Author Interview: Where Was Goodbye? by Janice Lynn Mather

Crushed on by Christy Jane, on April 29, 2024, in Author Interview, New Releases / 1 Comment

Author Interview: Where Was Goodbye? by Janice Lynn Mather

To celebrate the release of Where Was Goodbye? we got a chance to ask author Janice Lynn Mather some questions! Check out the book info below, grab this new release (tomorrow 4/30), and read some thoughts about how author’s take care of themselves when writing tough subject matter!

Author Interview: Where Was Goodbye? by Janice Lynn Mather

Where Was Goodbye?

by Janice Lynn Mather
Published by: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
on April 30, 2024
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

A teen girl searches for closure after her brother dies by suicide in this breathtaking novel from the author of Learning to Breathe and Facing the Sun.

Karmen is about to start her last year of high school, but it's only been six weeks since her brother, Julian, died by suicide. How is she supposed to focus on school when huge questions loom: Why is Julian gone? How could she have missed seeing his pain? Could she have helped him?

When a blowup at school gets Karmen sent home for a few weeks, life gets more complicated: things between her parents are tenser than ever, her best friend's acting like a stranger, and her search to understand why Julian died keeps coming up empty.
New friend Pru both baffles and comforts Karmen, and there might finally be something happening with her crush, Isaiah, but does she have time for either, or are they just more distractions? Will she ever understand Julian's struggle and tragedy? If not, can she love--and live--again?

Author Interview: Janice Lynn Mather

1. Tell us about Karmen – what does she like for breakfast? How does she spend her free time? What does she pack for lunch?

Karmen will go with convenience where life demands it—and right now, life mostly
demands it, so she’ll grab a granola bar or toast and a banana for breakfast, since she’s
got big questions to tackle just about every day. When someone reminds her to stop
and savour the guava French Toast, though, she’s more than willing to linger over the
decadence. Karmen’s fiercely loyal, and determined to try to understand why her
brother’s not here, so her quest for answers dominates her free time. But not so deep
down, she longs to have fun, so it doesn’t take much for her to begin to lean into
skateboarding with rebellious new friend, Pru, and roaming through nature with her
crush, Isaiah.

For lunch, Karmen will settle for a sandwich from home, but, much like breakfast, she’d
rather a treat. In a perfect world, she’d have cassava fries with pumpkin and pigeon pea
patties, washed down with hibiscus lime iced tea—preferably shared with Isaiah.

2. You have tackled some tough subjects in your stories – teen pregnancy, cancer, and suicide. How do you take care of yourself as you are writing?

Taking care of myself is a work in progress. Taking time when working on the story,
giving space between living through stressful events and writing tender stories, and
plunging in head-on have all been useful at different times.

I think pacing is probably the most consistent technique, though. Writing Where Was
Goodbye? coincided with a painful personal time for me, and that meant sometimes I
needed to step away from writing Karmen’s grief to tend to my own for minutes, or
hours, or weeks. At other times, it felt like I could sit together with Karmen, and we could
navigate the pain together.

3. If you could give Karmen one piece of advice, what would it be?

Giving advice to a grieving person is tricky. Much of what I’ve had said to me—and what
I’ve unfortunately said to others—lands like a hollow platitude. I’d just sit with Karmen,
instead. I’d listen if she wanted to talk. I’d be quiet if she wanted silence. I’d hang out if
she just needed a friend.

About Janice Lynn Mather

Janice Lynn Mather is a Bahamian Canadian author. Her first novel, Learning to Breathe, was a Governor General’s Award finalist, a Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize finalist, shortlisted for the Amy Mathers Teen Book Award, an ALA/YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults selection, an Amelia Bloomer Book List pick, and a Junior Library Guild Selection. Her second novel, Facing the Sun, was an Amy Mathers Teen Book Award winner. Where Was Goodbye? is her third novel for teens. Janice Lynn lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.

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