Monday, December 5, 2011

Interview with Jo Ramsey

 Jo Ramsey has some interesting things to say about RUMORS and her new books. Two of them!


Someone once said, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, come sit by me.” Unfortunately, there seem to be a lot of people who don’t have anything nice to say and don’t hesitate to say something cruel instead.

Especially in high school.

If you made it through school without having a rumor spread about you at least once, you’re very lucky. I don’t know anyone who wasn’t the target of a rumor, myself included. When I worked in public schools, every level from elementary to high school, I heard rumors about students being spread by other students. Sometimes even by teachers!

Rumors and gossip are not far off from bullying in many cases. Telling your bestie, “Hey, see that girl? I heard she’s pregnant” is just more subtle than going up to “that girl” and slamming her against a locker, but it isn’t any less hurtful. Sometimes words hurt more than actions, especially when those words spread through an environment as closed as a typical high school. Whether you’re in a school of two hundred or two thousand, somehow those rumors spread, because everyone knows someone else who hasn’t heard yet.

Rumors feature big in my two latest novels, Cluing In and From the Ashes. In Cluing In, Jamey Mandel’s best friend Jebbi Randolph has been dealing for two years with rumors that she tried to steal a senior girl’s boyfriend during her freshman year. The truth is that the boy raped Jebbi, but no one except Jebbi and a few of her friends know that. During the story, Jamey’s ex-girlfriend becomes the target of rumors that she’s pregnant—rumors which are unfortunately true. And even Jamey becomes the subject of gossip when his ex blurts out in the cafeteria that Jamey’s still a virgin.

In From the Ashes, book five in my Reality Shift series, the rumor that’s followed Shanna Bailey since sixth grade takes on new weight when Shanna has her first boyfriend. In sixth grade, Shanna was caught in the woods with two older boys, who had conned her into going with them. The immediate assumption was that Shanna was “doing things” to the boys, and that’s the gossip that’s been going around about her ever since. Shanna has never dared tell anyone except her best friend Jonah Leighton and her foster brother Mark James the truth: one of the boys tried to force her to touch him, but was interrupted before he could follow through. Now Shanna’s afraid that since her new boyfriend—along with everyone at their school—knows the rumor, he’ll expect her to “do things” with him, too.

Our society makes a big deal out of rumors. TV shows and magazines are devoted to gossip about celebrities, and don’t seem too interested in whether it’s true or not. Coworkers gossip about each other during their lunch breaks; families talk about other family members behind their backs at holiday gatherings. It really isn’t any surprise that rumors and gossip are so much a part of most people’s school experiences.

That doesn’t mean it’s right, though. Words do hurt, especially when you’re the target of them.

Jo Ramsey is a former special education teacher turned full-time author. She has been writing since age five, and started writing young adult fiction when she was a young adult herself. Her first YA urban fantasy novel, Connection, book one in the Reality Shift series, was published in January 2010 by Jupiter Gardens Press. Since then, books two through five in that series, and books one and two in her series The Dark Lines, have been published by that company. Her first YA contemporary novel, Cluing In, was published in November 2011 by Featherweight Press. Jo lives in Massachusetts with her two daughters, her husband, and two cats.

Get your copie of CLUING IN and FROM THE ASHES now.
From the Ashes is available at


  1. Thanks for hosting me! I'll be checking in to answer comments or questions.

  2. You're welcome, Jo. Always nice to hear about your books and share them with others.

  3. "Someone once said, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, come sit by me.” Unfortunately, there seem to be a lot of people who don’t have anything nice to say and don’t hesitate to say something cruel instead.

    Especially in high school."

    Sad but true :(

  4. Such an important theme to explore through books. Both of these sound awesome. Thank you for sharing this guest post!

  5. Lee, thanks so much for introducing us to Jo and her books. They sound intriguing with subject matter that everyone can relate to on some level.WI'm adding them to my TBR list right now!

  6. Rumors in high school - a good topic to address, though it always makes me cringe, - even to read abut it!

  7. Thanks, everyone. Kelley and Margo, it is sad, and I cringe too. Even hearing my own daughter gossiping with her friends, I feel like telling her to stop. And then I realize sometimes I'm guilty of it too...

  8. Great interview! Thanks for josting Jo! Her books certainly sound very interesting. I'll be sure to pick up a copy to read.

  9. Yes, I too have had gossip spread about me. Once I started it, just to see what would happen! The sad thing is, people who deliberately spread gossip don't have anything better or more important to talk about. They are shallow people. The other sad thing is, if we didn't talk about each other, what would have we talk about? We are all guilty and I work hard to say as little a possible.

  10. I try to follow my gram's rule. If you don't have something good to say about somebody, don't say anything at all. Rumors seldom have anything good in them, right?

  11. Yes, anyone who says they want to go back to high school and do it all over again is nuts! Kids are cruel and selfish at that age, and they say the meanest things.

  12. Oh, I see the rumor mill running its muck all the time. And, like you said, teachers aren't the exception.

    Middle school is another place I'm glad to be away from, as a student anyway - here! here! Alex!

  13. Great post, and so true. Our society seems to almost endorse gossip and rumors, especially with those horrible magazines in the check-out lines at the grocery store.

  14. Susan, exactly, we have entire magazines and TV shows devoted to gossip.

    I would never want to go back to school, as a student or as a teacher...there were just as many rumors and gossip going around the staff rooms at the schools where I worked as among the students.

    Lee, your gram had it right... I just wish more people saw it that way.

  15. Yes, words do hurt and they stay with you for a long time. Congratulations on your latest books.

    Warm regards,
    Award-winning Children’s Author
    The Golden Pathway Story book Blog

  16. An interesting interview. Thanks, Lee and Jo. Congratulations on your books and best of luck to you. I hope to read them soon.


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