Two Across by Jeff Bartsch
Published: August 4, 2015
Grand Central Publishing
G o o d r e a d s // A m a z o n
Highly awkward teenager Stanley Owens meets his match in beautiful, brainy Vera Baxter when they tie for first place in the annual National Spelling Bee-and the two form a bond that will change both of their lives.
Though their mothers have big plans for them-Stanley will become a senator, Vera a mathematics professor-neither wants to follow these pre-determined paths. So Stanley hatches a scheme to marry Vera in a sham wedding for the cash gifts, hoping they will enable him to pursue his one true love: crossword puzzle construction. In enlisting Vera to marry him, though, he neglects one variable: she’s secretly in love with him, which makes their counterfeit ceremony an exercise in misery for her.
Realizing the truth only after she’s moved away and cut him out of her life, Stanley tries to atone for his mistakes and win her back. But he’s unable to find her, until one day he comes across a puzzle whose clues make him think it could only have been created by Vera. Intrigued, he plays along, communicating back to her via his own gridded clues. But will they connect again before it’s all too late?
Le Interview + Le Giveaway
Before this interview starts, I just wanted to thank Jeff for answering all my questions in all their oddness, and with equally odd answers, yet rather lovely answers. Y’all leave some comment love and be sure to check out his novel!
To enter the giveaway (since it’s not a rafflecopter, like I usually do) it’s pretty easy to enter. OH AND YOU’LL WIN A COPY OF TWO ACROSS IF YOU WIN! Just leave a comment. Say hi and answer question number 3 or number 4 in the comments. Simple, right? GCP will be fulfilling the giveaway, so make sure you leave your email so I can get ahold of you. US only. Thanks and good luck! Ends July 20 at 12 AM.
1) This book looks so adorable! Part mystery and other part romance. Where did the idea come from?
Thank you! And thanks for these questions – they’re great. The idea initially came from a joke. I heard someone make an offhand remark that a couple they knew just got married for the gifts. And I thought, “Hey, what if?” It became a con game in my imagination, with this Angelica Houston sort of grifter character and her con man boyfriend travelling from city to city, meeting wealthy people, and setting up fake weddings for the gifts, then skipping town. But that quickly became too repetitive and flat. The thought of the characters meeting in the spelling bee hit me, and it evolved into a more bookish, and, I hope, smarter story.
2) If this book was a snack what would it be?
It would be freeze-dried ice cream, because it has texture and bite, but it’s also smooth, and it’s unusual. It would also like to travel to outer space.
3) Who do you think from real life would play Stanley and Vera?
For Vera, I’m torn between a few people: Kiernan Shipka, who played Sally in Mad Men, has that cool, knowing, but also vulnerable quality that would be perfect for Vera. But Natalie Portman would also be great, or maybe Rachel McAdams (I’m thinking of her in The Notebook). For Stanley, Edward Norton would be good because he has the right mix of studious and quirky. Or maybe Jake Gyllenhaal, to go full Hollywood.
3) Let’s say the world is about to be taken over by aliens (they want to study our strange love stories-Romeo and Juliet, Anna and the French Kiss, The Fault in Our Stars, Cinder & Ella). If you were to fight for their side or the humans, which side would you choose (the humans want to integrate them into society, but stop the study)?
I’m a pacifist, but even that ends in “fist.” When your back’s against the wall, you have to step into the fray. I could not turn on my species, so the humans it is. Besides, love stories should not be subjects of study, but rather, mysteries to be luxuriated in. (If I offend the human race, let it not be for treason, but for ending a sentence with a preposition.)
4) You’re in the middle of the desert. There’s an oasis on the distance. It has books and food. But only one of each. What are they?
Ah, but you didn’t say who put them there. If chance did, it would probably be an economics textbook and some liverwurst, that’s just my kinda luck. But if I got to choose, it would be… (You’re really going to make me choose just ONE book?!) …it would have to be Love in the Time of Cholera, and a very large veggie pizza.
5) Describe your book in three words.
Brain, meet heart.
Don’t forget to comment answering question number 3 or 4 to enter to win a copy of TWO ACROSS.