Hey everyone! Julie Anne here! Today, I’m joined by the great Lianne Oelke! Nice Try, Jane Sinner is her debut novel, and it comes out this Tuesday! It’s the story of a girl who goes on a hidden camera show and her personal life is suddenly out there for the world to see. Lianne’s writing is incredibly unique and will be sure to hook any young adult reader out there. Alright, let's get into the interview! And don’t forget to stick around until the end. We’ve got one of our coolest giveaways ever, and you definitely don't want to miss it!
Julie Anne: Hello! I was lucky enough to read an advanced copy of Nice Try, Jane Sinner, which will be hitting bookstores soon! Could you give our readers a little summary of what it's about?
Lianne: Hi! Nice Try, Jane Sinner is about a girl who gets kicked out of high school and has to complete her diploma at a community college. In a desperate attempt to leave high school (and her overbearing but well-meaning family) behind and remake her image, she also signs up for a student-run reality show called House of Orange. Turns out that re-inventing yourself is kinda tough in a house full of cameras, backstabbing roommates, and constant drama. The story is told through Jane's journal, and the frivolity of reality TV shenanigans is offset by a healthy dose of existential angst.
Julie Anne: Where did you get the ideas for The House Of Orange? Were any particular reality TV shows instrumental to your writing process?
Lianne: Big Brother is the main show House of Orange is based on. I love the idea of throwing a bunch of seemingly random people together, locking them in a house (okay they're technically free to leave, but whatever), and seeing what happens. It's kind of like playing The Sims, except with fewer drownings and house fires. But tbh, I spent more time watching The Bachelor/Bachelorette and America's Next Top Model than Big Brother. And as someone who works in the film industry, I also appreciate the behind the scenes drama of UnReal.
Julie Anne: I related to Jane a lot, especially when she was sarcastic. How did the idea for Jane's character first come to you?
Lianne: Hoooo boy. It's somewhat of a long story. I studied philosophy in university, which gradually led me to question everything I grew up believing. I also suffered from depression. So it was kind of a rough time for me. One thing that helped was keeping a journal. I'd write down all the negative things I was feeling, or all the things I thought I should be feeling but wasn't, or anything else I found interesting or important in my day to day life. When I re-read some of those journal entries, months or years later, I really didn't like what I went through or the person I was. I wished I could have been braver, speaking up to friends and family and taking more risks. I knew I couldn't change the past, but I could change my journal. So I started typing it up. And deleting what I didn't like. And adding things that made me laugh. And adding a plot involving post secondary education and reality television, because that's what I knew. Eventually I realized I was writing about me, but also someone else. Someone with a cool name like Jane Sinner.
Tldr; Jane Sinner is basically me, but funnier and a lot more proactive.
Julie Anne: The characters that participate along with Jane are quite unusual. They are so different from each other! Which one is your personal favorite?
Lianne: Easy. Marc. He's just the worst, but also kind of the best.
Julie Anne: This book not only makes people laugh, but it also deals with difficult topics like depression. What is some advice you have for those teens who've experienced depression themselves?
Lianne: I'm not a doctor, so I'm technically not qualified to give advice on this. I highly encourage teens who are experiencing depression to seek out a medical professional. I think every situation is unique, but for me, keeping a journal allowed me to take some of the negativity running through my mind and put it on paper. It's so hard to get out of your own head, but writing allows you some measure of perspective. Talking to people you love helps too, even when you don't know how to put what you're feeling into words or if you don't think anyone wants to listen. Trust me, they do. And reading books about people who are going through the same thing as you is huge. You're never alone.
Julie Anne: The twists in this book definitely made my heart stop a couple of times. They were out of nowhere! I sat there looking at the book and actually gasped. What are some of your favorite twisty books and movies?
Lianne: Haha, I'm glad you were shocked by Jane Sinner! I know I was writing it.
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood kept surprising me with each page. Trickster's Choice by Tamora Pierce, Kingdom On Fire by Jessica Clues, and The Queen's Thief by Megan Whalen Turner are some YA fantasy series that keep you on your toes. Code Name Verity, a historical YA, will rip your heart out with everything you didn't see coming. Oldboy is a Korean revenge movie that just kills me with its ending. And the new Netflix series American Vandal has so, so many WTF moments. Highly recommended if you're into true crime mockumentaries and spray painted dicks.
Julie Anne: This book was set in Canada, which is actually where you live. What are three of your favorite things about being Canadian?
Lianne: Only three, eh?! Well, living in Vancouver (after growing up in the prairies), I've truly come to appreciate the wonders of Canadian nature. I loooove being able to camp, hike, and explore the woods and mountains in British Columbia. I also appreciate the people here. Canada is one of the most diverse and tolerant places in the world, and while we haven't always been that way (and we still have work to do), I'm beyond lucky to live in such a free country. And lastly, I'll leave you with this picture of our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau...
Julie Anne: Lastly, could you give us some details about the next story you're writing? I know I'm not the only teen who's interested in your next project!
Lianne: Well my WIP isn't finished (or sold) yet, but it's... rather different from Jane Sinner. It's a multi-POV YA fantasy inspired by saga-age Iceland, in the vein of Three Dark Crowns or Six of Crows. Think volcanoes, vikings, witchcraft, and morally ambiguous characters. There may be a bunch of twists in this one, too.
That’s it for today’s interview with Lianne! But don’t leave yet! We’ve got an amazing Nice Try, Jane Sinner giveaway featuring signed bookmarks, stickers, buttons, and even a tote bag. Enter by clicking the image below. And be sure to come back next week when James will be interviewing Samira Ahmed about her new book, Love, Hate, And Other Filters. See you then!