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BREAK THE FALL by Jennifer Iacopelli
March 24th, 2020 by Liza Wiemer

An Interview With Author, Jennifer Iacopelli

Buying links: IndieBound | Amazon | B & N | Audible |Book Depository

Book description from Goodreads:

Audrey Lee is going to the Olympics.

A year ago, she could barely do a push up as she recovered from a spine surgery, one that could have paralyzed her. And now? She’s made the United States’ gymnastics team with her best friend, Emma, just like they both dreamed about since they were kids. She’s on top of the world.

The pressure for perfection is higher than ever when horrifying news rips the team apart. Audrey is desperate to advocate for her teammate who has been hurt by the one person they trusted most–but not all the gymnasts are as supportive.

With the team on the verge of collapse, the one bright spot in training is Leo, her new coach’s ridiculously cute son. And while Audrey probably (okay, definitely) shouldn’t date him until after the games, would it really be the end of the world?

Balancing the tenuous relationship between her teammates with unparalleled expectations, Audrey doesn’t need any more distractions. No matter what it takes, she’s not going to let anyone bring them down. But with painful revelations, incredible odds, and the very real possibility of falling at every turn, will Audrey’s determination be enough?

Interview:

Question: Will you share a novel secret? Answer: Audrey, the main character in BREAK THE FALL, is actually the closest character I’ve ever written to myself. There are some concrete similarities: we’re both from Queens, New York, we’re both Yankees fans and we’d both die from embarrassment if we ran into Aaron Judge, the Yankees right fielder, looking like a shlub. But she’s also the first Ravenclaw main character I’ve ever written. I always sort my characters to help determine how they’d react in certain situations and Audrey is extremely cerebral. She takes things in and while she has a Gryffindor-esque dedication to doing the right thing (which we share) we tend to approach that right thing from a logical, thoughtful place rather than just rushing into danger. 

Question: What was the most challenging part about writing this book and what was the easiest? Answer: The most challenging part of the book was weighing the balance between creating a deep and realistic world of elite gymnastics with all the terminology and vernacular that comes with that world and the reality that most readers wouldn’t understand the difference between a Amanar or a Tsukahara. I tried to slowly build the gymnastics terminology as the story went along, putting in touchstones for a novice gymnastics fan that would help them identify between “hard” and “easy” things on the page without the aid of them being able to actually see any of it. 
The easiest part was deciding how often the man who abused one of the athletes was on the page and that was basically not at all. Readers can be assured that the story centers the survivors and their allies and the abuse itself is never on the page and the abuser has very limited page time.
Bonus Round: What do you prefer?
Fries, potato chips, popcorn, or onion rings?
POTATO CHIPS. I love potato chips so much a friend actually gave me a big family sized bag to me as a gag birthday present when I was 12.
Music or movies?
MOVIES. Or wait, can I cheat and say TV? I think TV series are the ideal medium for storytelling in general. It can play to nearly all the senses all at once with enough flexibility for long-term storytelling that can be limited or extended based upon the stories’ needs. 
Fast-food restaurant or cooking at home?
I don’t like cooking, but I prefer the food that I cook to fast food, so I suppose cooking at home.
Books: Memoir, YA, historical fiction, romance, fiction, sci-fi, MG, other?
Right now, in the midst of a global pandemic, I’ve been falling back to old favorites, mostly romance novels! 
High heels, flip-flops, boots, tennis shoes, or sandals?
FLIP-FLOPS, NOW AND FOREVER. 

About Jennifer:

Jennifer Iacopelli was born in New York and has no plans to leave, ever. Growing up, she read everything she could get her hands on, but her favorite authors were L.M. Montgomery and Frances Hodgson Burnett, both of whom wrote about kick-butt girls before it was cool for girls to be kick-butt. As a high school librarian, she frolics all day with her students, books and computers and writes at night while cheering on her beloved Yankees. Twitter and Instagram! To learn more, check out her website.


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