#TuesdayTalk with Jocelyn Shipley. Her new novel, Shatterproof, is on shelves now!
Tell us a bit about your book.
Thirteen-year-old Nate needs a break from looking after his recently disabled mom, so one day when she thinks he’s at a cross-country meet, he goes to the mall with Lug, a friend he’s not supposed to have any contact with. At the skate shop Nate sees a new board he has to have but can’t afford. Lug talks him into running a money-making scam, based on Nate’s resemblance to a teen TV star in a series called Shatterproof that is filming in the area. The idea is that they’ll get girls to pay cash to be extras on set. It’s all working well until Nate falls for one of the girls and struggles to admit what he’s done and to tell her, and his mom, the truth.
What was the catalyst for your story?
In my tween novel River Boy, I wrote about a lonely kid who pretends to be the son of a rock star to get attention. That made me wonder how a different kid would react if he was mistaken for a celebrity, say a teen TV star, and Nate’s story grew from there.
Does your book have a niche or specialty market?
Shatterproof is part of the Orca Currents series, aimed at struggling or reluctant readers from 10 – 13. It’s written in short, fast-paced chapters so it’s easy to read, but deals with subjects of interest to kids that age – forbidden friends, deception, TV, celebrity, shopping, and a bit of romance.
Do you gravitate toward a certain genre or type of writing?
I write realistic contemporary fiction, since that’s what I love to read. I’m fascinated by how people and families and relationships work – or don’t. I’m always eavesdropping at restaurants, in stores, on the subway or ferry, and can’t help imagining the stories behind those overheard conversations. I mostly write for tweens and teens, probably because I’m still somewhere in that age range at heart.
What types of conversations do you hope will come out of your book?
I hope readers will think and talk about how even a good kid can get into trouble without meaning to. Some other topics would be: How does the desire for money and trendy clothes and cool possessions affect us? Why is it so hard to resist peer pressure? Why are we so obsessed with fame and celebrity? How can you tell if something is a scam? Would you ever pretend to be someone else?
Tell us a little known or interesting fact about yourself.
I don’t have any household pets, but I do have two dairy cows, called Wholly and Sacred, at Morningstar Farm, home of the artisanal Little Qualicum Cheeseworks, near where I live in BC.
Jocelyn Shipley’s YA books include How to Tend a Grave, Getting a Life and Seraphina’s Circle, and she is co-editor of Cleavage: Breakaway Fiction for Real Girls. Her award-winning stories have been published in newspapers and anthologies, and her work has been translated into many languages for Stabenfeldt’s GIRL:IT book clubs. Born and raised in London, Ontario, Jocelyn now lives in Toronto, Ontario, and on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. For more information, visit www.jocelynshipley.com. Follow her on Twitter @sageshipley.