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Jay Asher Visit

Jay Asher Visit

Meeting Jay Asher

By: Ashley Steele, 11

 On Monday, October 1, 2012, Jay Asher spoke at the Missouri River Regional Library in Jefferson City, Missouri. Asher is the author of Thirteen Reasons Why and is the co-author of his newest novel The Future of Us with Carolyn Mackler. A group of students, including me, and the language arts teachers from Community R-VI High School attended his visit to Jefferson City. We learned about his struggle publishing his first novel and how he never gave up.

Asher grew up loving to write.  He wanted to do comic stripes, but he soon learned he had no talent in that area and joined his news-paper staff at his high school. Although he enjoyed being a journalist, he soon learned he was horrible at that too and they assigned him reviews. His most memorable music review was on Vanilla Ice. As trivial as it sounds, it proved to have impacted Asher’s writing later in his life.

His personal life also had an impact on his writing.  Asher had a niece who tried to commit suicide. He didn’t plan for Thirteen Reasons Why to be based on it, but he thought the topic needed attention. As he was writing, he realized that he didn’t know much about women’s thoughts when they were in high school, so Asher had his wife and a couple of her friends come over and explain how they felt and he used these ideas in his novel.

    After finishing his novel, he had a hard time publishing it.  Asher was denied twelve different times over ten years, but he never gave up. On his thirteenth attempt, which is ironic for Thirteen Reason Why, Asher finally received his first book offer. This novel was awarded with New York Best Seller Publishers Weekly Best Sellers, State Awards, Best Books for Young Adults and many more.

    Asher wanted to write another novel, but was nervous that it wouldn’t satisfy his fans. While writing, Asher was so worried about it that he couldn’t even open the file on his computer. So when he got a call from Carolyn Mackler suggesting to co-write a novel, he felt relieved. He jokingly thought if the novel didn’t satisfy his fans, he could blame Mackler.  While writing this novel together, they both wanted control of what it was going to be about.  They finally agreed and had the book completed the same day Asher’s first child was born.

    Jay Asher is a very interesting man who has a good sense of humor and loves writing.  He wrote two wonderful novels. I hope he keeps up with his dream of being a writer.  Asher’s passion for pleasing his fans is amazing to me. Curtis Lierheimer, a junior who attended the meeting, said, “Jay Asher is a great author. He was extremely funny and I enjoyed this meeting.”

Pictured above: (seated) Mrs. Young & Jay Asher (standing) Ashley Steele (11), Russell Lovelace (12), Lakin Davenport (10), Mr. Westlake, Curtis Lierheimer (11), Dalton Oligschlaeger (12), Dana Schulte (10), Patience VanVactor (11), Whitney Becker (11)