When Life Gives You Demons
By: Jennifer Honeybourn
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: July 17th, 2018
Sixteen-year-old Shelby Black has spent the past year training to be an exorcist. Her great-uncle Roy—a Catholic priest and Shelby’s guardian—believes she has a gift for expelling demons, and he’s put her through exorcist boot camp hell, but he still doesn’t trust her to do an exorcism on her own.
High school is hard enough without having to explain that you fight demons for a living, so Shelby keeps her extracurricular activity quiet, especially from Spencer, her cute math tutor. Secrets run in Shelby’s family, though: her mother has been missing ever since an exorcism went horribly wrong, and Uncle Roy is tight-lipped about it. But Shelby’s hell-bent on finding her mom, no matter what—even if what it ends up costing her her soul AND a date with Spencer.
WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU DEMONS is set in Seattle, a city I love and have been to many times over the years. I live about two hours north, but I’ll take any excuse to visit, so when I was writing the book, I made a specific trip to research certain landmarks. It’s always helpful if I’m able to stand in the place I’m writing about, even if it’s just briefly, to gather sensory details.
I wanted to use places that weren’t overly familiar or overused, but still said “Seattle”. The Fremont Troll is an incredible sculpture under the Aurora Bridge that I felt would fit perfectly in this book, so I took some time to check it out, snapping a million photos to look at later when I was at home and writing the scene. I also rode The Seattle Great Wheel — most of it with my eyes open — so I could make the experience feel as real as possible for the reader.
I’ve always been interested in the paranormal, but WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU DEMONS was my first kick at writing one. I researched exorcisms online (which, not going to lie, sometimes freaked me out a bit) and then toned down what I’d learned in a way that I hope came across as light and funny and not particularly scary.
I had a lot of fun writing this book, especially the relationship between Shelby and Uncle Roy. I wanted them to have a bit of an adversarial relationship — the student feels she knows as much as the teacher — but one that ultimately reflected the love they had for each other. I also loved writing Shelby’s reports. I was inspired by The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot and the way Mia Thermopolis’ personality shone through in her diary entries. In WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU DEMONS, Shelby used her reports in a passive/aggressive way to let Uncle Roy know how she felt about different situations.
Jennifer Honeybourn works in corporate communications in Vancouver, British Columbia. She’s a fan of British accents, Broadway musicals, and epic, happily-ever-after love stories. If she could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, she’d have high tea with Walt Disney, JK Rowling, and her nana. She lives with her husband, daughter and cat in a house filled with books. Wesley James Ruined My Life is her first novel.
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