Thanks for hosting us, Princess Reviews!!! I decided to spend this fine morning at Jumpin' Java Coffee House, one of Olga's favorite hot spots off Washington Street in her small hometown of Grand Haven, Michigan. I'm sitting at a table by the front window to keep an eye out for her. Ah, here she is, sporting Capri jeans and a red Wonder Woman t-shirt, her red curly hair done in french braid pigtails.
Me: Hey, girl. How are you today?
Olga: I'm happy! Is that for me? *points to a coffee mug in front of the empty seat*
Me: Of course! I know better than to approach you with a bunch of deep questions in the morning without giving you coffee first.
*takes a seat and groans after her first sip*Olga: Hmm, Chocolate-drizzled Snickers flavored whipped mocha. So . . . deep questions? How deep are we talking about here?
*Me grinning as I refrain from a That's What She Said joke. Afterall, Olga is only eighteen years old*
Me: Umm, nothing too heavy. Lots of questions about Nate. Speaking of Nate, will he be joining us today?
Olga: He's supposed to stop by after he finishes band practice with the Cantankerous Monkey Squad
Me: Awesome! Oh, I hope he brings his guitar and sings a song for us because that's, you know, kinda sexy *fans self*
Olga: Hey, watch it! That's my man you're talking about.
Me: Right, sorry. So tell us a little bit about your story.
Olga: Well, it's very emotional. Growing up, I was always a bit of an outsider but I always had my best friend, Conner, to keep me company. We've known each other since kindergarten. Then, last April, he died in a freak accident and I was there to see it all go down and wasn't able to save him. I was really torn up about it, even downed an entire bottle of pain pills. That's when my parents forced me to see a counselor and that's where I met Nate. Ultimately our story is about love, grief, longing, self-doubt, growth, and the bonds of friendship. It has lots of fun stuff but it's also poignant.
Me: Well, sounds like a beautiful story *toot, toot;~)* Now in the novel, 18 Things, your counselor tells you to write a life list of 18 things to do the year you turn 18. Is there anything on the list you wish you could take back?
Olga: Yessss! The roller coaster. Ugh . . . I can't believe that . . . well, I guess I should let the readers find out what happens.
Me: For sure. So, what was your favorite thing from the list?
Olga: Going on my first date, of course! And speaking of the devil, here he is.
*At 5-foot-10, Nate enters wearing a blue t-shirt and baggy khaki corduroys, unfortunately covering up most of his lean and muscular body. He has a boyish face dominated by large, ocean blue expressive eyes, and his hair is crammed under a wool cap, a few coffee-colored strands peeking out onto his forehead*
Nate: Hello, ladies. *slides into chair next to Olga and sees her empty cup* Uh-oh, someone needs more coffee. *pulls out wallet*
Olga: It's okay. I'll get it. I know Jamie is dying to ask you some questions. *winks at me and walks over to the counter, the rich stimulating smell of brewing coffee drawing her closer . . .oh, sorry, POV problem for a second--hate those!*
Me: So Nate, when did you know you wanted to be more than just friends with Olga?
Nate: From the first moment I saw her.
Me: You're just trying to score brownie points for when Olga reads this!
Nate: *holds up hands and laughs* I'm totally not! It's the truth.
Me: Okay, then. Boxers or briefs?
Nate: Boxers for sure. *adds suggestive eyebrow-wiggle as Olga walks over with 3 cups of coffee, one for each of us*
Olga: Everything okay here?
Me: Yes, of course. Totally behaving myself. So Nate, what's the best thing about Olga?
Nate: She's hot. *Olga slaps his shoulder* Kidding, well not really but I'd have to say everything. She gets emotional over things but not in a drama queen kind of way. She's super smart and kind of dorky--loves to write poetry and watch Star Wars and she's never without a book. When I first met her last year she was all hunched over, like she was trying to disappear, so beautiful in her vulnerability. I knew right away I wanted to do something to make her feel better.
Me: Aww! That is so sweet. What would be your idea of a perfect date with Olga?
Nate: That's easy. Of course it's anywhere she is, anywhere she'd want to go.
Me: I like a boy who gives a girl what she wants! Olga--what's your idea of a perfect date with Nate?
Olga: Hmm, probably grabbing a cup of coffee right here in the morning, then heading down the street to the beach and reading a good book while we're stretched out on a towel next to each other, Nate strumming his guitar and serenading me. Then catching a movie at the theatre with the Jedi Order later.
Me: Oh, right. The Jedi Order is the reference you guys use for your group of friends in the book. Tell us a little bit about them too because they play a really important part.
Olga: Well, there's Nicole. She's the self-sacrificing best friend. Tammy is really strong. She puts up a front but she cares fiercely for her friends too. Sean is a big goofball. Kyle is incredibly loyal. Conner is . . . was . . . bigger than life. He's the one who started calling us the Jedi Order so we continued the tradition in his memory. Nate joined as an honorary member this year. He's really honest and and definitely brings out the hidden risk taker in me.
Me: I'm sure Conner would've loved your list and the way it brought you together this past year as a catharsis to heal and move on while honoring his memory. Will there be a sequel to your story?
Olga: We're just some of the many voices in your head. You tell me.
Me: Oh, right. Yes, yes of course there will be:-) There’s even a sneak preview of the next book, 18 Truths, at the end of 18 Things. Depending on how edits go, the second book will be out in December or January. I’m writing the last book in the trilogy, 18 Thoughts, now . . . or I should be.
I'll leave you two love birds to yourselves. Don't do anything I wouldn't do *wink, wink* And guys, just remember that love brought you together. There’s gonna be lots of things, and people, who try to keep you apart in the near future. It’s up to you to decide if you’re gonna let them. *I get up, coffee in hand, and shuffle toward the door*
Nate: Whoa, whoa . . . you can’t just leave after a comment like that! What’s going on?
*I pause, looking over my shoulder at their expectant faces*
Me: Sorry, I have to go. Just remember that the best time of all is now. Enjoy your journey together. You never know when it will all change, but you’re only 18 Truths away to another life changed.
Jamie Ayres writes young adult paranormal love stories by night and teaches Language Arts to young adults as a public school teacher by day. She lives in southwest Florida with her husband and two daughters. 18 Things is her debut novel. Visit her website at www.jamieayres.com.
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