Have you added If I Lie by Corrine Jackson to your TBR piles yet?! I did as soon as I read the summary because it sounds fantastic! I’m thrilled that she volunteered to be interviewed by my students because they’re now just as excited to read If I Lie as I am. I hope you enjoy this interview with Corrine Jackson; I know my students are eager to read her responses.
Summary of If I Lie (From Goodreads): A powerful debut novel about the gray space between truth and perception.
Quinn’s done the unthinkable: she kissed a guy who is not Carey, her boyfriend. And she got caught. Being branded a cheater would be bad enough, but Quinn is deemed a traitor, and shunned by all of her friends. Because Carey’s not just any guy—he’s serving in Afghanistan and revered by everyone in their small, military town.
Quinn could clear her name, but that would mean revealing secrets that she’s vowed to keep—secrets that aren’t hers to share. And when Carey goes MIA, Quinn must decide how far she’ll go to protect her boyfriend…and her promise.
** Follow Corrine Jackson on Twitter **
** If I Lie releases on August 28th, 2012 from Simon Pulse **
- Are you from a small town?
I was born in a town that is hardly a blip on the map. It had one stop light, the population was less than 1,000, and it takes up all of a half mile. My family moved to southern California when I was very young, but I used to go back to Haxtun, Colorado to visit my father. The simplicity of that place has stayed with me. I once rode a lawnmower down the sidewalk at age six, the only restaurant in town gave Dum Dums suckers to all the kids, and a whistle blew at noon every day to tell the grain factory workers that it was lunch time. Everyone knew everyone else, and sometimes I daydreamed about a swimming through the piles of grain. Those are the kinds of things I think about when I write about small towns.
- Does the military play a role in your life?
My uncle did two tours in Vietnam. He was mentally ill the rest of his life and spent a lot of time at the VA Hospital. I also have an honorary uncle who fought in Vietnam. The stories I’ve heard from them and my family definitely had an impact on my writing and the inspiration for IF I LIE.
- What goes on with this other guy to make her do what she does?
Sh. I can’t tell. Honest. It would ruin the book for you if I gave away all the secrets.
- Does this other guy know her boyfriend?
Yes, he’s a close friend. In fact, he’s Carey’s BEST friend. Scandalous, right? Things aren’t always what they seem to be, though.
- When you started writing this book, did you expect it to get published?
At first, I didn’t know what I had. I couldn’t figure out where to start the story and wrote about six different beginnings to IF I LIE. The problem was that I knew how I wanted to open the book, but it required me to weave flashbacks and memories throughout the story. I was taught that flashbacks are like your mom wearing Crocs – something she should know better than to do. But then something clicked and I figured out how to weave those moments in so they felt natural. After that, the pieces fell together and I thought I had something that might see a bookshelf.
- As an author, what do you feel is the most important aspect of your work?
I think it’s important to do my best to get the story “right.” For me, this means doing a lot of research. In IF I LIE, Quinn is from a military town and her father is a Marine. Quinn is also working with a Vietnam Vet on the Veterans History Project, which is a project run by the Library of Congress to record the stories of our soldiers. I was sick that I would do this experience an injustice. My publisher sent IF I LIE to the Veterans History Project, and my greatest fear was that they would tell me I was off base. Thankfully, that didn’t happen, and I’m proud to know that they were very touched by the story.
- Who’s your favorite author? What do you like about his/her work?
Laurie Halse Anderson. Hands down. SPEAK blows me away, and I used to read sections of WINTERGIRLS to inspire me while I was writing IF I LIE. She’s brilliant at symbolism and voice. I also love her willingness to play with structure. For example, SPEAK is told in a journal format and WINTERGIRLS has an awesome use of strikethroughs and repetition that mirrors the internal angst of the narrator. Most of all, I find her use of language to be borderline poetic at times, and I love to sink into some of her lines and reread them. She makes me feel things when I read her work and that is a huge gift.
- Do you like the cover?
I couldn’t imagine what the cover would look like. My main request to my publisher was that we stay away from girls in pretty dresses. I thought that would make light of the story or make it seem like a different kind of book than it is. My editor emailed me the cover while I was at my day job. My coworkers gathered around when I opened it, and I cried like an idiot. I think it’s so beautiful and mirrors the heart of IF I LIE in a way that surprised me. The black-and-white photo is both stark and full of emotion, and I could hug the designer for giving me that cover.
- Have you ever been cheated on?
Not that I could prove, but I had strong suspicions once. The fact that I couldn’t trust my boyfriend was enough to wake me up, and I ended up breaking the relationship off. I decided a long time ago that I wouldn’t stay with someone who didn’t respect me. I believe cheating causes a lot of damage. Beyond the pain it unleashes, cheating can break up families and leave kids growing up in a single-parent home. We should make t-shirts that say, “Cheating Sucks. Don’t Do It.”
- Who would you recommend this book to?
The reactions from my male and female readers so far are pretty balanced, so I think that both boys and girls will like it. It’s kind of heavy and emotional, but I wouldn’t really call it a “girl” book. I think the topics it covers are pretty universal and not unique to any gender.
- Who is your favorite character in the book?
Aside from Quinn, I love George. He’s a Vietnam Vet that Quinn gets forced to work with at the VA Hospital. He’s grouchy, flirts with all the nurses, and cheats at cards. I love the scenes with Quinn and George because they have fun and don’t take any crap each other. He can make Quinn laugh when she feels like crying, and that’s a valuable trait in a friend.
- Do you think “cheaters” in real life are really abandoned by friends because of what they did/have done?
It depends on the friends and the community. If you’re in a military family or dating/married to a soldier, cheating is considered deplorable. In all the interviews I did and the research I conducted, everyone agreed that cheating on a deployed soldier makes you the scum of the earth. When a soldier goes to war, they are comforted by the thought of the family waiting for them at home. In that community, it’s considered a betrayal to abandon that person. Outside the military (and maybe some religious communities), though, I think that friends will often choose sides. Some friends will stick by the “cheater,” and others won’t.
- What does the title have to do with the book?
Good question! Quinn is keeping a major secret to protect her boyfriend. She can tell the truth and free herself from the town’s condemnation, or she can lie to protect her boyfriend. She is constantly asked to choose between her boyfriend and herself, and she struggles to act with honorable when her sacrifices add up to more than she can take. What would you give up for someone you loved? Would you lie to protect them at great cost to yourself? That’s what the title is about.