Author Interview with Melissa Jensen (THE FINE ART OF TRUTH OR DARE)

A Backwards Story is happy to be a part of The {Teen} Book Scene's tour for THE FINE ART OF TRUTH OR DARE!  Check out the tour schedule to see the list of events.  Check back later this month for my review of this book, which I've been highly anticipating ever since hearing that it's ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS meets PRETTY IN PINK!

THE FINE ART OF TRUTH OR DARE is Melissa Jensen's second novel.  It's been getting a lot of buzz and will release officially on February 16, 2012.

Her debut novel is entitled FALLING IN LOVE WITH ENGLISH BOYS and is another contemporary YA romance.  

Check out her website and follow her on Twitter!

An interview with Melissa Jensen

THE FINE ART OF TRUTH OR DARE sounds like such a fun romance. What inspired you to write it?

I guess the best way to explain it is that ToD is kinda my Frankenstein. (Oh, that sounds appealing and romantic, right?). I had this idea about a scarred girl who repaired vintage clothing and avoided mirrors, and one about an arty girl who was obsessed with a famous French painter. Another about a boy who dreamed of writing/drawing manga. I wrote pieces of all three separately and they didn’t work. Until I realized that, with some changes, they were all part of the same story. It’s probably a good thing that I didn’t add the idea involving a lobster boat in Maine.

I love the title and the way there's a piece of art on the cover. How much of a role does art play in the novel?

Art plays a big part. Ella, the protagonist, is a talented and confident artist. In fact, that talent is one of the few things she’s confident about. It’s also what draws her to her two objects-of-desire: Edward Willing and Alex Bainbridge, both of whom have ties to art.

It sounds like Ella and Alex try to keep their relationship under wraps beneath the radar of everyone at school. Can you tell us more about why they're being so secretive?

How many teenagers do you know who are completely and totally honest with their best friends and the people they date? For a lot of us, part of being young is worrying desperately about what other people think or will think of you if they knew the whole truth. And part of that is frequently being misguided or flat-out wrong. I know that’s a seriously obtuse response to the question, but I don’t want to give too much away. Let’s just say that Alex, while a smart guy, sometimes just doesn’t get it, and Ella is not particularly trusting.

Describe the perfect writing day.

Perfect writing day: I’ve finished writing the book the day before and am Tweeting about really important topics, like cheese… But, seriously. I love being able to have the first hour or two of my workday evenly divided between (pleasant, not painful) exercise and (slothlike) Still Life with Coffee. Then I work for a few hours until I need either more coffee or food. If I’m lucky, I have a lunch date with a friend or my husband. Then, barring food comas or caffeine crazies, I work a few more hours. Close to deadline: add more hours and an IV coffee drip.

What other projects are your working on now? Will you return to the Willing School?

I just finished my first screenplay, a college music/love story written with a fab and crazily talented friend. I’m also trying to finish a YA love/ghost story set in Maine (see above: Lobster Boat) and working the bugs out of a light-fantasy middle reader book set in Regency England. I don’t know if I’ll ever come back to the Willing School as a primary setting, but I would absolutely love to write a book about Daniel Hobbes, Frankie’s brother. He’s more likely to break into the Willing School than attend classes there, but, oh, Daniel…

Melissa, thank you so much for stopping by and teasing us with tidbits about your new novel.  Is it next week yet?? *like a kid at a candy store*  It's always nice to see buzz around a local author, and I wish you all the best!

Bookworms, stop back at A Backwards Story later this month when I have time to read and review this book that I've been anticipating!!


  1. I love this post, Bonnie!
    The Fine Art of Truth or Dare sounds like a fantastic book and I'll definitely have to pick up a copy sometime soon!
    It's so true, teenagers worry about how they're perceived by others all the time - what a brilliant idea for a book!

    Thanks for the great interview, ladies!

  2. Oooh! That does sound like a good day for writing. :D And I love the cover. :D

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  4. Can't wait to buy the book and your review makes me wanting all the more. Thumbs up! :))
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