Guest Post: Jocelyn Davies, Author of A Beautiful Dark

Other Bookish Posts

A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies

A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies
Series: A Beautiful Dark #1
Published by HarperTeen
Pub Date: September 27th 2011
Buy the book! | Goodreads

On the night of Skye’s seventeenth birthday, she meets two enigmatic strangers. Complete opposites—like fire and ice—Asher is dark and wild, while Devin is fair and aloof. Their sudden appearance sends Skye’s life into a tailspin. She has no idea what they want, or why they seem to follow her every move—only that their presence coincides with a flurry of strange events. Soon she begins to doubt not just the identity of the two boys, but also the truth about her own past.

In the dead of a bitingly cold Colorado winter, Skye finds herself coming to terms with the impossible secret that threatens to shatter her world. Torn between Asher, who she can’t help falling for, and Devin, who she can’t stay away from, the consequences of Skye’s choice will reach further than the three of them could ever imagine.

Today I’d like to welcome Jocelyn Davies to Gone with the Words! Jocelyn’s book, A BEAUTIFUL DARK, was just released on September 27 and she’s here to tell us a little bit of what it’s like for her as an editor and author of YA fiction. Also known as, my dreams jobs.


In the fictionalized version of my life, the following childhood reading anecdote would be when I first realized I wanted to be a book editor:

I went through a big Agatha Christie phase when I was about eleven. I devoured so many of her books, but MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS was by far my favorite. I hated how in some mystery novels, you were like, I have no idea how she’s going to wrap this one up, and then in the last five pages the mystery is revealed, and you’re like, I still don’t know how that happened because you seeded NO CLUES WHATSOEVER! I remember reading one book and being so frustrated that I was convinced the author herself had no idea how she was going to solve the mystery, so she just made something up and called it a day. But in MOTOE (it anagrams very nicely), the clues were woven ingeniously throughout, so when they mystery was revealed I was simultaneously shocked and satisfied because I could go back and retrace how it all came together. I haven’t read it in a long time, but I remember feeling like it was an almost perfect book.

I strive for that kind of feeling every day as a YA editor.

When I edit, it’s my job to work with an author to help them shape the book they’ve written into the richest, fullest, best version of itself. When you’re writing, you’re so close to the material that it’s sometimes hard to see where a certain piece of information should be revealed, or that a character may need a bigger role, or that the world on the page isn’t as rich as it is in your head. You spend disproportionate amounts of time on each scene. One scene may take a couple of minutes to wiz through, while another could take hours of painstaking writing and rewriting. You’re so wrapped up in a moment that it’s sometimes difficult to see the pacing overall. When I’m editing someone’s novel, I’m more removed from the material than the writer, so I can look at the book as a whole.

When I sat down to write A Beautiful Dark, I sometimes found it hard to take my own editorial advice. There were a few times when I would get a note from my editor that I often find myself saying to my own authors, and I would think, “I know, I know, I knew that!” But when I was in the story, when I was the one writing, it was sometimes hard to see the things that I see easily when I’m editing someone else’s work. My editor helped me to bring everything together so that it not only made sense, but was exciting. I learned so much throughout the process of writing A Beautiful Dark that has helped me to be a better editor, too. Every now and then I’ll catch myself saying something to an author that my editor once said to me! So really, editing informs the writing process, but writing and taking feedback has completely helped my editing process. I’m continually learning.

It’s very meta.




Jocelyn Davies was born and raised in New York City, where she now works in Young Adult publishing and foregoes sleep in favor of writing. This is her debut novel. You can follow her on twitter at


Thank you, Jocelyn! I’ve always wondered what it’s like for editors who are also authors. It sounds like it can get very interesting. :)





Friends! Check out the intriguing book trailer for A BEAUTIFUL DARK here!



Also!! Catch Jocelyn Davies live on the Dark Days tour in the following cities:

Friday, October 14th
7:00 PM
Tattered Cover
Highland Ranch, CO
with Claudia Gray (FATEFUL), Kiersten White (SUPERNATURALLY), Amy Garvey (COLD KISS)

Saturday, October 15th
1:00 PM
Barnes & Noble
Boulder, CO
with Claudia Gray (FATEFUL), Kiersten White (SUPERNATURALLY), Amy Garvey (COLD KISS)

Sunday, October 16th
2:00 PM
Naperville, IL
with Claudia Gray (FATEFUL), Kiersten White (SUPERNATURALLY), Amy Garvey (COLD KISS)

Jess @ Gone with the Words

2 Responses to “Guest Post: Jocelyn Davies, Author of A Beautiful Dark”

  1. Avatar

    Jacinda @ Reading Housewives

    I don’t read mysteries…usually, but what you described with Agatha Christie reminds me of Sherlock Holmes the movie! The mystery is there and at the end everything is specifically laid out…I like that! 

    I’m going to hopefully make it to the Naperville stop! 

  2. Avatar

    Missie Bee

    Ha! I think this happens to all of us. I’m so quick to give my little sister’s advice to help them edit their lives, but I’m not one to follow my own advice. LOL

    Thanks for sharing. 

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.