Ya’ll! Today I have Jessica Strawser, author of Almost Missed You, at Traveling With T to talk about her debut, missed connections and more!
Let me set the scene before the interview begins…. Picture it.. Sicily 1922… No really, it was around October/November 2016 and an early copy of Almost Missed You arrived at my house. I devoured it. And quickly wrote this Goodreads review!
On to the interview….
At the heart of ALMOST MISSED YOU is a story of missed connections. Have you ever had a missed connection like Violet and Finn?
There are a few what ifs that stand out for me–phone calls left unanswered, chances left untaken. Of course, I think part of what draws us all to the concept of missed connections is that we never know for sure that we’ve missed them. We might remain oblivious to the soul mate next door, or we might attach meaning to encounters that were meant to have been fleeting. Our lives are so interconnected that I’m betting we’ve all missed a few connections here and there. (Fortunately, unlike some of my characters, I’m quite happy with where I’ve landed.)
The story is told in the past and present. How did you keep up with the storyline, the details that the reader knew and the details that the reader would know by the end of the book?
The story came to me in flashes, and I always wrote what was most vivid to me even if I knew it didn’t chronologically come next. I sort of shaped the structure as I went and, oddly enough, a lot of it held up. Later, once I had a near-complete draft, I did make a timeline and rearrange a few things in the order of reveals. Some scenes had to stay at key points for the structure to hold, but there were more minor pieces that could have potentially fit in multiple places, so figuring out how I wanted the story to read was like a fun puzzle.
Did you consider an alternate ending?
I didn’t know the ending when I started, so I considered a lot of alternates. Once I settled on this one, though, it felt right. I will say, for any reader who has reached the end and is imagining its implications, that if you were to ask me what happens for these characters next, I honestly wouldn’t have an answer. As a reader, I like stories that resolve to my satisfaction while also leaving something to the imagination.
What are some books you are currently reading?
I’m lucky enough to find myself flush in ARCs from fellow 2017 debut authors at the moment. I just finished Jenni Walsh’s BECOMING BONNIE (a fun, vivid portrayal of how Bonnie met Clyde–and turned from proverbial-good-girl to partner-in-crime) and just began Kathleen Barber’s ARE YOU SLEEPING? (a psychological thriller about a viral podcast a la “Serial”–which already has me hooked, just a few chapters in).
How involved were you with the cover selection process of ALMOST MISSED YOU? I have to say that the cover really caught my eye and hinted at some secrets!
My amazingly generous editor, Holly Ingraham, asked me upfront for input on cover direction, and I was so grateful to have the chance to weigh in, in the vaguest possible terms, with my preferences and dislikes. There was a lot of back and forth within my team at St. Martin’s, trying to strike just the right note, and then once they hit on one that was close but still not quite right, the comment was made that it was too pretty, too serene. “Rip it up,” the publisher suggested. “Literally.” By the time they showed it to me, they’d already nailed it.
Wow! Wasn’t that a great interview?: Well, if Almost Missed You intrigued you like it did me you can add it to your Goodreads TBR shelf or enter Traveling With T’s giveaway of Almost Missed You (2 copies, US/CA only-ends March 27 at 11:59CST)
Happy Reading and Bookishly Yours,
T @ Traveling With T