(Main Character of NO PLACE TO FALL by Jaye Robin Brown)
What is the worst thing you’ve ever done.
Ugh, do I really have to talk about that? Because, apparently this chick, Jaye Robin Brown, wrote a book about me and it’s all revealed there. But I can tell you, it was stupid and I totally knew better. But I did it anyway because I was trying to help out a friend. In hindsight, I should have found a better way.
The other worst thing I did, kind of turned out to be the best thing. ‘Nuff said, right?
The best thing I ever did (besides that worst/best thing mentioned above) was become friends with Devon McKinney. For a while I couldn’t figure out why this cute city guy would be friends with plain old backwoods me, but something about us clicks. As one of the only known-to-himself gay teenagers in our tiny town, and me being this girl with a screw-up for a big sister, and our shared love of music and shopping, somehow it worked. We’ve been inseparable for three years and he’s the best friend I could ever have. Plus, his older brother, Will, is totally straight and totally hot and totally into music. So there are perks to hanging out at Devon’s house on a Friday night. Eye candy, you know?
What is something you regret?
I regret EVER thinking my brother-in-law, Sammy Crowder, was cool. I mean, when I was thirteen and my sister started dating him and he was all rock-n-roll electric guitar awesome, yeah, I was smitten. But now that I know him, really know him, I realize what a complete and total douchebag he is.
When did you first realize how important singing was to you?
Singing is this thing that’s lived inside of me my whole life. I love singing in church, singing along with the radio in my room, even singing to the cows my daddy raises for fun and profit. But it wasn’t till I started hanging out at the hiker barn with Devon that I realized my voice might be something other people admired. And meeting all those folks from everywhere, combined with my sister, Whitney’s, downward spiral, convinced me that getting out of Sevenmile, NC might be a real good plan. If my voice is as good as other people say, it might be the thing that will set me free.
Would you ever give up singing for someone?
The only thing that would make me stop singing is if I lost my vocal chords or something. There might be a time I’d have to say no to a gig, like if my nephew, Coby, had something important going on, or my mama needed me for something. But that’s just timing. My voice, it will always be my special place.
What is something you never thought you’d be able to do? Or something you want, but seems out of reach?
I never ever thought I’d be able to stand up in front of my church and sing a solo. Or audition in front of strangers. Or tell my mama the whole truth of what I did. But strength has a way of finding you when you need it the most.
If you could change something about your life, what would it be?
I wish my daddy was faithful. It hurts to watch someone you love hurt someone else you love. And it’s hard to be on the emotional roller coaster. One minute I love him so much I forget about how he is. Then things happen, like me seeing that lady in his truck or him parked behind his sugar shack and I hate him all over again. And he doesn’t even realize the kind of message it sends to me and Whitney. Because him chasing after women who are more made-up, slimmer, conventionally attractive than my mama, tells us that’s where our worth is. And sometimes I start to believe it, and those are the times I end up hooking up with some hiker I hardly know, or wearing clothes I don’t even think are comfortable just because I think it’s what a man likes. Thank goodness for Devon and my other friend, C.A., they keep me real and remind me I’m more than my daddy’s daughter.
The term good girl is sometimes used as a slur, but what does it mean to you?
Is it? Around here, it’s praise in the highest honor. A good girl in the Appalachia’s means you keep your nose clean, you listen to your folks, and you care about others. People really put stock in your character in a small town. I’m probably not really a good girl. I’ve smoked a little, had a beer or two, hooked up with some older guys, and of course there was that afternoon up on the bald with Will. But I guess me being a good girl, means that I really care about the people I love. If you’re in my inner circle, I will be true to you no matter what. If you need something, I’m going to try and make it happen. And I take my responsibilities seriously.
About No Place to Fall
Amber Vaughn is a good girl. She sings solos at church, babysits her nephew after school, and spends every Friday night hanging out at her best friend Devon’s house. It’s only when Amber goes exploring in the woods near her home, singing camp songs with the hikers she meets on the Appalachian Trail, that she feels free—and when the bigger world feels just a little bit more in reach.
When Amber learns about an audition at the North Carolina School of the Arts, she decides that her dream—to sing on bigger stages—could also be her ticket to a new life. Devon’s older (and unavailable) brother, Will, helps Amber prepare for her one chance to try out for the hypercompetitive arts school. But the more time Will and Amber spend together, the more complicated their relationship becomes . . . and Amber starts to wonder if she’s such a good girl, after all.
Then, in an afternoon, the bottom drops out of her family’s world—and Amber is faced with an impossible choice between her promise as an artist and the people she loves. Amber always thought she knew what a good girl would do. But between “right” and “wrong,” there’s a whole world of possibilities.
About Jaye Robin Brown
Jaye Robin Brown, or Jro to her friends, lives and writes in the mountains north of Asheville, North Carolina. She is fond of horses, dogs, the absurd and the ironic. When not writing, you can find her in the art room of the high school where she teaches.
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