1. Jessica after writing two successful commercial fiction books for adults, The Fidelity Files, and Love Under Cover, what made you decide to write YA?
I like to say I didn’t choose YA, it chose me! I never even had a second thought about writing it. But when I came up with the idea for THE KARMA CLUB, at first I tried to plot it out as an adult novel and it felt all wrong to me. Then I started to think about it as a story about teens and suddenly it all started to fall into place. Of course, I had no idea how to write a teen novel. So I started reading a bunch of YA fiction to get a feel for the genre and I fell in LOVE with it. I then wrote out 50 pages of the story, showed my agent and asked, “Am I even close to the mark here?” She read it, liked it and told me to keep going with it. She said I had a “natural YA voice.” I think that’s code for “you’re still 17 at heart” (which I still feel!). I’ve been writing exclusively YA ever since!
2. Can you tell us a little about your new book, My Life Undecided?
I can tell you a lot! Haha. But I’ll stick to the elevator pitch. MY LIFE UNDECIDED is about a fifteen year old girl, notorious for making bad decisions, who enlists the help of the online blog reading population to make her decisions for her and 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.
3. How did you get the idea for writing it?
This book was definitely one of those “aha!” moments that I hear writers talk about. My husband and I were watching TV, an ad for a reality show came on and I said, “Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a reality show where you could vote on what the characters did. As in, “who they went out with?” or “Whether or not they forgave their backstabbing best friend.” Like American Idol meets The Hills. We both agreed although it would be cool, it wouldn’t be practical from a production standpoint since they shoot those reality shows months before they air. I was not deterred though. I said, “Fine, I’ll write it as a book,” and then marched up the stairs and in ten short minutes, wrote a page-long synopsis for what would become MY LIFE UNDECIDED and sent it to my editor. She wrote back right away saying that she loved it and the book was born!
4. The main character in My Life Undecided has a real problem with making decisions. Do you have a hard time making decisions, and what’s one decision you would put on the blog to let everyone decide for you?
GREAT question! I often do have a hard time making decisions. I second guess EVERYTHING. But in the end, I just have to remind myself to go with my gut and not look back. If it was a mistake then the best I can do is learn from it and move on. Life would be so boring without mistakes! As for the blog, I would love to post a poll for every time I have to choose something to wear for an event or special occasion. I’m SO fashionably inept. It would be so cool if I could just upload my entire wardrobe and then have my blog readers piece together outfits for me. That would make my life SO much easier!
5. What’s up next for you, are you working on anything beyond your next YA novel, My Life Undecided?
Ooh, I have TONS of fun stuff in the works! Some I can talk about and some I can’t…YET! My next book is called 52 REASONS TO HATE MY FATHER. It will be released in Spring 2012. I just finished all the edits. I’m so excited about this one! It’s about a spoiled teen heiress, famous for her partygirl antics and tabloid headlines, who’s forced by her ever-absent mogul father to take on a different low-wage job every week for a year, if she wants any hope of receiving her trust fund. I had SO much fun writing that one. And it was recently optioned for film! So fingers crossed it actually gets made! How cool would that be?
And right now I’m working on the first book in a new sci-fi trilogy I just sold called UNREMEMBERED. It’s about a sixteen year old girl who wakes up amongst the wreckage of a devastating plane crash with no memories. She's forced to piece together her forgotten past with only one clue to her identity-- a mysterious boy who claims she was part of a science experiment 100 years in the future.
6. If you could have dinner with any fictional character who would it be and why?
Um, okay, I’m going to have to say Edward Cullen. Because…well, yummy! ‘Nough said.
Thank you Jessica for taking the time. And here's a little peak of what My Life Undecided has to offer. Remember My Undecided Life is released on 7th June.