Review and Interview: Streamline by Jennifer Lane
Seems like Leo Scott has it all: looks, brains, and athletic talent. He’s captain of his high school swim team with a bright future in college and beyond. But Leo has secrets. His mother’s crippling car accident has devastated his family and left Leo to deal with his father’s abuse, battered and alone.
Leo’s girlfriend Audrey Rose is poised for her own share of success. As one of Florida’s top high school swimmers, Audrey dreams of college swimming stardom. But there’s an obstacle to her glorious rise to the top. Her number-one supporter--her father--is in prison for murder.
Part murder mystery, part tale of young love in a military family, this gripping story takes readers on a journey from Pensacola to Annapolis. Leo and Audrey must band together to rise above the adversity they encounter and find their true selves in the process. When everything’s on the line . . . streamline.
I was lucky enough to get an Advanced Reader's Copy (ARC) for this new novel and I couldn't put it down. Lane has created a rich group of characters that feel like people you know. Her descriptions of what it's like to be a professional swimmer made me want to dust of my bathing-suit and get in the water - or at least paddle in the shallow end. There is excellent character development throughout the story and what seems to be fact when you start reading, quickly has suspicions raised upon it and the mystery unfolds.
Lane does a supurb job of peeling the onion and only letting out key pieces of the puzzle to keep the reader guessing, there are even a few red-herrings thrown in for good measure. The attention to detail in the novel is fantastic and I really felt like I knew what it would be like to be a pro-swimmer or to attend a military acedemy.
The difficult topic of child abuse is handled respectfully and truthfully, not glorifying it in anyway, but showing the reality of what happened in this family. Leo is a strong protagonist and is easy to relate to. I enjoyed traveling on this journay of discovery with him and can recomend this story to others. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a sequel.
1) First of all, congratulations on getting Streamline published. It's such an interesting plot with several twists and turns, how did the story come to you?
Thank you, Holly! This was my first novel, written in 2007. I've always been fascinated by competitive swimming, dysfunctional families, psychotherapy, the military, and the transition from young adult to new adult, so I decided to combine all these interests into a story. I let my imagination take over from there. When I finished, the novel was way too long and unpolished to consider publication. But after Omnific Publishing released two of my later novels, I returned to Streamline, fired up the hacksaw, and hacked away at a major edit. My editor Jessica Royer Ocken really helped tighten the story as well.
2) There were a lot of excellent details in the story about swimming and the military. Do you have personal experience with these or are you a master researcher?
Personal experience? Swimming yes, military no. I started year-round competitive swimming at age eight and haven't looked back. I don't compete much now due to a hip/back injury but I still adore the sport. Conversely, I've never been in the military and had to do extensive research on the Naval Academy--a paradox of horror and exhilaration. Several friends and service members gave me the inside scoop on the Navy.
3) Which of the characters did you have the most fun writing?
Alex is based on a real-life teammate who makes me giggle. Since I'm a psychologist, I also had a great time writing Dr. Ina's character.
4) The cover is of a very sweet moment in the book. Were you choosing from other designs or did you know what you wanted from the start?
Choosing the cover was drama! This is my first YA novel and I hear that YA covers are VERY important. All along I had a particular image in my head of a male swimmer streamlining, but I couldn't find that image anywhere. In hindsight, that was probably lucky--what do I know about designing a fantastic YA cover as a 41 year-old? My publisher showed me multiple designs and was probably ready to smack me if I didn't decide on one. At first I was uncertain about the current cover, but when I had friends vote, the underwater kiss scene was hands down the favorite. The clencher was the teenage daughter of author Nicki Elson giving it the thumbs up.
5) Is this a stand alone title or will we see Leo and Audrey again?
Uncertain at this point. I'll gauge interest in their story and decide if I want to turn this into a series. College swimming was such a blast for me and it would be fun to write the continuation of their adventures. However, I need to write the third novel of The Conduct Series first.