Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary Realistic Fiction
Release Date: March 18, 2014
Growing up in privileged, Manhattan social circles, Caggie’s life should be perfect, and it almost was until the day that her younger sister drowned when Caggie was supposed to be watching her. Stricken by grief, Caggie pulls away from her friends and family, only to have everyone misinterpret a crucial moment when she supposedly saves a fellow classmate from suicide.
Now she’s famous for something she didn’t do and everyone lauds her as a hero. But inside she still blames herself for the death of her sister and continues to pull away from everything in her life, best friend and perfect boyfriend included. Then Caggie meets Astor, the new boy at school, about whom rumours are swirling and known facts are few. In Astor she finds someone who just might understand her pain, because he has an inner pain of his own.
But the more Caggie pulls away from her former life to be with Astor, the more she realises that his pain might be darker, and deeper, than anything she’s ever felt. His pain might be enough to end his life…and Caggie’s as well.
Guest Interviewer: Mandy Teccia
We love the tagline on your blog, "The truth is I never know when an idea will pop into my head. Welcome to my life as a novelist." Tell us about where/when/how the idea for "The Edge of Falling" came to you.
Thanks! And it's true! EDGE came into my head one fall afternoon. I had just come from a meeting with my agent where she basically told me to take 6 months and write another book (no problem :) I had just finished FAMOUS IN LOVE (a novel I have that's coming out in Oct) and I remember thinking-- ANOTHER one? What will I write? And then Caggie just fell into my head. I was walking home, through the streets of New York, and it just hit me-- I want to tell her story. I want to set a book in Manhattan, and I want it to have something to do with "The Catcher in the Rye." The story just started to take hold from there.
One of our favorite things about your books is how the setting feels so important. The beaches and cliffs in When You Were Mine and New York City in The Edge of Falling each felt almost like characters themselves. How do you decide where to set your stories and how much does the setting itself matter to you?
That's a really lovely compliment because setting is so important to me. If I don't know exactly how a place tastes, smells, feels, I can't set a book there. I've visited Manhattan all my life, and I've lived here for the last seven years, but it was only a little bit ago that I felt ready to set a novel here. This book, in many ways, is my love letter to New York. I love this city so much, but it's tough. It will kick you down and force you to keep reminding it, yourself, why you're meant to be here-- why you can cut it. Caggie is a survivor. Throughout the novel she's really coming to terms with her own heroism. What better place to become a hero than NYC?
One of the reasons we love the Young Adult genre so much is because we've all been there, even if we're not dealing with something quite as heavy as what Caggie is carrying in The Edge of Falling. What makes the genre so appealing for you as a writer?
My writing background is in short stories. I came out of an adult fiction program with a collection that I hoped to sell. All of my first pub credits were in literary journals. I was so used to the short form, and very comfortable there. But I had an idea for a novel and I knew the protagonist would be young, and bam-- YA just grabbed me. I feel so free in this space, so at home to really express my voice. YA is also about hope and redemption and finding beauty and truth in darkness. I love telling stories that tend towards the light. I try to live my life that way.
You're fairly active on social media. What's it like to be able to interact with your readers and fans on a daily basis? Do you think it shapes your writing in any way?
It is THE BEST. I love the writing but interacting with readers is by far my favorite part of the job-- you guys are so rad. To be able to keep up these relationships is so dear to me. Do I think it shapes my writing? That's a good question. I think writing at its best is a dialogue. I certainly write to be read. But I'm not sure I write for any particular reader. I write for everyone-- and myself most of all.
We loved the series you did on your blog about your writing process from idea to publishing. It was insightful, especially the editing process, which most of us know little about since we've never published a book. But the part we were most curious about was how you "wrote your way in for 30 pages.” Is it simply free writing or do you start at the beginning of the book?
Thanks! There is lots of fun stuff at http://rebeccaserle.tumblr.com/ so you should keep checking back. I try and be really transparent with my readers. I feel I owe them honesty above all else, and I think the reason we have so much fun talking is that they know what they'll get that from me. "Writing my way in" is both free-writing AND the beginning. I'm a pretty linear thinker so I always start at the beginning. I write for thirty pages, just free-style. It could turn out that those thirty pages end up somewhere in the middle, or they're tweaked into the beginning, or they end up in the trash, but yes-- I start at the start line. It's just the way I know how.
A big thanks to Rebecca for stopping by and answer our questions! Check her out on her social media sites below!
Rebecca Serle is the author of When You Were Mine and is an obsessive lover of all things pop culture. She blogs about The Vampire Diaries for New York magazine’s Vulture and can be found on Twitter: @RebeccaASerle. She, like Caggie, lives in Manhattan—just far from the Upper East Side.