|Photo by Michelle Rowen
We are very happy to welcome author Jackie Morse Kessler to Book Lovers Inc today. Her debut novel in the Young Adult Genre Hunger was released yesterday. It’S the first book in Her Horsemen of the Apocalypse series and definitely isn’t your typical YA book. Please give her a warm welcome. And please be sure to stay tuned till the end…I’ve got a little surprise for you.
The Geeky Lover: Jackie, can you please tell us a bit about yourself?
Jackie: As Jackie Morse Kessler, I write about the occasional Horseman of the Apocalypse. HUNGER is my first book for teens (thus the pseudo-secret identity of “Jackie Morse Kessler” instead of just “Jackie Kessler,” under which I write adult urban fantasy.) 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: If you weren’t a writer, what would you love to do?
Not a writer? I’m afraid I don’t understand the question.
The Geeky Lover: Which Young Adult novels you read had the most impact on your life?
Jackie: Laurie Halse Anderson’s SPEAK and John Green’s LOOKING FOR ALASKA showed me just how powerful YA novels could be. Ellen Hopkin’s IMPACT showed me just how creative the written word could be. And Holly Black’s TITHE showed me that we don’t need to pull our punches just because the audience is not adult.
The Geeky Lover: Why did you decide to start writing Young Adult novels? What is their appeal in your opinion?
Jackie: I didn’t set out to write a YA novel; HUNGER turned out that way. That being said, I think YA is a fabulous category, one that wasn’t around when I was a teen—books basically went from children’s (middle grade) right to adult. It’s terrific that there are so many books centered around teenage protagonists who go through things that teens relate to personally.
The Geeky Lover: On your website I discovered your Post Mortem page. It’s a online “radio” show where death interviews the fictional character of other authors. How did you come up with that idea? (And the man on the pic: is that Kurt Cobain?)
Jackie: On my other website I have a segment called Cat and Muse in which the demon protagonist of my first series, Hell on Earth, interviews the characters of other authors. I came up with that idea way back in 2006. So it seemed like a good idea to do a similar segment on the JMK site, where Death (who, yes, looks exactly like Kurt Cobain in my books) interviews the characters of other YA authors.
The Geeky Lover: Your new series combines the life of young adults with the tale of the horsemen of the apocalypse. Tell us a bit more about the world your books are set in.
Jackie: The books are much less about the Horsemen and much more about the issue that the teen protagonists face. In HUNGER, that issue is eating disorders; in RAGE, the issues are self-injury and bullying. The books are closer to magical realism than to urban fantasy or dark fantasy. Ultimately, the Horsemen symbolize how we choose to destroy ourselves…and how we can save ourselves as well.
The Geeky Lover: What can we expect of HUNGER?
Jackie: The book takes a hard-hitting look at eating disorders. It doesn’t pull any punches; some of the scenes are graphic. But I felt strongly that it was important for people to really understand what anorexics and bulimics go through every day. It’s not an easy story. But it is an honest one. And, ultimately, a positive one.
The Geeky Lover: Your heroine Lisabeth is suffering from anorexia and her new “job” is to be the Famine part of the Apocalyptic Horsemen. Tell us a bit about her?
Jackie: Lisa is seventeen, and she’s convinced that she’s fat. She thinks that if she can get to the perfect weight, everything will finally be okay. She doesn’t see how she’s pushing away the ones who care about her. And she definitely doesn’t see the harm she’s doing to herself. All she knows is she’s bitterly unhappy. The book opens with her interrupted suicide attempt. (Death comes knocking. Er, ringing.)
The Geeky Lover: Anorexia is a big problem in today’s beauty orientated society. What do you think young women can learn from your story?
Jackie: It’s not about being thin. It’s about being healthy. None of us is perfect; even super models get Photoshopped. Be proud of yourself for who you are instead of hating yourself for what you’re not. And no matter what, you are not alone.
The Geeky Lover: Which Horsemen will be the next focus in the second book in your series and can you tell us a bit about it?
Jackie: The next book, RAGE, is War’s book. A teen girl self-injurer becomes the new avatar of War, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
The Geeky Lover: What is next on your schedule? Anything else we should keep our eyes open for?
Jackie: I’m currently writing LOSS, the third book in The Riders’ Quartet. Meanwhile, on the adult end of things, I have Hell short stories in THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF PARANORMAL ROMANCE 2, THOSE WHO FIGHT MONSTERS, and AFTER HOURS: TALES FROM THE UR-BAR. And I’m serializing the fourth Hell novel, HELL TO PAY, on my JK website until the end of 2010.
The Geeky Lover: The mean questions: (<===because we love to torture our guests *wink*)
The Geeky Lover: Can you summarize your book (and/or series?) twitter style (140 characters or less)?
Hunger: An anorexic teenage girl becomes the new Famine, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
The Geeky Lover: Now can you tell us 3 reasons why people should read your books?
1. I’m donating a portion of proceeds to the National Eating Disorders Association, so if you buy the book, you help make a difference.
2. The more people understand eating disorders, the more we can help support those who are suffering with eating disorders.
3. Death sings. Who’d want to miss that?
The Geeky Lover: If you were forced to only read books by ONE author for the rest of your life who’s books would it be?
Jackie: So cruel! But it would have to be my god of writing, Neil Gaiman.
The Geeky Lover: Thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions.
One lucky commenter will win a copy of Hunger Shipped by The Book Depository.
All you have to do is ask Jackie a question or leave a meaningful comment about the interview.
Please leave us a way to contact you
(email in blogger profile or twitter name- no way to contact you – no entry).
This giveaway is open to everywhere Book Depository ships!
Giveaway ends on Saturday, October 30th and we will announce the winner on Sunday.