Wow. I'm so glad to be back!! I'm happy to say that everything is good again--crisis averted. Thanks to all for your understanding. It was a tough time, but also the kind of thing that gives me perspective.
I've decided, no matter how frustrating a rejection (or twenty) can be, I'm SO lucky to be a writer. So many people don't find the thing that they are meant to do. Whether I ever get published or not, I want to remember to be grateful. Nobody can ever replace the years I've spent discovering myself in the minds and hearts of the characters I write.
I'm also extremely lucky to have found so many other wonderful people who are taking this amazing journey with me. I missed all you guys!!
I also have an awesome "back to blogging" post today--my first author interview! *Cue cheering crowd!!*
My interview is with debut author, JESSA RUSSO, who recently released her first book, EVER. (How gorgeous is this cover?)
EVER is for any fan of paranormal romances. Before we begin, let me say that I was lucky enough to come across a couple great posts where Jessa chose a cast of characters. One was by by YA author, GWEN GARDNER, the other by NA author JULIANA HAYGERT. I hope Gwen and Juliana don't mind me including a couple of Jessa's casting choices to give you guys a visual while I tell you a bit about the book. Also, when you're done reading this, Juliana and Gwen both have really great blogs, so make sure to check them out!
So, without further ado—let’s talk about the characters and their crazy love lives. :) We have the somewhat innocent, yet spunky and endearing main character, Ever. I think any teenage girl could relate to Ever's thought process and I found myself laughing at her snark throughout the book. Ever has an impossible choice to make between her two love interests.
First, there is the mysterious, yet insanely-sexy-bad-boy, Toby. I had a lot of fun reading Toby's scenes. He's exactly the guy I'd have fallen for at seventeen. And really, what girl can resist the misunderstood tough guy who hides his heart under a smirking exterior?
Then, rounding out our love triangle, is my personal favorite, Frankie--The best friend/boy next door who is always there for Ever. The boy who makes her smile, who holds her hand through every bad situation, who always has a shoulder to cry on. The boy Ever has been in love with as long as she can remember, but who she'll never be with Why you ask? Oh—did I forget to mention that Frankie is a ghost?
And there you have a sturdy base to build from! Throw in a tablespoon of mystery, a quarter-cup excitement, a few dashes of danger, some pinches of snark, a teaspoon of tragedy and a couple cups of hot romance and stir. Let bake for a few stormy afternoons under the blankets and you have a recipe for pure fun!!!
And, now that you know a bit about EVER, allow me to present my interview with the amazing Jessa Russo. (Drum Roll)
Do you know what the next book in your EVER series will be called and about when it will be released?
I wish I knew! Unfortunately, the titles I had in my mind have been used recently. I had wanted to go with all singular “e” words, with the next book being EMBRACE. Since that title has been taken, I am back to the drawing board. The current title is EVER TWO. J
I am hoping to have release dates six months apart, so that’s my current goal. If all goes as planned, that will put EVER TWO releasing around the end of March 2013. Let’s keep our fingers crossed!
Describe Ever in five words.
Ever the character, or EVER the book? (Oops! My bad, I meant to qualify that I was talking about the character, but--luckily--Jessa guessed correctly)
I’m going to assume Ever the character.
Loving, trusting, intelligent, strong … and snarky. I don’t know many teen girls who don’t have a little snark. Do you?
Which one of your boys are you more attached to? Frankie or Toby? And why?
Toby. I don’t know why, really, but I think it’s more the idea of him, an idea I’ve always loved – the dark, “bad boy” that really isn’t all that bad, and just needs a good girl to break through the walls. I’ve always been a fixer – the kind of girl who thought she could get to the root of the problem by loving someone enough. Unfortunately, after many bad relationships, a heart that’s been broken a million times, and even an abusive relationship, I found that you can’t fix the broken boys. But I do still love the idea of it. So I think that’s where Toby came from, and that’s why he’s my favorite of the two guys.
But truthfully, they are both examples of what I love in guys; the “bad boy” in Toby, and the loyalty in Frankie, and both equally hot in different ways. Ideally, I’d combine the two into one perfect guy, but we’ll save that for another story.
Do you have a favorite scene (non-spoiler) from Ever?
I love Ever and Toby’s first kiss. I think that is something I miss about my youth, and I love that YA books let us feel all those feelings again. The excitement and butterflies that go with kissing someone for the first time are something I don’t have anymore – I’ve been with my husband for 10 years! Being able to feel that anticipation while writing (or reading) a good first kiss scene is one of my favorite parts of the experience.
What inspired the idea for EVER?
I have no idea. ACK! I know that’s not the answer people want to see, but it is the truth. EVER began as a story about a lot of ghosts. The MC (Ever) lived in a home that was almost like a stop-over point for the dead, though a few of the ghosts were sort of stuck there. One of those ghosts was an eighteen-year-old from the 50’s, which is where Frankie’s demeanor, pet name for Ever, and smoking habit originated. (Back in the 50’s, smoking wasn’t quite so frowned upon.) Eventually, through many revisions and changes, EVER became the story it is today – a girl in love with her best friend, who happens to also be a ghost stuck in her home. The car accident that caused Frankie’s death came into play because of one of my all-time favorite songs – Last Kiss by J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers, though most of us are more familiar with the Pearl Jam version. I was listening to it one day and pictured Frankie and Ever. Their last moments together played out in my mind, and I knew that was the way their story was supposed to end. (Or start, depending on how you look at it.)
Do you believe in ghosts? Have you ever had a ghostly experience?
Yes and yes. Though I can’t really explain what I believe exactly. I’ve had too many strange situations to not believe. Like thinking I see our cat walking through the kitchen, or smelling cigarettes in a home where no one has ever been a smoker. My friend’s house used to get this citrusy smell from time to time, and she could find nothing to blame it on. Little things like that, that a cynical non-believer would try to explain away, but I tend to believe it’s something we just don’t fully understand. Does that make sense?
I know that you are the acquisitions editor at Curiosity Quills. Is it hard to balance that with writing your own books?
Yes, lately it has been hard to balance. But I am not willing to quit either aspect of my life, so I will find a way. I’ve never been very good with managing my time, so I am learning as I go and trying to make it all work. And hey, if life would slow down around me, I might actually stand a chance! Lol
If you could pick one song as a theme song for EVER, what would it be?
There would be three. I can’t pick just one! I’m sorry!
Toby’s is probably These Days by The Black Keys.
Ever’s song is Dark Paradise by Lana del Rey.
Frankie’s song is Last Kiss by J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers.
I know that you like to paint. Do you have a picture of anything you’ve painted that you could share with us? Do you ever paint scenes from your book?
I don’t really paint scenes – from my book or otherwise. I wish I could. I don’t feel like I have that kind of talent. What I do paint is children’s room décor. I used to have a company called Bella Inspired, a little home-based business run by me and me only. I enjoyed it until it became overwhelming. It was kind of a catch 22 – I wasn’t making enough money when work was slow, but when work picked up, and my customer base grew, I didn’t have the time to do all the orders I was getting. So I finally had a lot of orders, and some of the income I’d been hoping for, but with all of that came so much stress it made me hate painting.
Jessa was kind enough to include a couple of her recent paintings, thereby showing that she's talented in many areas. (I'm just a little jealous) ;)
And there you have it!! So, tell me-- how cool does Jessa sound?? I LOVE that she's open--minded enough to believe in ghosts. I too am a believer!! I actually once lived in a haunted house. Laugh if you will, but I swear it is true. However, that's a story for a whole other day! I also think it's really cool that she works at Curiosity Quills. I'm actually a little sad that I didn't get a chance to learn more about that, but I had too many questions about it to fit into one interview, so maybe some other time. haha. Anyhow, I hope you guys had as much fun learning more about Jessa and EVER as I did!!
Meanwhile, have any of you read EVER or anything by the other authors over at Curiosity Quills? What did you think of it?
If you haven't stopped by, make sure to check out their website. They have a ton of cool books and they're taking submissions.
And, if you have any questions for Jessa (or me) feel free to ask!!