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JD Slajchert talks about his new novel ‘Darling, You’re Not Alone’

Author JD Slajchert chatted about his new adult novel “Darling, You’re Not Alone.”

JD Slajchert
JD Slajchert. Photo Credit: Russell Baer
JD Slajchert. Photo Credit: Russell Baer

Author JD Slajchert chatted about his new adult novel “Darling, You’re Not Alone.”

How did your young adult novel Darling, You’re Not Alone come about?

Darling, You’re Not Alone came about how all art comes about, seemingly out of nowhere. When the idea stuck several years ago, I was currently busy on the press tour for my first book, MoonFlower, where, at the time, most of my days were spent in my car driving.

Throughout this time, I was meeting all sorts of different, intelligent people. Following my talks about my first book, people would often come up to me and share these incredibly personal and heartfelt stories with me. But, out of all the stories, it was the memories these strangers shared with me about the people they’d lost that stuck with me the most.

So, while rolling down Pacific Coast Highway following one of these events, “Moonlight Mile” by The Rolling Stones came on and the idea for Darling, You’re Not Alone hit me like a ton of bricks. I’ll never forget that exact moment. In fact, when the idea for this project struck me, I became so overwhelmed with emotion that I had to pull over because I couldn’t hold back my tears.

The idea was this thought that we’ve all lost someone. Brothers. Parents. Friends. And that is what connects us. I wanted to build an entire story around this one, simple, yet an impactful, idea.”

What inspires you as a new author?

I really do find inspiration in the tiniest, seemingly insignificant, or even horribly banal moments of life. I guess, it’s sort of odd how fascinated I am with the small things. From the conversation going on in front of me as I wait in line for my morning flat white or a rolling cloud that passes over the pink sky above me as I walk out of my office after a long day, it’s these minor things that grab me in a major, artistic way.

I think this is obvious as it’s similarly contained in the style with which I write. But, to be more specific, nothing inspires me more than music. I’m obsessed with songs, choirs, drums, and bagpipes. I always listen to music while writing as it effortlessly transports me into any setting I desire.

In fact, I give most of the music I listen to the credit as to the direction the story I’m working on takes. I simply follow the lead of the music. It’s as if the music does the writing for me while I get to just sit back and watch.”

Can you tell us more about your Letter Writing Campaign #YoureNotAlone?

Letter writing is old hat, but it’s an important part of who I am. So, it’s no surprise that a big component of Darling, You’re Not Alone is a form of letters that surround and inspire the main character. The #YoureNotAlone Letter Writing Campaign is meant to take the idea of letter writing out beyond the text of the story and into the real world.

My hope is that after anyone reads my book, they’ll be inspired to write their very own letter to their someone, letting them know that they are not alone. Because, to me, the best fiction is able to use a good story to help inspire people that live and breathe in the real world.

For more information about this campaign and to see what others have written, or to share your very own #YoureNotAlone letter, visit the website.

What do your plans for the future include? (more writing in the works)

I have two projects with very different themes and styles currently in the works in regard to what’s next for me writing-wise. At this time, it’s hard for me to say which will be published first, but both are coming. One is a traditional novel, and the other is the first installment of a trilogy.

What are some of your proudest professional accomplishments?

One of the most moving experiences of my life was being invited back by my alma mater, The University of California, Santa Barbara, to give a commencement speech after having just graduated from there only one year prior.

It was an incredible honor given that most speakers are typically much older and further removed from their time in college. But it was especially personal for me though because I also had several of my former college basketball teammates among the audience of graduates I spoke to that afternoon.

A special shout out to Maxwell Kupchak, Ami Lakoju, and Jarriesse Blackmon, it meant everything to me to be able to not only congratulate you personally but to be the first person welcoming you into the next chapters of your lives. Also, a special thank you to everyone at UCSB for the invitation.

The full speech I gave that afternoon in June of 2019 may be seen here:

What does the word success mean to you?

Success to me means being relentless. Any time I think of success, I personally think about all of the failures that come along the road to success. I think of all the times you have to pick yourself up and keep moving.

I’ve had more people that have doubted me in life than people that thought I would succeed, and that is exactly why I am here, now, answering the questions to this interview today. I haven’t forgotten a single person that has doubted me. It’s the reason I get up each morning and keep moving towards more.

My only response to those doubters, now, would be, ‘keep doubting me.’ To anyone reading this, never listen to them. Be relentless and eventually, success will follow.

What would you like to tell our readers about Darling, You’re Not Alone…what’s the one thing you want them to get out of it?

The one thing I hope anyone who reads Darling, You’re Not Alone can take away from the book is that if you’re going through chaos, tragedy, heartbreak, or devastating loss, keep going.

I want readers to realize that better days are ahead. And that if you keep battling through the hard times, you’ll one day realize that despite how isolated you may have felt, you were never truly alone. None of us are.

Our pain is what connects us all. Our pain is what can bring us together and help us understand our neighbors. Lead with love, always.

To learn more about JD Slajchert, check out his official website.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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