Welcome to the Investigating Julius Drake blog tour! I’m Daisy, the author, and I’ll be sharing excerpts from the book, as well as extra information about the characters, location and story. Up until recently, Seattle was my home town, and I’ve stolen plenty of locations and institutions as settings for Investigating Julius Drake. Together, we’ll take a tour through the twisty-turny, damp and caffeine-addled world that my protagonist, Henry Walker, finds himself in. Grab yourself a double, almond, split-shot, extra-foam latte, pull up a chair, and join us! And don’t forget to comment for a chance to win a $30 Starbucks gift card. Drink like a Seattleite and enjoy.
Writing Teens and Social Media
Sometimes I envy authors of historical fiction. Writing dialogue is easy when the only method of communication is face-to-face conversation. Although people in the past may have occasionally written letters, ink, quills and parchment wouldn’t have been so easy to come by that teenagers would be wasting them to pass a note that reads “LOL.”
Sadly, in 2016, the concept of dialogue is not so simple. Communication includes texts, tweets, updates, “stories,” posts, messaging and an ever changing array of social media platforms. Keeping up with them as a parent is maddening, but portraying it as an author is damn near impossible. Years ago, I got in the habit of representing text messages in italics, rather than quotes. But what of skype messages, Instagram updates and the rest? Sometimes it feels like there aren’t enough methods of punctuation to represent all the ways people communicate in the modern world. Authors could use a different font for Facebook updates, Pinterest posts and emails, but that would get confusing fast!
In writing my latest release, Investigating Julius Drake, I struggled with how to describe all the ways my students would have communicated with each other. The story involved a fake online persona, colloquially known as a “catfish.” But it’s hard to show all the ways a a fictional character can be created online.
When my kids were in grade school, they used to play an online game called Pixie Hollow. It was supported by Disney, I believe, and as a parent, you’d think nothing on Pixie Hollow could ever be a problem. Kids chose their avatar, and interacted with other children. They needed an adult to create an account… Innocent, right?
Well, not so much. While Pixie Hollow blocked kids from being able to say things like “date” and “kiss,” as well as the usual curse words and body parts, kid managed to create a secret language whereby they’d be able to communicate these things. Not the curse words. But there was a well-known code kids used on the site, and my kids totally made up online “relationships” with “boyfriends” on Pixie Hollow. In fact, in middle school, when my older child started playing truth or dare with girlfriends, one of the questions I overheard being asked was, “Have you ever kissed a boy…like, in real life. Not virtual or on Pixie Hollow.”
Apparently, Pixie Hollow was Tinder for eight-year-olds. (And in case you’re wondering, the girl’s answer to the kiss question was, “I’ve kissed my dog.”)
In the midst of the online world, where “blue” can mean “kiss,” where we have best friends we’ve never met and where avatars date other avatars, how is an author to find ways to show the all this online interaction? The only solution is to simplify. In Investigating Julius Drake, I did just that. My characters contact the catfish persona mainly through Instagram, though they also see her on Facebook. From there, my characters text.
The funny thing is, when I first wrote Julius Drake, Instagram wasn’t even popular yet. I believe that in my first draft, my characters used Twitter. Or maybe Friendster? Honestly, I don’t recall too well what was big before Instagram, but I do know that if I were to write Investigating Julius Drake now, I’d have my kids using SnapChat. I would have made that edit, too, except that if I’d updated the book every time a new social media platform blew up, Investigating Julius Drake would never have gone to market!
So what do you think, readers? What social media do you most like to use? If you were writing a book about your online life, would you use italics, quotation marks or something else to denote things you’d said on Facebook, in text message, or on YouTube?
Comment below for a chance to win a handy-dandy Starbucks gift card!
Title: Investigating Julius Drake by Daisy Harris
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Imprint: Triton Books
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, M/M, Romance, Mystery
Length: 258 pages/Word Count: 66,300
After arriving at Seattle’s prestigious Clinton Academy, fourteen-year-old Henry Walker realizes he won’t fit in. If he’s going to run with the rich and powerful, he’ll have to hide his modest background, his lack of interest in girls, and most importantly, his fascination with his handsome but troubled classmate Julius Drake.
When Julius draws Henry into the investigation of a classmate’s suicide attempt, Henry can’t resist the case—or Julius. Soon, Henry’s not only facing the truth about his feelings for Julius, but also risking his life to unmask a social media imposter. “The Other Woman” is manipulating his classmates, searching out their vulnerabilities, and driving them to desperate actions. Julius himself is at risk, what with his callous parents threatening to send him away, and his mental health taking a beating both at school and at home.
If Henry’s going to save the day and get the boy of his dreams, he’ll have to stop worrying what everyone thinks and stop pretending to be someone he’s not. Most of all, Henry will have to be honest about who he loves.
Add to Goodreads.
Purchase Link: Riptide Publishing
Born into the psychedelic wonder that was the seventies, Daisy Harris has had an interesting life so far. She’s been to Catholic school and Ramones concerts, danced to MC Hammer and Flo Rida, made the honor roll and Phi Beta Kappa, survived cholera, faced bed bugs, and she’s been a hair’s breadth from shipwreck twice. (Three times, if you count sea kayaks!)
Daisy has been a lifelong reader, devouring romance, young adult, urban fantasy, and nonfiction alike. In her professional life, she’s written medical copy and edited scientific papers. However, since 2012, she’s devoted her energy to writing gay romance full-time. That’s okay, because now on the weekends she reads medical studies for fun.
As far as Daisy’s concerned, the best things in life happen by accident. Though she’s gotten better at planning over the years, she still writes, lives, and plays by the seat of her pants. Her books are a happy mix of mysteries, romantic comedies, and coming-of-age stories, more often than not inspired by the great films of the 1980s.
Daisy lives in Seattle in a house full of dogs and children. When she’s not writing gay fiction, she can be found riding her exercise bike and testing the outer boundaries of her food processor’s potential. Every once in a while, she goes out to pay homage to the party gods of her youth—and maybe to find a little trouble.
To celebrate the release of Investigating Julius Drake, one lucky winner will receive a $30 Starbucks Gift Card! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 8, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info.