500 Words or Less by Juleah Del Rosario
Genre: YA Contemporary, Poetry, Realistic Fiction
Publication: September 25th 2018 by Simon Pulse
Series: None. Standalone.
Length: 384 pages
Format: e-ARC from blog tour host
Nic Chen refuses to spend her senior year branded as the girl who cheated on her charismatic and lovable boyfriend. To redefine her reputation among her Ivy League–obsessed classmates, Nic begins writing their college admissions essays.
But the more essays Nic writes for other people, the less sure she becomes of herself, the kind of person she is, and whether her moral compass even points north anymore.
Hi Juleah! It’s so wonderful to have you on Arctic Books today! Thank you for wanting to answer some of my questions. Let’s get started! The following questions are all about your writing experience for 500 Words or Less:
If you weren’t an author, what other career tracks do you imagine yourself undertaking?
Since the unfortunate reality is that being an author isn’t necessarily financially sustainable, especially when you’re just starting out, I also have another career as a librarian at a university. For me, I feel extremely fortunate because I love my job as a librarian. I honestly love it as much as I love writing.
Is there an author that you personally look up to? In the same sense, are there any books that made you want to read or write? (Feel free to answer with your favorite authors and/or books, by the way!)
There are authors who I just love to read from a pure pleasure standpoint, who I read everything they’ve ever published. Sometimes these authors publish in the YA contemporary genre and some of them are outside. I think it’s important for writers to have the authors who they love to read for the sake of reading. I also think it’s important to sometimes keep these close to the heart. So I don’t often share what I read for pleasure.
But from a writer standpoint, Jacqueline Woodson, Jandy Nelson, and John Green are three authors who I love to study their work. I think all three use language in innovative and exciting ways, while also having a keen eye for story, structure, character, and emotional arcs. That’s the type of writer I aspire to be, one who can experiment with language, but also hold true to what is compelling to readers about story.
Three of my favorite books also happen to be Brown Girl Dreaming, I’ll Give You the Sun, and Looking for Alaska.
If given the chance to visit anywhere in the world, either for vacation, or just to gather inspiration for a new book, where would you go and why?
Guam. My mom and her family grew up and are from Guam. At some point in the future I want to write a story set on Guam. There’s one other middle grade/YA book out there that I know of that is set on Guam, and it doesn’t reflect the people and family that I know. While it may reflect some families, I want to be able to write a story that reflects other types of families that live on or are from Guam.
I’ve been to Guam to visit family, but I’d like to go back with a story in mind, in order to perhaps see it with new eyes.
Are you an animal lover? Do you have pets?
I do love animals! But sadly, I don’t have any pets.
I love turtles. In fact, my next novel has the working title of Turtle Under Ice. A major part of the story comes from facts that I had recently learned about turtles.
Okay, this one’s a shot in the dark, but are you working on a new book right now? If so, then would you mind letting us know what it’s about?
Yes, in fact, I’m supposed to be turning in a draft to my editor today. The working title is Turtle Under Ice and it’s about two sisters, one who goes missing during the middle of a snowstorm and the other who is seeking to find her. It’s told in alternating voices and is another verse novel. Also, as mentioned in question 4, turtles and other animals receive cameos throughout the novel. Not sure which ones will survive revision, but I got really into learning about some amazing creatures in the process of writing this draft.
Turtle Under Ice is currently slated for publication in Spring 2020.
We’re down to the last part of the interview!
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers all over the world? Mind sharing any tips that can make them feel motivated?
If you’re feeling stuck in your writing, or feel like the feedback is always the same, maybe try something new, whether it’s writing in a new genre, experimenting with structure, or maybe even a new audience or age group.
And lastly, do you have any message to your readers and/or fans?
We are all whole and complex people.
Thank you so much for letting me do an interview with you, Juleah!
Have YOU read 500 Words or Less yet? What did you think of Juleah’s take on a coming-of-age story told in verse? Let me know what you think via the comments section below!
JM is a 21 year old blogger from Manila. He has a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management mainly because it was too late when he discovered that literature and publishing is his true calling. He enjoys reading contemporary and fantasy novels as much as he enjoys playing video games and baking pastries. You may find him on his book blog, Book Freak Revelations, also on Twitter, Instagram, & Goodreads.