Halloween Interview with EVER author, Jessa Russo!
First, I'd like to take a moment to say Happy Halloween, Blessed Samhain, to my friends that have the freedom to celebrate today. For those unaware, I live in NYC, and while we have electricity back in my neighborhood and my family and I are alright, it's still one hell of a mess here, lots of property destroyed, and even more terribly, some lives have been lost. My heart goes out to those that are not faring well in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
However, I have had a standing obligation with one very lovely and talented author from the Curiosity Quills Press clubhouse, Jessa Russo. Therefore, I threw my husband off the computer and here we are. Now, unfortunately, Jessa and I live on opposite coasts and thus, nailing down a time to do a real-time chat wasn't going to be easy, so we had to make do with emailing Q & A back and forth. But I still like the answers the wonderful Ms. Russo provided :)
(Here she is, very sunny, right? ;D)
1. What does a typical day in the life of Jessa Russo look like?
Well, let’s see … weekdays: I get up with my husband every morning, regardless of what time it is. So depending on his schedule that day, it could be 3am, 4am or 7am – or any time in between. My favorite time to wake up during the week is probably 6ish or so, because that gives me plenty of time for working/writing before having to take my daughter to school. I make coffee, I let the dogs out, I sit down at the computer and start trying to catch up with emails and such. Before I started working in Acquisitions, I would use this time to write. As soon as I figure out how to juggle ALL THE THINGS, I will use my morning hours to write again. Once I have the kiddo off to school, I spend the next hours of the day working on answering interview questions, checking in with blog tour hosts, checking my reviews on Goodreads (even though I KNOW I shouldn’t), and reading submissions. (As soon as the EVER Blog tour is over, there will be less of the tour-related stuff, and more reading and writing. Yay!) Eventually I pick my kiddo up from school, and sit in the living room with her while she does her homework. I use this time to read more of my submissions. Hubs comes home at some point – we eat, watch TV, head to bed early. We’re the oldest couple of 32-year-olds you’ve ever met. Lol! Weekends are chaotic and we are almost always on the go. If we are not on the go, we are probably doing something around the house, in which case my husband turns into what I lovingly refer to as “Captain Homeowner” and attacks his long list of projects. Sometimes he even makes me attack them too. Hmph.
GM: Lmao. My hubby and I are only 2-3 years older than you guys, but we feel the same way. XD
2. How did you come to realize you wanted to be an author?
When I picked up TWILIGHT a few years ago, everything changed for me as a reader. I began dreaming about the characters, and would find myself in a constant half-asleep state during the night. I would be working on the story in my head, subconsciously changing it and morphing it into something else. Eventually, I realized that this was my brain’s way of telling me to write. So I did. I’d never had such a strong reaction to a book before and really haven’t since – except for my own books, of course, which are obviously also in constant movement in my mind.
GM: I hear that a bit, actually. Now, admittedly, I'm not a fan of Twilight (a fact of which I make no secret), but it has inspired many wonderful writers to pick up the pen, so I suppose you just gotta take the good with the bad.
3. Was there support from friends and family when you voiced your passion for writing?
Yes and no. My close friends and family were very supportive, but I also think some of them thought I’d just picked up a hobby. I’m sure you know as well as I do how many of us have always wanted to write a book, but so many of us never do. My dad had the same dream, but life kept getting in the way. Or maybe he allowed life to get in the way because of fear of rejection or failure. I don’t know. I think that people assumed I was just doodling, or writing in my free time because I was a bored stay-at-home mom. Once the book seemed to actually be going somewhere, and milestones were reached, I think it became a bit more tangible to them and not just a pipe dream. But even after I’d signed my contract with CQ, I still had friends apologizing for not taking me seriously. But it didn’t bother me then, and it doesn’t bother me now. I would have been skeptical as well, to tell you the truth, and the person I was writing for was me, not them. So even if all of this hadn’t come to fruition, I didn’t really need anyone to acknowledge it as much as I needed to continue to believe in myself and remember my end goal.
GM: Yeah, lol, I was skeptical, too. Still would be, so I'm glad you, A.K Morgen and Lisa Collicut all got to dip your toes into the I did, XD, that really has helped to set my nerves at ease.
4. My favorite question: Why the paranormal genre?
What else is there? ;-)
Honestly, I can’t imagine writing much else. I am obsessed with paranormal, and think every old building should be haunted. I love cemeteries and ghost tours, vampires and anything else unknown. It’s also what I love to read, so it seems only natural that I write what I know and love.
GM: Good point ;D
5. Are there any true-to-life paranormal experiences you might want to share?
Well, I have had many “experiences” which could be because I am open to them, or because I have a very overactive imagination. Probably the latter, but who knows!? I think the most vivid experience I had was in a friend’s home in Laguna Beach, CA. It was probably about 15 years or so ago – maybe a bit less – and she lived in this awesome old house. It had two sides to it, like a duplex, and no one lived in the other side, but she and her roommate had a key for some reason I can’t recall. Anyway, she knew how much I loved spooky stuff, so she took me over to that side for a tour. I didn’t last more than ten seconds. I was instantly in tears, and had the worst feeling I can remember ever having. It was cold and musty and just felt so wrong, that I couldn’t stay in there. Later that night, I woke up to see a man’s image in front of me. He was resting an elbow on the bed, with his head in his hand, STARING AT ME while I slept. I flipped out (obviously), waking her up in the process, and of course, with the light on there was no one there. But I will never forget how terrified I was – overactive imagination or not.
GM: I don't think it was an overactive imagination, but that's for personal reasons that others might think is just my overactive imagination (see corresponding blog post here)
6. You recently released your first book, "Ever" (the first in a trilogy). I have to ask, how did it feel the first time you held a copy of that work in your hands?
AMAZING. It finally felt real. I can’t even put it into words that do the feeling justice.
GM: *Wistful sigh* I'll bet :)
7. How did you come to sign with Curiosity Quills Press?
Long story short – I entered a contest hosted by Sharon Bayliss (another CQ sister) back in May 2012. I was a runner up, and submitted the first three chapters to an editor at CQ for critique. That editor was Krystal Wade. That three-chapter critique turned into a full request, and that full request turned into a contract – all in a week’s time.
My advice to unpublished writers? Enter EVERY contest. I know they are horribly difficult to endure, and I know that with every contest you don’t win, you feel closer to giving up, but don’t. Take a minute to cry it out, scream a little, whatever! Then enter the next contest you can find. You just never know.
GM: Awesome advice. NEVER GIVE UP, NEVER SURRENDER!! . . . Oh, wait, that's Galaxy Quest . . . .
8. Is there any feeling or idea, in particular, which you would hope your readers are left with as they reach the back cover? Other than "I need to read the next one!" XD
Haha, yeah well, aside from that one obviously! Lol! I hope they feel torn between Toby and Frankie because they love both boys equally. I also hope they feel like they can believe in love and follow their hearts the way Ever tries to do – even when making the wrong decision. I also want people to remember that it’s never too late to chase their dreams.
9. Any estimate as to when readers might expect Book Two?
I am *hoping* for March 2013. Hoping.
GM: Alright, readers, start sending Jessa supportive thoughts & vibes!
10. Last, but never least, seeing as this is All Hallow's Eve, any special plans for Halloween?
Well, we went to an adults only Halloween party two weeks ago at a friend’s house. I was a dead mobster, but my cement shoes plan didn’t quite work, so all I had were bullet holes. Bummer. For actual Halloween night, we will be doing the trick-or-treating thing with our daughter. Halloween changed quite a bit for us when we became parents. No more all-nighters in Hollywood, or Halloween spent in New Orleans – we go door to door now, or at least stand on the sidewalk to follow her door-to-door. Not that I could handle an all–nighter in LA anymore anyway! Ha!
GM: Yes, Halloween 'fun' changes definitions when you have kids, but it's still good, if you can, to be able to have some grown up time, too.
I want to say thank you to Jessa Russo for being so patient with me, since we agreed to this interview a while ago, and it took me SO long to get the questions to her. Jessa is the author of the YA Paranormal Romance, Ever (The Ever Trilogy, Book One).
Seventeen-year-old Ever’s love life has been on hold for the past two years. She’s secretly in love with her best friend Frankie, and he’s completely oblivious.
Of course, it doesn't help that he’s dead, and waking up to his ghost every day has made moving on nearly impossible.
Frustrated and desperate for something real, Ever finds herself falling for her hot new neighbor Toby. His relaxed confidence is irresistible, and not just Ever knows it. But falling for Toby comes with a price that throws Ever’s life into a whirlwind of chaos and drama. More than hearts are on the line, and more than Ever will suffer.
Some girls lose their hearts to love.
Some girls lose their minds.
Ever Van Ruysdael could lose her soul.
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