I saw A.M. Rose speak about synopses at an SCBWI conference last fall, and I was intrigued by her YA novel, BREAKOUT:
That’s the amount of time until Lezah’s execution.
She’ll die never knowing what got her locked up in this godforsaken prison in the first place. Her only chance of survival is to escape. Except the monitoring bracelet that digs into her wrist, the roaming AI, and the implant in her neck make freedom close to impossible.
Her best chance is to team up with the four other inmates who are determined to break out, even if one of them is beyond (gorgeous) annoying—oh, and in for murder. But he has a secret of his own. One that could break Lezah if she finds out, but could also set him free.
Figuring out how to work with him and the rest of this mismatched group of criminals is the only way Lezah will survive to see the outside world again.
But nothing in this prison is as it seems. And no one.
Could you tell us more about your enthusiasm for trampolines?
I mean, what isn’t there to love about trampolines? They are super fun. You basically get to “fly” for seconds at a time. And they have this magical way of terrifying you at the same time you’re laughing your ass off. I think more people need to jump on trampolines.
And people definitely need to do more of what terrifies them while making them laugh! BREAKOUT is quite suspenseful, especially with the ticking-time clock on Lezah’s life. How did you manage to find the right pacing within such an action-paced narrative?
That’s a really great question. There is a lot of action in BREAKOUT so it was really difficult to build in smaller moments, especially when it came to spending time with Seph. I guess I just tried to used those “down times” to not just give the characters a moment to breathe but also readers.
I think because I am always thinking about what’s next that I don’t like to linger on things for too long before moving forward, so that helped a lot when it came to the natural pacing of this story. (I had a pretty fantastic editor too. Thanks, Lydia.)
Giving characters a moment to breathe is essential for good pacing. What do you think are the necessary elements of a good story?
Wow. You are really full of great questions. I think the key elements to a good story are first character. If there aren’t characters a reader can care about you’ve already lost them.
Next is character agency. If a character doesn’t have any goals or feelings of purpose it can drag down the pacing of the story and make the character feel as though they are taking a back seat ride to their life instead of being in the driver’s seat.
Most importantly, conflict is key to a good story. Because let’s be honest, it’s the car accident that people are stopping to watch on the side of the road. If everything was sunshine and rainbows a story would get boring pretty quickly. It’s the obstacles that characters are trying to overcome that keeps a reader reading. Will they? Won’t they? What is going to happen? If the reader isn’t interested in finding out these answers you’ve already lost them.
I think if we are going to boil it down to the basic level, these are the three things a “good” story needs to have. IMO.
The “car accident” example is perfect! What are some of your current projects?
I have multiple projects going on at all times, but I guess my main project right now is what I’m calling a friend-com (opposed to a rom-com) about a dead girl who is invisibility tethered to her ex-best friend and to make things worse, he’s the only person who can see or hear her.
It’s a fun and funny look at death and grief and a spin on enemies to lovers—aka this is enemies to friends.
It’s a departure from the sci-fi books I have out there, but I think readers will still enjoy the twists and turns they can expect from an A.M. Rose book. (At least I hope.)