Updated: Jun 19, 2020
Sword & Silk Books is excited to welcome Haleigh Wenger
Her novel, A Feeling Like Home, is a YA Contemporary Romance comparable to Sick Kids in Love, Save the Date, and On the Fence.
Because of her destructive behavior, sixteen-year-old Paige is sent away to live with her sister for the summer while secretly struggling with a chronic illness.
Sixteen-year-old Paige Williams can’t stop self-sabotaging. Not when her dad gets sick, not when her relationship implodes, not even when her parents send her to another-freaking-state for the summer to live with her sister. Paige just wants to have fun, spray paint a few walls, and block out everything stressful, including her growing concern that she might be sick as well. To make things worse, her parents threaten her with boarding school in the fall if she can’t prove she’s changed her bad habits.Paige’s parents sign her up for a rebuilding project in Texas where her sister lives. Meanwhile, Paige reluctantly befriends her sister’s straight-laced teenage neighbor, Joey, who is a frequent guest. He’s so different from her, but Paige realizes that may not be a bad thing, especially since being around Joey curbs her urge to vandalize and ignore the rules. He even makes her forget about the debilitating stomach cramps she struggles to hide. Just as Paige begins to feel settled in Texas, her dad’s worsening Crohn’s disease brings her home to Seattle. When her own health fails her, she has the choice of staying at home and receiving care. Or, she could go back to Texas and prove for once and for all that she’s more than her mistakes and more than a disease. Torn between two worlds and two versions of herself, Paige must decide where, and with whom, she truly feels at home.
Haleigh Wenger is a Young Adult author and avid romance reader. She is the author of Young Adult contemporary novel The Art of Falling in Love, published with Literary Crush Publishing in August 2019. She is a writer for the romance serial app Radish Fiction. She graduated with a B.A. in Communications from Brigham Young University in 2009. She is a lifelong fan of Young Adult novels, starting with Sarah Dessen and Judy Blume and now spanning a wide variety of authors such as Sandhya Menon, Morgan Matson, and Jenn Bennett. When not writing or reading, Haleigh is chasing her four young kids or baking cookies.
An Introductory Interview with Haleigh
Tell us a bit about yourself!
I am a stay-at-home mom to four little boys. I love to read, write, and bake. My secret dream is to open a combination bookstore and bakery where I make yummy treats and force people to read my favorite books. I especially love Young Adult and romance novels. My first published novel, The Art of Falling in Love released in August of 2019. I am a freelance writer for Radish Fiction.
Where did the inspiration for your book come from?
The inspiration for A Feeling Like Home comes from a few places. My main character Paige is worried that she might have Crohn's disease like her dad. I was diagnosed with Crohn's when I was 15 and spent the rest of high school in and out of the hospital. I would have loved to read a book about a chronically ill teen back then and I've known ever since that I'd love to incorporate that part of my life into my writing. A Feeling Like Home is also about big families and finding your place in and out of your family sphere. This is something I've always been interested in as the oldest of four kids and watching other bigger families I knew.
What is your writing process? Plotter or Panster? Are you a morning or evening writer? What is your tried and true method for getting words on the page?
My writing process is probably as messy as it comes. I write a quick, short first draft first so that I can spit the story out while it's still fresh in my mind. From there I work backward and try to find the heart of the story I want to tell. I do a lot of rewriting but as long as I keep going it usually works out in the end. I find that the evening is when I can focus the best. (Maybe because that's the only time my house is quiet)
Authors often impart pieces of themselves into their stories. Which character best reflects you? Do you share any personality traits with your protagonist?
I think I put a lot of myself into Ally, Paige's older sister. I'm the oldest of four kids with a little sister who is ten years younger than me. I borrowed a lot of that dynamic for Ally and Paige's interactions. Paige and I are alike in more subtle ways like her anxiety about her dad's illness and her tendency to try to ignore things that worry her.
What drew you to the YA genre as an author?
I started reading Sarah Dessen and Judy Blume when I was around 10 or 11. I fell in love with their characters' honesty and reflection of real, big feelings that I was still trying to come to terms with myself. I've stayed all these years because I find that no matter how old I get I'm still learning about myself and my place in the world.
If you could give your teenage self one piece of advice what would it be?
Be more confident. I was really cautious and unsure about myself, and I think I could have had a lot more fun if I'd believed in myself more.