Interview with YA Author Jessica Brody!

 Before I get into the actual blog post, I just want to say: This is my 200th blog post! Yay! The day before my blog turns one year old! I am so excited and happy about this :) What a milestone!

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So many of you may have noticed that in the last few months, I’ve been really getting myself out there: as a book lover, as an author, as a book blogger and I’ve had the opportunities to meet some really cool authors.

And the best part about going out there and meeting all these authors is that I’m not just meeting authors that I already know and I love, but I’m getting to meet new authors and discover new authors.

One of the authors I’ve had the seriously pleasure in meeting is Jessica Brody.

I had heard of her book, Unremembered, mostly because she started a blog post sort of thing where authors wrote about an event in their life that they’d like to “unremember”. One of them was Meg Cabot, who is one of my favorite authors EVER and it intrigued me on Jessica’s books. Then not soon after, I went to WonderCon and there was a panel entitled, “Writing for Teens and Tweens“, which is what I’m doing! I had to go!

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Jessica Brody was there, and she was super funny and super helpful in her advice and I was really excited to meet her later. She signed a bookplate for me for my own copy of “Unremembered” and I practically rushed home to finish it. Then I was lucky enough to meet her once more a couple weeks ago at the Ontario Teen Book Fest! And I must admit, when she remembered who I was and said “Oh, you’re the girl from WhatANerdGirlSays”, I was SO happy. I felt super cool :)

So, I asked her if she’d like to do an interview for WhatANerdGirlSays and she agreed! So here is the awesome interview that I was lucky enough to do with Jessica Brody.

And check out her books: Unremembered, My Life Undecided, The Karma Club, 52 Reasons to Hate My Father and more!

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You can find Jessica Brody at:

Website

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook

GoodReads 

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Sara: What inspires you to write your stories? Where do you get the ideas for them?

Jessica: I get my ideas from everywhere, really! Mostly just observing people and the daily life around me. For instance, I got the idea for 52 REASONS TO HATE MY FATHER when I was watching a meter maid write a parking ticket and I thought, “It would be cool to be a meter maid, but only for a week.” And then I started to brainstorm all the other jobs I’d only want to do for one week. That led me to think, “Who is the funniest person to have to take on a different job every week?” The answer was instant: A spoiled heiress. And the idea was born!

UNREMEMBERED came when I read a newspaper article back in 2009 about a teen girl who was the sole survivor of a plane crash, instantly I had a fantastical idea of why she survived. That idea turned into a trilogy.

Sara: When I was a kid, I was convinced that I was going to be a dolphin trainer at Sea World. It wasn’t until high school that I realized I wanted to be a writer. Did you always want to be a writer, or did you have other career aspirations? 

Jessica: The short answer is yes, I always wanted to be a writer. Although it took me a long time to figure that out. 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 later that I realized “serious” wasn’t for me. So I quit to pick up where I left off at age seven.

 (Side Note: I totally realized that I wanted to write when I was in 4th grade because of a similar story! Check out my story on The Urge to Write’s blog here) 

Sara: Where do you come up with names for your characters? I’ve always used a ‘baby name book’, but do you have a different method?

Jessica: Haha. I do the same! NameBerry.com is my new favorite name website. They have these really cool name lists like, “Names for Girly Girls” or “Romantic Names.” Or “Fantasy Sounding Names.” I LOVE those lists.

I also collect cool names. I travel a lot for my books and whenever I meet someone who has a really cool name, I’ll write it down and store it for later. Then when it’s time to write a new book, I get out my list and see if any of them fit.

Sara: I know that as a writer, I get a lot of inspiration from the books that I read because I’m a BIG reader. What are some of the books you like to read? What books inspire you? 

Jessica: I’m inspired by any book that I can’t put down and that I feel like I “live” in (you know, when you think about the book even when you’re not reading it?) I read mostly YA (I just feel like all the good stories are told in the YA genre these days!) I love reading sci-fi and recently I’ve gotten into fantasy.

 Sara: What are some of your favorite things that you like to do in your spare time, besides reading and writing?  

Jessica: Spare time? What’s that!? Haha.

The spare time that I do have is usually spent catching up on my favorite TV shows and playing with my dogs.

I know, not very exciting, is it?

Sara: What are some things that we have to look forward to?  

Jessica: Oh, so much! LOL! Book 2 in the UNREMEMBERED trilogy will be out next March. It’s called UNFORGOTTEN and I’m gearing up to start writing book 3, which is currently called UNTITLED. Haha! I think I might keep that title. It has a nice ring to it.

Sara: What is the future like for Sera and Zen in the sequels to Unremembered?  

Jessica: Well, I can’t give away too much because anything I say might be a spoiler for those who haven’t read book 1 (which as you know, if you have read it, has a HUGE twist at the end!)

But I will say this:

Throughout the rest of the series, Sera will constantly be searching for answers about her past and the people who made her who she is. Also, the threats that exist in book 1 only get bigger in books 2 and 3 and with each story, Sera will have to step it up a notch and grow as a person and a human being if she wants to survive. Which, I think, is the point of any story worth telling.

Sara: When Sera wakes up from the plane crash, she has to relearn the world, as if from the very beginning. Was that difficult to write? 

Jessica: This was extremely difficult to write. Probably the hardest aspect of the book. How do you give someone a personality when they are virtually a blank slate? It was a very fine balance between staying authentic to her circumstances (severe amnesia) and creating an interesting character to read about.

Seraphina is like an alien visiting our planet for the first time. Anything an alien would find foreign about our world, she finds foreign too. That was kind of how I got into the mindset.

Sara: What is one question that you wish an interviewer would ask you? How would you answer that question? 

Jessica: TOUGH QUESTION! I love when interviewers ask questions that make me think about my motivations for writing things a certain way and make me question my own story.

Today at a school visit, I was asked a question by a student who’d read THE KARMA CLUB. She asked if a character who gets hurt in the book had purposely hurt himself? I never even considered that possibility! I was surprised and thrilled that someone had seen the story in a new way that I hadn’t yet seen. And I admit, given what happened to the character, I could see how he would have possibly hurt himself intentionally. Those kinds of questions, that make me rethink my own story, are so much fun to get!

Sara: What is your favorite part of being an author?  

Jessica: Fan mail and meeting readers! It’s so rewarding to know that people are out there reading and liking your book. And liking it enough to actually tell you about it! It really makes my day! As authors, we spend so much time by ourselves, locked in our little writing caves, we forget that there are people out there being affected by our books. It’s so nice to be reminded of that. It makes me feel like all my hard work that goes into bringing a book into the world is worth it in the end.

Sara: And I ask this question to anyone and everyone I interview so I hope you’re okay with it :) Who would you say is your fictional crush? 

Jessica: My latest crush is Augustus Waters! Oh man, he’s just too charming and ridiculously adorable.

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I hope you all enjoyed my interview with the wonderful and lovely, Jessica Brody. Definitely check out her books; they’re super fun and awesome. The sequel to Unremembered will be coming soon, which I am very excited about!

Check out my review for Unremembered here.

And come back tomorrow to celebrate my blog’s one year birthday and find out about the epic giveaway!

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