I’m very excited to welcome Jackie Morse Kessler to The Book Swarm today! She’s the author of the young adult series, Riders of the Apocalypse, which includes HUNGER, RAGE, LOSS (out March 2012), and BREATH (out in 2013). Welcome!
The main characters in your Riders of the Apocalypse series deal with some serious issues (including anorexia, cutting, and bullying). What kind of response have you gotten from your teen readers?
It’s been phenomenal! I’ve been getting email from readers who tell me that they understood what the characters went through, that they themselves have been going through it or are still struggling with it. Some readers have told me that my books have helped them better understand what they or a friend/girlfriend/boyfriend have been going through. One reader recent told me that after reading RAGE, she realized that she wants to take control of her life and stop cutting. To my readers: YOU ROCK OUT LOUD, each and every one of you!!!
What are some of your favorite reads from 2011 (so far)?
The two that stole my breath (so far; the year isn’t over yet): EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS by A.S. King and GHOST STORY by Jim Butcher. And I read the Tiffany Aching series from Sir Terry Pratchett this year, which I loved.
As many gear up for National Novel Writing Month, any advice for teen writers?
Lots of people say they’re going to write a book, but few people actually start the writing. Even fewer finish. Don’t psych yourself out of the process. You can’t fix what you don’t write! The best piece of advice I ever received was from author Martha O’Connor. She said, “Write like there’s no one watching.” Do it for yourself. Do it for the story. And do it without worrying if it’s good enough. YOU CAN DO IT!!!
How do you refill your creative well?
Sometimes, I have to walk away from writing. LOSS, for example, took me 22 drafts before I though ti was right — and then my editor had me do a revision. I needed a break after that! Now, before I start writing BREATH, I’m taking notes — basically, one idea per page — and leaving it at that while I start to figure out how I’m going to connect all those ideas.
But my big go-to in terms of stirring the soup? Listening. Seriously, just listening. Sometimes, the idea is already there, just trying to come out, but we drown it out with What We Should Be Writing. Feh on that!!!! The best ideas come to me when I’m in the shower or when I’m driving. Listen to those ideas! Write them down! (And celebrate new ideas with quality chocolate!)
Amen! And thank you so much for stopping by!
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