I’m so excited to be a part of the book tour for Lucky Girl by Jamie Pacton that is hosted by TBR and Beyond Tours. I was really excited to also be able to interview the author for this book!
Congratulations on the publication of Lucky Girl! How has the publication experience been for Lucky Girl compared to your previous book?
Thank you! Things have been going great so far. My debut, The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly, published last May, right as we were all adjusting to pandemic life. Although there was a lot of buzz and excitement for Kit, I had to cancel all my in-person events and it was a very strange debut experience. For Lucky Girl, however, I feel very lucky because we’re all better adjusted to virtual events (and I have some great ones coming up!) and everyone seems very excited about this book as well.
How would you describe Lucky Girl in one sentence?
Lucky Girl is a funny, poignant ya contemporary novel about winning big, dealing with loss, and figuring how to be enough for yourself and others.
Can you introduce us to the main character(s) of Lucky Girl?
Fortuna Jane Belleweather—Jane— is the main character of Lucky Girl. She’s a 17-year-old, bi, cis girl; an aspiring marine biologist; and, she lives in a small Wisconsin town with her hoarder mother. She’s smart, a touch cynical, and still trying to get over the death of her father five years ago and the breakup with her first love two months ago. Then, on top of all that, she wins 58 million dollars.
Another important character is Jane’s best friend is Brandon Kim, a Korean-American teenager who wants to be a journalist. He’s a great friend and Jane loves him dearly in the most platonic of ways.
Do you know from the beginning how your books will end or do you let your characters decide their journey?
I am rigorous plotter, so I do know generally how the books will end, but sometimes they take strange detours along the way. I draft quickly once I have an outline, and so many of my revisions involve going back and adding in fun setting and thematic details (which often surprise me) and deepening characters, a process which sometimes takes wild turns. For example, in Lucky Girl, Jane’s ex-boyfriend Holden was much less of a jerk in earlier drafts. Then, he became a bit of a cartoonish villain, and then, in this final version, as I dug more deeply into his motivations, he ended up the complex, slightly awful but vaguely relatable character he is now.
Was there anything that was cut from the book that you were sad to see go?
Nothing was really cut from this book, but lots was added to make it much stronger! Also, my wonderful editor let me keep so many things that I thought we might have to cut (including this weird small-town festival fight over a toilet seat wreath, which I was certain she was going to make me delete, but she just laughed and let it stand. Lol!).
Do you have a favorite scene, moment, or quote from the book?
Ahhh, I do have a few, but they might be spoilers, so I’ll keep this vague. I love the scenes where Jane talks to her dead dad via Facebook messages and letters (these make me cry). I also love when Jane is thrift shopping with her mom, and when she and Bran are living it up in Milwaukee.
My favorite scene, however, happens near the end, when Jane and her mom really stop and talk to each other. This is a beautiful moment where Jane finally gets to say so many things that have been haunting her, and the two of them finally see each other for the first time in a long time.
Is there any significance to the chosen lottery number or were they just random numbers?
Nope! They’re totally random.
Did you have to do any research for any aspect of the story? If so, what’s something interesting you learned but didn’t get to use?
Ooooh, I did lots of research about lotto winners who lost it all for this book. And wow, there are a lot of harrowing stories about this out there. I included most of this research in the book, and Jane keeps a notebook of “Lotto Winner Fails” that are all true stories.
What are three books you would recommend if someone enjoyed Lucky Girl?
If you like Lucky Girl, I would absolutely recommend my debut, The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly because it offers the same blend of humor, tackling big issues, family struggles, and a diverse supporting cast of wonderful friends + jousting and lots of jokes. Also, it’s got a sweet friends-to-lovers romance and once you read it, the Kit Easter egg in Lucky Girl will make more sense.
Also, I think Julie Murphy’s Dumplin is a great one for fans of Lucky Girl for its small town humor and a the examination of a complicated relationship between a mom and a daughter.
Lastly, one of my Lucky Girl comps (and one of my favorite YA books ever) is Julia Drake’s beautiful, haunting ya contemporary, The Last True Poets of the Sea. This is a great book about mental health, family, the ocean; and, it’s so smart, funny, and heart-wrenching all at once. I love it so much.
What’s next for you? Anything you can share?
I currently have four books on submission, but I can’t talk about anything specific yet. Hopefully, I’ll have some exciting news to share soon.
ABOUT THE BOOK
A hilarious and poignant reflection on what money can and cannot fix
58,643,129. That’s how many dollars seventeen-year-old Fortuna Jane Belleweather just won in the lotto jackpot. It’s also about how many reasons she has for not coming forward to claim her prize.
Problem #1: Jane is still a minor, and if anyone discovers she bought the ticket underage, she’ll either have to forfeit the ticket, or worse…
Problem #2: Let her hoarder mother cash it. The last thing Jane’s mom needs is millions of dollars to buy more junk. Then…
Problem #3: Jane’s best friend, aspiring journalist Brandon Kim, declares on the news that he’s going to find the lucky winner. It’s one thing to keep her secret from the town, it’s another thing entirely to lie to her best friend. Especially when…
Problem #4: Jane’s ex-boyfriend, Holden, is suddenly back in her life, and he has big ideas about what he’d do with the prize money.
As suspicion and jealousy turn neighbor against neighbor, and no good options for cashing the ticket come forward, Jane begins to wonder: Could this much money actually be a bad thing?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jamie Pacton is a Young Adult and Middle Grade author who grew up minutes away from the National Storytelling Center in the mountains of East Tennessee. She has a BA and MA in English Literature, and currently teaches English at the college level. While pursuing her dream of being an author, she worked as a waitress, pen salesperson, lab assistant, art museum guard, bookseller, pool attendant, nanny, and lots of other weird jobs in between. Her writing has appeared in national and local magazines, and she spent many years blogging for Parents.com. Currently, Jamie lives in Wisconsin with her family and a dog named Lego. The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly is her YA debut novel and her sophomore novel, Lucky Girl, is forthcoming in Spring 2021. She has also published a MG novel, Farfetched, under the pen name Finn Colazo.