Evernight Teen Publishing, 31,000 words
It can take a whole day to figure out what happened…that night.
On what was to be just another Monday morning at school, Luke’s girlfriend Jessica is nowhere to be found. Names like ‘psycho lover’ follow Luke to his locker, even from his best friend. Luke soon learns Jessica tried to kill herself at a party from the previous Saturday night, and she’s blaming him. With posts on FaceBook feeding the rumors of what happened that night, the school has to investigate.
Torn between worry, guilt, loyalty, priorities, and an urgency to clear his name and protect hers, he has to find her—he loves her no matter what. The teacher in the middle of the investigation is also the same one to provide academic and character references for Luke’s college applications due by the end of the week. Luke knows he’s not to blame, but with no contact from Jessica and everyone blaming him for what happened, he’s at risk of losing everything—Jessica and his dreams of being a mechanic—all because of what happened that night.
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“Hey, man.” I nodded to Jeremy Waters as I started the long trek up the front lawn of the school. He nodded back but gave me a questioning stare as I walked past. Again, weird. What is with everyone today? I wondered.
I scanned the busy school grounds. Where was Jessica? I knew our break-up was inevitable, but I dreaded it. I still cared about her very much, but things were changing: me, her, and ‘us’––and I didn’t know what to do about it. Neither did she.
At first I didn’t notice anything off, but as I passed group after group of unusually silent guys and girls from all grades, I got that weird feeling, like I was being watched, like the whole school was focused on me or something.
Some of the guys pulled their buds out of their ears as I approached, their banter from moments before silencing as I passed. One guy shook his head as if in disgust. Another guy awkwardly picked at something on the ground with the toe of his shoe, as if he were avoiding something.
I kept going, trying to walk as normally as I could. Hard to do when you know you’re being watched.
Where was Jess? I checked my phone to see if there was anything from her: nothing.
I shifted my backpack and made my way up the path to the front steps of the school. With every footstep, uncertainty and foreboding gnawed at my gut.
A group of girls from Jessica’s drama club huddled on the front steps like a bunch of hens. They all gave me the once-over. One of them was crying and another gave me the finger.
That stopped me in my tracks. “What the hell?” I stared them down. “What was that for?”
“Screw you, Luke!” The one with the ornery finger spat. “Stay away from Jessica!”
What the…? Whatever. Bunch of gossips––they seriously need to get a life.
Jessica and I had been drifting apart for a while. Where she was involved in her drama club, her social life, I preferred being under the hood of a car, alone. But it wasn’t that I chose cars over her or anything. I cared about her very, very much. At one time I even contemplated the L-word thing with her. But lately, something had changed, and I couldn’t figure out what. I mean, I knew I wanted to be with her but it was like we were drifting towards each other, then away, then back towards each other again. Only to then again drift further away.
But I would never do anything to her, to earn me the middle finger from her friends. So why were they acting like that? What the…? I shook my head and kept going. I hadn’t done anything to provoke their reaction, so they could just go back to their pointless chatter about hair or whatever.
With fifteen minutes to go until the first bell, I wanted to catch up with Jess before classes started. She lived way on the other side of town, and as much I would have loved to pick her up every morning, her mom insisted on driving her. Her mom liked me, so it wasn’t anything against me personally, but Jessica said it was a ‘mom and daughter thing.’ And besides, we always met first thing at school and I would, at least, get to drive her home.
But that day, even though I wasn’t exactly about to have ‘the talk’ with her right before class, I wanted to at least see her that morning to start the day––it was our ‘thing.’ A pang of regret fluttered in my gut. If we broke up, would we still meet in the mornings? She had become part of my day and I still wanted that.
I made my way through the doors of the school. The halls were already swarming with East Clark High’s student body. I searched for Jessica as I pushed and wove my way through the crowd. But I soon realized I wasn’t pushing past anyone, anymore. The constant buzz in the halls had all but died down, and people were stepping aside giving me a wide berth as I went.
What the hell was wrong with everyone? I frowned at everyone practically plastered up against the lockers, avoiding me like I was contagious or something. Did I smell like dog sh––
“Psycho!” A familiar voice hissed in my ear, cutting off my thoughts. Great––Mark. I stuttered to a stop but tried to keep going. I, along with everyone else, was used to his stupid ways, but I had to find Jessica. I didn’t want to waste time getting into it with him right then.
But he came at me again with, “Psycho-lover!” and that definitely had me coming to a full stop. I swear I felt spit on my cheek.
I refused to swipe it away, giving him the satisfaction of … I didn’t know what. Something. I glanced up to find his buddies chuckling while Mark, the idiot himself, contorted his face into what he assumed was the look of a crazy person.
He didn’t have to try very hard. It came naturally.
And I hoped his eyes stayed crossed like that.
I stared him down, and just when I turned away he was up against me, his face so close to mine his eyes looked crossed. “Jessica almost knocked herself off the other night. Whadidja do? Screw her over?” he hissed.
I stared at him in confusion. My face numbed. My neck heated. What was he talking about? What did he mean, ‘knock herself off’?
Character Interview with Jessica Lowry,
Secondary Character and Heroine of THAT NIGHT
I interviewed the heroine of my book, Jessica. Although she is not the main character nor the narrating point of view of the story, the story centers around her and how her actions affected her boyfriend, Luke.
Lisa: How did we first meet?
Jessica: Well, let me first introduce myself to your readers. My name is Jessica Lowry and I’m Luke Hannon’s girlfriend in your story, THAT NIGHT. The story is mostly about him and what he went through because of ME, but I do have a big role in the whole thing. I know you, Lisa, were wanting to write a story about how a suicide attempt affects loved ones, especially in a teen’s world, so I put myself out there to you and the rest is history.
Lisa: Did you ever think that your life would end up being in a book?
Jessica: Well I didn’t exactly plan on what happened that night – never mind expecting it to be in a book – but given I’m in drama and I dream of one day seeing my name in lights, being in a book was a bit surreal – and a little hard to accept at first, given the nature of the story. But I think it was an important story to tell, one that many can learn from.
Lisa: What are your favorite scenes in your book: the action, the dialog or the romance?
Jessica: Well I don’t want to give too much away, but I really the scene towards the end where I am asking Luke for help. Again, I don’t want to say too much, but the look on his face and how he reacted was true to Luke and made me love him all the more (but don’t tell him I said that)
Lisa: Do you infiltrate your writer’s dreams?
Jessica: I know for a fact that I was always on Lisa’s mind as she was writing this book. Even in her day to day living she’d here of someone with the same name and she’d start thinking of me. I know Luke and I both kept her up at night sometimes, and she’d be writing stuff about us – about ME! – on a notepad beside her bed.
Lisa: What do you like to do when you are not being actively read somewhere?
Jessica: Well as I mentioned I am in drama and we are getting ready for our school’s production of GREASE. I can’t wait, but I’ve been exhausted with everything going on: rehearsals, interviews for Lisa’s book and Luke (I hate it when I blush).
Lisa: Are you happy with the genre your writer has placed you in?
Jessica: Absolutely! This book and all the topics the book touches on – bullying, loyalty, teen suicide, social media abuse – is important and needs to be addressed. Yes, suicide is the most important topic, and even though the book touches on only the attempt of something so drastic, mental health issues affect everyone. Asking for and getting help from someone – anyone – is key. No one is truly ever alone.
Lisa: If you could rewrite anything in your book, what would it be?
Jessica: Some might say it was romantic to stand up for me the way Luke did, but it really bothers me that Luke got into a fight (I won’t say with who – don’t want to spoil it). I’m not a violent person, so I don’t agree with fighting – no matter what the reason.
Lisa: Would you be interested in a sequel, if your writer was so inclined?
Jessica: Of course! What drama club member wouldn’t?! But I’d want the book to be happy one, something maybe where I am in a castle far, far away, and I’m wearing a flowing blue dress, and the wind is blowing my split-end-free hair, and Luke rides up on a white horse, and there’s a sunset, and my eyes are the most sparkling of blue, and….
Lisa: Do have any secret aspirations that your author doesn’t know about?
Jessica: Oh I’m so glad you asked that! I can finally talk about this now that the book is out but I as part of the whole ‘name in lights’ thing I have always dreamed about, I’ve been kinda curious about writing a book. I know, I know – everyone apparently always says that. But it was cool watching Lisa write the book, and I’ve recently started writing in a journal and I really like it. It’s actually gotten to the point where I can’t wait until I can curl up in bed at night with my journal and a pen, and just write…stuff.
Lisa: What do you wear when you go to sleep?
Jessica: I have this old t-shirt I stole once from Luke’s car. It has grease stains on it – he must have been using it for working on his car, or something. I washed it, of course, but it’s THE BEST SHIRT EVER.
Lisa: What is your most prized possession?
Jessica: It’s now my journal. I don’t show Stacy and I don’t show Luke. It’s mine.
Lisa: How do you react when people sing “Happy Birthday” to you in a restaurant?
Jessica: I love it, I love it, I love it! Unlike Luke who absolutely HATES stuff like that, I wish I could have that every day. I know it sounds kind of snotty or whatever, but heck – I’m in drama, I wouldn’t be a very good actress if I didn’t love the attention.
Lisa: Have you ever gone alone to either dinner or a movie? \
Jessica: I go to movies all the time – specifically documentaries. I know, I know – it so doesn’t match my whole ‘drama’ thing, but I love doing it. Luke hates documentaries but he doesn’t think it’s weird I go alone. Stacy thinks I’m weird, but not Luke. Luke often works at Bob’s Gas ‘n Go on Saturdays and when Stacy is out with her dad for their bi-weekly visit, I go in the afternoon and get the biggest popcorn and biggest drink – and bring back the popcorn leftovers for Luke.
Lisa: And this is my last question, Jessica: have you ever thought about getting a tattoo, what would it be and where? If not, what if you had to?
Jessica: I know Luke is thinking about getting a wolf (you’d have to read the story of ‘why’ he wants that), but I think that would be very cool to get one of a wolf. Maybe not a matching one to his, but I love the loyalty bit about wolves. I’m not a ‘lone wolf’ but I like the idea of them. My mom would kill me though, so I’ll have to think about it more.
Thank you so much, Jessica, for allowing me to interview you. I know readers will enjoy knowing a bit more about you. And thank you to everyone for stopping by this blog and learning a bit about me and my book, and an extra thank you to the host of this blog! Happy reading everyone!
About the Author:
Lisa McManus has been an avid reader since her teen years, and is inspired daily by her teenage boys and the forests and beaches of Vancouver Island, British Columbia where she lives. Along with writing for kids and teens, she is also multi-published with Chicken Soup for the Soul and numerous other magazines and anthologies. When she’s not writing, reading or refereeing her family, she is either hiking or out on the archery range.
Amazon author page www.amazon.com/author/lisamcmanus
Giveaway: $10 Evernight Teen GC and 1 ebook copy of THAT NIGHT
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3 thoughts on “Character Interview featuring Jessica from That Night by Lisa McManus w/a rafflecopter giveaway! @LisaMcManusLang”
Just want to send a special thank you to the folks here at Harlie’s Books for hosting me! I appreciate the support and thank you to everyone who stopped by! Happy reading! xo Lisa
I really like the sound of this book and the character interview was very good! Teenage suicide is a huge issue and I’m glad to see it being addressed in more books
Hi Maria – thank you so much for stopping by. I appreciate your kind words. Yes, it WAS a hard issue to write about, but an important one to address. Thank you so much for your support. Happy reading! xo Lisa