Finishing High School by Day. . .and Living in a Junkyard by Night
Real-World YA Fiction for Today’s Teen Readers
Uhrichsville, OH – What do you do when you’re too young to be on your own but have no one to turn to? Wreath, the first young adult novel from Judy Christie tells the tale of sixteen-year old Wreath Willis as she finishes high school by day and squats in a junkyard by night. Set for release in October 2011, Wreath is geared toward teenagers but has a broad appeal.
On the day of her mother’s death, Wreath slips out the door and disappears, running from grief, her mother’s old boyfriend, and a system she’s pretty sure won’t help her. Now she’s finishing high school by day and living in a junkyard by night, flying below the authorities’ radar while she makes a few awkward friends and searches for an illusory “good life.” But when a teacher grows too suspicious, Wreath is afraid she’ll have to move on before she graduates. Could it be this was a good life? The latest from acclaimed author Judy Christie is a powerful story of family and friendship.
Praise for the Book:
“Captivating, moving, haunting at times, yet hopeful, Judy Christie’s Wreath is a dynamic and adventurous read. Highly recommended for all audiences.”
– Alice J. Wisler, Christy Award finalist and author of Rain Song
“Wreath Willis will win her way into your heart with her tenacity and tenderness. Judy Christie has crafted a wonderful, gripping story of overcoming hardship against all odds, and teens of all ages will love Wreath’s story.”
– May Vanderbilt, co-author of Emily Ever After and The Miracle Girls Series
“Compelling, gripping, and relevant to what today’s teens are facing, Wreath grabbed hold of my heart and would not let go. I found myself rooting for Wreath and caring for her as I would a long-lost child. A must-read for every teenage girl.”
– Janice Hanna Thompson, author of the Backstage Pass series
“From the first scene of Wreath, when Wreath has to say goodbye to her beloved mother, this girl—this Wreath—drew me into her story and her struggle. I found myself rooting for her. Wreath’s story is one I will share with my own teenager daughter.”
– Marybeth Whalen, director of She Reads, and author of She Makes it Look Easy and The Mailbox
“Judy Christie skillfully introduces us to a vibrant cast of characters who grasp our hearts and make us think. It was a joy to travel along with Wreath down a winding path towards finding love, acceptance. . and hope.
– Jennifer Erin Valent, author of Fireflies in December
Wreath by Judy Christie / October 2011 / $9.99 / 288 Pages / Paperback
Meet the Author:
Author Judy Christie started keeping a diary when she was nine years old and still has all of them. A former journalist, her first newspaper job was as editor of the Barret Banner in elementary school. Wreath is her first young adult novel. She and her husband live in north Louisiana, where she loves to sit on the porch swing and read. For more information about Christie, visit www.judychristie.com.
Q: Where did the inspiration for Wreath come from?
A: I saw a creepy, overgrown trailer park down a country road in Louisiana and began to wonder what it would be like to live there. (Writers sit around and think about things like this!) Then, on a trip, I noticed a bicycle parked in front of a small-town hardware store and a girl working in a rundown café for a boss who seemed somewhat cranky. What if that girl turned the rundown business around, I wondered. The boss might be nicer then! Shortly thereafter, I was stopped behind a school bus and watched students getting off near a junkyard in rural northwest Louisiana. How odd would it be to go from school to a junkyard?
With these threads, Wreath began to take shape. An avid antiquer and collector of junk, I noticed an old store that had become a flea market and thought about what Wreath could do there. She was so creative that I thought she might want to change that business, but it would be hard. So Wreath led me to Durham’s Fine Furnishings.
Q: This is your first venture in young adult fiction. How was the writing process for this book different from the process you used for writing your previous novels?
A: Since most of Wreath is written from a teenage girl’s viewpoint, I paid extra attention to how the teenagers I know talk and act. I also went back to some of my diaries from high school to see how I thought and felt when I was Wreath’s age. Even though Wreath is a young adult novel, I hope readers of all ages will enjoy reading about her. Ever since I was a child, I’ve been blessed to have friends of all ages, and I hope Wreath’s story helps people of all ages realize how important they are to each other.
Q: Wreath deals with several key issues, such as being alone and dealing with abusive relationships. What advice do you have for readers who are struggling with similar issues?
A: Get help; you don’t have to battle this alone. Ask for help from a trustworthy adult, like a teacher, church youth leader, or relative. Accept help from people you trust. It’s good to be strong and independent, but don’t try to hide your problems. Become part of a family of faith in a church. Pray for God’s help and direction, knowing God has a plan for your life. One of the things that broke my heart about Wreath was her loneliness and fear. I especially hope young people in trouble will turn to others for help and ask God for guidance. And, to those readers who are not in such situations, be watchful for ways to help others. Sometimes people may be afraid to admit they need help. I think God puts people on our path for a reason. Encourage and love others.
Q: It seems that every character in the novel has a “flaw” that makes them relatable. Do you, as an author, feel it is important that your characters are living in the real world and dealing with real, everyday problems?
A: For sure! I write the kind of stories I enjoy reading—and that includes strong characters who are sometimes uncertain and often make mistakes. We all struggle to do the right thing and to become the people we were created to be. The characters in Wreath have the same traits as real people I know. I love reading about characters who search for ways to move past obstacles and who, in doing so, make the world a better place. I also enjoy watching how characters change each other through the course of a story. We all need each other, and one person can change the world. Don’t give up!
Q: Wreath has a quirky cast of characters. Which character did you enjoy creating most?
A: Oh my! Wreath grabbed my imagination, and I still think about her. She was so real to me that I felt privileged to put her story on paper. I enjoyed each of the characters in their own way—except for Big Fun, who made me afraid to walk from my office to my house in the dark! I did, of course, think Law was awfully nice and cute and was so glad he liked Wreath!
Q: Wreath believes in everyone around her, encouraging them to chase after their dreams. Is there anyone in your life who encourages you?
A: Every single day! In a million ways! I’ve been blessed my entire life by people who encourage me, from my husband (who is a middle-school teacher) to lots of great girlfriends (some of whom I have known since second grade). My mother died when I was only a little older than Wreath, and I have three great brothers who helped me through that and have been a great part of my life. I even live next door to my oldest brother! I’ve always been inspired and coached by women at church, and I encourage readers of all ages to connect with people at church. It can change your life.
Q: What do you hope your readers take away from Wreath?
A: We each take different things from stories—and I believe God can use a story to help us in different ways at a particular moment in our life. I definitely want readers to believe in their own strength and have the courage to pursue their dreams. I pray that they will know God is always with them, no matter how bad the circumstances. I hope Wreath’s life will inspire readers to finish high school and go to college. Today’s world can be discouraging at times, and it’s hard to be a teenager. Wonderful things can happen if you are open to possibilities and keep trying.