Author Interview – Hello World by Joanna Sellick
Genre: YA Romance
Author: Joanna Sellick
That’s all Neve can think about, it is the only thing she is really certain about. It dominates her life. Depressed and tormented by an unknown source, Neve is struggling to hold onto her life, until mysterious new boy Jay turns up and sets off a series of unforgettable events.
But everyone has secrets. Jay’s aren’t dirty secrets though. He won’t break your heart or turn his back on you, he won’t stab you in the back or laugh in your face. No, what Jay keeps hidden is ten times worse and slowly killing him from the inside out.
Jay is determined to save Neve from herself and show her what living really means. Neve is determined not to. After all, how many times can your heart break before it becomes unfixable?
About the author Joanna Sellick
Jo (or Joseph, as she is sometimes referred) is a first year undergraduate studying Graphic Design. Her favourite past time is spending Saturday nights watching Friends marathon while eating pizza with the girls.
When she’s not writing, she can be found in peculiar places with my camera. She also loves to eat. A lot.
‘Neve?’ I hear Jay call, looking up as he rushes over and crouches beside me. If my voice on the phone or the disorderly state of me sitting on the curb hadn’t given anything away, then something in my face tells him that things are certainly not alright.
Wordlessly, he pulls me into a hug and I start crying helplessly on his shoulder. He strokes my hair and rocks me slightly, whispering calming things in my ear that I hardly hear. I’m just crying into this stranger’s shoulder and it doesn’t feel wrong. It feels safe.
When I’ve pulled myself together enough, I pull away and wipe the tears away from my eyes.
‘Sorry,’ I apologise, my voice sounding wet after the crying. ‘You must think I’m such a state, crying on the curb like this.’ I try to laugh but it just ends up sounding as fake as Katie Price’s boobs.
‘Not at all,’ Jay says softly. Then he catches my hand, noticing its grazed state. The blood has dried at least. ‘What happened?’ he asks, his expression darkening.
I carefully pull my hand away and clasp it together with my other hand, running my fingers over each other nervously.
‘I ran into some boys that used to go to our school. They stopped my bike and pulled me off it, started taunting me,’ I shrug. I sneak at glance at Jay who is waiting patiently, as if he knows that isn’t the whole story.
Quietly, I debate with myself whether to tell him about Alex. But then I decide that he’ll find out anyway, the whole year knows. If it came from me then maybe there would less chance of me losing him, because even though we have only just met, fear of losing the only person who has talked to me properly, treated me nicely in months, is making a nest in the pit of my stomach.
‘I had this friend,’ I start quietly. I have never had to explain this to anyone before; other people have always done the explaining for me. ‘I had this friend called Alex. He died a few months ago. That’s what the boys were taunting me about.’
Jay looks away and then down at the ground, his throat working. ‘What happened?’
I bite my lip and look at the ground too. ‘I got myself meddled in with something I shouldn’t have. Alex found out what had happened and went to do something about it. That same night, he was murdered. The police found him the next day lying in the middle of some street. He’d taken a blow to the head. And it was my fault, if I hadn’t gotten involved…’ I trail off, my eyes welling up again. That was the truth… vaguely. Jay didn’t need to know the absolute truth, every detail leading up to what happened. And with what I’d just told him, Jay will never speak to me again anyway.
I cast another glance at Jay but he is just staring ahead, trying to process everything I’ve just told him. I dig my nails into my palms again and close my eyes.
Then finally, he speaks.
‘Neve, can I ask you something?’
My mind swims with possible questions; why didn’t you save him? Why did you let it happen? Why did you get him involved?
Bile starts to form at the back of my throat as panic rises in the form of vomit that this is it, he would ask one last question and then be out of here. Too scared to speak, I clamp my lips shut and just nod.
‘What were you really doing on the bridge the other night? The night we first met?’
The question startles me and I turn around to face him, as he is watching me, and scrutinise his expression. Does he just want juicy details that he can spread around school?
My gut tells me no. So does his expression.
It isn’t one of eager anticipation to hear the latest gossip. It isn’t one of sympathy either, the sort that read ‘oh that poor girl, lets just lock her away so she doesn’t hurt her poor little self’. It’s a look that almost says he’s scared for me, scared of what I could have done. It’s genuine concern.
Instead of answering, I stand up.
‘I have something I want to show you.
1. If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future?
Past – I would love to go back to the sixties with the bright skirts and rock ‘n’ roll! I do lots of theatre, and Bye Bye Birdie was definitely one of my favourite shows because of it.
2. If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would you choose?
Anna Kendrick, Jennifer Lawrence, Maggie Smith, Robert Downey Jr and Benedict Cumberbatch – They’re all excellent actors and they all seem like great, down to earth people with fun personalities. Plus, I’m slightly in love with Benedict.
3. If you could have any superpower what would you choose?
I just started watching The Tomorrow People and I think teleporting would be a good one – you could turn up anywhere and freak a lot of people out! I also don’t have a car, so convenience is a bonus.
4. Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
“Gripping, emotional and totally relatable to any teenager out there who has had to face difficulties, and eye opening to those who haven’t.”
5. Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?
I have a whole series of action books that would be a dream to publish, but in the meantime I also have a few more young adult books in the works that I want to focus on. I like and think its important to write books inspired by Nicholas Sparks and Jodie Picoult that are from the points of views of teenagers.
6. Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book or any of your characters?
My immediate choice would be Hello World by Lady Antebellum since that was the whole inspiration for the book and its title. But I also love Lullaby by Nickleback because it reminds me of Jay’s message to Neve.
7. Who are your favorite authors of all time?
Michelle Read! I absolutely love her series Vampire Academy. She’s created one of my all time favourite characters, Rose Hathaway. Rose is such a strong female character, and her wit is priceless.
8. What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?
When I told Mum I wanted to self-publish she said simply “go for it – you have nothing to lose.” Which is true, the worst that could happen is that no one is interested in my book, but worse would be keeping my book on my laptop and never finding out.
9. What movie and/or book are you looking forward to this year?
I can’t wait for Divergent to come out! I’ve loved the series so far and got the latest book for Christmas. I’m also waiting for the Vampire Academy film, but it always puts you on tender-hooks waiting to see if the film is as good as the book!
10. What is your favorite Quote?
“I’m not crazy – my Mother had me tested.” – Sheldon Cooper, The Big Bang Theory. I think it sums me up quite well.