Guest Blogger Joy Prebble

Today I’m welcoming Joy Preble, whose new mystery/angel series, The Sweet Dead Life is out now from Soho Press! In The Sweet Dead Life, the angel book gets a Texas makeover from the author of the Dreaming Anastasia series.

The Sweet Dead Life

Sweet Dead Life Final cov“I found out two things today: One, I think I’m dying. And two, my brother is a perv.”

So begins the diary of Jenna Samuels, who is having a very bad year. Her mother spends all day in bed. Dad vanished when she was nine. Her older brother, Casey, tries to hold together what’s left of the family by working two after-school jobs—difficult, as he’s stoned all the time. To make matters worse, Jenna is sick. Really sick. When she collapses one day, Casey tries to race her to the hospital in their beat-up Prius and crashes instead.

Jenna wakes up in the ER to find Casey beside her, looking pretty good. Better than ever, in fact. Downright…angelic. The flab and zits? Gone. Before long, Jenna figures out that her brother didn’t survive the accident at all, and she isn’t just sick; she’s being poisoned. Casey has been sent back to help Jenna find out who’s got it out for her, a mystery that leads to more questions about their mother’s depression and their father’s disappearance.

I had a chance to ask Joy some questions about TSDL and the series. Here’s what she had to say:

CC: Where did the inspiration for writing The Sweet Dead Life come from?

Joy: My editor – with whom I’d worked briefly in the past—contacted me and basically he said, “I’m starting a new teen mystery/thriller imprint at Soho Press. I have an idea about this stoner dude who comes back from a fatal car accident as his dying sister’s guardian angel and they solve this vast mystery. Do you think you’d be interested in writing that book?” That was it – this one intriguing sentence idea. And of course I said yes! And then I asked if I could set the book in Texas, because that’s how the story was coming to me. After which, he said yes, and I sent him some sample pages and Soho Press/Random House was pleased and we went on from there. Beyond that, I found myself LOVING the idea of this flawed but angel-at-heart boy becoming a totally unlikely hero. And his sister Jenna came flowing out with such a loud and distinctive voice that the team at Soho jokes that they can all channel her when writing promo copy or editing! It’s something I’m so proud of , Jenna’s narrative voice. And I’m thrilled people are noticing, like this Booklist review: “There’s a whole lot going on here: poisonings, blackmail, sibling relationships, romance, and abandonment, in addition to angels, but the unifying thread is Jenna’s clever, bitter, self-aware, and loving voice…The small-town Texas setting is delightfully detailed, but not parochial. Preble’s lively descriptions and unusually well-drawn, caring sibling relationship (a topic not usually explored in teen fiction) are especially noteworthy.” ~Booklist

CC: The Sweet Dead Life is set in Texas. Tell us about that.

Joy: Like I said, that’s how the story came to me, and not just because I live here! But beyond that, I found myself thinking how great it would be to create this new series that was both a sibling story as well as a battle of good vs evil story and do it against the backdrop of Texas high school football and bbq restaurants and verging on rural suburban Houston. It’s a very specific subset of Texas: the northern Houston suburbs—in which both you and I live. But for those who don’t, think: Wal-Marts and Olive Gardens and huge mansions juxtaposed against double-wide trailers and tough East Texas folks drinking sweet tea and going to Friday night football and possibly less surprised than the rest of the country if an angel was walking amongst them. Not that they know… Texas seemed the perfect place. Houston even more so. Although they do road trip it to Austin now and then…

CC: TSDL is Casey’s story to a large degree, since he’s the one who comes back as an angel. So could you talk about choosing his younger sister Jenna as the narrator?

Joy: Again, the narrative choice was originally my editor’s. But I did agree. I love the juxtaposition of Jenna’s innocence—albeit with a feisty, sarcastic voice—with Casey’s less than reputable habits and subsequent angel journey. Having Jenna narrate heightens the reader’s sense of what is happening to this family and as the series continues with next year’s The A Word, also allows you to see the larger battle of good and evil through a fresh set of eyes as well.

CC: Speaking of Casey, this is a very different kind of angel book. In what ways do you see it putting a different twist on the genre?

Joy: Well, from the beginning, we knew this book would be different and after that, we embraced its differences. Basically, Casey begins the story as more too-many-late night-taco-run flabby middle than tatted up/fallen angel hottie. While obviously paranormal, the novel grounds itself in the real life suburbs. And what seems to please a lot of early reviewers is that it is a mystery/comedy not a romance. Which is not to say that there is no romance in the book—there is (and in fact Jenna’s first romance ever plays a large role in the upcoming The A Word next year). But the sibling story and the family mystery play a much more central role. All of which readers seem to be loving. Yay!

CC: What’s next for Joy Preble?

Joy: Well, right now I’m finishing revisions and edits on The A Word. The first 50 pages will be appearing in the Soho Spring 2014 sampler that will make the rounds of the trade shows this summer. I am really excited about continuing Jenna and Casey’s story! And there are other projects in the works that I hope to be able to tell you about soon!

Want to find out more about Joy’s books? Head over to or follow her on Twitter at @joypreble.

Preble_Joy_Author.jpgJoy Preble is the author of the popular and highly acclaimed Dreaming Anastasia series. A former English teacher, Joy grew up in Chicago and is a graduate of Northwestern University. She is now a full time writer and lives with her family in Texas, where she has learned to say “y’all” without any hint of irony. A tireless advocate for literacy and great books, she is at the center of the all-important Texas YA scene.


This week I’m giving away one copy of Joy’s book The Sweet Dead Life to one lucky reader who leaves a comment. Remember, if you are reading this on Goodreads, you need to leave your comment on my website blog in order to win. Also, I have to limit this giveaway to U.S. residents.


The International winners of Chosen at Nightfall are Stine Spo (Denmark), Jessadelle Ng (Singapore), Lena (Germany), Sarah Kalaitzidis (Canada) and Stephany Regina (Brazil). Please email your mailing address to

The U.S. winners of Shadow Falls t-shirts are Nicole Stevens, Maragret K. and Kayla. Please email your mailing address and t-shirt size to

43 thoughts on “Guest Blogger Joy Prebble

  1. This new book sounds absolutely amazing it is so going on my must read list it’s such a different concept then I’ve seen in the past and I look forward to reading it 🙂 I love your books and I love your blog I really appreciate how you not only talk about your books but you share your success by hilighting the authors you enjoy you are such an inspiration <3 thank you for putting in the time to talk to us fans every week

  2. It’s always good to discover new author’s. My sister and I love to find authors and book that the other hasn’t heard of and introduce them 🙂 I love getting the opportunity to broaden my horizons and be brought into new worlds that I have never seen before….

  3. This book sounds perfect for my daughter who is now into ghosts and paranormal characters. Great blog post!

  4. I absolutely loved the Dreaming Anastasia trilogy, and I can’t wait to read Mrs. Preble’s new book! I love how it sounds already!

  5. I love to read all different types of books. This one sounds very good to me hope I can win it this time.

  6. I like the story line to this book.. I will definitely put it in my book list.. Cant wait to read it..

  7. wow this sounds really good! i need a book to bring when i go to canada for fisghing! How do you find all of these good reads for us to find and buy??? if you havent already, you should read the book “Evermore”

  8. The sweet dead life sounds very good!!!! I love how the setting is in texas 😀 it has a very nice plot!! I love these kind of books and i think it will be the perfect book to read 🙂 this book goes on my book list and I hope i can read it soon!

  9. It’s always good to read different kinds of books even though you’re not sure if you will like it. The book sounds interesting and I would like to read it.

  10. this books sounds really good. I’ll make an effort to read it. My ‘to read’ list is about a mile long! I’m half way through Harry Potter, then comes the Kingdom Keepers book I haven’t read yet, The Sisters Grimm series, The Mediator series, Hide and Seek in the Lying Game series that I think is already out, the new heist Society book that I think is out as well, plus all of the books that come out in unfinished series that I’m already reading will be pushed to #1 prioriity. However, This book sounds really good and I might have to put it at #2 cause I REALLY want to read that KK book soon

  11. This book sounds fresh and interesting!! It’s not your average paranormal romance kinda book and I love it. The concept and plot sounds really cool and I’m definitely going to add it to my list of books to read. Thanks 🙂

  12. The interview and description for the book sound so interesting! Now I know I that I have to read this book! And it’s about angels! Which I haven’t read that much in a while. If you’re loving this book and author than I know that it’s because it’s good 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  13. Great interview C.C.! The Sweet Dead Life sounds really good! The cover is a bit creepy. And i love that it’s set in Texas! Have you met the author there? 🙂

  14. Ohh I want to read Sweet Dead Life!! It seems amazing! I’m definitely going to have to keep my eye out when I go to my book store! 🙂

  15. hahahahahaha…. that’s a unqiue plot! Have you read it?! OMG I really wonder what really happened. so what is she going to do now! I HAVE TO KNOW

  16. It’s nice to hear about a plot that’s different to other books within the same genre I’ll have to put the book on my reading list for the summer holidays and look forward to get in to know Jenna 🙂 and Joy Prebble as a new author 😀

  17. This book sounds great! I’m really looking forward to reading it! And *wink*wink* I would love a copy of it, yah I’ll just flat out ask for it, because I too grew up in the suburbs of Houston and now live in the west of this vast country of ours, and absolutly LOVE reading stories that are set back home! (And remembering all the icky humidity that keeps me staying out west!) So thanks for the awesome Shadow Falls series….I was able to ‘visit’ home a couple times every year!

  18. I always find amazing authors through things like this! And I’m so excited to be able to comment again! (Haven’t been able to go on in a while and it doesn’t show up on my phone) Anyways, the book sounds amazing, just the type of thing I enjoy reading (Teen Paranormal). And since finals are finishing up I’m in need of a new good book to read for the beginning of the summer, and can’t find one I REALLY want at the library. It’s another exciting give away 🙂 Thanks for that C.C, I always look forward to your blogs 🙂

  19. This book sounds like it will be fun to read. Thanks for the giveaway CC and thank you Joy for writing the book!!

  20. This books sounds really interesting! Reminds me too of how me and older sister believes our youger sister whi passed away last january is now our guardian angel 🙂

  21. Woah, The Sweet Dead Life sounds so interesting! ^.^ And its set in Houston! WEEE~ I am confused about the series thoo, is this like a teen/supernatural/angel kind of book, or just a teen/angel book? Wonder if its kind of like the Halo triology by Alexandra Adornetto? Well, either way, I can’t wait to get started on this book too! 😀

  22. I loved the Dreaming Anastasia trilogy and I had no idea she had a new book out! I need to pay more attention, this sounds like a great read!!!

  23. This book sounds AMAZING!! I am picking it up tomorrow! I love your books and blog; I also love that you talk about other authors and their new books! Anything you recommend has to be great!!

  24. Went on Amazon and read the preview…cool book but PERVY brother. :p

    I NEED NEED NEED this book 🙂

    It sounds awesome…different in a great way you know?

    I’ve totally maxed out my ‘book credit’ so I’ll have to wait a while before I Can get this one!! 🙂 Don’t worry though…I’m patient.

  25. This book sounds really good. Lately I’ve been reading more angels, demons, and greek mythology themed books and can’t seem to stray away. This one will be on my list of books to read!

  26. This book is now going on my “must have” list! Thank you for the recommendation!! Love it when authors suggest other authors!

  27. I didn’t really read it but I can’t wait any longer for the 6th shadow falls book, the wait is killing me. please hurry c.c. I’m one of your biggest fans !!!!!!! I absolutely without a doubt love you !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Your amazing and crazy about you I know not to rush an artist cuz I wanna b an artist/author (the author part is thanks to you and all my friends like the little books I write based off the shadow falls characters and a little bit the same setting

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