This post is part of the Juniper Grove Book Solutions tour for Mystical High. Read my review of Mystical High here.
There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:
- $35 Amazon Gift Card (INT)
- Print copy of Molly Hacker Is Too Picky! (US only)
- Print copy of Squalor, New Mexico (US only)
- Print copy of Mystical High (US only)
- Tote bag (US and CAN only)
Series: The Desert Series # 1
Author: Lisette Brodey
Publisher: Saberlee Books
Genre: YA Paranormal
In Mystekal, a small, dying town in the Southern California desert, only 75 students attend the old, sometimes creepy high school dubbed “Mystical High,” where strange things have been known to happen. Jessie Dalworth and Jinxsy Patterson are juniors and lifelong best friends. At home, Jessie deals with the pain of an absentee mother who has abandoned the family for the lure of Hollywood; Jinxsy contends with a 17th “birthday present” she never wanted or expected.
Meanwhile, at school, the unexplained activity begins to escalate when Jinxsy keeps seeing a long-haired guy in the hallway checking her out. Jessie can’t see him, but her younger brother, River, can.
Then, in English class, a stapler mysteriously flies off teacher Eve Carrow’s desk, hitting a student in the face who has just mouthed off to her. The beloved teacher is in the unenviable position of having her brute of a father as principal, so she hates sending any student to his office. As Principal Ernest Carrow begins to terrorize Eve and others more openly, something or someone unseen decides that it’s payback time.
School is getting stranger, and Jinxsy and Jessie are faced with mind-boggling changes in their home lives that complicate everything. When a string of shocking events expose explosive secrets, decades-long mysteries are finally revealed.
About the Author
Back on the East Coast, she worked for many years as a freelance writer, specializing in PR and the entertainment industry. In 2010, she returned permanently to the Los Angeles area.
Her first-published book, CROOKED MOON (General Fiction) was published in both the trade paperback and Kindle editions in 2008. Her first-written, second-published book, SQUALOR, NEW MEXICO (Young Adult/General Fiction) was published in the Kindle and trade paperback versions in 2009.
Her third novel, MOLLY HACKER IS TOO PICKY!, a romantic comedy, was published December 1, 2011. The author blogged as her character, Molly Hacker, for over a year. All blogs can be found at www.mollyhacker.com.
In January 2013, the author edited and published a book of her mother’s poetry (written 50 years earlier) called MY WAY TO ANYWHERE by Jean Lisette Brodey.
Lisette’s fourth novel, MYSTICAL HIGH, is the first book in her YA Paranormal Desert Series trilogy.
My Interview with Lisette Brodey
How does the theme of Mystical High compare with your other stories? Did you find one genre easier to write than another?
There are as many similarities as there are differences between Mystical High and my other books. This is my fourth novel, and what all of my novels have in common is that there are multiple story arcs and characters who come together in unexpected ways. For the most part, some stories are easier to write than others, and that is a more important consideration than the actual genre.
How did your experiences with drama and radio influence your writing style? What influenced your decision to move from the entertainment industry into writing?
Well, although it seems so from reading my bio, I never went from the entertainment industry into writing. Let me fill in the missing pieces. From the time I was five or six and learned how to write, I was writing poems and stories. In my teens, I wrote about 150 pages each for two different novels I never finished. I wrote hundreds of poems.
I was always a writer but not a novelist. I have four screenplays (that will never see the light of day) tucked away somewhere. I also have a full-length play, and I wrote the book for a musical comedy in collaboration with others.
During my years working in the entertainment industry, aside from being an assistant in Hollywood (hated that!), I did freelance writing for many entertainment companies. I also worked as a resume specialist for many years.
I did learn some things about the business of writing from working with TV and film scriptwriters, but what has and will always influence me the most are the people I come in contact with every day. And, yes, some of those people may be in the entertainment industry.
In Mystical High, the characters deal with the paranormal intermixed with their daily lives in a way that almost seems like it could happen. Did you find that it was difficult to include paranormal events without them appearing too unbelievable?
First, I think in any paranormal story, I think there must be some suspension of belief on the part of the reader. That doesn’t mean that the writer gets a pass, though. Whatever the author sets up must make sense within that context.
I have always been interested in the paranormal. Not only have I experienced some amazing things, but I have spoken to many people throughout my life who have as well. I had one friend who was adamant about seeing a spaceship in a remote field in New Jersey when she was fifteen. It was just around dusk, and she was there with a friend. She said it was very vivid and quite close. She and her friend never really told anyone because they knew nobody would believe them.
When I was writing Mystical High, I had to have an explanation for everything, in my mind. And even though it is paranormal fiction, I do believe that elements of it could be true.
When switching back and forth between protagonists, what tricks did you use to keep their personalities and actions different? Did you ever find one character bleeding into another?
The two protagonists, Jessie and Jinxsy, have a lot in common. They’ve both been brought up in the same desert town, and there isn’t a lot of excitement in their lives until the story begins.
Jessie is a more low-key person than Jinxsy, and when the novel begins, Jessie has had more experience than Jinxsy in dealing directly with dysfunctional family situations. Jinxsy is more impulsive and more explosive. While Jessie has had years to get used to problems at home, Jinxsy is hit with some big changes all at once and reacts more outwardly.
When you started The Desert Series, did you have an overall plot idea in mind, or have you allowed the story to evolve as you go along?
When I began Mystical High, it was a standalone book. As I began writing it, the book sort of told me that it would be a trilogy. So, before I finished writing it, I wrote general outlines for books 2 and 3. As for having an overall plot in mind, yes, yes, yes. I always have a plot in mind. Everything I write is for a reason. While readers may not pick up every clue that I lay, it’s important for me that the clues are there. I couldn’t possibly write complex, multi-arc stories if I didn’t know where I intended to go. Of course, there are always surprises as I write, but the basic plot is set.
Friendships feature heavily in Mystical High. How does the theme of friendship show the development of each of the characters?
Yes, friendships are very important to me, as a person and so far they’ve been a central theme in every book I’ve written. In Mystical High, Jinxsy and Jessie both have some serious family issues to deal with. But because they’re best friends and are privy to the upheaval in one another’s lives, they learn so much more about how life can take unexpected turns and how we evolve as human beings through the stuff that life throws at us. In Mystical High, by “sharing and comparing,” the characters can more easily develop and mature.
Aside from The Desert Series, do you have any other stories in the works?
Yes. I mentioned in an earlier question that I had written a play. This play began as a short story I wrote at age seventeen. For eight years, it was lost, but when I found it again, I loved it and turned it into a one-act play. Years later, I turned it into a two-act play, and now, I’m turning it into a novel. I’ve got about 28K written, but have set it aside to finish The Desert Series. I do have another project in the works as well, but I’m keeping that under wraps.
Is there any particular event, time, or place that you would love to write about some day?
There is no one event, time, or place that I’m dying to write about, although both my novel Squalor, New Mexico (a coming-of-age story) and the play that I’m novelizing are period pieces. The first is set in the 1970s, and the second will be set in the 1980s. For both of these stories, it was very important that they took place in a time when technology didn’t rule our lives.
To best answer your question, there are so many things that inspire me all the time. As with most writers, it’s when an idea sticks with me and I can’t get rid of it that it eventually must be written.
Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions, Lisette!