I was blown away by Tess Sharpe’s debut novel, FAR FROM YOU, when I had the chance to read it! It’s truly amazing- and I’m recommending it to all the people I know. Because it’s just… heartbreaking, heart-warming… everything. I’m so thrilled I’ve had the chance to interview Tess on her debut… so I hope you enjoy all of the answers- I did! 😀 First, a little bit about Tess:
Born in a backwoods cabin to a pair of punk rockers, Tess Sharpe grew up in rural Northern California. Following an internship with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, she studied theatre at Southern Oregon University before abandoning the stage for the professional kitchen. She lives, writes and bakes near the Oregon border. FAR FROM YOU is her debut novel.
1- Hi Tess! Firstly, can you give a quick explanation of your book?
Hi! FAR FROM YOU is a love story tied in a murder mystery bow. It’s about 17-year-old Sophie, who is fresh out of rehab and on the trail of her best friend’s killer, all while trying to hide their relationship from their oblivious friends and family.
2- FAR FROM YOU is told in chapters alternating between the past and the present. Did you write everything chronologically first, then re-organise it, or did you write the book in the order it’s in now? (If that makes any sense!)
Oh, that totally makes sense! Except for one scene, I wrote the book entirely in the order it is now. Which made me deeply suspicious of it, because I usually hop around a lot when I draft. But in this case, it worked out well, I think.
3- Do you base any of the characters on people you know or other favourite book characters?
I don’t base character’s personalities on specific people, but I draw a lot from my own experience growing up in rural Northern California for setting, place and cultural tone.
4- What was the easiest scene to write in FAR FROM YOU, and what was the hardest?
The opening and closing scene of the book were the easiest, and they changed very little throughout the entire revision process. The hardest was the dreaded Chapter 17 (which is actually Chapter 14 in the published version) that I swear was cursed—it even magically disappeared in one translated version for awhile! I wrote at least a dozen different flashbacks for that chapter, trying to find the right one. But I finally landed on the one that (I hope) works the best.
5- Did you plan the plot for FAR FROM YOU out, or did you simply write to see where it led you?
I create a lot of rules and patterns for myself when I write non-linearly, so plotting and outlining is essential. I always like knowing where I’m going—though you’ve got to be open to change when something you planned isn’t working!
6- How did the idea for FAR FROM YOU appear?
It was born out of a combination of things: my desire to write about very intense, very different kinds of love and the way grief can fuel and consume a person.
7- Handwriting or typing? 🙂
Typing unless I’m not in front of a computer. Then I’ll use anything. Once, I wrote an entire chapter of a book on a pair of jeans with a Sharpie!
8- Finally, do you have any advice for aspiring contemporary or thriller writers?
Read a lot and write a lot—but also live a lot. Get out there and experience as much as possible (hopefully not murderous things, though!)—it’ll inform your work.
A huge, huge thank you to Tess Sharpe for being kind enough to answer some questions for the blog! I really enjoyed this, and of course, the book- which you can read my review of here. FAR FROM YOU is now out in stores in the UK, so make sure to pick up a copy- this is going to be a big YA debut and I can tell it’s destined for awards!