When it comes to the publishing, “there are surprises at every turn,” said debut novelist Jenny Elliott. Her debut YA romance, Save Me, was chosen by readers, writers, and publishers to be published in the first list of the new Macmillan imprint Swoon Reads.
Elliott, like so many writers, invested an incredible amount of energy into finding the right fit for her book.
“I queried over 100 agents. […] A writer and critique friend let me know about Swoon Reads, and I thought it was a great way to directly get a publisher’s attention. So I submitted my novel. Needless to say, I’m glad I did.”
Save Me takes place in the tiny coastal town of Liberty, Oregon, where local high school student, Cara, has been noticing some strange happenings. When she’s knocked into the icy water by a whale swimming bizarrely close by, David, a newcomer who is as handsome as he is charming, rescues her. The two form a deep bond and Cara is certain she’s found her soulmate, until she learns a devastating truth about David’s past. Seeking solace in her best friend, Cara realizes the friendship she’s long counted on seems to be disintegrating due to her friend’s new obsession with witchcraft and her boyfriend. To make matters worse, Cara’s attracted the attention of a stalker. Thankfully, Cara still has a mysterious and gorgeous new friend to lean on — Garren. But even Garren may be too good to be true.
“I especially love forbidden romances or romances that leave you wondering ‘Will they or won’t they?’”
But not everyone appreciates elements of forbidden romance.
“I was surprised to find out how angry people can get at even the hint of a student-teacher romance. Don’t get me wrong. I’m no Lolita lover. But I do believe that a person’s intentions are the most important aspect of any relationship. If a person is coming from a place of love, and trying to avoid wrongdoing, I don’t see anything wrong with affection between any two people,” said Elliott. Reader reactions did influence her writing to some degree. “I did my best to tame the interaction between the love interests in Save Me so that their behavior will hopefully come across as above reproach. Of course, I still added as many swoon-worthy moments as possible.”
The tension of forbidden romance, mysterious people and unsettling events — as well as the friendship between Cara and her bestie — make Save Me both a thrilling and emotionally engaging read.
And Elliott knows how to deliver what readers want.
“I make the most of the tension that revolves around those issues, and also like to add extra twists and thrills, of the supernatural variety, to keep readers turning pages…”