New York Times best-selling author Joshilyn Jackson hosted a book talk in the UWG Campus Center Ballroom in which she discussed her new book The Opposite of Everyone on Wednesday, April 12 at 7:00 p.m. which included a reception and book signing. This being her seventh published novel, Jackson has written other famous pieces such as Gods in Alabama and The Girl Who Stopped Swimming. This event was organized by UWG Center for Diversity and Inclusion.
“The whole purpose is to talk about diversity and inclusion through the literary media,” said Deidre Haywood-Rouse, Director of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion. “Her book The Opposite of Everyone focuses on issues such as prison population, social economic status, inclusion and foster care. A lot of different issues and dynamics that people in general may have to deal with when they share their family history.”
This story revolves around Paula Vauss, and her estranged mother Kai. The two spent the first decade of Paula’s life traveling until unfortunate circumstances occurred which landed Kai in jail and Paula in foster care. After fifteen years of not speaking to her mom, she soon comes to find that she is not an only child and now she has a sister. Now Paula is desperate to find her mother and help put her life back together while she still can.
Jackson tried very hard to distinguish this book from her others, by using different personal life experiences and creating similar characters that resemble herself and those around her.
“As a writer you’re always trying to say something,” said Jackson. “And you just keep trying to say it with your story until you either say it, or you die. And if you do feel like you say it, then you either stop writing or you realize that you have something else to say. This is my first book where I feel like I’ve said the other things as close as I could say it, and now I am trying to say something else.”
Jackson also closely associates herself with one of the novel’s leading characters.
“I relate most closely with Kai, the mother because she’s a storyteller and I’m a storyteller,” said Jackson. “She resembles the person that I was when I was 18 or 19 years old.”
Jackson very much enjoys talking with the reader about her books because, “No one has ever read the book that I’ve written,” said Jackson. “And no one has ever read the book that another reader has read.” This shows that everyone who reads her book, interprets it in their own unique and special way which intrigues Jackson as well as helps inspire her to continue creating new material.
Jackson continues writing novels and inspiring those around her to take to the pen themselves. Her book, The Opposite of Everyone is being sold in bookstores throughout the nation, and her eighth published novel is on the way.