Jessica Brody broke on the fiction scene back in 2008 and is quickly becoming a go-to writer for novels that spark YA readers to un-put-downable late nights. We’re fortunate to get a glimpse of how she got here and how she works it onto the page.
We’d like to thank her for taking the time to be part of our “5 Minutes Alone” interview series.
AuthorScoop: What was your very first publication credit?
Jessica: Well, I wouldn’t call it a “credit” necessarily but my first “publication” was when I was seven years old. My second grade teacher had us “publish” our short stories using cardboard, electrical tape and wallpaper. Here is a picture of mine. (attached). It was called “The Puppy and the Kitty” (not the most creative title, I realize) and it came complete with illustrations. It was about a puppy and a kitty who ran away from home and got the chicken pox. So I guess the moral of the story is obvious. Don’t run away from home or you WILL get the chicken pox.
AuthorScoop: Tell us about your latest release.
Jessica: MY LIFE UNDECIDED was a very fun book to write. It’s about a fifteen-year-old girl, notorious for making terrible decisions, who enlists blog readers to vote on how she should live her life. But she soon discovers that some things in life simply aren’t a choice…like who you fall in love with. It’s mostly a comedy…with a little bit of serious stuff baked in.
AuthorScoop: Aside from your own hard work, who (or what) else do you feel has contributed to your success?
Jessica: I owe much of my success to a very wise man named Blake Snyder. He wrote a book called SAVE THE CAT!: THE LAST SCREENWRITING BOOK YOU’LL EVER NEED. And although it’s a screenwriting book, it works wonders for outlining and plotting novels as well. It’s really all about story and Blake lays out 15 essential beats that make up any great story. Since I started using it to outline my books, I’ve sold eight novels. And I don’t think that’s a coincidence.
Blake recently passed away (which was a great loss), but his company contacted me to teach workshops about how to use his method to write novels. It’s called the SAVE THE CAT NOVEL-WRITING WORKSHOP. You can find more information about them here:
AuthorScoop: At what time of day or night do you do your best writing?
Jessica: Morning for sure! I run out of creativity at about 2:00 pm. So I save my more mundane tasks for after lunch and try to get my daily word count done first thing when I wake up. Before getting sucked into emails and twitter!
AuthorScoop: Finally, what advice would you give to new or unpublished writers?
Jessica: “You can’t fix a blank page.” I can’t take credit for this brilliance, though. It’s a quote from Nora Roberts. But I have hanging on my wall above my computer so I can always see it. It’s absolutely the best writing advice ever! Sometimes you’ll get stuck, sometimes you’ll write crap, but no matter what, you just have to keep going. Keep writing. Even if you end up throwing it all away at the end. Because more often than not, you have to write through the bad stuff to get to the good stuff. And you can always go back and revise later. But you can’t revise something that’s not there!
MY LIFE UNDECIDED is available at bookstores and her website makes getting to online retailers for it just too easy. Find Jessica on Facebook and Twitter to track a rising star in contemporary fiction.