~A lot can change in the space between devising a plan and carrying it out. That space is called the INTERIM
High school seniors Jeremy Stahl and Regan Walters aren’t friends. Not even close. He’s a picked-on, picked-apart loser outcast. She’s a cool kid running with the popular crowd. It’s unlikely they’d ever speak to one another. Too bad he’s madly in love with her. But what does it matter, anyway? He’s got no time for love. Only revenge.
Meticulously detailed in the pages of his battered red notebook is his master plan: April 14, 9:30 A.M., two guns, eighty rounds of ammo, backup knives, eleven victims. He’s finally ready to answer every single taunt, jeer, and flying fist—unwarranted abuse that’s spanned six years of his lonely life. He’s justified. He’s ready. But he never readied himself for her.
Regan finds his journal. She reads it, and when he discovers her intrusion, he has to switch tactics. She’s a liability now.
Better fix that.
(WARNING: This is a New Adult standalone that contains graphic language and violence, including gun violence. If school shootings are an especially sensitive subject for you, then I urge you to refrain from reading this book.)
Genre: YA/NA Crossover Suspense/Psychological Thriller
INTERIM was one of those books, you know the ones, those books that make you take a step back and question something you’d never considered. It makes you wonder if there was something that you could have done to change the course of someone else’s life. Or if perhaps you have done something that changed someone’s life. If you did, was it for better or for worse?
Jeremy’s story is beautiful and tragic and moving and wonderful. It was a story that I didn’t know that I needed to read until I read it. I went into INTERIM knowing that it was different than anything that I had read before, and probably anything I’ll read after. And I am better for having read it. It wasn’t a storyline I’d ever encountered; it was completely original. It was a story that needed to be told, it was a story that has the power to make a difference in how we look at not only the perpetrators of seemingly senseless acts, but those against whom the acts were committed.
I was completely blown away by how much I could relate to almost every character in the book. There was something in each personality that was a part of the whole of me. No matter how good or how bad the person, their thoughts, and motivations always remained completely flawed and human. I appreciate that in a book, as so often characters seem to do things that are completely outside of the realm of normal human behavior.
It is obvious S. Walden cares more about the craft than making a list, she is not a flash-in-the-pan author. She doesn’t write what she thinks someone will like, she writes stories that are new and fresh and more. More than you could ever expect, more than you thought you needed. As you read any of her books you can feel the love that she has for the words, for the way they are molded into a sentence, and for the way that each word and sentence is carefully considered before it is included in her finished work. And I absolutely love all of her books. I love that they’re genreless. They are deep and meaningful and unapologetic. And beautiful. No matter what the subject matter is, she manages to make it into a beautifully crafted story, one that completely captivates me.
Ms. Walden, thank you for entrusting me with Jeremy’s story. It was beautiful. As always you have exceeded my very high expectations. It was so much more than I could have hoped for, more than I could have ever thought to ask for.
Not many authors will discourage you from reading their work. After all, the goal of our stories is to grow our readership, not diminish it. I’m well aware of that, but when I first became inspired with Jeremy’s story, I knew I would have to go about promoting it in an entirely different way—something far removed from my past marketing campaigns. I knew I would have to hide the book, stamp disclaimers all over it, plant seeds of doubt in your minds, decline requests for advanced reviews—in essence, all the things an author SHOULD NOT do when marketing her book. That’s why it took me so long to write the damn thing—over a year of worrying, second-guessing, flip-flopping, arguing. Jeremy sat waiting patiently, and I stared back at him wondering just how much he would destroy my career.
Then I remembered that his story is exactly the type of controversial social issue I enjoy tackling. I knew I had to write it because I could. I could be sensitive to the subject matter without being PC. I could leave my political and moral opinions out of it. I could make it a human story, not a gun story. I could do all these things if I worked very hard—if I was diligent and faithful to my characters and their experiences. Once I realized these things, I stopped fretting and just started writing, careful to keep all the details private and sacred. That’s how writing should be: private and sacred.
Now Jeremy’s story is no longer private, but I hope you will find it sacred. I hope you will throw off your preconceptions and bury your social and political views, your moral judgments. It’s too easy to go into a story like this already angry, especially if you or someone you love has experienced gun violence. I urge you to think long and hard before starting Interim if you are especially sensitive to the topic of school shootings. There are extremely violent, descriptive scenes, and I do not wish for my book to be a trigger for you.
I am well aware of the social debate a book like this may provoke. I did not write it for debate. I did not write it to make a statement about guns, gun control, gun access, Constitutional rights, etc. I am not interested in comparing my story to the horrific school shootings that have taken place in the United States. I have no motive other than to tell a story about an abused boy who felt he deserved justice. What you take away from the novel is entirely up to you.
Who was he? What was his purpose? He knew it once. Once, a long time ago, he decided to be a hero. He decided to avenge himself and all the other kids who were helpless against abuse. Once, a long time ago, he learned the difference between justice and mercy. He learned when justice was required. He learned when mercy was allowed. Once, a long time ago, he faced himself in the mirror and saw a stranger—a better boy than he could ever be. A boy with a mission. A boy with convictions. And he reached out to take hold of that boy, through the looking-glass, falling into a wonderland where righteousness ruled supreme and evil was destroyed with the pop pop! of a gun. The world made sense to him. Then.
S. Walden used to teach English before making the best decision of her life by becoming a full-time writer. She lives in Georgia with her very supportive husband who prefers physics textbooks over fiction and has a difficult time understanding why her characters must
have personality flaws. She is wary of small children, so she has a Westie instead. She is the USA Today
bestselling author of Going Under
. When she’s not writing, she’s thinking about it.
She loves her fans and loves to hear from them. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
and follow her twitter feed at @swaldenauthor.