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J. Mercer on her IR Approved Book “After They Go”


After They Go received a 4+ star review, making it an IndieReader Approved title.

Following find an interview with author J Mercer.

What is the name of the book and when was it published?

After They Go, released May of 2018.

What’s the book’s first line?

“The store was still, silent, and stifling tonight, in this farce of a town.”

What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch”.

After They Go is a large family saga set in a small tourist town — one sister chained by family tradition, the second stunted by her sister’s shadow, and the youngest propelled by desperation.

What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event?

My daughters, actually, though they were very young at the time. I’m an only child (not writing what I know, I guess) and  was struck by how my youngest held herself so fiercely to what her older sister could do – even as a toddler. She had a complete meltdown once because her chalk drawing on the driveway was not as good as her sister’s. It was so naturally ingrained that it had me down a rabbit hole of this sibling relationship I’d never known. I’m also very inspired by small towns and love writing complicated people/relationships, so that eventually all came together in my head.

What’s the main reason someone should really read this book?

For the struggle of dreams versus duty. For that strange place of realizing what adulthood looks like and the empowerment of choice, though sometimes devastatingly so. To explore the complicated relationships that can tie us all down, even with a loving family. Or for fun! To be whisked away into someone else’s life and problems.

What’s the most distinctive thing about the main character?  Who-real or fictional-would you say the character reminds you of?

Betta’s scar is the most distinctive thing about her, and quite symbolic in her eyes also. Multi-faceted and layered. She reminds me of Cinderella’s youngest step-sister, but without quite so many of the character flaws. Honestly, when I set out to write the book, I wanted the reader to dislike her in that way (and love Gwen as if she were Cinderella), only for, by the end of the story, to love Betta and dislike Gwen. It didn’t exactly turn out that way in the end, but it shaped the tone.

Is this the first book you’ve written?

It was the 4th book I wrote. The first is shelved, the second was my first novel, Dark & Stormy, and the 3rd will be coming out in the future.

What do you do for work when you’re not writing?

My husband and I own and manage a few dog daycares, so that usually makes for a fun conversation. At this point, due to the writing, I’m behind the scenes in a computer with bookwork and mechanics, but for the better part of fifteen years, I played with dogs for a living.

Is there something in particular that motivates you (fame? fortune? more sex?)

It’s slightly inexplicable, in that the passion to write fuels itself. I almost can’t *not* write, which I’m sure is probably a common writer affliction. I enjoy working (when I enjoy the work, which isn’t exclusive to writing) and have a drive to be productive and ‘make’ things. Writing and editing, however, is my absolute favorite.

Which book do you wish you could have written?

The Daughter of Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor. If you enjoy fantasy at all, check it out. The world-building blew my mind, again and again, and I will sell this book to anyone I see on the street. Seriously.