Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Women Who Rock Wednesday: Jessica Brody!

Hello my lovely blog readers... hopefully there are still some of you out there after I posted in fits and starts for the past nine months and mostly about writerly angst. (Though also about some rather important, writerly things too. If you missed my post in response to The Wall Street Journal's awful article about YA Fiction over the weekend, please do check it out here.) But I promised I would bring the Women Who Rock Wednesday interview series and I wasn't lying. I've got stuff lined up at least every other week for a while and we are kicking it off with a bang with the fabulous Jessica Brody, who is here to tell us all about her new YA novel MY LIFE UNDECIDED.

This is Jessica:


And finally my friends, the first Women Who Rock Wednesday interview since November. Yes, there will be a quiz contest at the end.

Q: Please tell us what your new book is about and what inspired you to write it.

Jessica: MY LIFE UNDECIDED is about a fifteen-year-old girl, infamous for making terrible decisions, who enlists the help of her blog readers to decide how she should live her life. The idea came to me while my husband and I were watching TV. An ad for a reality show came on and I said, “Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a reality show where you could vote on what the characters did. As in, “who they went out with?” or “Whether or not they forgave their backstabbing best friend.” Like American Idol meets The Hills. We both agreed although it would be cool, it wouldn’t be practical from a production standpoint since they shoot those reality shows months before they air. I was not deterred though. I said, “Fine, I’ll write it as a book,” and then marched up the stairs and in ten short minutes, wrote a page-long synopsis for what would become MY LIFE UNDECIDED and sent it to my editor. She wrote back right away saying that she loved it and the book was born!

Q: If there was a soundtrack for your book what are five songs that would be on it and how do they relate the story?

Jessica: Although there’s no official soundtrack for this book (yet!), all of the music that’s featured in the book trailer I specifically chose because of how well it represented the character and the story.

There are two songs in particular in the trailer that I think are just perfect for this book. The first is “Be Original” by Savannah Outen. It’s a great song. This book has an important message about self acceptance and I think this song really captures it. The other song plays at the end of the trailer. It’s called “Here We Go” by Josh Golden and I think it really represents the leap of faith that my character has to make at the end of the book in order to take back control of her life.

Q: Who were some of your inspirations to become a writer or the inspirations that keep you writing? Feel free to include other authors, teachers, parents, or people in other creative fields, whoever is an inspiration to you!

Jessica: I guess I would say my second grade teacher inspired me to become a writer. I’ve always loved writing but she was so supportive of me and always encouraged me. I remember how other teachers used to tell me that my handwriting was too sloppy because I wrote too fast and that I needed to slow down and take the time to form the letters correctly. But she was exactly the opposite. She told me to just write and let it all come out and worry about the handwriting later. To this day, it’s still great advice. When I’m in a writing flow, I never stop to correct spelling or grammar, I just keep going and remind myself that I can always fix it later.

Q: Even though music plays in so heavily into my storytelling, I rarely can actually listen to it while I'm writing. Can you? How does music fit into your writing process?

Jessica: I discovered rather quickly that I can’t listen to music while I write because the lyrics distract me. Actually anything that doesn’t have a constant sound distracts me because every time the music changes or the beat changes, I get pulled out of my “zone.” About two years ago, however, I discovered that I could listen to something called “white noise” tracks. I found one that’s just the constant sound of a waterfall and I started listening to it while I write. Now I can’t write without it!

Q: What is next for you? What are you working on now?

Jessica: Ooh, I have TONS of fun stuff in the works! Some I can talk about and some I can’t…YET! My next book is called 52 REASONS TO HATE MY FATHER. It will be released in Summer 2012. I just finished all the edits. I’m so excited about this one! It’s about a spoiled teen heiress, famous for her partygirl antics and tabloid headlines, who’s forced by her ever-absent mogul father to take on a different low-wage job every week for a year, if she wants any hope of receiving her trust fund. I had SO much fun writing that one. And it was recently optioned for film! So fingers crossed it actually gets made! How cool would that be?

And right now I’m working on the first book in a new sci-fi trilogy I just sold called UNREMEMBERED. It’s about a sixteen year old girl who wakes up amongst the wreckage of a devastating plane crash with no memories. She's forced to piece together her forgotten past with only one clue to her identity-- a mysterious boy who claims she's not from this time.

Q: I have two questions that I always ask my Women Who Rock, the first is a two-parter. What was the first album you bought and the first concert you attended? Be honest, we don't judge, we like to see the roots of our women who rock!

Jessica: The first album I bought was Paula Abdul’s Forever Your Girl. I bought it on my tenth birthday after my parents gave me my very first CD player. I was so excited because “Straight Up” was my favorite song on the radio. And the first concert I attended was actually Debbie Gibson! My best friend in elementary school got us tickets and backstage passes. We never got to meet Debbie herself but I remember going backstage and seeing all these teen celebrities (like Winnie Cooper from the Wonder Years!) and thinking how cool it was.

Q: Tell us about your biggest rock star moment, perhaps it's a moment of real success in your career, a time when you met someone super cool and had that Wayne's World "I'm not worthy" moment, or just a time where you felt like you got the rock star treatment. I get a huge variety of answers for the questions, so it's pretty much whatever "rock star moment" means to you!

Jessica: Well, I’m still waiting for the one rock star moment that I’ve been hoping to happen since my first book was published. And that is for someone to recognize my name and go, “Hey, didn’t you write The Karma Club?” Or something like that. It’s yet to happen! But I’d have to say my biggest “rock-star” moment so far was when my name and picture was published in Variety a few months ago. It was an article about a film option for my upcoming sci-fi series called UNREMEMBERED. I used to work at MGM Studios and Variety would be delivered every day to my desk. It’s like the film world bible. So to see my name (and picture!) in there was totally surreal! I have the article hanging on my wall.

Today's Contest:

After hearing more about it, I'm guessing you want MY LIFE UNDECIDED and you are in luck! Jessica is offering up a copy!

Please note that due to postage costs, this contest is for US/Canada residents/mailing addresses only.

To enter all you have to do is leave a comment. However you can gain additional entries:

+1 for tweeting or posting on facebook about this interview
+1 for tweeting or posting about MY LIFE UNDECIDED
+5 for blogging about MY LIFE UNDECIDED

Note your additional entries in your comment as well as giving me an email address or some way to contact you if you win. I will be drawing the winner on June 22nd when I bring you another lovely gal who rocks, Elana Johnson!


Erika Lynn said...

Love how you were inspired for this book! I often want to tell people on reality tv how to live their lives! Thanks for a great interview

jpetroroy said...

Sounds like such a fun book. Very topical!

jpetroroy at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

I'm so excited to read this book!!

Lena said...

Awesome interview! This book sounds like so much fun! I love that it's about a blogger who does what her followers tell her to do.

And thanks for the giveaway!

*crosses fingers and hopes*


throuthehaze said...

Sounds like an interesting book :) Thanks for the giveaway!
throuthehaze at gmail dot com

Mitzy said...

I LOVE Jessica Brody's "A" books and can't wait to get my hands on this newest creation of writing creativity!

+2 for two tweets =)