by Andrea King
Jason Hershey is a new YA author whose debut novel is called To Die to Live. Jason is originally from Phoenix, Arizona but now lives in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio where he is a teacher and a dedicated family man.
To Die to Live is about Theo, a troubled teenager, who becomes friends with the class troublemaker. Even though Theo and Draven’s friendship continues to grow, Theo faces more tragedy, and he will have to decide if he will become a victim or else fight to make things better.
Jason admitted he modeled Theo after himself and some friends he grew up with. Coming out of his shell as the story progresses, Theo realizes it is up to him whether life will continue to suck or not. Theo is able to find his “spark” and uses that as motivation to change his lifestyle. Jason would like to see actor Michael B. Jordon play the role of Theo and an undecided newcomer to play Draven if his debut novel becomes a movie.
Jason has loved to write, and from an early age, he was entering writing contests in elementary school. Even though Jason did not write any in high school or college, later he had his own “spark” moment and decided to start writing again.
Between teaching full-time and family commitments, Jason doesn’t really have a writing “process.” He is able to fit in writing early mornings, late at night, or maybe his lunch break. Never knowing when inspiration will strike, Jason carries a notebook with him all the time. Jason doesn’t really get the dreaded writer’s block because he is able to take long breaks between writing and his real life. He focuses on the rest of his life that really matters if he does get stuck. Jason knows that at some point he will get some good ideas and dialogue written.
Enjoying the books, The Giver, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Number the Stars, Jason realized all of these books have characters you root for because of their placement in compromising situations and their growth from that.
One funny memory Jason shared was when he played varsity football as a high school freshman. “Our school’s tradition was to let the football players’ girlfriends wear their jerseys. Since I didn’t have a girlfriend, I was seriously flattered when the cutest high school senior asked to wear my jersey. But, unfortunately 2 hours before the Homecoming game, the girl and jersey had gone MIA. My mother and grandmother had to hunt down the girl because she had planned on keeping my jersey. Needless to say, I never lent my jersey to anyone ever again!”
Traveling to Paris to write at the base of the Eiffel Tower, watching NFL games in every stadium, and being able to write for a living are things Jason has on his bucket list.
Reminding himself to always walk his own path, forge his own way, and not to follow the masses “just because,” Jason identifies with these lines by Robert Frost:
“ …Two roads diverged in a wood, and
I took the one less traveled by.
And that has made all the difference.”
–The Road Not Taken