Debut '19 Interview: Erin Jones & Tinfoil Crowns

In 2019 our goal is to work with as many debut authors as possible and spread the word about their debut novels. Follow us this year as we pick the mind of the 2019 debuts and chat with them. Also stay tuned for news of giveaways, twitter chats and more! 

Today on the blog Erin Jones, the author of TINFOIL CROWNS has stopped by to talk about her debut novel. We are super excited for TINFOIL CROWNS and we loved reading Erin's answers to out questions! 

About Erin!
Erin Jones received her MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College where she is now affiliated faculty. She is the former head of marketing at Ploughshares and a regular contributor to the Ploughshares Blog. In September 2018, she became Editor-in-chief of The Platform Review. Her work has been published in The James Franco Review, Rock & Sling, and other publications. She was a 2017 finalist for the Boston Public Library Writer-in-Residence fellowship and calls Boston home. Tinfoil Crowns is her first novel.

Keep up with Erin: Twitter


The Book Bratz: How does it feel that TINFOIL CROWNS is debuting this year?
Erin: I have so many feelings about my book debuting so soon! To be perfectly honest, it’s still kind of surreal. I’ve had the idea for the novel in my mind since 2015, so to have a physical book coming out in the world is wild to think about. I’m excited and terrified all at the same time, but overwhelmingly I have a huge feeling of gratitude. Throughout this experience I’ve received so much positive support from my family, friends, colleagues, authors, former teachers, and my publisher; even people I haven’t spoken to in years have reached out to congratulate me. Having such a strong support system has helped so much when the whole process starts to feel a bit hard to handle. I consider myself very lucky.

The Book Bratz: In the length of a tweet (280 characters!) can you give us an overall summary of TINFOIL CROWNS?
Erin: Fit, a budding YouTube star, shares everything with her fans and they love her for it. But what her fans don’t know is that when Fit was three, her mother, suffering from postpartum psychosis, tried to kill her. When her mother re-enters her life, Fit must choose: family or fame?

The Book Bratz: Where did your inspiration for TINFOIL CROWNS come from?
Erin: The inspiration came from a variety of ideas. I just had this random thought one day of a mother trying to harm her children because she was suffering from postpartum psychosis. And I started to think about what a mother/daughter relationship would look like when the mother re-entered the child’s life after many years had passed. What would that road to recovery be like? I was also incredibly inspired by the internet. I made Fit a YouTuber because I find YouTube so fascinating. YouTube stars are a different brand of celebrity where there’s not much space between their real life and their audience. And fandoms are strong and fierce and loyal (and sometimes very mean). I was really about to draw on this “living your life online” aspect to create tension between the characters.

The Book Bratz: Is there anything from your personal life that you used as inspiration in TINFOIL CROWNS?
Erin: The setting is the only thing that I took from my personal life. I grew up in a small town that was ten minutes away from two major casinos. When I went to college about an hour away and people asked “Where are you from?” my answer was always “Do you know where the casinos are?” I find the dynamic of my hometown so interesting: it’s got a small town vibe yet it is in such close proximity to these two large institutions that people travel from all over the area to come to. I fictionalized the actual casino in the book, but I definitely drew on the fact that if my friends and I were bored we would just go walk around the casino. That’s not an experience that most people can relate to.

The Book Bratz: Can you share a secret about TINFOIL CROWNS that not many people know yet?
Erin: One thing that people are often surprised by is that part of the story is told from the perspective of Fit’s mother (River). As I was writing the story, I never wanted River to be a villain. Yes, she tried to harm her children, but there was an underlying, unaddressed mental illness at the root of her actions. I never wanted the reader to hate River. I felt sorry for her. I felt compassion for her. And the only way that I was truly able to get that compassion across was to tell part of the story from her perspective.

I was a bit nervous submitting it as Young Adult since about a quarter of the book is told from an adult perspective, but I was so happy when my editor at Flux Books, Mari Kesserling, saw how much depth and dimension those chapters added to the story.

The Book Bratz: If you had to create Twitter or Instagram handles for your characters, what would they be?
Erin: This is such a great question! And something I actually put a lot of thought into while writing seeing as Fit’s social media presence is a big part of the book. Fit’s handle across all platforms is @Fitted_Sheet. It’s her YouTube name and a nickname she got from an ex-boyfriend. (The full story behind the name is in Chapter 2!) Fit’s little brother is an artist and likes to post his art on social media so I believe his handles would be something like @FrankieCreates or @ArtByFrankie.  One aspect of social media that I learned about after I wrote the book are “finstas.” They’re private instagram accounts that only a small number of your close friends are allowed to follow. The pictures aren’t filtered or edited or curated. Rather, they’re sometimes unflattering and the captions are really long and resemble a journal entry. And the handle is generally something wild or outlandish. So I like to think that Fit would have one and the name would be @FranticMESS or @bbsotired or something like that.

The Book Bratz: Do you have any ideas you plan to visit after the TINFOIL CROWNS?
Erin: Right now I’m working on a project that’s completely different from TINFOIL CROWNS. It’s a collection of linked short stories that have a climate change/speculative twist to them. I’ve been working on it for about six months now. So even though it’s still very new, I’ve been having so much fun writing!

Title: Tinfoil Crowns
Author: Erin Jones
Genre: Contemporary
Publisher: Flux
Publication Date: May 7th, 2019
Summary:  Seventeen-year-old internet video star Fit is on a mission to become famous at all costs. She shares her life with her fans through countless videos (always sporting some elaborate tinfoil accessory), and they love her for it. If she goes viral, maybe she can get out of her small casino town and the cramped apartment she shares with her brother and grandpa. But there's one thing Fit's fans don't know about her: when Fit was three-years-old, her mother, suffering from postpartum psychosis, tried to kill her.  Now Fit's mother, River, has been released from prison. Fit is outraged that River is moving in with the family, and it's not long before Fit's video followers realize something's up and uncover her tragic past. But Fit soon realizes that the only thing her audience loves more than tragedy is a heartwarming tale of a family reunion. Is faking a relationship with River the key to all Fit's dreams coming true?
Thank you so much Erin for stopping by to answer some of our questions. We are so excited TINFOIL CROWNS and can't wait for it to be out in the world! 

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