In Impossible, seventeen-year-old Jemma’s older brother took her in when she needed to get away from her abusive ex-boyfriend, Razor. All Jemma wants now is to be a good mom to her baby daughter, Violet. But one night she needs to go out, just for a few minutes, to get diapers and ice cream. On her way back, she witnesses the drive-by shooting of a kid, Kwame, who lives in the same building. The driver is Razor. Jemma is terrified. If she tells anyone what she saw, they’ll know she left her baby alone and she might lose custody. But if she doesn’t, Kwame’s killer will go free. Razor convinces Jemma to make a deal to save her life, but Jemma isn’t sure she can live with the consequences.
What planning and research did you do for you book?
Because this book is a thriller, I planned for something to happen in each chapter to increase Jemma’s guilt and fear and make her situation worse, and to have each chapter end on a hook to build suspense. I wanted to make the pressure on Jemma unbearable, so the reader would just have to know how the book ends.
What is your ideal writing environment?
I like quiet and solitude, the door to my office closed. I try not to be distracted by my phone and social media until the end of the day, although that’s not always possible. My dream would be a long stay alone in a secluded cabin by the ocean with delicious meals delivered daily.
How do you decide on names for your characters?
Usually the main character’s name comes to me when I start thinking of a story. Then I try to give the other characters a name starting with a different initial, and with a different overall sound. Sometimes a name comes easily and sometimes I try out a few before it feels right. I love unusual names, and keep a list of them. I also have several baby name books from different time periods that I search for possible names, and I check online to see what the most popular names were for the country and year the character was born.
Do you ever get writer’s block? What do you do to overcome it?
I wouldn’t call it writer’s block, but I certainly get stuck sometimes, usually around the middle of a book or story. I’ve found planning the major plot points before I start writing is a big help. Otherwise, I do something else, like cooking or laundry, or go for a walk or swim and let my unconscious mind figure things out. Another trick is to work on something else, as I usually have more than one project on the go, in different stages of development
In an alternate universe, what would your dream career be?
First choice would be a successful singer/songwriter. Second would be a fashion designer/dressmaker. So I guess I’d be a famous singer who makes all her own fabulous outfits to wear while performing her fantastic songs onstage.
Impossibleis available now!
Jocelyn Shipley has written several books for teens, including Impossible and Shatterproof. Her award-winning stories have been published in newspapers and anthologies, and her work has been translated into many languages. Jocelyn lives in Toronto, Ontario, and on Vancouver Island. For more information, visit jocelynshipley.com.