers that they have just been given come into play with these mysteries?
The cat and mouse game would’ve been really difficult to solve without their powers because they were up against something so huge. We loved the concept of combining their newfound abilities while they still had to use their natural strengths. It was fun to create the web of interwoven clues for them to piece together where they could use both parts of themselves.
What was it like writing in a team for this book? How did you collaborate? Would one of you write one chapter or one voice or something else?
We’ve been writing as a team for over a decade in TV, film and books and have a well-honed system we use every time. We always do all our initial brainstorming of story and character together, as well as our outlining. We used to do it all together in person when we lived in the same city, but now that we’re cross-country from each other, Skype is our savior. We’re pretty Type-A so we like to make incredibly detailed outlines. Once we’re happy with it, we’re ready to split up chapters. Each of us will write a few chapters – then we swap and edit the others. We go back and forth like this through every draft until you can’t tell who wrote what parts anymore. It also helps that we’ve been best friends since the first day of college and basically share a brain. (When writing The Lost Causes, we started wondering if our characters’ psychic powers were rubbing off on us…we went through a crazy telepathy phase during the process where we ALWAYS knew what the other was thinking before they’d say it!).
It said in your biography that you wrote extensively for TV and film. Did a lot of that writing come into play for this book? And what was the transition like to switch over to YA?
We sold many shows and films with teen protagonists, so that definitely prepared us for the YA world – we’ve always loved telling stories from that point of view. For us, transitioning to YA, both with The Lost Causes and our previous book series, Georgetown Academy, was extremely liberating. In film and TV, you are confined to a certain page length and what you can see on screen, the external….with a book, you have more freedom to focus on the internal. We particularly love having the ability to spend pages diving into what a character actually thinks about something or playing with different POV’s (one of our favorite things to write and read!).
And finally, since this is Book Princess Reviews, I do have to ask: who is your favorite princess and/or Disney character and why?
If we’re talking princesses, we have to give credit to the best (real-life) princess, Princess Diana, who did so much with the power of her crown, from breaking down social barriers surrounding AIDS to helping children who lost limbs from landmines, all while maintaining style icon status and being a fantastic, fun mom. We’re pretty partial to Princess Kate, too, who we think is the modern-day embodiment of what a princess should be…smart, caring and naturally beautiful (and we’d love to be the recipients of her closet castaways).
P.S. If we’re talking Disney characters, we loved Elle Fanning’s version of Princess Aurora/Briar Rose in Maleficent…it’s so fun to see a classic story turned upside down!
About the Authors
About Jessica and Alyssa:
Hi, we’re Jessica & Alyssa!
We’re best pal writing partners who have been obsessed with reading since we each used to hoard The Babysitters Club books in our bedrooms across the country from one another in Los Angeles (Jess) and Virginia (Lyss).
We finally met on the first day of college at USC, long enough ago that Rocket Dog platform flip-flops were fully acceptable night-out shoes and our biggest life decision was whether to watch Dawson’s Creek or Beverly Hills, 90210 on Wednesday nights (90210, obviously).
We started writing together right after college when we took the “write what you know” adage to heart and wrote a TV pilot that sold to Fox about how life sucks when you’re 22, broke and a freshman in life. We spent the next many, many years writing for TV and film before we jumped into the book world, a major lifelong dream of ours.
The number one question everyone always asks us is how we write as a team so here’s the rundown…After being best friends and writing together for so long, our brains now officially occupy a shared space. Ninety percent of the time, we know what the other person is going to say before she even opens her mouth. Our husbands think it’s creepy, but we think it’s awesome. After this many years, we’ve honed it to a pretty efficient process….except for when we digress on Facetime to catch each other up on the few hours we weren’t in contact with each other (which takes especially long if we’ve both finished the same book and need to discuss, if one of us needs justification for an argument we picked with our husband or if we’ve discovered a new hair product, self-tanner or blog).
(3) winners will receive a finished copy of THE LOST CAUSES, US & Canada.
Ends on September 19th at Midnight EST!
Follow the Tour!
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9/4/2017- Kourtni Reads– Review
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9/5/2017- Mama Reads Blog– Review
9/6/2017- Owl Always Be Reading– Excerpt
9/6/2017- What the Cat Read– Review
9/7/2017- BookHounds YA– Guest Post
9/7/2017- Bibliobakes– Review
9/8/2017- Book Princess Reviews– Interview
9/8/2017- Savings in Seconds– Review
9/11/2017- Smada’s BookSmack– Excerpt
9/11/2017- Jessica’s Reading Room– Review
9/12/2017- Portrait of a Book– Interview
9/12/2017- Texan Girl Reads– Review
9/13/2017- Cindy’s Love of Books– Review
9/13/2017- A Gingerly Review– Review
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9/14/2017- The Desert Bibliophile– Review
9/15/2017- Rainy Day Reviews– Excerpt
9/15/2017- Here’s to Happy Endings– Review