Hello everyone! A couple of months ago I had the opportunity to read and review “Pleasant Grove” by Jason Price. In case you didn’t see my thoughts on this middle-grade novel, you can check them out here. Now, I get to share more about the author, Jason Price! He was kind enough to share some of his inspiration behind the book and some writing tips in general.
The Book View: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Price: My love of writing began in middle school with my love of movies, which led to writing movie reviews in high school. I’d stay up late watching Blockbuster rentals and would sometimes leave reviews for my dad to read before he left for work in the morning. That led to writing screenplays, and then stage plays in college, some of which were performed at Houston theaters like the Alley and Stages. But there was a liberating appeal to the long-form narrative, one which I didn’t fully appreciate until after I graduated: The novel didn’t require a cast or a crew; it was a complete creative work when I typed “The End.”
The Book View: What does being a successful author look like to you?
Price: Success comes by clearly defining “success” at the start. For me, each achievement brings some measure of success: starting the book, finishing the book, sharing the book with others, the first good review, the first interview…and remaining humble enough to accept that each step does not guarantee the next.
The Book View: How did you get the idea for Pleasant Grove?
Price: I wrote Pleasant Grove for my daughters. They’re in grade school and near the age when I first discovered Amblin movies. I wanted them to read a book that captured the same sense of magic and wonder I had watching films like The Goonies and E.T. and Back to the Future. I couldn’t find a book that fit the bill, specifically girls on an adventure. That’s when I knew I had to write it for them. The idea originated with the third act, which is difficult to discuss without spoiling the fun. The biggest influences were Steven Spielberg, Rod Serling, and Stephen King – authors of sci-fi tales that moved the heart and the mind…storytellers who rooted the extraordinary in the ordinary.
I wrote Pleasant Grove for my daughters…I wanted them to read a book that captured the same sense of magic and wonder I had watching films like The Goonies and E.T. and Back to the Future.-Jason Price
The Book View: What do you most want your readers to learn or get out of Pleasant Grove?
Price: Pleasant Grove is a book for middle-graders and the middle-grader inside us all. For kids, I want them to experience the same sense of wonder those classic movies gave me when the greatest adventures could begin in the backyard of an ordinary house in a small town. For adults, I hope the story taps into the wonders of nostalgia – a reminder of what it was once like to be 12-years-old, in all its scary, funny, heartbreaking glory. Amblin movies are eternal because they tell children they can fly, and remind adults that we were once children who did. I aimed to capture the same spirit inside the pages of a book.
The Book View: Do you have any writing advice for prospective writers?
Price: Set goals. Remain disciplined. It’s not always easy. But the act of creation is deeply, richly rewarding. Stay inspired. Learn from the best; their secrets are in plain sight. Study what works, why it works, how it works. Remember that everyone will have an opinion. Not all of it will serve you well. Take what’s useful. Discard the rest. And that includes everything I just advised. We’re all still learning.
Title: Pleasant Grove
Author: Jason Price
Publication Date: June 28, 2020
Genre: Middle Grade, Sci-Fi