Cheesus Was Hereby J.C. Davis
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Release Date: April 11th, 2017
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Contemporary, Young Adult, Humor, Fiction
Sixteen-year-old Delaney Delgado knows miracles aren’t real—if they were, her kid sister wouldn’t be dead. So when the image of baby Jesus appears on a Babybel cheese wheel, she’s not buying the idea that God’s got a dairy obsession. Soon, religious signs begin turning up all over Del’s hometown, tiny Clemency, Texas. Overnight, news vans fill the streets and religious pilgrims start searching for God in the discount aisle of the grocery store.
Hell-bent on proving the so-called miracles are fake, Del convinces her best friend, Gabe, to help her find the truth. While Gabe’s willing to play detective, as a preacher’s son he’s more interested in finding evidence that supports the miracles. But when the whole town becomes caught up in religious fervor and even the late-night talk show hosts have stopped laughing and started to believe, finding the truth might cause more trouble than Del can handle. This novel is neither pro nor anti-religion, and will appeal to fans of contemporary YA novels that explore deep themes with an element of humor. The voice and characters are funny, strong, and full of heart. This is a book for anyone who loved Saved!
A programmer by day, I write YA fiction, the occasional short story and have far too many hobbies to keep up with. I live in Dallas, Texas with my husband, two kids and a pair of hedgehogs with nerdy names.
Interview with J.C. Davis
1. What is your favorite part of this book and why?
There are so many things I love about CHEESUS WAS HERE, but Del’s photography addiction is one of my favorites. Del’s whole world has collapsed and she uses her polaroid camera to try to reframe things. It’s the lens she uses to make sense of the world when nothing makes sense at all. I can relate to that on a couple of levels, having gone through a few major losses when I was young, and also from a photography aspect. My mom handed me my first camera when I was four and I’ve never stopped snapping pictures. Much like Del surrounds herself with snapshots of her world, I try to fill my work and home with snapshots of my family and friends.
2. If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?
I’d spend my day stalking sweet old Mrs. Deardly, a dotty old lady who visits the Gas & Gut convenience store every week and always buys the same two things: A bottle of cherry cough syrup and a pack of gum. Even though she lives alone, wears dentures, and never has a cold. Like my main character Del, I’d really like to know what Mrs. Deardly is up to and that’s one mystery that even I haven’t solved yet!
3. If you could have been the author of any book ever written, which book would you choose?
Everyone says Harry Potter, right? But seriously, if I could only choose one book, I wish I’d written FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON by Daniel Keyes. That book is so beautiful, hopeful, heartbreaking and well written. Every word is perfect. The way the complexity of the prose mirrors the main character, Charlie’s, evolution and devolution is brilliant and a stunning underscore to the events of the novel. It’s one of my favorite novels of all time and one I continue to re-read frequently. In that same vein, Lisa Genova’s STILL ALICE is phenomenal for the exact same reasons. (I can’t resist recommending books. I love them too much!)
4. Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
My characters are entirely from my imagination. Most of my characters arrive in my mind with names and back stories already in place. Though a few I do have to dig and research and coax until I learn more about them. Delaney Delgado was with me from the moment I first thought of writing CHEESUS WAS HERE. But her best friend, Gabe, underwent quite a few changes. Most notably, his name changed from Raymond to Gabriel. I was sitting at my desk one day when I finally noticed that my main characters’ names were Del and Ray. I figured having the pair sharing names with a major publishing imprint was a bit odd. Gabe fits the character better in any case so I’m glad I made the switch.
5. What made you want to become a writer?
Harry Potter! No seriously. I had a few story ideas as a teen and in college, but I never did anything with them. Then, much, much later, I fell in love with the Harry Potter series. One problem – I finished the first four books in a matter of days but when I went to get book five, I discovered it wasn’t out yet. It wouldn’t come out for three years! I didn’t know that then of course. All I knew was that I was in love, I needed a Harry Potter fix, and I needed it now. So I discovered fanfiction. And once you’ve read enough fanfiction you start thinking you can write fanfiction. So I did. And people liked it! So I wrote some more. Then some more. Then I joined a Harry Potter writing group. Then I decided to write a novel-length fanfiction. After that, I knew two things: one, I could finish a novel and two, enough people liked my writing that I figured I was doing something right. The next logical step was to write original fiction. I haven’t stopped writing since! Though I did hang up my fanfiction hat.
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