Happy Friday and welcome to my stop on the Last Things blog tour!! Read on to find out where Jacqueline West would go if she spent the day with Anders’ band, how she came up with the idea for this story, and enter to win a print copy of Last Things!Last Things by Jacqueline West
Published on May 7, 2019 by Greenwillow
Genres: YA, Fantasy
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When strange things start happening to local music idol Anders Thorson, everyone blames his number-one-fan, Thea. But is she out to hurt him? Or protect him?
High school senior Anders Thorson is unusually gifted. His band, Last Things, is legendary in their northern Minnesota hometown. With guitar skills that would amaze even if he weren’t only eighteen, Anders is the focus of head-turning admiration. And Thea Malcom, a newcomer to the insular town, is one of his admirers. Thea seems to turn up everywhere Anders goes: gigs at the local coffeehouse, guitar lessons, even in the woods near Anders’s home. When strange things start happening to Anders—including the disappearance of his beloved cat, then his sort-of girlfriend, and, somehow, his musical talent—blame immediately falls on Thea. But is she trying to hurt him? Or save him? Can he trust a girl who doesn’t seem to know the difference between dreams and reality? And how much are they both willing to compromise to get what they want?
Interview with Jacqueline
What inspired you to write this book?
I lead a lot of workshops for young writers, and one of my workshops involves picking a random image out of a box to serve as inspiration for a fictional character. One day during an elementary school workshop several years ago, a boy picked an image of a teenager holding an electric guitar and screaming into a microphone out of the box. The boy got stuck when trying to come up with potential problems for his character, so I was brainstorming with him, asking him prompting questions. Is there someone in his family who wants him to quit playing the guitar? Does he get stage fright? Or is it something weird, like is there a devil that follows him everywhere he goes? The boy’s eyes widened. “Yeah,” he said. “That one.”
And so did I.
After the workshop, I rushed out to my car and scribbled down several pages of notes. I wanted to write a modern-day, Minnesotan, metal re-imagining of the legend of the guitarist who might have sold his soul to the devil…but I didn’t have any idea how I was going to tell that story yet.
It wasn’t until another year or so had passed that I started hearing a voice in my head—and it was the voice of my second main character, Thea. That’s when I realized that I was going to tell this story in alternating viewpoints, using both Anders, the guitar prodigy, and Thea, his fan/stalker/possibly-something-more.
Do you have any deleted scenes you can share with us?
Usually my drafts have lots of deleted scenes or dead ends—but for some magical reason, this book was different. LAST THINGS just seemed to flow. There’s no folder full of scraps for this one!
Who is your favorite character from Last Things?
I know this sounds like a cop-out, but I honestly love them all. Even the ones who are jerks.
Who was the most fun character to write in this story?
Using alternating viewpoints, stepping inside of both Thea and Anders, was one of my favorite things about writing this book. The two of them are so different from each other, and both of them are keeping so many secrets, it was just pure fun to let the story unearth itself bit by bit through their words.
What would you do if you spent the day with Anders and his friends? Where would you go to eat, hang out, relax, etc.?
Oh, I would LOVE the chance to spend a day in the world of this book. I’d probably hang out with Anders and Jezz and Patrick—the members of the band Last Things—while they practiced in Patrick’s garage. We might get lunch at Roxy’s Diner, which is one of the only restaurants in their little northern Minnesota town. Then we’d head into the woods, to the Crow’s Nest coffee house. I’d drink a cappuccino or three, and the band would set up, and in the evening, there would be an amazing concert…and afterward, I would run to my car as quickly as I could, staying far away from the woods and all of the dark things hiding in it.
What would Anders’ and Thea’s favorite books be and why?
Neither of my MCs are huge readers, but I think Anders would likely own—and love—Louder than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal and Fargo Rock City by Chuck Klosterman (as another metalhead growing up in a small Midwestern town, he’d feel pretty connected to this one).
The book Thea knows best—for a number of odd reasons—is the Bible, but I’m not sure she’d call that her “favorite.” If Thea read anything just for pleasure, it might be something like Emily Dickinson’s collected poems.
About the Author
She lives in Red Wing, Minnesota, with her family.