I’m so thrilled to be part of the launch celebrations for A. L .Gaylin’s If I Die Tonight. Alison has very kindly told me a bit more about two of her characters from If I Die Tonight, Jackie and Wade, and I’m delighted to be able to share that with you on Linda’s Book Bag today.
If I Die Tonight is published by Penguin on 24th August 2017 and is available for pre-order here.
If I Die Tonight
BY THE TIME YOU READ THIS, I’LL BE DEAD…
There was a time when Jackie Reed knew her sons better than anyone. She used to be able to tell what they were thinking, feeling, if they were lying…
But it’s as though every day, every minute event, she knows them a little less. Her boys aren’t boys anymore, they’re becoming men – men she’s not sure she recognises, men she’s not sure she can trust.
So when one of her son’s classmates is killed in suspicious circumstances, people start asking questions. Was it really a hit and run? A car-jacking gone wrong? Or something much more sinister? Now Jackie must separate the truth from the lies. How did that boy end up on the road? And where was her son that night?
Wade and Jackie
A Guest Post by A.L Gaylin
Thank you very much to Linda for hosting today’s stop on my blog tour with If I Die Tonight – I am really pleased to be here.
It is Wade’s voice we hear first in If I Die Tonight – in the form of a suicide note posted to Facebook. Yet despite that deeply personal introduction, the 17-year-old high school outcast is the character we know the least about for most of the book. With his dyed black hair, dark wardrobe and sullen disposition, Wade is an anomaly in bright, preppy Havenkill. But that isn’t the only reason why so many in town are suspicious of him. While he largely keeps to himself, he was hurt emotionally by his parents’ divorce, and more than once that’s manifested itself in hostile behaviour, which we learn about as the book progresses. As we find out, a disturbing incident involving Wade’s estranged father and his new family two years earlier almost resulted in the teenager’s arrest, and troubles his mother Jackie to this day. So, when Wade’s classmate Liam Miller falls victim to a hit-and-run, it’s not surprising that this troubled young artist is blamed – especially after it’s revealed that the assailant fit Wade’s description. An angry outburst on Instagram – in which Wade lashes out at both Liam and his grieving friends — only serves to incriminate him more.
But there is much more to Wade than just sullenness and anger. A talented artist who collects found objects, he’s sensitive and loyal to those he loves, including his mother and brother. He’s also keeping more than one secret that he’s willing to guard with his life. Did he really kill Liam Miller? While he insists he did not, Wade’s refusal to tell anyone where he was the night of the hit-and-run casts even more doubt on this enigmatic young man… and may actually point to his guilt.
If I Die Tonight is a story told through four separate points of view, and it was that of Wade’s mother, Jackie, that was most difficult — and scary — to write. I’d like to tell you a bit about her.
Jackie Reed is a middle-aged woman who grew up in Havenkill, Jackie once dreamed of being a novelist, and still keeps a half-finished manuscript stashed in her desk. When she was young and adventurous, she and her then-boyfriend Bill Reed drove across country to California – she with her manuscript, he with his screenplay — in the hopes of fulfilling their dreams and making it big in Hollywood. Those dreams ended when Jackie got pregnant with her first son, Wade. The couple married and returned to Havenkill, where Bill finished law school and became an attorney and Jackie eventually found work as a realtor before giving birth to their second son, Connor.
They’ve since divorced, with Bill leaving Jackie for the young office manager at his firm when Connor was starting preschool and Wade in elementary school. Raising the two boys on her own, Jackie is finding their teenage years particularly difficult, and feels as though she knows them less and less with each passing day. That’s particularly true of Wade, about whom she’s genuinely worried. When it’s revealed that a mysterious carjacker has run down local high school football star Liam Miller, sensitive Jackie can’t help but empathize with his parents. But her sympathy turns to dread when she realizes that mysterious Wade was missing that night, his whereabouts unaccounted for.
Honesty is a trait that Jackie values more than any other. So it’s particularly frustrating to her that so many people have lied to her in her life – from Bill to her confounding quiet sons. As the book progresses, Jackie uncovers more and more truths that have been kept from her, and in the process, grows more and more resolute in her desire to save Wade and prove him innocent – for his sake as well as her own.
Jackie is one of my favourite characters I hope you enjoy reading her story.
(Oh, I’m sure we will Alison! Thank you so much for telling ua about your characters.)
About A L Gaylin
Alison Gaylin’s debut book Hide Your Eyes, was nominated for an Edgar award in the best first novel category. Her critically acclaimed suspense novels have been published in such countries as the U.K., France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Japan.
She has been nominated for the ITW Thriller, Anthony and RT awards and won the Shamus Award for And She Was, the first book in the Brenna Spector series. Her books have been on the bestseller lists in the US and Germany.