After completing my last novel, which was fairly dark, I knew that I wanted to put something more optimistic into the world. Although it was a struggle at times to write something fun and light, every time I would sit down and work on Just Add Water, it would put me in a better mood!
Ashley Good – 15 October 2021
The Back Flap
It’s 1994: Grunge is all the rage, malls are the place to be, and Grow a Friend toys are just about to hit store shelves…
Born and raised in the middle of nowhere, thirteen-year-old Taylor jumps at the chance to move to the city of Kelowna with her big sister. She soon meets Mischa, a spunky goth girl with the confidence of a talk show host, and Alexander Charming, a TV-addicted prince who Taylor accidentally brings to life. High school is going to be more interesting than she imagined!
Just Add Water is a squeaky-clean fish out of water story that explores growth, family, and friendship. Full of 90s references and jokes, it takes readers back to a time when life felt less serious and celebrates the awkwardness of youth.
About the book
What is the book about?
Just Add Water follows thirteen-year-old Taylor, an awkward homeschooler from a small town who jumps at the chance to start high school in the city. While shopping for school clothes, Taylor not only meets her future best friend, Mischa, but ends up impulsively buying a Grow a Friend toy, which comes to life.
When did you start writing the book?
I began writing Just Add Water in September of 2020, shortly after publishing my first book, Mary & the Alien.
How long did it take you to write it?
Because of all of the stressors and weird events of the past year, my time spent on Just Add Water was fairly sporadic. I experienced bursts of motivation, followed by weeks of not writing anything. When all was said and done, Just Add Water took ten months to complete.
Where did you get the idea from?
The novel’s concept was inspired by a short film that I made. The novel is essentially a prequel to the short film, although I now consider the Just Add Water book to be “canon.”
Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?
To be completely honest, I struggled with keeping the story happy and upbeat. This past year has been quite hard on my mental health, which I know I am not alone in experiencing. After completing my last novel, which was fairly dark, I knew that I wanted to put something more optimistic into the world. Although it was a struggle at times to write something fun and light, every time I would sit down and work on Just Add Water, it would put me in a better mood!
What came easily?
Tapping into the nostalgia for the 1990s came easily to me. While I was pretty young during this book’s time period (1994), I still remember much about what made the decade so great. Writing this book during our current tumultuous time was a great form of escapism, which I think readers will also appreciate.
Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know?
The characters are entirely fictional, although most of their personalities are amalgamations of people that I love and care about. While the characters are fictious, all of the locations mentioned in the book are real and as historically accurate as I could make them.
Do you have a target reader for this book?
Teens roughly 12-16 years old, and their parents.
How was writing this book different from what you’d experienced writing previous books?
Writing Just Add Water was much different than my experience writing Mary & the Alien. For starters, Mary & the Alien was based off of a screenplay that I had written so I had an outline to refer to. Just Add Water was an entirely new creation, which meant that I was discovering new characters as I went along. One of the main characters, Mischa, was only meant to have a small role in the book. As I got further into the story though, Mischa started playing a bigger and bigger role. I feel like she is going to be everyone’s favourite.
What new things did you learn about writing, publishing, and/or yourself while writing and preparing this book for publication?
When I published my first novel, Mary & the Alien, I was just excited that anyone wanted to read it! I had never imagined that it would be a success and end up on multiple store shelves. Now that my second novel, Just Add Water, is about to be released, I need to prove that the success of Mary & the Alien wasn’t just a fluke. I am determined to reach as many readers as I can, all around the world. Thank you so much for featuring me on The Indie View and helping to make this goal possible.
End of Interview:
For more from Ashley Good, visit her website.
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