Book Title: Life After Juliet
Author: Shannon Lee Alexander
Release Date: July 5, 2016
Genre: Contemporary YA
Becca Hanson was never able to make sense of the real world. When her best friend Charlotte died, she gave up on it altogether. Fortunately, Becca can count on her books to escape—to other times, other places, other people…
Until she meets Max Herrera. He’s experienced loss, too, and his gorgeous, dark eyes see Becca the way no one else in school can.
As it turns out, kissing is a lot better in real life than on a page. But love and life are a lot more complicated in the real world…and happy endings aren’t always guaranteed.
The companion novel to Love and Other Unknown Variables is an exploration of loss and regret, of kissing and love, and most importantly, a celebration of hope and discovering a life worth living again.
The book sounds really interesting. How do you do your research?
I think the key to research for fiction novels is that only about one percent of what I research actually shows up in the stories I write. Research is mostly for me the writer to see and not you the reader to read. Research helps me craft realistic characters and settings.
To be fair, I’d say about ten percent of what I researched showed up in LOVE AND OTHER UNKNOWN VARIABLES, the companion novel to LIFE AFTER JULIET. But I had to do a TON of research for that book. The main character in LAOUV is a math and science geek—subjects I hadn’t studied in many, many years! I had to do a lot of reading to better understand some of the mathematical concepts that Charlie uses to make day-to-day decisions about his life. He thinks mathematically, so to get his character right, I had to do my math research.
Research for LIFE AFTER JULIET was much easier. Becca, the main character, is a bookworm, much like me. I already understand the way she thinks. Writing Becca came more naturally to me than writing her older brother Charlie.
I grew up in the theater at my high school, so writing the setting of LIFE AFTER JULIET was like going home. Play production was something I’d done both as an actor and as a techie. I did, however, scout out the fancy new tech equipment that the high school in my area is using now. There are lots of improvements from my time, but the heart and soul of production is the same.
I am not a sculptor though, and as sculpting and metal-working was part of the story, I did have to do research on those. Luckily, my husband and brother-in-law both know a lot about welding. I asked lots of questions and soaked in as much as I could. I think they were surprised though by the kinds of questions I was asking. They wanted to tell me about the procedures and techniques, while I was interested in what it smelled like, how heavy the aprons and helmets were, and what the metal looked like while being welded. I kept asking things like, “What kind of vibrations are there in your hands when using an arc welder versus a blowtorch?” To which they’d stare blankly or go silent in our online chat. They couldn’t understand the value of that question. But I wasn’t asking things to learn how to weld. I was trying to learn how to describe what it feels like to weld.
I also spent way too many research hours looking at spectacular examples of metal sculptures. It’s very easy to fall down a rabbit hole when looking at art! And because I wanted some of the sculptures to reflect a certain culture, I ended up digressing and studying Venezuelan history and folklore, too.
But most of my research doesn’t show up in the actual text of LIFE AFTER JULIET. Research prepares me to better immerse myself in the world of my characters. The deeper I can understand their world, the better I can portray it for readers.
Thank you so much for sharing how you did your research, very interesting. I can understand about the welding and talking to men about it, my husband explains things the same way they did. I also get side tracked when research something, I don’t write but love to read and will research to find answer to my questions are just curious. Thanks again for sharing with us.
About the Author:
Shannon Lee Alexander is a wife and mother (of two kids and one yellow terrier named Harriet Potter). She is passionate about coffee, books, and cancer research. She spent most of her time in high school hiding out in the theater with the drammies and techies. Math still makes her break out in a sweat. She currently lives in Indianapolis with her family.
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Open internationally, but prize packs ship only to US. International winners will receive Amazon gift cards (listed below).*
- Grand prize: Hyperboles are the best EVER! tote bag, a 4oz. Novelly Yours Antique Books candle, Toe-meo and Juliet Shakespearean socks, Life after Juliet poison and dagger necklace, Velveteen Rabbit note card, signed Life after Juliet bookmark and bookplate*
- 1st Runner Up: Hyperboles are the best EVER! tote bag, a 4 oz. Novelly Yours Antique Books candle, Toe-meo and Juliet Shakespearean socks, Life after Juliet dagger earrings, signed Life after Juliet bookmark and bookplate*
- 2nd Runner Up: 2oz. Novelly Yours Antique Books candle, Life after Juliet dagger earrings, Velveteen Rabbit note card, signed Life after Juliet bookmark and bookplate*
- 3rd Runner Up: 2oz. Novelly Yours Antique Books candle, Life after Juliet dagger earrings, signed Life after Juliet bookmark and bookplate*
*All contests are open internationally, but international winners will receive the following:
- Grand prize: $25 Amazon gift card, signed signed Life after Juliet bookmark and bookplate
- 1st Runner Up: $20 Amazon gift card, signed Life after Juliet bookmark and bookplate
- 2nd runner up: $15 Amazon gift card, signed Life after Juliet bookmark and bookplate
- 3rd runner up: $10 Amazon gift card, signed Life after Juliet bookmark and bookplate
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“I’m wondering what to read next.” — Matilda, Roald Dahl