October 6, 2017

Blog Tour: A Messy, Beautiful Life by Sara Jade Alan – Interview and Giveaway


Hello Readers!  Welcome to our Tour Stop for

A Messy, Beautiful Life by Sara Jade Alan

presented by Entangled Teen!

We have Sara on the blog today for a quick Q&A!

Click on the banner above to follow the rest of the tour,
and be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!



Life is funny sometimes.

And not always the ha, ha kind. Like that one time where a hot guy tried to kiss me and I fell. Down. Hard. And then found out I had cancer.

I’m trying to be strong for my friends and my mom.

And I’m trying so hard to be “just friends” with that hot guy, even though he seems to want so much more. But I won’t do that to him. He’s been through this before with his family, and I’m not going to let him watch me die.

So, I tell myself: Smile Ellie. Be funny Ellie. Don’t cry Ellie, because once I start, I might not stop.

A Messy, Beautiful Life by Sara Jade Alan
Publication Date: October 2, 2017
Publisher: Entangled Teen

Amazon | Amazon Australia | Amazon UK | Amazon Canada | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Entangled



Thanks so much for taking the time and spending time with us here at Chapter by Chapter!

Thank you so much for having me here! It’s exciting to finally have my book out in the world and get to talk to people about it.

Describe your book in 140 characters or less (like a Tweet)

Ellie is teen improviser who copes with a heartbreaking diagnosis by entering a stand-up comedy contest and falling in love.

What was your inspiration for writing this book?  Was it in a dream? A thought while taking a walk?

It did start with a dream! My fiancé (now-husband) and I had just moved back to Denver from New York City, where we had lived and performed with our improv group for five years. I was recovering from major surgery, which required me to be on crutches for a year. Luckily, I worked for an amazing woman, bestselling YA fantasy author Tamora Pierce, and was able to keep my job for her and work virtually from our tiny apartment in Denver. It was kind of lonely since our closest friends were in NYC and my fiancé worked full time and often performed at night. One morning I woke up remembering a dream of a boy and girl in a flirty improv scene onstage. I wanted to fall back asleep to return to the dream, but couldn’t, so I decided to get up and write it down. I hadn’t planned on writing a novel, but once I started the story I didn’t want to stop, and those characters kept me entertained during that year on crutches. Most of the book has changed since that early version, but the scene that was inspired by my dream is still in A Messy, Beautiful Life—it’s the one where Ellie and Jason meet onstage for the first time in chapter one.

Tell us about the main character(s).

Ellie is a senior in high school and was just voted as the co-captain of her high school improv group. Even though she’s a performer, she’s more of an introvert in everyday life. It’s onstage, pretending to be other people, where she feels most comfortable and confident. Ellie is caring and loving—she would do anything for her friends and family, and them for her. She’s silly and funny—while she can be kind of serious, she tries to keep her sense of humor. And even if things get her down, she doesn’t let them keep her down.

Jason is on a neighboring high school’s improv team. He’s talented, artistic, loyal, and loving. He just lost his mom to breast cancer a year ago, so while he’s managing better than he was, that loss is still present in his life. Losing his mom has given him a different perspective on life and has made him less tolerant for pretending or playing games—he’s going to say it like it is.

Do you have a favorite quote or specific part in the book that you really love?

There are lots of parts I love, but I’ll go with the part toward the end during the contest. I don’t want to give too much away, but I love that even when things are scary and she doesn’t know what’s going to happen, she gets to have these fun moments where she’s living her life and feeling the love of her friends. “I looked out at the audience cheering for me, and at the friends I loved. I was the luckiest of unlucky mutants in the world.”

Was there a specific part in the book that you had an especially difficult time writing?  If so, why?

I had to go back and rewrite her diagnosis scene and the scenes after when she’s dealing with her news with her mom and telling her friends. I had to pull back her layers of sarcasm she had been using as a defense, and get to the real heart of her emotions. I’ve been diagnosed with cancer (though I was in my twenties), so of course I was tapping into that dark time in my life. But I also had to have the emotions be true for Ellie as a teenager, and I wanted to get them right. There was a lot of sob-writing as I put myself in her shoes.

What sort of projects do you have going on right now.  Any new books coming out?

I have another completed YA contemporary manuscript, called LOVE AND OTHER PUNCHLINES. It also features comedy, mostly standup. The story is told in dual-perspective from two clashing teen comediennes who are the only girls in a nationwide comedy contest. One needs the grand-prize to afford college, the other must win to support herself and her dream. Along the way the two young women learn there are other valuable prizes at stake—like self-discovery and sisterhood. It’s like PITCH PERFECT meets LAST COMIC STANDING.

It was great having you on the blog today!  We hope you’ll decide to stop by again someday, and we wish you much success!!

Thank you so much for your great questions and for your time!


[about-author author=”Sara Jade Alan”]


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1 Comment

  1. Lacey Waters

    I would never want to do improv lol I’m on the shy side

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