Tuesday, September 25, 2012

At What Cost Blog Tour: Interview, excerpt & giveaway

Reader Girls is one of today's stops on the At What Cost Blog Tour hosted by YA Bound. We interviewed author J. Anderson and she shares an excerpt from her book. There is also a giveaway (open internationally).
At What Cost by J. Andersen

YA contemporary*Format: e-book, 225 pages*Published: Astraea Press, June 2012
Amazon.com | Goodreads

her junior year, sixteen-year-old Maggie Reynolds expected to shop for prom dresses not maternity clothes. Now, instead of studying for the SATs, she’s reading, What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Maggie’s ‘Mother Dearest’ lives in fear that Maggie will somehow taint the family name, so Maggie can’t turn to her for help. Meanwhile, her father is oblivious to anything but his 9-9 job. And her boyfriend, Justin? She’s pretty sure he’ll stay by her side.

While Maggie wrestles with her options, Justin offers a solution: abortion. It would solve all her problems quickly, easily, and effectively. And her parents would never know, which means they won’t throw her out and cut her off like they’d always threatened if she got herself knocked up. Now Maggie must decide which choice she can live with: abortion or teenage motherhood. Either way, it’ll be a tough road to travel. 

Author Interview

1. Your novel targets the teen audience. What made you decide to write YA fiction as opposed to adult fiction?

Because YA rocks! I taught high school and middle school for quite a few years prior to writing full time. During that time, I read what the kids were reading, and I fell in love with the genre. Now, I read mostly YA. I find it to be real and gritty. It’s not afraid to take on issues like abortion, cutting, drug abuse and the like. Teens need these kinds of stories because, like it or not, it’s what they are dealing with.

2. Tell us a bit about your writing background. When did you first start to write?

Well, I recently found an assignment from third grade where I apparently said I wanted to be famous for writing a book. So, I guess it started then. I wrote a bit in high school. Short stories mostly. Won a few high school level writing contests. But when college came around, creative writing was laid aside in lieu of term papers. Then, when I started teaching, the desire to write resurfaced. Now, here I am doing it full time.

3. Who would you say has inspired you most as a writer? (Another writer, a colleague, a family member…)

Not sure. There isn’t really one particular person. I could say my dad, he’s always written little ditties here and there, but he only writes stories for my mom. I keep telling him he should put his stories together in a book, but he says he’ll leave the writing up to me. Other than him, I highly respect Laurie Halse Anderson. Her work hits the heart of what teens are dealing with. And I’ve met her a few times. She’s awesome and very down to earth. I can only pray that one day my work will have the sphere of influence that hers does.

4. When was that point in your life that you realized that being an author was no longer going to be just a dream but a career you were going to turn into reality?

I knew from the beginning that if I stuck with it through the years of hard work and rejections, if I learned from my mistakes and grew in my writing, I’d eventually publish a book. I’m too stubborn to give up on something like that. But now that it’s a reality, it’s surreal. I can’t believe I’m not dreaming.

5. Do your characters try to make like bunnies and create ever more convoluted plots for you? Or do you have to coax them out of your characters?

At What Cost , I had to coax it out of them, but in my newest work, they’re taking me all over the place. I’m just hoping I don’t write my plot into a corner that I can’t get out of.

6. What’s next? Do you have any works in progress or other contracted work?

Yep, I have 3 WIPs. One that’s in critique stage (Wait). One that’s done, but I will obsessively look at it one more time. J (The Unviables) And I’m currently working on the sequel to Unviables, yet to be named.

An excerpt:
“You’re pregnant?” It was a harsh half statement, half question punctuated with clenched teeth.

“Wha—?” Maggie was too shocked to realize what hadhappened, but when she looked back to where she stood, shespotted a sheepish looking Lauren mouthing the words, “I’m sorry.”


“Well, are you?” His grip on her tightened.

“Justin, you’re hurting my arm.”

He let go and motioned for her to sit with a quick thrust ofhis hand toward the table, but his eyes revealed his anger. He was furious, but then she saw a hint of fear hidden behind his golden irises. In those moments, she was five years old again, the dayshe’d broken her mother’s favorite vase. Her mother had loomedover her, drilling her for information. Pointed and yelled. This time,it was Justin.

“Are you, or aren’t you?” His eyes crinkled, his brow furrowed, and a deep crease appeared on his forehead. Trying to control his reactions proved to be impossible, and soon, his leg bounced under the table, and he wiped the nervous sweat on his palms off on his jeans.

This still wasn’t the place to talk. The cement walls of the school were beginning to feel like a jail cell; anywhere she went,Maggie felt trapped.

“Can we talk about this after school?” Maggie said, trying to be assertive.

His knuckles turned white as he clenched his fists. “No, we can’t. If you’re pregnant, I need to know.”

This wasn’t how she had pictured it. She was supposed to plan the conversation and the place. Definitely not in the corner of the cafeteria with people walking by who might hear her secret, a secret she hadn’t decided how to handle. Thank you so much, Lauren!

Justin grabbed her wrists from across the table. “Maggie, it’s a simple yes or no question. Are. You. Pregnant?”

She could feel the rage rolling off him in waves, and she knew stalling was not an option.


The silence grew louder, and Justin didn’t move. He stared at her, his eyes shifting across her eyes in a quick staccato. She didn’t know she could feel so uncomfortable, so she tried to ease that discomfort by looking away. When she met his gaze again, he glared at her, not saying a word. He never spoke. Not when he let go of her wrists, not when he got up from the seat across from her,not when he left the room.

Not a single word.

About the author:
Jessie Andersen 
Jessie Andersen lives in a small town in Western New York with her husband and three kids. A former English teacher, she now spends her time writing while the kids are at school and the baby is sleeping. She volunteers at the local library and sings in the church band. You can find information about her books at jandersenbooks.com, and you can follow her blogs at Therabidwriter.blogspot (Personal blog) and Readbetweenthelinesbookclub.blogspot.com (Book blog). You can also follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jvdlandersen and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jandersenbooks and Goodreads.

Next stops on the tour:
September 26:

For the complete tour, go here.

Three e-book copies of At What Cost by Jessie Andersen (open Internationally).
a Rafflecopter giveaway

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the post, readergirls! It's been crazy trying to keep up with all of these on the tour. I appreciate you taking the time to post.