The Wreckage of Us takes place in the inauspicious town of Eres, Nebraska. Not exactly a place where happily-ever-afters are made. What made you choose this setting?
I wanted to tell a story about a small town that was overlooked by the world as a whole. Most people would overlook a town like Eres, Nebraska, but there are still people who are living, who are loving, and who are struggling in these small towns. I wanted to show their stories, and how even though the rest of the world may not see them, that they still matter. They deserve their happily ever afters just as much as the rest of the world.
Hazel, your heroine, is newly eighteen when her criminal step-father throws her out of the house. She literally has nothing when the story begins—not even her mother’s support. What choices does Hazel make? Do you agree with them?
Hazel chooses to find a job in order to help her mother from a distance. I think she acts on impulse, not exactly thinking things through. She doesn’t get the opportunity to think far into the future, she only has right in that moment. Second by second. I do agree with her choices in a way, since she isn't harming anyone with these choices. She is just doing her best to make it to the next day.
Your hero is a very interesting mix of both the town’s “golden boy” as well as the town’s “bad boy”. Ian is…complicated. How did you get to know him? How does Hazel get to know him?
I believe Hazel and I both got to know Ian the same way—piece by piece. He has a wall of protection up from the world due to the trauma he experienced as a child. Being abandoned by his parents really did a number on Ian’s trust. Yet, the beautiful thing about Ian is when he loves, he loves fully. He does everything he can to make sure those he loves are taken care of. Once his pieces are discovered, he makes a beautiful complete puzzle.
Hazel and Ian are an unlikely pair. They really get on each other’s nerves and they want different things out of life. Yet despite their differences, they find a connection. What is the spark that brings them together?
I think it’s loneliness. They grew up without having the true love of their parents. And in the town of Eres, drugs are a big issue. Those drugs affected both of their parents lives in different ways, but it’s a connecting factor for them both. They are able to connect with one another because they both know what it’s like to hurt so deeply and dream of a parent’s love.
The theme of “impossible love” runs through your novels. Two people that can’t possibly make it work realize that they don’t want anyone else but each other. What excites you about these types of stories.
I think there’s something so exciting about a love worth fighting for. When the passion is given from not only one side of the equation, but both the hero and heroine know the feelings they have run deep. Sure, there are struggles, like there are in everyday life, but they know they wouldn’t want to struggle with anyone else in the world. They fight for their happily ever after, no matter what. And that, in my mind, is what makes the impossible love become possible and true. That’s what gives us the happily ever afters that we as readers crave.
Currently our country and the world are going through unprecedented crisis. The arts have become so important for people to feel a sense of normalcy. As a writer, how do you hope your story affects your readers?
I hope my stories give my readers hope. I hope it reminds them that even throughout the storms, the sun will always shine once the clouds move to the side. There’s beauty in the storms, too, if you are willing to look hard enough. There are lessons of self that can be learned, and I think my characters discover that from time to time. I just hope to showcase that this is still a time to believe in happily ever afters, and that the world’s story as a whole, is far from over. We still have so much beauty to still discover. We still have so much light to find. And those facts alone, give me hope, and I hope my stories do the same for readers. I hope I give them light.
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