Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Visiting Dignitary/Oy, and Stuff

Okay, I was supposed to post the Jackie Kessler Visiting Dignitary interview yesterday. But I got food poisoning and breakfast and never quite got my day back. SO it's today, and I'm hoping I didn't screw up all of her promo. OY.

Plus, we sent out the newsletter late because tech was not being cooperative. Again, OY.

Good news is the book is started, and I think it is coming along nicely. Bad news, it's due August 1st. I am REALLY going to have to crank on this one.




So, welcome to the blog. Now there are some pesky rumors that have arisen that I’ve resorted to beating other authors about the head and neck to drag them here.

Of course the rumors aren’t true. We know you don’t beat people into submission. You blackmail them.

ANYWAY, I’m going to dive right in. Is there any one character you’ve written that is your absolute favorite? Why?

Wow, that’s a tough call. I adore Jezebel, and I love the incubus Daunuan – he’s deliciously evil and yet he understands the meaning of love. Plus they both have a wicked sense of humor. But I also really, really love Jet, the superheroine who works with shadows. She acts like she’s a by-the-book hero, but beneath the skin she’s this huge jumble of complexes and instability. All she wants to do is the right thing. And yet, at her core, she might be completely evil herself. **rubs hands gleefully**

Writing is hard work! Have you ever had the dread WRITER’S BLOCK? If so, what do you do to get past it?

God, yes. For me, writer’s block occurs when I’ve taken the story in the wrong direction, and it doesn’t go away until I’ve figured out what went wrong and how to fix it. Sometimes, this leads to interesting conversations with my characters.

For example, I got into a huge fight with Daun when I was writing HOTTER THAN HELL. There was this one chapter where the entire point was Daun needed to talk to the former demon Jezebel to get information. So I had him go to the strip club where Jezzie worked. I wanted the scene to open with him and Jezzie already talking in the private room. But Daun, the bastard, told me that he wanted to watch Jezebel dance on stage first.

“Daun,” I told him, “readers have had two books of Jezzie dancing. Enough with the dancing. Let’s cut to the chase.”

But no. He wanted to watch her dance. “If she’s not dancing,” he told me, “I ain’t working.”

And boom: writer’s block.

I will say this: more often than not, my characters know more than I do about how the book should go. When I finally caved and wrote that scene with Daun watching Jezebel dance first, it wound up being a powerful scene that revealed some important information – both in terms of character growth and in terms of touching on a series plot point.

Do I sound crazy yet?

Almost every author I’ve met gives back to the community by supporting favorite charities. Do you have one? Could you tell me about it? Is there a particular reason why that charity?

My upcoming YA, HUNGER (Harcourt, fall 2010) will have a portion of proceeds going to the National Eating Disorders Association. NEDA does terrific work educating people about eating disorders, let alone helping those struggling with eating disorders (whether they’re going through it themselves or a loved one is), and I can’t begin to tell you in just a paragraph why this is so important. I wish that everyone, everyone, could be satisfied in their own skins and love themselves for who they are, not hate themselves for not being some idealized version of themselves that culture tells them they should be.

The link to NEDA is http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/.

So, what does your schedule look like for the next few months? Anything new coming out that we should keep an eye out for? Tell us a little about it.

Well, BLACK AND WHITE, the first book in The Icarus Project, is a dystopian superhero novel (Bantam Spectra, June 2009) that comes out on June 2. I coauthored it with Caitlin Kittredge. I write in the POV of Jet, the superheroine who works with shadows. She writes in the POV of Iridium, the supervillainess who works with light. I’m the tortured hero; she’s the evil genius. (Of course, she gets all the great lines.)

The next book in the series, SHADES OF GRAY, is scheduled to come out in summer 2010.

Back in Hell on Earth, the mass-market reissue of THE ROAD TO HELL hits the shelves November 2009. As for the fourth book, HELL TO PAY, I’ll be talking about what’s happening with that book over the summer. Stay tuned!

In fall 2010, HUNGER will launch (from Harcourt/Graphia). HUNGER is about an anorexic teenage girl who becomes the new Famine of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse. It’s a hard look at eating disorders (and to a lesser degree, world hunger), and it focuses on the protagonist’s struggle with internal demons and external forces. This is my first-ever YA novel, and it’s also completely different than anything else I’ve written. If I had to pigeonhole it into a genre, I’d call it “magic realism.” If I write one important story throughout my entire career as a novelist, this one’s it.

I’m working on a number of other projects, too, but nothing I can officially announce. Yet. **rubs hands gleefully again**

As for appearances, I’ll be at CR-RWA, RWA National, SDCC, Dragon*Con and Albacon, plus a number of local signings in NY and NJ. Please check my website for details: http://www.jackiekessler.com.

What type of books do you read for pleasure? Any favorite authors?

Why, Cat Adams, of course!

I read tons of things, mostly in flavors of fantasy (including paranormal romance and dark fantasy). My favorite author, bar none, is Neil Gaiman. I’m also a fool for Jim Butcher, Rachel Caine and Chris Moore. An upcoming UF author I highly recommend is Kelly Meding. My BLACK AND WHITE coauthor, Caitlin Kittredge, has a new series out, Black London, which is terrific. On the YA end of things, give me Rachel Caine (again), Richelle Mead and my very own crit partner, Heather Brewer, any day!

Currently, because I’m working on a middle-grade UF, I’m reading Artemis Fowl and Percy Jackson. (Okay, no I’m reading these series because they’re damn good.)

Do you have a day job, or do you write full-time?

Day job. Full time day job. Plus two young sons, a loving husband, and a geriatric officekitty.

Do you have any hobbies?

Who has time for hobbies?

OKAY, I’m going to do one of those short MEME things here.

Favorite song: Currently? “Voodoo,” Godsmack.
Favorite movie or TV show: Lost.
Favorite color: Red. No, black. (Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!)
Favorite food: Chinese, with a side order of pizza. And, of course, chocolate.
Favorite drink: Wine.
Is the glass half-full or half-empty: Half-full.

What animal do you think is most like your personality? Cat.

Vampire/Werewolf/Other: Other. J

If you could only give one piece of advice to new or aspiring writers, that would help them in the business, what would it be?

Never be daunted. Seriously. There’s going to be a lot of rejection along the way. Don’t let that stop you. Keep writing, keep trying, keep learning. To that end: hook up with other authors (I highly recommend Backspace and Absolute Write) and learn from those who’ve been there before. And, while you’re learning…share. Give back to the writing community. Writers shouldn’t be in competition with one another. Writers support writers.

Now to thank folks for popping in -- IN SPITE OF CIE BEING A DUFUS AND FORGETTING TO POST -- Jackie will give away a signed copy of BLACK AND WHITE to one of the folks who comments on one of the blogs. Same procedure as usual. You comment, your name goes in the hat. I draw a name and we get in touch with the winner.



Suzette said...

I know i've won before but i hope it doesnt disqualify me from this drawing. Dying to read Black and White!

donnas said...

Great interview. Cant wait to read Black and White.

molli said...

Glad you are feeling better! Please enter me :)

Wendy said...

Voodoo by Godsmack is a great song! Congrats on your new release, Jackie!

Paul Carroll said...

haha "other. J" - brilliant! Fun interview to read!

LissaDora said...

Great interview. Looking forward to reading Black & White.

Selestial said...

Fabulous interview! Loved the writer's block example <3 I've had the same type of thing happen with characters, they usually end up taking me placed I never dreamed existed ;-)

Lost Angel said...

I like Artemis Fowl too! Thanks for taking the time to let us get to know you!

Jody F. said...

Really fun interview! Well worth the wait. Please throw my name in the hat.

Jess J said...

I'm really psyched about this book, can't wait to get my hands on it!


Katherine Hazen said...

Can't wait for Hunger to come out, it sounds great.

Ningen ja nai said...

Great interview. And now I'm totally psyched about Hunger. Can't wait. :D

Rebecca said...

Great interview & I'd love to win a copy! :)
0118rebecca at gmail dot com

Jackie said...

Thanks for all the terrific comments, everyone!

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