Empathy is not so much feeling something about a character, but feeling something with a character. It is not only being sorry for a character when they struggle and happy when they succeed—it’s about the reader experiencing those trials and victories as if they were their own. And when those trials and victories are rooted in immediate real-world issues, there’s more at stake than well-written characterization.
Connie King Leonard
Connie King Leonard is the author of Sleeping in My Jeans, a YA novel about a teen girl who has to live out of her car with her mother and young sister. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Connie to discuss what inspired her to write a book about being homeless, what message she hopes it will send, and the unique protagonist at the center of it all—Mattie Rollins.
Questions asked in the process of writing a cover brief for Sleeping in My Jeans: How should the cover of a young adult/suspense novel look? What should be on the cover to represent homelessness, hope, and the bond of sisters? Is the design going to be realistic or abstract?
Sleeping in My Jeans is officially one year out. While our official pub date is yet to be set, we’re planning on putting the book out sometime in November of 2018. To many, that would seem like a ton of time. What could you possibly do with an entire year until your book publishes? You’d be surprised.
Sleeping in My Jeans is the story of one sixteen-year-old Mattie Rollins who abruptly finds herself homeless with her mother and six-year-old sister, Meg. Though handling the pressures of school, a social life, and watching over her sister while their mother looks for an apartment are tough, nothing’s as bad as when Mattie’s mom turns up missing. A thrilling account of one girl’s struggle to keep herself and her family together, Sleeping in My Jeans is more than just a suspenseful YA novel. It brings up a host of legitimate issues that real children like Mattie face every single day in places like Eugene, OR, where the story is set.