Jasmine’s life wasn’t normal for a 16 year old girl. It hadn’t been normal since the murder of her older sister, Daisy, two years ago. Her life had been changed forever. The monster that murdered Daisy was never caught. That was the reason her family decided to move away from their hometown in Southern California, to start over. Hopefully in a place where the last name Rourke wouldn’t bring on staring or judgment or morbid curiosity.
In Lafayette, Louisiana things are quite a bit different but in a good way. Good manners, Cajun accents and a whole lot of Southern Hospitality all make her think things are going in the right direction. On top of that the most gorgeous boy she has ever met is interested in her. Her new friends are better than she could have hoped for even if she is worried about what they might think when they find out who she is. Life would be perfect if odd things didn’t keep happening. Creepy phone calls, texts, and flowers in her locker start adding up quickly to something terrifying. Could the Monster have followed them to Lafayette? Was he coming after her this time? Maybe she was just worrying unnecessarily…or not.
Winner of the Weta Nichols Writing Award in the Young Adult Category
About the Author
Elena lives and writes in a suburb North of Los Angeles. She has never lived anywhere besides California which is probably a good thing since she hates being cold and is terrified to drive in the snow. She loves being a wife and a mother to her three kids and three dogs, although really the bulldog is the fourth child who has never matured beyond the toddler stage.
A self proclaimed nerd, she has been writing since she was a child. She has only recently, however, come out of the closet about this to her family and friends. They now understand better, but not completely, why she talks about characters in stories as if they are real people.
Interview with the Author
Missy: What inspired Breathe?
Elena: My husband watches a lot of those crime shows where they are trying to catch a killer and I remember thinking what would it be like for the family left behind when a child is murdered? Specifically the siblings. The birth order is now different and a middle child would now be the oldest. What did it look like when all the cameras went away and the family was left behind to pick up the pieces. Not just weeks later but years. Obviously there would be grief but children don’t handle grief the same way adults do. What other kinds of situations would they have to deal with?
Missy: Are there things about the characters you know that aren’t revealed in the book? If so, would you mind sharing a few?
Elena: Yes. Trenton is not obnoxious all the time. Lol. He’s smart even though he comes across as a bit hyper so it’s not as noticeable. He is actually bordering on brilliant but tries to hide it because he wants to be cool like his brother. I did an outtake on my blog about him because his character was so insistent. He did not like the way I portrayed him. Jasmine’s father, Michael, is not as bad as I made him sound in the book. There is more to his story. When she talks about him he comes across as an alcoholic and a bit of an absent father but it is not quite that straight forward. And I allude to this in the end but I don’t think we are done with Ellis Reed either so can’t give more away than that because another book is brewing!
Missy: What did you find most difficult about writing Breathe?
Elena: I really loved writing it because until almost the very end I had no intention of showing it to anyone. I had never shown anyone my writing so I really just wrote for myself. That being said the middle is always hard and I was always worried about getting off track. I knew where I wanted to end up but making sure you get there isn’t always easy. Also I find kissing scenes hard to write! Haha. You have to think about head placement and lips and whatever. Who thinks when they are kissing? But when you are writing it you have to think about all that! So I found those a bit of a struggle.
Missy: If it was possible to jump into the world of Breathe and live would you?
Elena: I think I would be more than happy to visit but not live. I love the characters and the South but I love my home. Wouldn’t it be nice to write books then just take a vacation and check in with your characters to see what they have been up to? I would love to do that!
Missy: Is there any morals, messages or ideas you want your readers to take away from Breathe?
Elena: I guess it would be that love requires sacrifice. You have to consider the people you love more important than yourself and be willing to sacrifice for them. Most of us don’t have to give up our lives for our loved ones but when you put them first it shows how much you love them.
Missy: If you could be any fictional character who would you be?
Elena: Anyone who knows me probably would not be surprised at this answer. Hermione Granger. Hands down. Who would not want to have all of the adventures she had? And she’s brilliant!
Missy: If you could talk to any animal which would it be?
Elena: Well I talk to Brutus, my bulldog all the time so if he could answer me that would be cool. He would be offended if I didn’t choose him.
Missy:Where would you go in a time machine?
Elena: I have thought about this and I don’t know how I would decide. I wouldn’t want to know the future so it would have to be the past. I’m not good roughing it so probably back to my hometown in the 50’s and the 60’s just to see what it was like. I miss simpler times and I loved where I grew up but it is so different now. Not at all what I remember.
Missy: If I gave you an elephant where would you hide it?
Elena: In my office to play with Brutus. Maybe no one else will notice.
Missy: If you could describe Hershey, Godiva and Dove chocolate as people, how would you describe them?
Elena: I don’t actually eat chocolate because I am allergic so I’m probably not the person to ask. I imagine they would be fabulous people who made everyone in the room feel relaxed and happy. No one would be able to be in a bad mood around them!
Best of luck to Elena and her novel, Breathe.