Author: Jamie Pacton
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publishing Date: May 11, 2021
Content Warning: deals with parental mental health (hoarding, depression caused by grief) and loss of a parent.
A hilarious and poignant reflection on what money can and cannot fix
58,643,129. That’s how many dollars seventeen-year-old Fortuna Jane Belleweather just won in the lotto jackpot. It’s also about how many reasons she has for not coming forward to claim her prize.
Problem #1: Jane is still a minor, and if anyone discovers she bought the ticket underage, she’ll either have to forfeit the ticket, or worse…
Problem #2: Let her hoarder mother cash it. The last thing Jane’s mom needs is millions of dollars to buy more junk. Then…
Problem #3: Jane’s best friend, aspiring journalist Brandon Kim, declares on the news that he’s going to find the lucky winner. It’s one thing to keep her secret from the town, it’s another thing entirely to lie to her best friend. Especially when…
Problem #4: Jane’s ex-boyfriend, Holden, is suddenly back in her life, and he has big ideas about what he’d do with the prize money.
As suspicion and jealousy turn neighbor against neighbor, and no good options for cashing the ticket come forward, Jane begins to wonder: Could this much money actually be a bad thing?
Q- Hi! I’m absolutely honored that you’re doing this interview with me. I’d heard about Lucky Girl long before I signed up to be a part of this tour and I believe it’s publishing is something that’s been long awaited! How do you feel about it all?
A- Hi and thank you so much! I’m thrilled you’re so excited about LUCKY GIRL and I hope you like it. I’ve had this story in mind for a long time, and I’m delighted by how well people are receiving it. I feel excited about the release, of course, but I’m also a bit nervous.
Q- We’ll start off with some personal questions about you that I, and I’m sure others, would love to know! So tell us, what’s your favorite book (a book you always go back to maybe?), author, genre and band/musician? (And anything else basic you’d like to tell us!) Can you write anywhere or do you have a specific place where you do your best writing?
A- Favorites are so tricky for me, especially with books because I love to read everything! Some books I always go back to, however, are: The Ten Thousand Doors of January; Salt to the Sea; The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue; The Night Circus; and, The Nightingale.
I don’t have a favorite author or genre, but I love reading YA for fun and research; MG with my kids; and, then I tend to gravitate towards non-fiction, romance, and adult fantasy when I’m reading on my own. The only things I don’t read much of are horror and thrillers.
My current favorite band is First Aid Kit, but I also love Andrew Bird, Bright Eyes, Sarah Jaffe, Grammatik, and Santigold.
Q- How did you start writing? Did you always want to be a writer? Or was there something in particular that inspired you?
A- Growing up, I used to write plays for my nine siblings to perform, and I distinctly remember finishing my first short story when I was twelve. I kept writing poems and essays in high school, but since the internet wasn’t really publicly accessible when I was a teen, fan fic wasn’t a huge part of my life (I wish I had known about it—i would’ve loved it) For a long time, I didn’t want to be a writer, even though I loved books. I planned on being a scientist—either a marine biologist or neurosurgeon—when I went to college. However, after breaking a lot of glassware in my bio lab work study job and failing chemistry, I decided to focus on the humanities, which is how I ended up an English teacher. I’ve always been inspired to write by my love of reading and storytelling. As the oldest of so many kids, it was my great joy to share stories with my siblings, and part of the reason I became a kidlit author was to spark joy in kids via stories.
Q- What’s a part of being a writer that you absolutely love and a part that you don’t really like?
A- I really love coming up with a new idea, chasing it, and getting to know it. This is such a dreamy, exciting time of possibility. I also like planning and revising, but drafting for me is extremely hard. Not the actual writing, which I do quickly. It’s really just a matter of sitting down and doing it, but for some reason, getting started is the hardest part. Once I’m into a story, however, the words flow and it’s all joy. I also really love connecting with readers and promoting my books!
Q- The plot of Lucky Girl is extremely unique, were there any real life events that inspired it?
A- Sadly, I have not won the lottery, lol. But, around the time I sold this book, there was someone in Wisconsin who won a HUGE jackpot, and I’ve followed his story with interest. I always knew I wanted to write a lottery winner book, and some of the personal parts of the book—the breakups and aftermath, the parental mental health issues, and the grappling with not feeling like enough—are all inspired by my own life.
Q- Who all are part of your support system? Being a writer of course takes a lot of hard work and time so who was there to support you through it all? Can you tell us a bit about them?
A- I have a wonderful partner who is very supportive and who is great about helping me carve out time to write. My youngest son is also a huge fan of my work and he’s always making me encouraging drawings and things that hang above my desk. I also have some amazing author friends, who have been with me through this entire journey. I met my bff, a bestselling historical novelist in 2013 at a writer’s conference and we’ve been friends ever since. I also have made some great friends through Pitch Wars (I was a mentee in 2015, and then I co-mentored with M.K. England in 2016-2018). I also am deeply grateful for my amazing agent, Kate Testerman, and the many people at my publishers who’ve been so supportive.
Q- Which character did you love writing about or related to the most, and why?
A- As with my debut novel, The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly, I wrote a lot of myself into Lucky Girl’s main character, Fortuna Jane Belleweather. In fact, out of the thirteen books I’ve written so far, this is my most personal. It has my heart and I still cry every. single. time. I read it. Like me as a teen, Jane wants to be a marine biologist, and she’s desperate to get out of her family’s house and flee her small town. She’s also dealing with parental mental health issues and she’s trying to move on after a heart-wrenching break-up with her first love. I absolutely wrote parts of my own experiences with both these things into the book. Also, Jane has an amazing best friend, Brandon Kim, who is a gem of a human and whom she is better for knowing. This book is dedicated to my three best friends, Ashleigh, Noelle, and Lizzy, who are amazing women who always show up for me when I need them. Which means everything.
Q- Do you have any tips to give to aspiring writers from your own writing experience?
A- Read a lot and write a lot, but also know that writing is a craft. It’s something—like building furniture— that you can practice and get better with over time. Write stories that bring you joy or that make your heart sing, rather than chasing trends. Be kind to yourself—it’s okay to not write every day; it’s okay to have a book that you walk away from; and, it’s okay if you write a book that doesn’t sell. Keep going. Also, find people who can help you build a community. These will be the friends who cheer you on and help you through the ups and downs of writing. And, lastly, know that publishing is business that moves very slowly and is full of rejections. Be sure to cultivate other hobbies and interests outside of writing (which will likely make you a better writer and more interesting human as well).
About the Author
Jamie Pacton is a Young Adult and Middle Grade author who grew up minutes away from the National Storytelling Center in the mountains of East Tennessee. She has a BA and MA in English Literature, and currently teaches English at the college level. While pursuing her dream of being an author, she worked as a waitress, pen salesperson, lab assistant, art museum guard, bookseller, pool attendant, nanny, and lots of other weird jobs in between. Her writing has appeared in national and local magazines, and she spent many years blogging for Parents.com. Currently, Jamie lives in Wisconsin with her family and a dog named Lego. The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly is her YA debut novel and her sophomore novel, Lucky Girl, is forthcoming in Spring 2021. She has also published a MG novel, Farfetched, under the pen name Finn Colazo.
The whole tour schedule can be found here! (This tour is hosted by TBRandBeyond Tours)
Have you ever won the lottery? If yes, tell me about your experience! If not, tell me what’s the first thing you would do if you did win a lottery??