Jump When Ready by David Pandolfe
Since he drowned, Henry has remained with the same group of teenagers and he keeps wondering why. After all, what could he possibly have in common with a Mohawk-sporting punker from the 80s, a roller skater from the 70s with a thing for kimonos, and an English “rocker” from the 60s? Add to that, Henry can hear the other groups but he never sees them. Soon, Henry learns that his new friends all possess unique skills for making themselves noticed by the living. Is Henry’s group kept isolated because of their abilities? If so, are they considered gifted or seen only as a potential bad influence?
Before Henry can reach any conclusions, he witnesses his sister being kidnapped. He knows who did it, where she’s being held and what will happen if the kidnappers don’t get what they want. As the police chase false leads, Henry comes to realize that he’s his sister’s only hope. But for Henry to even have a chance, he has to convince a group of teenagers that dead doesn’t mean helpless.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
David Pandolfe has been a bartender in Seattle, the front man for an alternative rock band in Los Angeles and a college writing teacher in Richmond (among other things).
One day, it occurred to him that sometimes these experiences felt like completely different lives altogether. Which got him to writing Jump When Ready, a novel about of bunch of teenagers trying to get over their past lives while getting ready to jump into their next.
While he’s still writing about himself in third person, David Pandolfe should probably mention that at one point he received a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing at Virginia Commonwealth University. He has had short stories published in Millennium and the Georgetown Review. Jump When Ready is his first YA novel but he’s currently working on another, to be released in the fall of 2013.
If you could travel in a time machine would you go back to the past or into the future?
I’d be fascinated to see the future. I know dystopia is a popular trend (honestly, I’d love to write one) but the thing is I’m kind of optimistic. The thing is, I think we’re evolving, starting to accept each other more, embrace our differences, slowly fighting back injustice and prejudice. Obviously, the progress is really slow but I think the future might actually be fantastic.
If you could have any superpower what would you choose?
Strangely, this is a fitting question since all of the main characters of Jump When Ready are in the afterlife, trying to discover what means they might have of contacting the living to rescue Henry’s sister. They just want to be seen or heard or somehow noticed. So, I guess my superpower would be to make my one most important thought heard by everyone, the one thought that would somehow save a life or make a huge and positive, lasting difference. Of course, there would be a ton of pressure holding out for that moment if the superpower only worked once. What if, like ten seconds later, something bigger happened? That would suck really bad.
Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
I think Jump When Ready offers a totally unique spin on an afterlife story, that it has both a compelling plot and great characters in an entirely new setting, and the novel remains upbeat at the same time (okay, a really long sentence but still one sentence!).
Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?
Yes, I’m currently almost finished with another novel that involves a character who might, or might not be, psychic. He finds this guitar and for some reason has to know who owned it before, and before, and before. He has all kinds of compelling visions and visitations going on and he’s either crazy or about to learn something he really needs to know. Oh, it’s a road story too. Then, I might do a follow-up to Jump. I also have a couple of other novels completed but the genre is different, although one is more in the New Adult category. I might put that one out there (truth be told, it’s my favorite, but I’m not sure where it fits in yet).
Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Knowing that someone in the world is reading my novel. Hopefully, enjoying it. That thought amazes me every time. It’s such an honor that someone would choose my book and devote their time and emotional energy to it.
Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book or any of your characters?
Actually, a few come to mind. One is Imagine Dragons, “It’s time.” There’s the lyric that seems to fit Henry, “I’m just the same as I was. Now don’t you understand, I’m never changing who I am.” Then, there’s also the Coldplay song, 42, “You didn’t get to heaven but you made it close.” That one seems to fit too. On the lighter side, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, “Can’t Hold Us” since the ceiling literally can’t hold Henry a few times in the novel.
How long do you generally let a story idea ‘marinate’ in your brain before you start the book?
Like 10 minutes. Then I start writing stuff down, a scene, a sentence, anything to be sure I don’t forget. Most of these mental Post-It Notes don’t become books but every so often a seed starts to grow. So, I guess, then the story starts to marinate in my brain (something kind of gross about that image, like my head is full of Italian dressing).
Do you prefer to write in silence or with music?
Awesome question. I recently wrote two novels with two different bands assigned to each. Each time I was working on one or the other, I kept playing the soundtrack for the story. It was an experiment but I loved it. I’m still editing the drafts but they each feel completely different.
What do you think of book trailers?
I think they’re great. In fact, here’s one for Jump When Ready: http://youtu.be/F9VyGUs5GLc
If you could leave this world for your “book world,” would you?
Definitely not right now, since that would make me dead. But, overall, it’s a pretty cool world for dead people. So, if the question was “If you were to leave this world unexpectedly, would you choose your “book world,” I would say, “Sure, I’ll take that option.”
Craziest thing you ever ate?
Oyster omelette. Yep, I know, seriously gross, but I was in an adventurous mood that day. Later that day, I felt ill. Actually, not all that much later.
Most embarrassing moment?
Imagine this: You’re in a bar at happy hour. Lot’s of people checking each other out, you were just making eye contact with someone you found attractive, that sort of thing. You walk by the buffet and somehow the hooked end of a ladle snags your jeans pocket. The ladle was submerged in a container of blue cheese dressing but soon it’s dangling from your pocket and you have no idea as you continue to walk through the crowd. Suddenly you hear laughter, then more laughter…
Do your friends or enemies ever find themselves in your books?
Friends, absolutely, they’re reflected in the characters. Enemies (not that I really have any, but rather people I don’t really want to be around), never – that would just taint the whole thing too much for me and make it weird. If I don’t want to be around someone in real life, why would I want to be around them in my imagination?
If you were not a writer, what would you like to do?
Something outside, like gardening or landscaping. I lived in Seattle for a while and I still love that city but I left desperate for sunlight.
Do your characters really talk to you?
When they feel neglected, definitely. But more like they stare at me, waiting. I’ve fallen a bit off schedule on my current novel and I keep seeing them waiting, wondering what happens to them. After all, if I don’t tell them, who will?
Are you for or against books being made into movies?
Well, Harry Potter comes to mind. I could watch those over and over and still be entertained while still loving the books just as much as I did originally. Honestly, so far I think the Hunger Games books are better than the first movie, but I still really enjoyed it and will definitely go back for more. So, sure, as well as the movies are well made and those who made it love and respect the book.
What drives you insane about the writing process?
First of all, I think you might have to be insane to start the writing process, mostly because it never ends again. But, to answer the question, I guess stopping to edit one book long enough that you lose the thread on the one you’re currently writing, then have to read all of it to get back on track. The problem with that is I become tempted to start editing when I should be writing. Oh, and not having enough time to write. I really just want to do it all the time. Which is kind of insane, I guess…
1 Winner will receive a Signed Copy of Jump When Ready+ Swag by David Pandolfe.
($30 iTunes gift card18” X 24”, Signed Poster by author and Artist)
1 Winner will receive a Signed Copy of Jump When Ready & $20 iTunes gift card by David Pandolfe.
1 Winner will receive a Signed Copy of Jump When Ready & $10 iTunes gift card by David Pandolfe.
5 Winners will receive a Henry ART Bookmark by James Vallesteros.