Wednesday 18 September 2013

Little White Lies, by Jodie Esch

It's a great pleasure to welcome a fellow member of my RWA chapter, Jodie Esch.
Thanks, Anna. Good to be here.

My former career
In what seems like another lifetime, my days revolved around teaching. I worked in elementary schools, a middle school, a university and a community college. I moved into school administration in elementary schools but after twelve years, decided to experiment with something different. 

The power of words
Writing chose me. For the last decade I've written a number of novels trying to find my voice. Trying to find me. I tried romance, romantic suspense, women’s fiction and a middle-grade novel. I think I found what I was looking for in the Young Adult genre.

Teens can be theatrical, driven, obsessed, needy, mercurial, and sensitive. All of these qualities can pull a story forward. I've been able to reach back into my memory bank and retrieve characters and their problems and weave them into my fiction.

So, I created The Girlfriends Series –Best Friends Forever
The first book of the series is Little White Lies
The backstory to this novel
When I worked with teens in Grades 6, 7 and 8 a lot of truth-bending took place. Some young people were experts at lying. Lies simply fell out of their mouths without any problem especially when friendships fell apart. Trying to search for the truth was sometimes an exercise in frustration. So, the theme of lying was in my brain.

As well, the issue of internet predators was constantly in the news. Young girls were being lured into inappropriate relationships with men they met on-line. These two themes blended together and I ‘had’ the core of my book.
Little White Lies
Eighth grader Rachel Scott finally has the perfect boyfriend. He’s good looking, athletic and wealthy. The only problem is he doesn't actually exist. Rachel’s escape into her fantasy world worries her parents and they insist she meet with the school counselor.

Frustrated with her life and without her best friend’s approval, Rachel heads down a dangerous path, looking for love in all the wrong places.

The second book of the series is Little White Pills.
The backstory to this novel
I was fascinated by an article in a newspaper that outlined the ways that first year university students were able to access drugs. They didn't have to purchase anything illegally. All they had to do was comb through their parents’ medicine cabinets or borrow prescription pills from their friends. It was that easy.

Some students used pills to relax and some used pills to stay awake. Addiction arrived quickly for some users.

Another media focus was the constant pressure on high-school students to have academic success, involvement in extra-curricular activities and have their goals and career paths outlined in stone.

I mixed the two premises together and came up with my next novel –Little White Pills.
Tenth grader Steph Baxter has it all, perfect looks, perfect grades and a perfect life. She’s a model high-school student and a member of the cheer-leading squad. But in her quest for excellence she makes dangerous choices.

Soon her simple solution becomes a complex problem. Follow Steph and her best friend Rachel as they cope with Steph’s unexpected journey. Can Steph find support before it’s too late?

The next book in this series Little White Magic will launch at the beginning of October, 2013.
Rachel is sent to work in a summer camp in Vermont. Mix in a Tarot reader and a reclusive musician and strange events begin to unfold.

The Young Adult Genre
My readers are teens as well as adults. The genre appeals to a diverse readership. In order to stay current, I read a lot of Young adult novels which I've always enjoyed. My favourite authors at the moment are Sarah Dessen and John Green. It’s a fascinating genre. Give it a chance if you have the opportunity.

Self-Publishing & Traditional Publishing
There is room in this business for everyone no matter what route an author chooses. Whether I’m traditionally published or self-published, or a hybrid-author, (a combination of both), that is my personal journey. My goal is to present the best story that I can produce. I hope that you will enjoy my novels.

Thanks so much Anna for inviting me to your blog today. All the best in your future writing adventures.
Thank you, Jodie for your thoughts and insights.  Love your covers, by the way.


  1. Hi Jodie
    I love your stories. They feel very real, and your touch of humor makes them a delight to read.
    I also love your comment above about adolescent "truth bending." What a great line.
    All the best

    1. Thanks Jo-Ann, Even though working with teens could be stressful, a sense of humour carried me through the day.

      And teens bring their own zany approach to the table as well.

      Thanks for commenting.

  2. Both your books gave me hours of enjoyable entertainment, therefore I can't wait for Little White Magic.

    1. Thanks so much Mimi. My main characters were fun to write, especially Rachel who I enjoyed so much that she appears in all of the books in the series.
      Little White Magic continues with Rachel's adventures. Look for it at the beginning of October.

  3. I am reading 'Little White Lies' right now...loving every word, every page. Fantastic book - so timely. And so needed for youth of today! Great job, Jodie! Signed, Lisa (who is itching to continue reading!)

    Great post, Anna - so glad you feature new authors!
    Lisa McManus Lange

    1. Yay! A reader in the middle of the book. Glad you're enjoying the novel.

      Yes, the topic of internet predators continues to be a huge concern.

      Thanks for dropping by Lisa.

  4. great interview, haven't read your books yet but after this I'm heading over to Amazon, lol.

    1. Thanks so much. I hope that you enjoy my novels.

      Thanks to Anna for hosting me.

  5. Hi Jodie,
    It sounds like you have truly found your genre niche, and your stories will give comfort and insight to a lot of confused young people as well as their parents. I love your covers, too. Do you do them yourself? Wishing you lots of luck with your career and I'm going to check your stories out.

  6. Hi Gemma,

    Thanks. I have both teens and their parents reading my novels.

    I've tried different genres -but this is working for me at the present time.

    I LOVE my covers. They're done by Steven Novak.

    Thanks for checking out my stories.

    I appreciate it.

  7. Loved your post. Your books sound really good. What do you think is the ideal age for your Girlfriends series?

    1. Hi Joan, Pleased that you dropped by.

      Rachel -my main character is in the ninth grade in the first book. However teens tend to read 'up' so they can think about what's around the corner.
      A sophisticated teen reader in the seventh or eighth grade would enjoy it. I urge parents to read the book first to make a judgment call if they have any concerns. It's a quick read.
      My characters age of course, so as the series moves along they're in the tenth grade etc.
      My books are a clean read. I present heavy topics, but with a light touch (and humour).

      As well, I have mature readers enjoying my novels so they appeal to readers across the spectrum.

      Hope that you will enjoy them.

  8. Jodie, what an entertaining and informative blog. Having read and enjoyed both your books, it was great to hear how they came about. Because your books deal with such important current issues, I think it would be terrific if teens and their parents both read them then used them as a platform for discussion. It could help parents find ways of talking to their kids about things like the truth, proper use of the internet, avoiding drugs, etc., without "lecturing" them. It could also open up discussions about communication and parental pressure.

    1. Thanks Susan for your insights. Yes, each book reflects an issue in today's society (not that I was aiming for an issues theme) however, I'm constantly amazed at how often these topics are presented in the media.
      I've had grandparents say to me that they want their grandchildren to read my work. And that's a glorious compliment.
      I'm always interested in how authors 'find' their stories, so I went with this approach for this blog.
      So glad you stopped by. I appreciate it.

  9. Both books sound like something that girls should read. They don't really have the experience to handle some of these more complex social situations.

    All the best,

    1. Thanks Melissa. I think that my novels are accessible for teens and that potentially, they will discover how it is possible to have hope and learn how to address a problem situation.

  10. Arriving late to your blog, Jodie and Anna, but I'm very glad that I'm finally here! Loved hearing what inspired you to write each story in your Girlfriends Series, Jodie! Now I'm even more eager than before to read Little White Magic. The Tarot card element sounds intriguing.

    1. No problem. We're still here. Yes, Jacqui it was an interesting experience reflecting on why I choose a particular direction in a story. It was a good exercise to remember what aspects of my life, and my reading made it's way into my first two novels.
      The Tarot does play a big role in my third novel. I hope you will enjoy Little White Magic.
      Thanks for droping by.