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Monday, January 5, 2015

No Place to Fall

by Jaye Robin Brown


by Jaye Robin Brown

This past Friday, January 2, 2015, Marcy and I posted our answers to Jaye’s debut novel, No Place to Fall. Today, you get to read Jaye’s favorite's. 

Awesome answers, Jaye! We can’t wait for our readers to read the novel. And hopefully to give us a few of their favorites, too. 

1) What is your favorite line or paragraph from the novel as it relates to the main character's development and/or growth?

Though I like both of the passages you mentioned, I really love when Amber is by herself in her room, singing along to the radio, the application to NC School of the Arts hidden under her bed. To me it's this wonderful sort of private moment fraught with maybes and I can'ts, but also the beginning of a maybe I can. Even though it ends on a frustrated note, she's planted the seed inside of herself.

"I sing along as the rain falls out my window. Drops of water gather on the windowpanes like a shimmering audience. I play with my voice, testing out my range, creating new sounds, trying to both imitate the radio singers and be myself. Finally I can't stand it anymore. I roll over and grab the folder.

The list of requirements is long. Transcripts. A long application. Two letters of recommendation, at least one from someone who has been your instructor in your art form. An artist's statement. An audition. The applicant must perform three pieces from the following list. My eyes scan the options. I push the paper back in the folder and shove the whole thing under the bed. I don't even know what half of that music is. I ball the quilt up under my chin and scoot deeper under the sheets. Mama would never have let me go anyway."

2) What is your favorite chapter ending or cliffhanger?

My favorite chapter ending is one where Amber arrives home after getting in trouble for something she didn't do at a football game. Her brother-in-law, just released from jail, is drunk in the front yard hoping to see Amber's sister. When Amber finally gets to the door and away from him, her parents are fighting over money and her sister runs straight into Sammy's arms. Amber's starting to realize how messed up her life is, and this passage is her reaction to it. (Coby is her nephew, Giant is the dog)

"The three of us--me, Coby, and tiny Giant--huddle under the blankets, blocking out the sounds from downstairs. I make up a story about a singer who rides a magical bird and performs for kingdoms far and wide. 

As we fly out of the window and up into the night sky, my voice stops working.

Because, honestly, I can't see how I'm going to get out of here."

3) Who is your favorite secondary character and why?

This is a hard question because I tend to write big casts of characters and Mama, Devon, Will, and C.A. all vie for places in my heart. But I think I'm going to go with C.A. who was actually inspired by a student I taught. She was this perky blonde cheerleader who, in my mixed up bag of an Art 1 class, truly got along with everyone. As C.A. developed in the novel, she became kind of the same way, and I like that about her. She's the kind of girlfriend any girl would be lucky to have.

This passage is at a school college fair, and Amber has been given a folder about the NC School of the Arts high school program. It shows C.A.'s caring, that she'd push her friend into following a dream even if it meant she'd lose her friend to a far-off city in the process.

"I shrug and take the brochure back from Devon, sliding it carefully into the bag. 'My mama would never let me go to a boarding school so far away from here.'

C.A. looks at Devon. 'Can you talk some sense into her?'

Devon glances at me and answers her. 'Mama Vaughn is pretty protective of Amber.'

'So? I bet we can convince her.' C.A. claps her hands. 'I am awesome with mothers.'"

4) What is your favorite line or paragraph of description?

This passage is from chorus when Amber is practicing her audition songs for the group. It's a big growth moment for her as she's gotten over her fear of singing in front of her peers and realizes their reaction is something she'd like to have again and again in her life.

"I close my eyes and my arms lift slightly from my sides. I picture the song swirling inside of me, like butterflies. I draw the notes out. When I release the words, they fly around the room. The chorus is silent, listening, and all I hear is the sound Will and I make. When the final notes of my last 'Maria' land, there's a collective inhale. It's a quiet I wouldn't mind living in for a while."

5) What is your favorite line of dialogue?

This is a kind of gritty line, but it makes me laugh every time. It's an exchange between Amber and her sister, Whitney, in the car outside of a pawn shop. Amber has withdrawn her entire savings account, all of fifty dollars, to do a favor for a friend and Whitney's questioning her.

"After school, Whitney picks me up. I convince her to take me to the bank and to the pawnshop for Sean.

'So, are you in love with this boy or something?' she asks me.

'Or something,' I answer.

'Does Mama know you're wiping out your savings account?'

'Does Mama know you love Vicodin?' That shuts her up."

Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Dave and Marcy!

Congratulations to Jaye on her young adult novel, No Place to Fall! To read more, go to:

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