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Take Five: Anne Greenwood Brown and COLD HARD TRUTH

Congratulations to WU contributor and multi-published author Anne Greenwood Brown on the publication of her fifth YA novel, COLD HARD TRUTH, which released on April 3rd! Anne, who also writes adult romance under the pen name “A.S. Green,” has four novels coming out this spring/summer from three different publishers. She writes that she feels both excited and terrified over the prospect, but we’re thrilled to see her so prolific, and look forward to learning more about those books here on WU.

“Brown’s latest is brimming with passion and suspense as Emmie and Max fight their demons of emotional abuse and anger management and become closer romantically…With a gripping plot from the beginning, Brown’s enticing novel reads from both Max’s and Emmie’s perspectives as they both slowly reveal their pasts.” – Booklist

Q1: What’s the premise of COLD HARD TRUTH?

AGB: Two teens with very messed up lives meet while serving time on the juvenile work crew. Emmie has spent a year living with her mother and her mother’s dealer. Max is battling grief and guilt over the loss of a friend. They’ve both lost trust in themselves and feel betrayed by the world around them, but they handle their lack of control in very different ways. It’s only by working together that they overcome their pasts and learn to trust (and love) again.

Q2: What would you like people to know about the story itself?

AGB: It is inspired by my prior work as a juvenile public defender. I came to know a lot of good kids in really bad situations–some self-imposed, some as the result of the people in their lives. The story is also set in the dead of a Minnesota winter, which isn’t a common setting in young adult novels (or any novels). Since I’m a Minnesota native, I had fun including those chilly details.

Q3: What do your characters have to overcome in this story? What challenge do you set before them?

AGB: In COLD HARD TRUTH, Emmie is dealing with a lot of guilt: guilt that she couldn’t save her mother, guilt for getting her “friends” in trouble by cooperating with police. She also has been physically hurt, so she’s built a pretty tall, thick wall around herself. Max has his own demons, which he tries to exorcise by throwing his muscle around. Emmie deals by closing down; Max deals by lashing out. Somewhere in the middle they find each other. (Also snow. They overcome a lot of snow.)

Q4: What unique challenges did this book pose for you, if any? 

AGB: It was challenging to figure out the right point of view. I went back and forth between telling the story from just Emmie’s POV, and then from both of theirs, then from first person to third (also present and past tense). I finally landed on a very close third-person POV, which is not my natural go-to but ended up working the best for this novel.

Q5: What has been the most rewarding aspect of having written this book?

AGB: For now, the most rewarding thing about having written this book is simply seeing it through to the end. I conceptualized it quite a long time ago, then wrote it in 2015. It got it into my editor’s hands in the spring or 2016, but then it had to go through several re-imaginings before it got the green light. I love this story and these characters, and I’m so happy their story is finally going to make it into people’s warm little hands. (And that’s the cold hard truth!)

Congratulations, Anne! Readers, you can learn more about COLD HARD TRUTH on Anne’s website [1].

About [2]

Writer Unboxed began as a collaboration between Therese Walsh [3] and Kathleen Bolton [4] in 2006. Since then the site has grown to include ~50 regular contributors--including bestselling authors and industry leaders--and frequent guests. In 2014, the first Writer Unboxed UnConference (part UNtraditional conference, part intensive craft event, part networking affair) [5] was held in Salem, MA. Learn more about our 2019 event, ESCAPE TO WuNDERLAND, on Eventbrite. [6] In 2016, the Writer Unboxed team published a book with Writer's Digest. AUTHOR IN PROGRESS: A No-Holds-Barred Guide to What It Really Takes to Get Published [7] has been well-received by readers who seek help in overcoming the hurdles faced at every step of the novel-writing process--from setting goals, researching, and drafting to giving and receiving critiques, polishing prose, and seeking publication. James Scott Bell has said of the guide, "Nourishment for the writer's soul and motivation for the writer's heart." You can follow Writer Unboxed on Twitter [8], and join our thriving Facebook community [9].