I just got the amazing opportunity to interview author, Jessica Brody! Back during the 2015 Teen Book Festival this past May, I got to meet her and since she is so nice and inspiring, it has been such a privilege to interview her for this site!
- What inspired you to start writing?
In second grade I turned in a four page book report (the assignment was to write one paragraph) and the teacher made such a huge deal about it. I really couldn’t understand why. Writing just came naturally to me. At that moment I remember wanting to be a writer. But somewhere along the way I convinced myself that I needed to get a “serious” job…you know, one that comes with dental insurance. So I majored in Economics in college (very serious!) and went on to be a financial analyst for MGM Studios. It wasn’t until years later that I realized “serious” wasn’t for me. So I quit to pick up where I left off at age seven.
- How did you go about getting your first book published?
It was really really difficult! It took me five years to sell my first book. Actually my “first” book was never published. It’s still sitting on my shelf! I tried for three years to get an agent for that book and eventually started a new book that would become my first published novel. After five years, I finally landed my first agent and she sold my book in only 10 days! That’s the power of a good agent.
- What is your favorite book/ who is your favorite author?
Oh, my, I have so many! Here are some of my top 5 (in no particular order!)
ROOM by Emma Donoghue
THE MARTIAN by Andy Weir
READY PLAYER ONE by Ernest Cline
THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE by Jandy Nelson
THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins
Also, pretty much anything by Sophie Kinsella!
- If you could spend a day in one of your stories, which one would you choose?
Oh, what a great question! Not sure I’ve ever been asked for that! I would love to spend a day in UNCHANGED, the third book in the Unremembered trilogy. It’s a pretty scary world, but the technology is just SO cool (I’m a huge tech nerd, so it was super fun to invent all sorts of new gadgets). It’d be nice to spend a day there knowing I can escape!
- What is your favorite memory as an author?
I think every time the first copy of my latest book comes in the mail. I just received my first advance copies of A WEEK OF MONDAYS (which releases in August 2016) last week and it was truly an amazing moment. You would think by the ninth book, you’d be jaded and go, “Oh, cool” and then just toss the thing aside. But you don’t. Each book is more exciting than the last! I spend about twenty minutes just touching the cover, making sure it’s really real.
- Are any of your characters based on yourself or people you know?
Actually yes! I do this a lot, actually. I think picking characteristics from real people and inserting them into your characters help make them feel more real. I based one of the boys in MY LIFE UNDECIDED on a boyfriend I had in high school. He even has the same name and drives the same car as my ex did! And the funniest part was, I hadn’t spoken to this guy since high school and right when I finished writing the book, he Facebooked me out of the blue to say hi. It was really surreal. He must have knew on some level that I was writing about him.
- What do you do to overcome writer’s block?
I actually don’t believe in writer’s block! That’s how I deal with it. I think it’s a mental thing. When you believe yourself to be blocked, presto! You are! When you refuse to acknowledge that it even exists, it doesn’t. I actually wrote an entire blog post about this very phenomenon! You can read it here: http://www.jessicabrody.com/2014/03/the-condition-which-shall-not-be-named-5-tips-for-outsmarting-whisper-writers-block/
- Where do you see yourself in upcoming years?
Hopefully still writing! Seriously, if I can do this job for the rest of my life, I’ll be one happy camper.
- Can you tease any information about upcoming projects? If so, what?
Of course! I have four books coming out in the next two years! I’m so excited! Here’s what’s coming up:
BOYS OF SUMMER (April 2016): After spending nearly every summer together on the beautiful Winlock Harbor, three best friends—Grayson, Mike, and Ian—return to the island to discover they are each dealing with a personal tragedy that will test the strength of their friendship.
A WEEK OF MONDAYS (August 2016): After her boyfriend breaks up with her on the worst day of her life, sixteen-year-old Ellie finds herself stuck in the same horrible Monday over and over and decides to use her unique situation to attempt to save her relationship.
ADDIE BELL’S SHORTCUT TO GROWING UP (Early 2017): My first middle grade novel about a twelve-year-old girl, tired of her “immature” peers and eager to grow up, who makes a wish on a magic jewelry box to be sixteen and wakes up to find her entire life has been fast-forwarded four years. But she soon discovers a lot more has changed than she expected.
UNTITLED (Summer 2017): This one is still under wraps! I hope to be able to share information about it soon!
- What would you say to inspiring young writers?
Don’t be afraid to write badly. All writers have awful first drafts. That’s why they’re called first drafts. Sometimes you have to just get through the story before you can make it pretty. I think a lot of new authors quit halfway through the book because they’re afraid that it’s not good. The first draft won’t be good. Just finish it and fix it later. The hardest part about writing a book is getting to that last page. Don’t be afraid to write crap because crap makes great fertilizer.
COMING IN 2016!
Follow Jessica at the following links!
Thank you so much to Jessica for this great interview and I know that I will be reading her upcoming books!