Thirteen-year-old Stella Jacoby is the lucky/not-so-lucky hero in SO SICK OF SECRETS, my first novel for young readers. Admittedly, it is not easy being cast in a Saralee Rosenberg novel. Faster than you can say “Noooooo”, the drama begins. Only through luck, pluck and some divine intervention does a happy ending await. Or not.
I recently chatted with Stella to find out how her life has changed since being set in a story that explores fate, friendship and the afterlife.
Saralee: It wasn’t that bad being in my novel. Was it?
Stella: Are you kidding? Before you showed up I had a best friend, an almost boyfriend and Rachel Ryder (Her Royal Slyness) wasn’t posting videos of my epic fashion failures.
Saralee: Sure. But when the story started you were also pretty sad. All you wanted was to communicate with your dead mother so that you could finally learn the truth about the tragedy that ended her life.
Stella: True. I just never thought you’d make my entire world blow up before I could get answers.
Saralee: Sometimes when your life is falling apart, it may be falling into place.
Stella: That’s my line!
Saralee: Which I wrote. Now be honest. In spite of getting ditched by your friends, worrying about your stepmom dying and scaring off your boy crush, Sam Brody, you have to admit you learned a lot.
Stella: Yep. I learned not to tell anyone that I could communicate with dead people.
Saralee: See? And I thought that would make you proud.
Stella: Because you’re not in middle school. Trust me. After the most popular girl in your grade accuses you of practicing witchcraft, it’s only a matter of time before someone dumps a bucket of water on your head.
Saralee: But good news. You never gave up on your belief that your real mother could hear you. And then after you met Phoebe Castle, Orlando’s popular TV medium, you learned that you might be a medium, too.
Stella: That was cool. Thanks.
Saralee: You’re welcome. Now think back. What was the scariest moment in the story?
Stella: For sure it was when Sam Brody disappeared and I knew it was my fault.
Saralee: That was scary for me, too.
Stella: Why? You could have made him show up at any time.
Saralee: No. At that point, it was YOUR journey and you had to decide how to bring him back. Or not bring him back.
Stella: Wait. What? I’m a fictional character. You’re the writer.
Saralee: Only at the start. After a writer breathes life into a character, gives them heart, hope and insights, the character dictates the outcome. The writer is simply the designated typist.
Stella: Now you tell me?
Saralee: You’ll know for the next novel.
Stella. Noooo. I have to go through this again?
Saralee: Sorry. If we sell the series, you are coming along for the ride. Meanwhile, thanks for being such a good sport. I know the plot was filled with tension and mystery, but that’s why you’re my hero.