We are really proud today to have Jackie Kessler here. She’s one of the authors of The Icarus Series and book 2, Shades of Gray will be released on June, 22nd. You can read my review here. Jackie also offers a wonderful Giveaway so stay tuned and please give her a warm welcome.
Jackie Kessler: Hi, Susi! Thanks so much for interviewing me.
The Geeky Lover: Jackie, can you please tell us a bit about yourself?
Jackie Kessler: I write about demons, angels, the hapless humans caught between them, superheroes, the supervillains who pound those heroes into pudding, witches, ghosts, vampires, and the occasional Horseman of the Apocalypse. On a more personal note, I’m five feet tall (on a tall day) and a Sagittarius with a weakness for chocolate. I’m married with two young kids, one very old cat, and a house in upstate New York.
The Geeky Lover: Describe a typical day of writing. Are you a planner or pantser?
Jackie Kessler: I tend to get most of my writing done very late at night, after the kids are in bed. When I’m really in the groove, Loving Husband will give me a kiss goodnight, and I’ll tell him that I’ll be right there because I’m going to bed…but then I don’t actually go to bed for two more hours. Oops. I also get a lot done on the weekends (thank you, Loving Husband, for taking the kids out to run errands!).
I’m more of a pantser than a planner…but I still need to plan the basic storyline. Part of this is because proposals require a synopsis of the entire book before you write the whole book. But part of it also is that I like knowing “This happens at point A and this happens at point B” — but how the characters get from point A to point B is all a mystery until I write it.
And then there are the times when I have a synopsis, and about one-third of the way through writing the book, I throw out the synopsis because the story has gone in a completely different direction.
The Geeky Lover: What do you think is the difference between a reader and a real Book Lover?
Jackie Kessler: A reader goes to the bookstore to buy the latest book. A real Book Lover goes to the book store and buys the latest book, then goes home, unplugs the phone, cancels plans, and sits in a favorite chair to read the book right away.
The Geeky Lover: You write the Icarus Project series together with Caitlin Kittredge. How did you two decide to that? Who’s idea was it?
Jackie Kessler: We both came up with it. We’d wanted to collaborate on a superhero story almost from the moment we first met and discovered our joint love of comic books and superheroes.
The Geeky Bookworm: Tell us a bit about the series.
Jackie Kessler: BLACK AND WHITE is a dystopian superhero novel about a hero called Jet, who works with shadows, and her former best friend, the villain called Iridium, who works with light. Each woman is convinced the other is part of a sinister plot to destroy the world. And one of them is right. SHADES OF GRAY, the sequel, picks up three days after BLACK AND WHITE ends.
The Geeky Lover: Why did you choose superheroes? Are you a longtime comic fan?
Jackie Kessler: Absolutely. I used to read comics every week with my dad, from the time I was 8 until I went to college. I still pick up comic books once in a while, but nowhere near as much as I did when I was growing up. Batman and Spider-Man were a huge part of my childhood.
The Geeky Lover: If yes, which one is your favorite?
Jackie Kessler: The Sandman by Neil Gaiman. Runner up: Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons.
The Geeky Lover: Tell us a bit about the new book, SHADES OF GRAY.
Jackie Kessler: The story starts three days after the end of BLACK AND WHITE. The United and Canadian States of America are in chaos because the extrahumans — those born with super powers — are no longer under the control of Corp-Co., and many have gone “rabid” — meaning they have gone crazy and are hellbent on destruction. Only a handful of heroes like Jet remain to rein in the rabids and wannabe villains. An anti-hero group called Everyman has been turning people against the few remaining heroes, and Iridium breaks her father and his cohorts out of jail. If all of that isn’t bad enough, the sociopath known as Doctor Hypnotic returns. And then things get really dangerous.
The Geeky Lover: In SHADES OF GRAY, you don’t only write out of Jet’s POV but also Angelica’s, Night’s and Garth’s. Was it hard to write the different POVs?
Jackie Kessler: Actually, no. It was fun getting to switch POVs. Jet was influenced by Night, but the two are very, very different characters. And Garth was something completely different.
The Geeky Lover: Tell us a bit about Jet. She has a soft spot for romance?
Jackie Kessler: Yes, indeed. She loves romance novels because those always end in a happily ever after. And Jet knows all too well that in real life, that rarely happens. So she enjoys escaping reality for a little while and curls up with a good romance. Jet had been in love once, when she was a teenager, so she knows what it means to love — and to lose that love.
The Geeky Lover: Did you have a special method to come up with the superhero names?
Jackie Kessler: Hee!!! Those are a blast, especially the over-the-top names. They’re very much based on whatever power the extrahuman has. When I decided the hero would work with shadow, she had to be called “Jet.” Caitlin wanted her villain to work with light, so we picked “Iridium,” a chemical element. Iridium works with “light heat” in the book.
The Geeky Lover: Will there be future books in that series? Or are any spin off books planned?
Jackie Kessler: We sold BLACK AND WHITE in a two-book contract. As for any others, that remains to be seen.
The Geeky Lover: Now can you tell us 3 reasons why people should read your books?
Jackie Kessler: Sure!
Hell on Earth series: Sex, strippers and demons — what’s not to like?
The Icarus Project series: for those who always wanted to be a superhero…or beat the snot out of superheroes.
The Horsemen of the Apocalypse series: magical realism novels that deal with serious issues (HUNGER is about an anorexic teenage girl who becomes the new Famine, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse).