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Never Say Never

I am currently doing a thing I’d said I’d never do. VERY currently. RIGHT THIS SECOND I was doing it, and I paused to come here and tell you I was doing it, and as soon as finish telling you I am going to go right back and do it some MORE.

Best Beloveds, I am writing a sequel.

Well. Kinda.

I always said I wouldn’t EVER write a true sequel because, look, I write rowdy books. I shoot people, I drown them, I smash in their heads. If you are my character, you may not make it out of Chapter 1.

And if you do? You are not going to skip lightly through a meadowy-sunshine-landscape of mild troubles and soft dilemmas. If you are my character, your greatest challenge in a chapter will never be, I have lost my keys and it is time for carpool! Your largest looming question will not be, The chemicals in Sweet and Low? Or the blood-spiking calories of SUGAR?

Lookit, ya'll. It's all my books, so far.

You are going to careen across the country with a gun and a dog, or a gun and your best friend, or bloody hands and a man your family is never going to accept, or your terrible, terrible, terrible, terrible sister. Towns will burn and awful dogs will eat up half your kindly auntie.

I feel, if you are my character, and you make it ALL THE WAY TO THE END—not unscathed, never unchanged— but to the end, then you have EARNED a rest. I promise I will leave you in a place of hope. Perfectly happy? Tidy? Sorry, no. But I bring you to a breathing place. You, my character who lived, I love you, and I will not re-set you on whole new fire and leave you flopping in agony on the last page.

If you make it, bloody and changed but whole in some new way, I feel it would be MORALLY REPULSIVE to come back to you and say, “And NOW! I set your life on fire…AGAIN! BWAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHA.”

And I would have to. I am not going to write a book wherein people walk the dog and learn to beer-grill chicken and go to see their kid play the second Scottish guy on the right in Brigadoon. That is an EXCELLENT life. It is a TERRIBLE BOOK. SO I have sworn not to sequel, and I never have. Even my linked books (gods and Saints) are not SEQUELS. They take place over the same span of time, with the main characters and the plots crossing paths in three small, identical scenes.

But now? I am writing one. Sort of…

Part of it is because I am not ready to let go of the book you see below you yet. (LOOK, HERE IT IS, and it is coming THIS YEAR, near the end, so get it on your Christmas lists please.)

This book above is FINISHED, so it is not the book I am writing NOW. It is not the sequel to anything, but it is, quite frankly, the best book I am capable of writing. Maybe that won’t be true ten years from now, but it is true now. It is a departure for me, but not one so huge that I think it will be spooky or off-putting to people who like my books. I love it wholly.

It has two narrators. One, Shandi, is VERY much one of “my” narrators. She’s a rural, blue color, Southern person of imperfect past and uncertain future. I think Shandi is the way in, for my readership, because the other narrator was the toughest thing I ever wrote, tougher even than Liza, the stroke victim in A GROWN-UP KIND OF PRETTY who narrated part of the story even though she’d lost all facility for language.

I’ve been wanting to write about William Ashe for YEARS now. (Yes, him, ya’ll. A male narrator.) He is a brilliant geneticist, and atheist, and an Aspie. They meet – Well, wait – look.
I want you to read the jacket copy, which I did not write, because the woman who wrote it GOT what I was trying to do. It begins with Shandi’s actual first lines…

I fell in love with William Ashe at gunpoint, in a Circle K.

It was on a Friday afternoon at the tail end of a Georgia summer so ungodly hot the air felt like it had all been boiled red. We were both staring down the barrel of an ancient, creaky .32 that could kill us just as dead as a really nice gun could.

I thought then I had landed in my own worst dream, not a love story.

But there we were, William gone still as a pond rock, me holding a green glass bottle of Coca-Cola and shaking so hard it was like a seizure. Both of us were caught under the black eye of that pistol. And yet, seventeen seconds later, before I so much as knew his name, I’d fallen dizzy-down in love with him.

At twenty-one, Shandi Pierce is juggling finishing college, raising her delightful three-year-old genius son Nathan, aka Natty Bumppo, and keeping the peace between her eternally warring, long-divorced Christian mother and Jewish father. She’s got enough complications without getting caught in the middle of a stick-up in a gas station mini-mart and falling in love with a great wall of a man named William Ashe, who willingly steps between the armed robber and her son.

Shandi doesn’t know that her blond god Thor has his own complications. When he looked down the barrel of that gun he believed it was destiny: It’s been one year to the day since a tragic act of physics shattered his world. But William doesn’t define destiny the way other people do. A brilliant geneticist who believes in science and numbers, destiny to him is about choice.

Now, he and Shandi are about to meet their so-called destinies head on, making choices that will reveal unexpected truths about love, life, and the world they think they know.
Someone Else’s Love Story is Joshilyn Jackson’s funny, charming, and poignant novel about science and miracles, secrets and truths, faith and forgiveness; about a virgin birth, a sacrifice, and a resurrection; about falling in love, and learning that things aren’t always what they seem—or what we hope they will be. It’s a novel about discovering what we want and ultimately finding what we need.

EH? EHHH? Whatcha think????

BAH lookit, almost carpool time, and I have yet to walk the dogs or decide between sweet-n-low and sugar…I’ll explain why I am sequelling tomorrow; I have blathered on endlessly and I need to get back to doing the thing I said that I would never, never do.

This is why we never say never, I ‘spose. But I feel like it is not just me…What have you found yourself doing that you once said you truly, super-wouldn’t?

34 comments to Never Say Never

  • Jen the Goddess in Virginia

    Dying. DYING DYING DYING. I want that book in my hot little hands right now, and if I can do anything to persuade you to read some of it in a week and a half when you are here in my very own town for VA Festival of the Book, I WILL DO IT. You just let me know. I will even tell you where the biggest martini menu in Charlottesville lives and buy you one if you’ll let me. 🙂

    I had a baby 4 months ago. 10 years ago I swore up and down I never wanted to have kids. Heh. I was wrong.


    Then I fetched up pregnant. (My mother REALLY should have explained how these things work a little more clearly on my wedding night. *ahem*)

    ANYWAY, I liked it so much, I went and had a second one on purpose. I only wish I had started younger. I would have had MORE.

  • Jan

    ZOMG. Killer copy. I don’t say that lightly. If the book is half as good, I’m thinking this one will put you on many lists…

  • Tracey

    I try very hard to never say never..as it seems when I say never I end up doing the very thing I have sworn off. Very excited for the book. Am listening (again) to “Between” as that is my favorite. I would like to think that were I to venture to Between, Nonni and I would be fast friends. Will wait to see if you are going to be the “reader” before I decide on print or audio on your new offering. If you are going to be reading…I am going to be listening!

  • Leigh

    I needs it best beloved…NEEDS it I says….like now. I said I would never get married again, and Bane chased me around for 5 years…and I finally stepped off the cliff, and he has caught me going on 7 years now, as we have fallen through this life together. And met great people along the way. When are you coming back to NC? It misses you.

  • Gaylin

    Wait, what? That awesome teaser and I have to wait until the end of the year. Hmmmm, I may not like you anymore.

    30 years ago I swore I would never have kids. It has been 80 days since my last period, I am 53 and celibate, don’t think it is a miracle birth. A miracle menopause is more likely . . .

  • I just drooled a little.

    Okay, a lot.

    A whole lot.

  • This is going to be a long wait. . .

  • Brian

    Hrm. Confused, I am. I think I’m hung up on the word ‘sequel’. While I don’t remember every character in every book you’ve written and I’ve read, I’m missing the connection between this and your previous work.

    When I hear sequel, I naturally thing Star Wars 5,6,1,2,3. Or Indiana Jones. Or Alex Cross. Main character, new setting. Before this time, after this time.

    Mebbe someone can enlighten me?

  • Yeah I’m not remembering these people but I do have memory issues, so I trust that all will be revealed when you deem it time. Okay, and so what can I bribe you with to get an ARC? Another fun-filled dinner at the Orlando Houlihan’s, with drinks? My first-born? And please promise that you will be narrating this one.

  • Brian and Sandy, this book is FINISHED and in the works. It is NOT a sequel. I am RIGHT NOW writing a sequel….

  • DebR

    I want to read this NOW, not at Christmas time. I NEED to know what a tragic act of physics is!!

    I’ve done loads of stuff I said I would never do, which is why for many years now I’ve tried very hard not to speak any variation of the phrase “I would never” – or if I can’t resist saying it, then to do so only with many loud disclaimers and qualifiers, so as not to make the Universe feel like I’m issuing a dare. Issuing a dare to the Universe is a Bad Thing.

    I will be checking back tomorrow in the hope of finding a post about sequeling, not a dirty old pair of pink socks.

  • Do you know that feeling of being so excited about something that your lungs sort of constrict and you are in a bit of pain, but it’s good pain – like yoga pain? That is the feeling I got when I just read the jacket cover. I am so excited I can’t breathe properly. Seriously!! I guess I’m going to need more yoga to keep me breathing through to Christmas.

  • Linda J

    OMG OMG OMG OMG OH MY GOLLY GEE WHIZ. It CAN’T go on my Christmas list. I will have it LONG before then. Unless it is released on Christmas then I will disappear until I am done listening to it. Christmas will have to wait. I will have it in my Audible list as soon as I can.

    I love that your writing a sequel. If it turns into something other than a sequel then thats ok too. I will read anything you read or write..

    Love Story sounds AMAZING start the check off list to get us there quicker. St. Pats day, Easter, sons bday, mothers day, last day of school, memorial day, july 4, my bday(UGH), 1st day of school, school pics, labor day, street fair, halloween, other son’s bday, then IT WILL BE HERE. I CAN’T WAIT!!!

    Eager to see the cover art too…

  • Brigitte

    All I can say is: squeee!

  • So… the sequel you are writing now is a sequel to THIS book which is in the publication sausage-machine, if I have read the post very carefully, which I cannot swear that I ACTually did, because I was up late writing desperately?

    Hmm. Perhaps it is a story that stretches on for more than one book, all BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE, and there’s just sort of a natural pause in the middle, just to throw that out there.

    My MIL swore she’d never marry a farmer, and… yep. When I met her, she was wearing a red windbreaker with the words “Farm Wife” in white on the shoulder.

  • You have no idea how excited this makes me! I hope you’ll come back to the upstate of South Carolina for this book!

  • Hot damn. Now THAT’S a hook. I’ll be waiting impatiently.

  • Standing in a big ole pile of Never right now, wishing I could scrape it off my shoes. And waiting oh so patiently for SELS, and now, a SEQUEL?! Ah, but your books are always worth the wait. (write faster!)

  • When you tweeted me I only had to wait for a new book til November I was thrilled, this little taste of the new one has be hungry for it NOW! Oh please tell me you narrate this one too:). Yes I can read it, but having you tell me a story is so much better. It’s like bed time stories on steroids!! XO, Looking forward to learning about the never never spoken of sequel.

  • Therese

    I said I’d never become enslaved to hair appointments for perms and hair color. Well, I look far better with short curly hair so I’ve been a perm-slave for about 5 years. The hair coloring has not been an issue as I have a shocking lack of gray hair so far.

    I’ll bet if I ask my kid and spouse, they’ll point out all kinds of “nevers” that I do all the time now…

  • jeanette in peculiar

    Thanks for taunting and teasing us with that little snippet……..It is always good to have something to look forward to.

    What did I do that I swore I would NEVER do? I swore after my divorce that I would NEVER marry another man who works outside for a living. (Inconsistent paychecks are stressfull.) So what did I do? I married my mailman!! But we all know they must not let silly things like blizzards and heat waves and hurricane rains keep them from delivering the mail, so at least the pay is consistent. And what did my mailman husband do that he swore he would never do? After leaving the Air Force many many years ago, he swore he would never wear a blue uniform again. So yes, we must be careful when we say “NEVER” because the universe takes that as a personal challenge.

    You must also be careful about saying what you WILL do. After my divorce, I used to tell people that “my next husband will be rich and his mother will be dead”, BUT then I realized that kind of statement could lead to meeting/marrying a man named Rich who had killed his mother……..

  • You tease!!! You tell me you have a new book coming out, but not for months and months, yet!!!! I wonder if I can request it from the library yet…

  • YAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAY! Another book to read into dust and listen to at every opportunity! YAY!

    1. I said I’d never have kids. I have three. 2. I said I’d never be a stay at home mom. I am not a homemaker. I’m a stay at home mom and have been for the past…almost 12 years. I’m still not a homemaker. 3. I said I’d never homeschool. Huh-uh, no, not me! *ahem* I now homeschool my goof troop of three. 4. I said I’d never let myself get fat. *looks at down at self* Anybody who ever says that has never gotten or been fat. I am now thus. 5. I said I’d never be vegan ever, ever, ever! I’m now headed in that direction. For health reasons. 6. And lastly, now completely out of order, I said I’d never get pregnant by accident. Accidental pregnancies are for fools. I got this! Yeah, baby 3 was a complete, unplanned, surprise.

  • Nic

    The blurb sounds great! I own all your books and would/will automatically buy a new one as the stories are amazing- but I love this description so much I would buy this book even if it was a completely unknown author. That comes across as I wanted right? Though my love for you personally warms my cockles (where?) I love your writing even more. Can’t wait for the release.

  • Elizabeth

    Oh dear. After reading the comments, I’m trying hard to think what my “nevers” have been, so I can know where my life is headed.

    And seriously excited about the book.

  • Martha

    Anxiously awaiting this new book AND the subsequent sequel!

    My nevers were more in the “my kid would NEVER do that” family. I am still full from eating my words many times over.

    Anxiously awaiting this new book AND the subsequent sequel. (Restated in the event you missed it the first time.)

    HURRY please!

  • Aimee

    DANG, lady! Now that’s a hook. I am dancing around with rabid impatience, refusing to believe I have to wait until it is winter AGAIN before I can read your next book. NO FAIRSIES.

  • Jessica (the celt)

    I love getting snippets of your books, because they always make me want to read more. (I see your copy there, and could it happen to fall in the mail and end up in my apartment somehow?)

    I walked away from my undergrad years and said to my boss/professor and another prof, “I’m done with school. No, I don’t want to get an MLIS. I don’t want to go back to school and write another paper ever.” Well…I’m back. I’m working on my MLIS. And I’ve done nothing but work on papers for a year now.

    I’m sticking to the “I’m not having kids” thing, though. For a multitude of reasons, I’m for sure and for certain that there will never be little kiddos made of my own or my hubby’s genetic material running around.

  • Yeah, more books to look forward to. Your books are the kind that while I’m reading I am already looking forward to reading them again:)

    Ten years I said I’d never teach in public school again. I withdrew my retirement and everything – went back to school to get a degree in something else even. Well, I’m back to teaching in public school, looking forward to the next gig and enjoying middle schoolers as much as I always have. Never say never….

  • Well, I never say “never,” so while some of my behavior at this stage of my life might surprise others, I feel quite comfortable moving out in new directions:-) By the way, I can’t wait to read “Someone Else’s Love Story”… and its sequel!

  • liz

    The list of what I say I’ll never do is long and illustrious, and keeps changing because I keep doing those things. Marriage? Check. Children? Check Check. Give up horses? Check. Move to the suburbs? … you get the idea. The most recent thing I swore I’d never do was join Facebook … and I have been on there for a year. I like to think of it as keeping an open mind.

  • i.cannot.wait!!

    there are mom things that I now say that I thought I would NEVER say…and yet, POP! out the come – right from the mouth part of my face!

  • Am hooked.

    And I know what you mean about sequels. I haven’t written one yet, though I have a few stories that seem to need them.