Far From You was one of my favorite books I’ve read so far. I’ll go even further and say that it’s going to be one of my favorites of 2014. I don’t want to give anything away, just know that you should definitely read it and I’m definitely going to be fangirling over Tess for a while.
begged asked Tess if she would be willing to do an interview. Not only did she not run away from my enthusiasm, she agreed! Before we check out her answers, let’s look at the book.
The first time, she’s fourteen, and escapes a near-fatal car accident with scars, a bum leg, and an addiction to Oxy that’ll take years to kick.
The second time, she’s seventeen, and it’s no accident. Sophie and her best friend Mina are confronted by a masked man in the woods. Sophie survives, but Mina is not so lucky. When the cops deem Mina’s murder a drug deal gone wrong, casting partial blame on Sophie, no one will believe the truth: Sophie has been clean for months, and it was Mina who led her into the woods that night for a meeting shrouded in mystery.
After a forced stint in rehab, Sophie returns home to a chilly new reality. Mina’s brother won’t speak to her, her parents fear she’ll relapse, old friends have become enemies, and Sophie has to learn how to live without her other half. To make matters worse, no one is looking in the right places and Sophie must search for Mina’s murderer on her own. But with every step, Sophie comes closer to revealing all: about herself, about Mina and about the secret they shared.
Sounds amazing, right?
1. Where did the idea for Far From You come from?
I’ve always wanted to write about the intensity of teen love and the weight of secrets. But the book itself came from a paragraph I scribbled down (that actually is still in the book!) about kissing someone while you’re remembering kissing someone else. I got very obsessed with those 57 words and why the characters were so sad and it just snowballed from there.
2. What do you love most about Sophie and why should we root for her?
I like Sophie’s stubbornness and her commitment to the people she loves, even when they’re being not so great to her.
3. The story jumps back and forth between now and various thens. How did you decide what “then” scenes to show us?
I make a lot of rules about structure when I write because I favor weird structures. So, when I left the linear plotline in the present for the past, each past scene had to inform either the previous “present” chapter or the one that followed. It was also important to me that the flashbacks would, collectively, reveal Mina and Sophie’s bond in many stages–the good and the bad– rather than writing just a single scene where they fell in love. This is because I’ve always viewed falling for someone–especially someone so ingrained in your life–as a slow slide rather than a flashbulb moment.
4. What was your favorite part of writing this book?
I loved the entire experience, but my favorite scene is the Fourth of July scene with the sparkler.
5. Describe Far From You 5 words.
Depressing. Hopeful. Non-Linear. Love Story.
Speed [ish] round:
1. You get the call/email/letter that says you’re being published for the first time. What happens next?
I was working at my bakery job when this happened. I knew I would be getting offers that day, and had just checked my phone and saw the email from my agent with the subject title “First Offer” when a giant group of people came into the bakery. I wasn’t able to read that email for about 40 minutes because so many people wanted cupcakes. I was going crazy! But then I was finally able to read it and call my mom and freak out.
2. What three things would you take to a desert island?
Tony Stark, a good book to read while he arranges our rescue, and maybe a nice bar of chocolate.
3. You can only read one book for the rest of your life. What is it?
Oh, that is so tough. Probably A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute.
4. Who are your favorite swoony boys?
I’m gonna do boys and girls; favorite boy (recently) is Valentin from Lindsay Smith’s SEKRET (psychic teen spies in cold war Russia, y’all. Be prepared for awesomeness)! My favorite girl is Mia from THE PRINCESS DIARIES.
5. Are there any authors that you fangirl over?
Definitely! Laurie Halse Anderson, Meg Cabot and Tamora Pierce made huge impacts on me as a teen writer. If I were ever in the same room with any of them, I’d probably just burst into tears. I’m also the #1 fangirl of my incredible critique partner, Elizabeth May, who writes THE FALCONER series.
Now. I don’t think I can express enough how badly I want you to read this book. So, I’m offering up a copy of the arc that I just got in my greedy hands, even though this is a book that I want all of the copies of. The contest is international and the giveaway rules can be found here.