This coming week, March 18th to be precise, Side Effects May Vary releases from HarperCollins / Balzer & Bray. Debut author Julie Murphy has enlisted friends, bloggers, and her future readers to help with her online launch by sharing snippets from their own Bucket Lists.
Why? In Side Effects May Vary the main character, Alice, is diagnosed with leukemia and decides to spend her remaining months righting wrongs. This results in an unusual Bucket List of sorts that ends up having surprising consequences for Alice when she goes into remission.
When Julie asked us to share our own Bucket List, I’ll admit I was a bit flummoxed. I have never given this subject any real consideration. I haven’t even given my own I’m about to turn 30 list much thought. I am not much of a life planner at all, actually.
This may take a while. I leave you in good hands until I return.
And….back. These are in no discernible order other than they were jotted down first.
Item #1 —
Get a book Published. I have written one book. Am 90% done with a second. Writing a book never gets easy, but it is something I have done and never thought I would actually do, therefor had I made a previous Bucket List it would be totally crossed off now. (May see the appeal to this phenomenon, now. Am a big fan of crossing things out in general.) Seeing my book in a library, on a booksellers shelf, in the hand of a reader while she waits for the train — that would be pretty sweet.
Item #2 —
Go to San Diego Comic Con. I would ideally like to go before Game of Thrones ends so I can see Jon Snow. I figure that show will be on for a few more years, so I have some time to make this happen. Hopefully, Jon Snow doesn’t die beforehand. As a card-carrying member of multiple fandoms, SDCC is like the mothership of Cons, a place where being a fan, a nerd, a person more comfortable with fantasy worlds than real ones, is totally acceptable. I want to see it once. That’s it. Once would be enough.
Item #3 —
Travel to the UK. I have never been to Britain, Scotland, or Ireland. My family roots go straight back there. As a girl, I was pretty much hardwired to love all things British thanks to books (and the amazing movie adaptations) like The Secret Garden, The Little Princess, The Chronicles of Narnia, and so many more. I want to have a real high tea, to drink in a pub, to walk a moor, to stay in a castle. Be it one trip or many, this needs to happen.
Item #4 —
Teach my son to read. I have a four year old who is right on the cusp of learning to read. There is something magical about watching your child begin to recognize not only the language they speak written out, but the joy those words can bring when you discover them for yourself. I want to be there with him as he does. I’m not the most maternal individual. I don’t gush over babies, I don’t feel the urge to nurture, and am in no real danger of overcommitting myself to the PTA or Sunday school. For me, the magic of motherhood is found in the relationship I have with my son, in watching him learn and grow and become who he’s going to be. And what could be more powerful than words?
Item #5 —
Go skydiving. Not that indoor nonsense where you hover in the air for ten minutes inside a giant, concrete building. I want to jump from an airplane, screaming, crying, but flying. If there is one thing I can honestly say I have to do before I die (and hopefully it won’t be the thing that kills me) it’s jumping from an airplane.
Item #6 —
Be involved in a feature film. As a screenwriter, I dream of seeing a script I’ve written on spec turned into a film. As an actor, I have always wanted to be in a film doing some actual acting. As a control freak, I am afraid of all of the above. So, maybe conquer that fear first and then shoot for the stars? Right. This last year, I produced one of my short film scripts through Kickstarter, and it was an incredible learning experience. So more of that, but bigger, longer, and so on.
Item #7 —
I believe every bucket list should have one vague item. One thing to achieve, maybe for the good of mankind, maybe just so, should all else fail, you can say you did something you set out to. Mine? Not take the ones I love for granted. Life is risky, and busy, a jumble of tasks to tick off and dreams to strive for. In the hubbub of everyday life, or because we need to get shit done so we just don’t think about it, it’s easy to forget what’s most important. I want to say thank you, at least once a day, for the people who make my life meaningful, possible, sustainable.
I realized as I compiled this list that it was merely the tip of the iceberg, the scratch on the surface of all the living I’d like to do, have already done, and can’t begin to imagine I”ll do. A few years ago we moved to New York City (a place I never planned on living), I wrote a book (a thing I wanted but didn’t think I could achieve), and so, as a side effect of making this list I acknowledge its state of utter incompleteness. It is less a Bucket List and more a To Do Sooner Rather Than Later List. It is a Get Up Off Your Ass and Do List.
It is an If Not Now When List.
For more about Julie’s stunning debut novel follow the links below!
The description and link to add it to your Goodreads:
What if you’d been living your life as if you were dying—only to find out that you had your whole future ahead of you?
When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, her prognosis is grim. To maximize the time she does have, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs—however she sees fit. She convinces her friend Harvey, whom she knows has always had feelings for her, to help her with a crazy bucket list that’s as much about revenge (humiliating her ex-boyfriend and getting back at her arch nemesis) as it is about hope (doing something unexpectedly kind for a stranger and reliving some childhood memories). But just when Alice’s scores are settled, she goes into remission.
Now Alice is forced to face the consequences of all that she’s said and done, as well as her true feelings for Harvey. But has she done irreparable damage to the people around her, and to the one person who matters most?
Julie Murphy’s SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY is a fearless and moving tour de force about love, life, and facing your own mortality.
Julie lives in North Texas with her husband who loves her, her dog who adores her, and her cat who tolerates her. When she’s not writing or trying to catch stray cats, she works at an academic library. Side Effects May Vary is Julie’s debut novel.