It's First Line Friday again, and I am SO excited to have Jennifer Echols joining us today!
Jennifer is the author of award-winning YA and adult romances. Her upcoming books are part of the Superlatives Series from Simon Pulse. The first book in the series, BIGGEST FLIRTS will be out in a couple of days--May 20th.
So let's get started-- and be sure to leave a comment to win THREE of Jennifer's books! (US only, please)
What are the opening lines of your book?
“You must be Tia Cruz.”
I glanced up at the guy who’d sat next to me and said this quietly in my ear, in an accent from elsewhere. We were on the crowded back porch with the lights off, but beyond the porch ceiling, the summer night sky was bright with a full moon and a glow from the neon signs at the tourist-trap beaches a few miles south.
Where these lines set from the first draft? And if not, how many times do you think you've changed them?
My first drafts are usually pretty close to my final drafts. I’ll make lots of little changes, but by the time I’ve gotten a first draft out onto the page, the plot is solid. The time I make lots of changes is between the proposal and the first draft. When I wrote the first three chapters of BIGGEST FLIRTS as a proposal for the Superlatives series, I didn’t know Tia very well. I didn’t understand that to convey her personality in the opening, she needed to be tipsy and willing to pick up the new guy at school and take him home with her for bad jokes and heavy petting. So I had to write an entirely new beginning. The material from chapters 1 through 3 of the proposal starts in the middle of chapter 6 in the finished book.
Why do you think this opening is perfect for your novel?
We know Tia’s name. We know Will’s a newcomer. We hear it’s a summer night. We get that Tia has a certain disdain for her surroundings (tourist-trap) but at the same time regards them as picturesque and romantic. That’s how I feel about Florida beaches, the setting for this entire series. I think those first three sentences do good work.
Give us your favorite opening line(s) from a favorite book, and tell us why you love them:
From Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Beginning Place, a fantasy YA that would probably be considered New Adult in today’s market because the hero and heroine are a year or so out of high school:
“Checker on Seven!” and back between the checkstands unloading the wire carts, apples three for eighty-nine, pineapple chunks on special, half gallon of two percent, seventy-five, four, and one is five, thank you, from ten to six six days a week; and he was good at it.
Hugh’s narration conveys that he’s gotten lost in the minimum-wage job he applied for by chance. He can’t leave the job to try school. He can’t break away from his domineering mom. He can’t even think his own thoughts anymore. Irena’s in a different situation but similarly stuck. It’s the juxtaposition of their mundane reality and the vaulting strangeness of their fantasy world that makes this allegory resonate so deeply with me. I first stumbled on it when I was 18, and I consider it one of the most formative books for my early writing life. I re-read it recently and wrote a letter to Ms. Le Guin, telling her how much I still love it.
Thanks so much for stopping by, Jennifer!
If you'd like to win your choice of THREE of Jennifer Echols' books, all you have to do is leave a comment below with your email address and tell us, which superlative would you want to be (or want to have been) voted for in High School?