Meet Jordan

Jordan Dane

I make up stuff for a living. Who knew I could get paid for that? Voices come to me, from deep inside my head and I consider that to be a good thing...for now. (No, I'm not on meds. That would really screw me up.) I'm an observer, a listener and a scribe. And I'm cynical by nature—and by choice—and frequently indulge my inner smart-ass. I'm perfectly content in the solitude of my head, poking and prodding the three pounds of gray matter taking up that space. Guess if my brain ever takes a real vay-kay, I can lease out my skull to a much more deserving occupant.

Q & A

Tell us about your central character, Brenna Nash.

A: Sometimes in a young life, bad things happen. No matter what age you are, if darkness crosses your path, you are never the same again. That's what happened to Brenna Nash at fourteen. She witnessed something no one should have to see and it changed her forever. But despite that, Brenna is and always was a different kind of kid. She dresses differently—by choice—even when she knows people will make fun of her. I saw her as a quiet rebel, someone who challenged the norm or mediocrity even though her acts of rebellion carry a price. And because she recognizes this in herself, she is content to be a loner, yet she has a way of touching people who cross her path—people like White Bird, Joe Sunne, and Deputy Will Tate. She's strong and resilient even when the worst is thrown at her and she faces terrifying obstacles alone. She's the kid most people would overlook because she makes her way too far from "the herd," but oh what they're missing. I saw Brenna as a composite of many kids I've known—and loved—so I wanted to tell her story.

How much of you is in Brenna?

A: The characters I create are deeply rooted in my life's experiences—people I've met, things I've seen and heard, from imagery springing from song lyrics or favorite movies, etc. From the infinite number of possibilities floating around in my head, it's my job to find the threads that lead me to the character. Once I wrapped my head around Brenna and who she was to me, then I listened real hard for her voice. (There's always a party goin' on in my head. I'm never truly alone.) Brenna is a loner and is content in her solitude. I can relate to that, although I never had her fashion sense. In that department, I'm trip dip vanilla to her Rocky Road extravaganza with sprinkles and gummy bears. And Brenna knows she's different and is content with that too, even if it makes her confrontational at times. She's capable of red-faced fury as well as long hours of silence, comfortable to be alone. Unfortunately I can relate to this too.

White Bird was different from Brenna. How did you come up with his character?

A: I wanted White Bird to balance Brenna. Opposites attract for a reason. Where she is perfectly content to be by herself, White Bird isn't afraid to admit he wants and needs a family. He doesn't care if that isn't cool. Not belonging to a tribe or a particular race of people, he's caught in the middle, not belonging anywhere. Not everyone understands this--the feeling of being the outsider looking in and made to feel like you don't belong. And when Brenna rages against things that bother her, White Bird is the qentle boy who tries to change things his own way, one step at a time. His patience and quiet confident ways rub off on her, but Brenna's passion for life affects him too. She challenges him and they're good for each other.

Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?

A: No. I started out being a voracious reader as a kid. I loved the escapism that comes from books. I wrote as a teen, some pretty dark stuff, but always with a weird twisted humor to it. My way of coping with things I didn't like or understand. Even then I had an appreciation for the written word. It's an amazing thing. The author writes a story, but that's only part of the cycle. The rest comes when the reader picks up the book and becomes a part of the author's journey. I was a reader first, but writing was always a way to entertain myself. And I found joy in it even as I grew older. So in 2003, I decided to write a novel. And I've been hooked ever since. For me, nothing is as addictive. Once I discovered that passion, I knew. Whether I ever sold or not, I would always write.

What were you like in high school?

A: I didn't see me fitting in to any one group and that was fine by me. I had my own tribe of misfits. We weren't outcasts exactly. We just didn't see the point. I remembered challenging my teachers, especially when I got bored. I was the kid in the back of the room with the low voice that every one of my teachers developed a trained ear for—like dogs hearing high pitched sounds—because I was usually up to something. I was the kind of kid who was content to stay out of the limelight, but I was always near it lurking in the shadows if it interested me. Even though I usually contributed something to the drama, I preferred my anonymity. Still do.

What advice do you have for teens who want to write?

A: Write, write, write. It's important to get your thoughts on the page. It's good for the soul. And don't worry if your stories or poems or thoughts aren't mainstream, like the type of thing you'd turn in for a school assignment. The roots of a budding author start early and can grow deep. At a young age, writing is more about self-expression than making a living at it. Explore who you are through your writing. That's a great start. And on my website at, I have a FOR WRITERS page on my adult book side where I post articles on the craft of writing and methods that have worked for me. These might also help an aspiring author get started on writing that first book. Happy writing!

What's next?

A: I have another book coming out with Harlequin Teen. Ideas are adrift in my head. And I owe my editor at Harlequin Teen a proposal for the book characters and plot, so I can't say too much about it yet, except that I love the idea of good versus evil. Sometimes a dark character can look bad on the surface, but are they? People aren't black and white, good and evil. They're the murky gray in between, the blend of both. For a writer, that's the interesting part. So stay tuned for book #2. More to come.