Prism Book Alliance® would like to thank Johanna Parkhurst for taking the time to talk with us today.
Title: Every Inferno
Author: Johanna Parkhurst
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Genre/Sub-Genre: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Mystery, Young Adult
Depressed. Defiant. Possible alcoholic. These are just a few of the terms used to describe fifteen-year-old Jacob Jasper Jones. Lately, though, JJ has a new one to add to the list: detective. He’s been having strange dreams about the fire that killed his parents ten years ago, and he thinks he finally has the clue to catching the arsonist who destroyed his family.
A murder investigation isn’t the only thing the dreams trigger for JJ. They also lead to secret meetings with his estranged sister, an unlikely connection with a doctor who lost his daughter in the fire, and a confusing friendship with McKinley, a classmate of JJ’s who seems determined to help him solve the mystery.
All JJ wants is to shake the problems that have followed him since that fire, and he’s convinced he must catch the arsonist to do it. But as JJ struggles to find the culprit, he sees there’s more than one mystery in his life he needs to solve.
We are here today to talk about Every Inferno. What can you tell us about it?
1. We are here today to talk about Every Inferno. What can you tell us about it?
Every Inferno is the story of JJ Jones. JJ’s parents were killed in a movie theater fire when he was five. JJ survived the fire and now, ten years later, he’s started having dreams about the arsonist who killed his parents.
Mysterious arsonists aren’t the only problem in JJ’s life. He’s been drinking more and more lately, and people are starting to notice. And there’s this McKinley kid JJ’s started hanging out with. McKinley’s gay, and JJ’s definitely not. At least he doesn’t think so. Well, maybe. No, definitely not.
2. Tell us more about JJ?
I’m a teacher, and I’ve spent years working with students who are struggling to overcome tragedy and grief in their lives. Watching how that struggle impacts their day-to-day existence is what inspired me to write JJ’s story. I wanted to shine on a light on how JJ’s past impacts his present and explore how and why JJ uses his past to write his future.
3. What about In the Every Inferno makes you the proudest?
I speed a lot of time researching and rewriting the character of JJ, so I’m probably most proud of him. I think he’s a strong representation of how many young adults deal with difficult events in their lives as they explore what kind of adult they want to be. At the same time, every young adult is different, and I like to think I gave JJ his own unique perspective on the world.
4. Tell us more about McKinley, please?
I essentially wrote McKinley into my ideal high school: a high school where he can be an out and proud gay young adult who’s popular and well-liked. McKinley is a confident young man who inspires JJ to have more confidence in himself.
McKinley is basically every boy I loved in high school. Self-assured but also humble. Incredibly adventurous but also down-to-earth. He’s wise beyond his years.
5. If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring writers, what would it be?
It’s been said before, but I’ll say it again: write what you want to write, whether anyone else is reading it or not. Every word you put on paper makes you a better writer, and writing what you enjoy reading is what will give you true love and appreciation for your craft. So write, write, write, and try not to worry whether others will want to read it.
6. What is the nicest thing a reader has said to you in a review, email, in person, or on social media?
So many people have said lovely things about both Here’s to You, Zeb Pike and Every Inferno! It’s hard to pick. I love when readers tell me they identified strongly or connected emotionally with a character I wrote.
7.What are you reading right now and what is next on your to-be-read list?
I think I have upwards of 20 books on my TBR list right now! I read across a lot of different genres. I just finished Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes fantasy.
8. Rapid Fire Time
- Rolling Stones or The Beatles? Beatles 90% of the time. Stones the other 10%.
- Pancakes or Waffles? Do I have to pick? BUT I LOVE YOU BOTH.
- Alone or At a Party? Alone. Unless I need story ideas.
- Pen or pencil ? Flair pens all day long.
- World of Warcraft or Everquest? I have no idea what the second one is. I’d rather be reading. 🙂
- Cook or bake? I’m going to burn the food either way, probably.
- Winter or Summer Olympics? Oooh, either. Skiing and gymnastics, please!
- Morning or Night? Morning for writing, night for relaxing!
- Flowers or Candy? “Promises I don’t intend to keep.” (QUICK! Name that movie. 🙂 )
- Rock or Country? Rock.
9.What are you working on? What is next?
I just finished drafting the sequel to Here’s to You, Zeb Pike. There’s still a lot of work to to be done before it sees publication, but I’m excited that it’s in progress! I’ve wanted to write the next chapter of Emmitt and Dusty’s story for some time.
A smell that wasn’t there before filled the bathroom.
JJ drew in a deep breath, trying to match the scent to anything that might already exist in his short memory. It was a difficult scent to describe: like pine trees, but not the real ones in his backyard. More like the smell of the stuff his father used to clean the kitchen floor.
He tried to push off the sudden sense of apprehension that filled him; who cared if someone else had also come into the restroom? This was his town, the tiny world he had spent his entire five years in, and there was a good chance he knew whoever else had just joined him.
Even if he didn’t know anyone who went around smelling like pine trees.
JJ took a few breaths and flushed the toilet, eager to get back to the movie and his parents.
As he shoved the door of the stall open, though, the scent grew stronger. The person who had brought the scent in with him—a man—was facing the wall across the room. He was wearing a backpack and hugging his arms to his chest.
“I did it… I did it,” the man whispered. “I finally did it.”
JJ moved to the sinks, more eager than ever to return to the comforting gaze of his mother. But the noise of his sneakers against the tile alerted the man to JJ’s presence, and now the stranger was turning around to face him.
It was the oddest sensation to only be able to see certain details of a person: blue jeans, a red long-sleeve shirt. And then a detail so clear it almost seemed to be the only thing JJ could see: the outline of a long and winding paintbrush, tattooed on the man’s hand, snaking down from just below his thumb to where it disappeared beneath the cuff of his shirt.
But nothing else. No other details were there. The man was faceless. The color of hair was… what was it? It was as if it had never been there.
Then JJ could see nothing, and all he could hear was the man shouting. Something about how JJ shouldn’t be there, and he couldn’t know, and it wasn’t time yet….
The pain began then. Horrible, burning, pain, and JJ knew he was screaming, but he couldn’t hear himself over the roaring in his ears. He needed to find the door, the door, where was the door—
Jacob Jasper Jones woke up sweating, twisted into a trap of sheets and blankets. He frantically cast his eyes around the walls of his bedroom, looking for anything that would remind him he was not in that restroom again. There was the Modest Mouse poster, his bookshelf, the old dresser that had once belonged to his aunt—yes, he was safe.
Safe from what? Or who?
JJ quietly wrestled with the covers, thankful that he wasn’t a screamer and didn’t seem to have woken Aunt Maggie up. If it was up to JJ, Maggie would never know that JJ was having dreams about that day again.
They’d started about a month ago. Before then JJ had never dreamed anything specific about the fire. The nightmares were always vague and mushy, filled with flames and noise and not much else.
Not like this dream. This dream was clear and specific and so real it was as though JJ was reenacting every detail from that day. Right up until the end, when the faceless man turned and everything went black.
It was so vivid that JJ was starting to think it might be more than just a dream. That it might be a memory.
About the Author:
Johanna Parkhurst grew up on a small dairy farm in northern Vermont before relocating to the rocky mountains of Colorado. She spends her days helping teenagers learn to read and write and her evenings writing things she hopes they’ll like to read. She strives to share stories of young adults who are as determined, passionate, and complex as the ones she shares classrooms with.
Johanna holds degrees from Albertus Magnus College and Teachers College, Columbia University. She loves traveling, hiking, skiing, watching football, and spending time with her incredibly supportive husband.
Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words
BFD Book Blog
Inked Rainbow Reads
Hearts on Fire
Prism Book Alliance
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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