Outside was one of 2019’s best young adult novels and now author Sarah Ann Juckes is back with her new book – The World Between Us.
Anyone who read her debut will know Juckes has an incredibly unique voice and a bravery to her writing that makes her soon-to-be published second story a must-read.
Can you tell us a bit about your new book
The World Between Us is about a teenage girl who is bed-bound by a chronic illness and explores the world outside via a series of live-stream cameras. When she’s introduced to a new streamer, Alice must fight to uncover his secrets, whilst continuing to hide her own.
The book is about perception; love in all its forms; and offers a realistic and sensitive depiction of Chronic Illness.
How did your writing process differ between this book and your debut Outside?
Outside took four years to write, whereas I wrote and edited The World Between Us in under a year! It helps that I now have a brilliant team at Penguin to work with from the first draft, plus my endlessly-supportive agent, Sallyanne Sweeney.
As this book is about perception, I wanted to experiment with in-chapter multiple perspective – something I haven’t seen done much before. It changed my writing process a lot to have chapters with both Alice and Rowan’s points-of-view together on the same page, and helped me understand them both a little more as characters.
I also had a lot of fun writing verse and playing with typesetting in this one, and I look forward to doing more of that in the future. I’m really fortunate to have a publisher who are as excited about wacky typesetting as I am!
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in your writing career to date?
How to fail. That sounds a bit depressing (sorry!) but failure is an inevitable part of all art. I was writing books for over twelve years before I got my publishing deal and have written books since that will never see the light of day. It’s all helped make me a better writer and better-equipped me for the rollercoaster that is publishing.
If you could have a dinner party with three authors, alive or dead, who would they be and why?
This is a hard one! I think perhaps Jacqueline Wilson – she was such an important author to me growing up and seems like the nicest person. From the past, I have a lot of questions for J. M. Barrie. And I’d add Margaret Atwood to that list too – I did my dissertation on her novels and I’m now a lifelong fan.
Which song would be the perfect soundtrack to your novel’s closing scene?
Hope is a really important theme in all my books and I like to finish on an uplifting note. One of my all-time favourite songs is ‘Drive’ by Incubus. It’s about not letting fear hold you back and I think that’s relevant for pretty much everything I write!
Which novel (other than your own) do you think would make a great TV adaptation?
I recently finished the second book in Joseph Elliott’s The Good Hawk series. It’s such a cinematic fantasy adventure – it already exists as TV in my mind! If you haven’t read it, I really recommend you do.