Saturday, June 19, 2010

Interview with NY bestselling author Jessica Brody!

Jessica Brody!!
Thanks so much for allowing me to interview you, Jessica! Let's get started...
The Karma Club is a funny and engaging read! I literally couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. Where did the story idea come from?

This was definitely one of those ideas that just “came” to me. A friend of mine had told me some horrendous story about how a boy dumped her (I don’t even remember the story, I just remember it was infuriating!) and the entire time she was talking, I kept thinking, “Someone needs to do that right back to him. He can’t just get away with that. He needs a taste of Karma!” And then boom, the idea came to me. A secret society of girls who help each other out, dosing out Karma to those who deserve it when the universe is slow to do it on its own. And thus THE KARMA CLUB was born.
Of course, as soon as the idea came to me, I also knew that my characters would never be able to get away with it. Karma is a tricky thing. And you definitely don’t want to meddle with the universe!

Is The Karma Club part of a series? (Please say yes!)

LOL. Not as of yet. But I wouldn’t rule it out. I do have an idea on how to turn it into a series but we’ll have to wait and see how the first book does. Plus, I have so many other cool ideas I want to write too so I’ll have to prioritize!

Any obstacles during the writing process?

Aren’t there always!? For this particular book I remember how challenging it was to actually come up with good revenge schemes for the girls. When I first started writing, I thought that’d be the best (and most fun!) part, but it was actually the hardest. Let’s just say the revenge schemes changed a lot throughout the course of writing this book.

What aspect of writing has been the most difficult for you?

Act 2! Or the dreaded “middle.” Act 1 is my favorite. It’s the set-up. Everything is fresh, the character is new and fun and novel. You get to lay the groundwork for the story, build suspense, layer in complex plot points that will be resolved later. And then comes the Act 2. The heart of the story. Also known as “my nemesis.” The character is now totally grating my nerves, everything I set up in Act 1 absolutely sucks, I have no idea why I’m even a writer to begin with, I have the vocabulary of a five year old, all the “complex plot points” I thought I was setting up now actually have to be dealt with (yikes!) and I become nearly impossible to live with (my husband will second that.) And yet, somehow, incredibly, magically (as if little elves snuck in my house in the middle of the night and fixed everything that was wrong with my story), I finally arrive at act 3, the conclusion and then I’m like, “That wasn’t so bad. I don’t know why I was so freaked out!”

And then I start the next book and the cycle begins all over again!

What is the first thing you like to do when planning a new project?

I love coming up with opening sentences for my books. It’s my favorite thing to do with a new concept. Sitting down and brainstorming what the absolute PERFECT opening line for this book would be. I think opening lines in books are so important and I always appreciate a good one when I read it. I like to try and tie mine into the theme or title of the book somehow. For example, in The Karma Club the opening line is, “I can tell you right now, it’s all Karma’s fault.” I like how it kind of sets the tone for the book right off the bat.

You mentioned for every book you start, you use Blake's book Save the Cat. (BTW this is an awesome book, LOVE it! One of my faves.) Did you find it pretty easy/difficult to structure The Karma Club?

Isn’t STC the best??? Structuring books is always easy for me. Sticking to that structure is the hard part. And Karma Club was no exception!

How long did it take you to write The Karma Club?

The Karma Club, as with all of my YA novels, was pretty quick for me. I think I wrote the first draft in about three and a half months. My agent had a few edits before we submitted and then once we sold it I spent about 2-3 weeks revising per my editor’s suggestions and that was that! It always feels so much longer when you’re writing it, though, doesn’t it?

Rejection is usually a big part of a writer's journey. Did you face several rejections before selling your first book?

ABSOLUTELY! About four years’ worth! And technically I didn’t even sell my “first” book, I sold my second one! My first book, which shall remain nameless, was like my trial run. I started writing it about seven years ago and tried to sell it for two years and it never sold. Although I was fortunate enough to get tons of constructive criticism and feedback from my rejection letters. And most of them said, “too much voice, not enough story” so when I got an idea for another book, The Fidelity Files, I made sure there was TONS of story packed in there to avoid getting the same letters.

I wish the story ended there, but unfortunately, my life has never been that easy. I spent two more years writing and rewriting that book, trying to incorporate critiques and feedback from all the new rejection letters I was racking up, until I finally found an agent who wanted to sign me. Once I got the manuscript in the right place, my agent sold it pretty quickly. But it definitely didn’t happen overnight!

Your book trailer is so awesome! Rumor has it you were in the movie industry. Could you share a little bit about your background?

Thanks so much! I’m so glad you liked it! I was in the movie industry. I worked for MGM Studios for three years but I was on the business side of it. I was more of a numbers gal. I ran analyses and complicated spreadsheets to determine which movies the studio should acquire and how much they should pay for them. It was a really cool job that I enjoyed tremendously but my heart was always in writing so I left to pursue that. I still use my spreadsheet skills from time to time. For instance, I outline all my novels in Excel and use it to compute my daily word count quotas! Most writers think I’m crazy!

It's a given that The Karma Club will be a movie one day. It has to be! Any bites yet?

I’d love to see it as a film! We’ve had a few bites, some more promising than others. My agent is handling all that as we speak! Fingers crossed!

Any advice for aspiring writers?

Regardless if you’re a bestselling author with twenty books under your belt or you’re just starting out, writing is a craft that needs to be constantly honed. Try to write every day. Even if the stuff that’s coming out reads like a third grade book report. Sometimes you have to get the crap out in order to get to the good stuff. And sometimes, writing just to write is the only way to get a book done. Even if it means having to go back later and delete it all!
Where can we learn more about you?

Everything you want to know (and maybe even some things you don’t) can be found on my website:

I appreciate you giving us the opportunity to get to know you better!! Thanks so much, Jessica for taking time out of your busy schedule. You rock!! And so does The Karma Club!

Thank YOU! I’m so glad you liked the book! And thanks for the fun interview!


lynnmosher said...

Great interview, Mart! Thanks to you and Jessica!

Joyce Anthony said...

What a great interview!!! Thank you both!