Sixteen-year-old Jolene, named after the girl in the Dolly Parton song, is from a long line of lowlifes, but at least they’re musical lowlifes. Her mother is a tanning-salon manager who believes she can channel her karaoke habit into a professional singing career. Jolene’s dad, a failed bass player, has gone back to the family demolition business and lives by the company motto: “We do not build things; we only tear them down.” But Jolene and her big brother, Matt, are true musicians, writing songs together that make everything Jo hates about their lives matter less. When Matt up and leaves in the middle of the night, Jo loses her only friend, her support system and the one person who made her feel cool. As it becomes clear that Matt is never coming back, Jo must use music to navigate her loss.
About the Author
I grew up in the North End of Winnipeg in the 90s, trying my hardest to pretend the year was actually 1977 and the setting was the Lower East Side of New York City. (It wasn’t always as much of a stretch as you might think.) As a kid I was obsessed with books and too many bands to mention. I haven’t changed much—pursuit of those interests has pretty well shaped my life to date.
Books led me to study literature and writing at an array of universities, but mostly in Toronto at York and on Long Island at Stony Brook. Though I did stints on both coasts, Toronto became home base. Not long after moving there I set aside my fear of sucking and started to sing in bands, mostly of the grunge persuasion. In 2011, after my then-band broke up, I decided to leave Toronto for the wilds of Manitoba cottage country to re-focus on writing fiction for the summer.
It was there, in a cabin that would one day tip over with me in it, that I began to write something about the experience of losing music. That eventually became two things: my first novel, How Far We Go and How Fast, and an accompanying EP by the fictional band Proofs, which features the songs that Jolene plays in the book.
How Far We Go and How Fast is available from Orca Book Publishers and wherever fine books are sold.
Visit Nora’s website for more info about her.
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