Hey everyone! It’s time to kick off another exciting tour. TBR and Beyond Tours is so excited to be hosting the book tour for this cute LGBTQ+ Contemporary, The Year Shakespeare Ruined My Life by Dani Jansen. Make sure to check out the other blogs on the tour schedule (listed below)!
-INTERVIEW WITH Dani Jensen-
Where did you get your inspiration for The Year Shakespeare Ruined My Life?
I’m a lifelong theatre geek. I started acting in grade five and moved to backstage work by the time I was in grade eleven. Now I’m a drama teacher and I know all the ways school plays can go wrong. I also know what a powerful force theatre can be, especially for young people. I see the bonds casts and crews create. I also see the anxiety some of my students, especially the perfectionists, are experiencing in high school. Things are very competitive these days and teens are looking for an edge. That was a big part of choosing who my main character would become. Then I had the opportunity to help found my school’s Gay-Straight Alliance. I heard such thoughtful conversations about coming out and how complex it can be, even for people who know their community will accept them. That’s when I really felt like I was getting to know Alison.
Can you share with us something about the book that isn’t in the blurb?
There’s a strip scene.
If you had to describe your main character Alison in three words, what would those three words be?
Driven, sensitive, loyal
What comes first, the plot or characters?
For me, it’s mostly the characters. I can’t imagine the story unless I can first understand the people who are shaping the events. I write a lot of backstories for characters that don’t even make it into the book. I imagine it would be different if I was working on a sweeping fantasy or a dystopia, where world-building is so important. But for contemporary YA, I think characters are key.
I know you live in Montreal, did the city inspire your writing?
Not really. Alison is actually a suburban kid. Her school is a bit more like the school where I did my student teaching than the school where I teach in Montreal. I’d love to write a story set in Montreal some day, though! Young people in Montreal are much more worldly than I was as a kid.
What’s your favourite Shakespeare play?
Othello. I love a good villain and Iago is a classic. You can’t pin down his motivations — even his own explanations keep shifting.
As a fellow Québecois, I am interested in the publishing process in Canada. Can you tell us a little bit about it?
Canadian authors are both lucky and unlucky. We’re lucky that we can submit to publishers without first having to land an agent. The industry is small enough to allow for that. We’re unlucky that we’re competing with American titles that get more publicity. I suspect it’s like that with most of the arts. Our art scenes are more open because they’re less money-driven, but then they have less money to compete with American cultural exports. It’s incredibly important for us to support local bookstores because that’s a large part of what keeps Canadian publishing alive.
Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with your readers about?
I’m working on a middle grade novel about two kids who team up to save a neglected dog in their neighbourhood. I’m interested in how people who feel like outsiders can sometimes have the greatest empathy for others.
*This interview was done by Mireille Chartier from the TBR and Beyond Tours team. Mir runs the blog site Fangirl Pixie Blog
-ABOUT THE BOOK –
Alison Green, desperate valedictorian-wannabe, agrees to produce her school’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. That’s her first big mistake. The second is accidentally saying Yes to a date with her oldest friend, Jack, even though she’s crushing on Charlotte. Alison manages to stay positive, even when her best friend starts referring to the play as “Ye Olde Shakespearean Disaster.” Alison must cope with the misadventures that befall the play if she’s going to survive the year. She’ll also have to grapple with what it means to be “out” and what she might be willing to give up for love.
-BOOK TOUR DATES-
Unconventional Quirky Bibliophile (Promo Post)
Pagcturncr (Promo Post)
The Book Dutchesses (Promo Post)
Colleen is Booked (Promo Post)
Between Folded Pages (Promo Post)
Fangirl Pixie Blog (Promo Post)
Shelf Blame (Review)
Sophie’s Reading Corner (Promo Post)
Mel And Her Books (Promo Post)
Rajiv’s Reviews (Promo Post)
Wonder Struck (Promo Post)
Yna the Mood Reader (Promo Post)
And On She Reads (Promo Post)
-ABOUT THE AUTHOR-
Dani Jansen is a teacher and writer who lives in Montreal. She should probably be embarrassed to admit that she has performed as part of her school’s Glee Club for eight years. She should probably also be ashamed to tell people that she named her cats after punctuation symbols (Ampersand and Em-Dash, in case you’re curious).
Prize: Two Finished copies of The Year Shakespeare Ruined My Life (US/Canada Only)
Starts: September 7th, 2020
Ends: September 15th, 2020
If you are interested in signing up with us for future book blog tours, be sure to check out TBR and Beyond Tours.