Young Adult Romance (LGBT)
Date Published: 11-15-2016
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Sometimes you fly. Sometimes you fall.
A dream at Olympic gold in ski jumping. It’s a dream that’s been the exclusive property of male Olympic athletes.
For seventeen-year-old Ellie Engebretsen, the 2011 decision to include women’s ski jumping in the Olympics is a game changer. She’d love to bring home the gold for her father, a former Olympic hopeful whose dreams were blown along with his knees on an ill-timed landing. But can she defy the pull of gravity that draws her to Kate Moreau, her biggest competition and the girl of her dreams?
How can Ellie soar through the air when all she feels like doing is falling hard?
Advanced Praise for Gravity:
“A spicy novel about two young women daring to fly free in life and love while accurately depicting the thrill of ski jumping!”
Get a Sneak Peek at Gravity!
Is There a Message in Your Novel That You Want Readers to Grasp?
I write about and for young adults. My books are contemporary and character-driven, and if there is one message it is this: be yourself. Figure out who that is, remove all the muck other people have put in the way, and just be you. The world needs you – precisely as you are.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Writing IS challenging. It’s like a sprinting marathon with no guaranteed finish line. But for me, I’d say being inside my characters (since I mainly write 1st person POV, present tense) is particularly challenging because I surrender so much of myself to them and that is an exhaustive process.
It’s also one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had.
How many books have you written and which is your favorite?
I’ve written and published four books: Caught in the Crossfire, Searching for Grace, Taking the Stand, and Gravity.
Hmm….I don’t know. How many children do you have? Which one is your favorite?
That’s an unanswerable question because I have to absolutely love the characters in my book in order to bring the project to fruition. I grieve them when the final draft is submitted for typesetting. For real. Sorry – I can’t answer that one. I love each and every one of my books and the characters in them.
I can say that I love them for different reasons, though. I love each book in The Crossfire Trilogy because the kids in those books took a damned gutsy stand at the intersection of spirituality and sexuality…and refused to compromise who they were in order to please one side or the other.
I love Gravity because, while it is a romance and it is a sports book, it’s really a book about brokenness, and I think brokenness is one of the greatest things that can ever happen to a person. Sounds weird, I know, but bear with me. In my experience and observation, people break because the pain of living an inauthentic life has finally become so huge that they cannot contain it any longer and in the breaking they get a chance to piece themselves and their lives together in a way that reflects who they truly are.
In Gravity I wrote about Wabisabi, an old Japanese form of art that began when a potter refused to throw away the broken pieces of a bowl that had shattered in the kiln. Instead, he glued them together again with gold and, by doing so, created something far more beautiful and valuable. I’ll forever love Gravity for requiring the research that led me to that lesson.
If you had the chance to cast your main character from Hollywood today, who would you pick and why?
Hmm, for Ellie, the main character in Gravity, I’d choose Pink. She’d be a kickass Ellie Engebretsen.
For Jonathan in The Crossfire Trilogy, I’d choose Andrew Garfield. He’s both strong and sensitive enough to pull off Jonathan. He also has Jonathan’s smile.
When did you begin writing?
I don’t ever remember a time when I didn’t write. I guess I was that dorky kid who walked around with a folded over journal in my back pocket all through adolescence. Whatever experience life has served up to me – the good, the bad, the ugly, the excruciating –writing about it has helped me find the meaning of the experience as well as peace.
How long did it take to complete your first book?
To write the 1st draft: 4 months
To revise until it was fit for human eyes: 18 months
Roughly two years.
Did you have an author who inspired you to become a writer?
Honestly, anyone who writes a book is an inspiration because every book represents someone who possessed both the tenderness to be open to inspiration and the tenacity to complete the long project.
My favorite authors, however, are William Kent Krueger, Pete Hautman, Neil Gaiman, Malinda Lo, Kirstin Cronn-Mills, Molly Beth Griffin, Rachel Gold, and Carrie Mesrobian.
What is your favorite part of the writing process?
That wonderful day when the box of books arrives from my publisher and I get to curl up with my book, in real form for the first time, and read it while sipping a cup of tea.
Describe your latest book in 4 words.
Crude. Honest. Heartbreaking. Exhilerating.
Can you share a little bit about your current work or what is in the future for your writing?
I don’t have a project that I’m writing currently, but in my future I plan to explore writing in the third person, speculative fiction, and writing a straight protagonist!
That said, the book will probably still be set in Minnesota.
Minnesota writer Juliann Rich spent her childhood in search of the perfect climbing tree. The taller, the better! A branch thirty feet off the ground and surrounded by leaves, caterpillars, birds, and squirrels was a good perch for a young girl to find herself. Seeking truth in nature and finding a unique point of view remain crucial elements in her life as well as her writing.
Juliann is the author of four young adult novels: CAUGHT IN THE CROSSFIRE, SEARCHING FOR GRACE, TAKING THE STAND, and GRAVITY (forthcoming in November, 2016). She writes character-driven books about young adults who are bound to discover their true selves and the courage to create an authentic life…if the journey doesn’t break them.
Juliann is the 2014 recipient of the Emerging Writer Award from The Saints and Sinners Literary Festival and lives with her husband and an adorable but naughty dachshund named Bella in a 1920’s brownstone she is lovingly restoring to its original beauty.