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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Author Interview: Jackie Morse Kessler (Hunger)

Please welcome Jackie Morse Kessler, author of Hunger. Thank you for gracing my blog with your presence! I've heard great reviews on this book and can't wait to read it myself. Make sure you show some love to Jackie by commenting on this post. She just might sneak a peek. :) Also, she has written dark fantasy and paranormal adults books, so if you like that genre, head on over to her website (the link is below.)
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(Photo by Michelle Rowen)

Jackie Morse Kessler grew up in Brooklyn, NY, with a cranky cat and overflowing shelves filled with dolls and books. Now she’s in Upstate NY with another cranky cat, a loving husband, two sons, and overflowing shelves filled with dragons and books (except when her sons steal her dragons). She has a bachelor’s degree in English and American Literature, and yet she’s never read any Jane Austen (with or without zombies). She also has a master’s degree in media ecology. (The living study of technology and culture. Which is cool, but she still can’t figure out how to use Tweetdeck.) Jackie spends a lot of time writing, reading, and getting distracted by bright and shiny new ideas. (She just came up with a new idea right now.) She has a weakness for chocolate and a tendency to let her cat take over her office chair.

For more info on Jackie, visit her site(s):
-YA Website
-Adult Website
-Twitter
-Live Journal

Books on GoodReads:
-YA books
-Adult books
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Hunger (Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Book #1) by Jackie Morse Kessler
Reading Level: Young Adult
Release Date: October 18, 2010
Publisher: Graphia
Pages: 180

Summary:

"Thou art the Black Rider. Go thee out unto the world."

Lisabeth Lewis has a black steed, a set of scales, and a new job: she’s been appointed Famine. How will an anorexic seventeen-year-old girl from the suburbs fare as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse? Traveling the world on her steed gives Lisa freedom from her troubles at home—her constant battle with hunger, and her struggle to hide it from the people who care about her. But being Famine forces her to go places where hunger is a painful part of everyday life, and to face the horrifying effects of her phenomenal power. Can Lisa find a way to harness that power—and the courage to fight her own inner demons? A wildly original approach to the issue of eating disorders, Hunger is about the struggle to find balance in a world of extremes, and uses fantastic tropes to explore a difficult topic that touches the lives of many teens.

Coming Soon:

Rage (Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Book #2) - April 18, 2011
Loss (Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Book #3) - 2012
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Author Interview:

1) When did you first consider yourself a writer?

JMK:
Probably all the way back in 6th grade, when I would take our creative writing assignments a little too far. We’d be told to write a paragraph; I’d write an entire page. If we had to write a page, I’d write five pages. I loved writing. (And drawing. But I’m a better writer than I am an artist.) I didn’t actually feel like a published author until after my first novel was on the shelves and the second one was on the way.

2) What inspired you to write Hunger?

JMK
: I used to be bulimic. I’m not anymore, but I still have a pretty messed up self-image. It kills me to see so many other people go through something similar. Eating disorders aren’t glamorous; they’re deadly. They screw up our lives, and the lives of those who love us. I wanted to write something that would speak to all of that...with a paranormal twist. (I can’t seem to write stuff that isn’t paranormal. Every time I try, a ghost or a demon pop up.)

3) If you had to describe your book in one word, what would it be and why?


JMK:
Raw. What Lisa, the main character, goes through as an anorexic leaves her raw, exposed, and in great pain—mentally, physically, emotionally. And as Famine, she’s also raw in that she’s inexperienced. I did my best to capture all that in a limited amount of space. I don’t pull my punches in Hunger. Lisa constantly struggles with food. There’s one scene in which we see someone binge and then purge, messily, in the bathroom. It’s fiction, yes, but I tried to keep it honest.

4) What surprised you the most while you were creating Hunger?


JMK:
That would be the character of Death. I have no idea where he came from. He sort of pulled an Athena and sprung fully formed out of my head. I wasn’t even a big Nirvana fan before I started writing Hunger. Now Kurt is my personal muse; every time I hear Nirvana on the radio, I feel like it’s playing just for me. **grin** (After I wrote Hunger, my crit partner bought me the BEST present: a small statue of Kurt Cobain as Death. It’s perfect!)

5) Was it difficult writing about a serious eating disorder?


JMK:
Actually...no. I let myself go. This was a story I’d wanted to write for 10 years. When I finally gave myself permission to write it, the words just came pouring out. It was very cathartic. (The next book in The Riders’ Quartet, Rage, was the opposite—that book fought me from the start...which is appropriate, I suppose, when you’re writing about War. **grin** That book was the most difficult one I’ve ever written, but I’m very pleased with the result.)

6) Do you have any other projects you're currently working on?


JMK:
I’ll be reviewing the page proofs for Rage (a teen girl who self-injures becomes the new avatar of War). Currently, I’m working on Loss, the third book in the series (which, if it goes according to plan, will look at bullying, Alzheimer’s, and, er, Robin Hood).

7) Besides being a writer, what else do you like to do in your free time?


JMK:
“Free time”? Heh. That’s funny! I’m still figuring out how to clone myself. When I’m not doing my full-time day job or family/house stuff with my Loving Husband or my Precious Little Tax Deductions, I may be at tae kwon do, or reading, or watching Joss Whedon shows. (Or wasting time playing Angry Birds.)

8) What book are you currently reading?


JMK:
I just finished reading Jim C. Hines’ Red Hood’s Revenge. I love, love, love his Princess series! (You’ll never read the Brothers Grimm stories in the same way.) And I’m about to start A.S. King’s Please Ignore Vera Dietz, which will hit the shelves in October. I adored her debut novel, The Dust of 100 Dogs, and I’m positive Vera will be just as fabulous.

9) Do you have anything to say to all your present and future readers?


JMK:
A portion of Hunger proceeds will go to the National Eating Disorders Association — so if you bought a copy of Hunger, thank you for helping to make a difference! And a portion of Rage proceeds will go to To Write Love On Her Arms. Thank you in advance for being part of that too. And thank you for reading the books! (A whole lot of thanking going on!)

10) What's the most craziest thing you've ever done that you wouldn't dare share with others (besides us of course hehe)?


JMK:
Um. Well, not counting the time when I was 17 and didn’t have my driver’s license yet but “borrowed” my friend’s car without telling her (okay, “borrowed” it for two blocks, but still), or the time when I was 19 and my friend bet me $20 (or was it $50? Hmm) that I wouldn’t drink a concoction of leftover McDonald’s shake, ketchup and cigarette butts (I won the bet)...er. Nothing. I’m really quite boring. (Well, when I was a kid, I called California to try to talk to Matthew Laborteaux (what? I loved Albert on Little House on the Prairie) -- I was told he was “on the set” and couldn’t come to the phone. I was devastated. And that was before my parents got the long-distance phone bill.)

7 comments:

Casey (The Bookish Type) said...

KURT COBAIN IS DEATH?! That is so awesome!!!! I cannot wait to read Hunger! And I love that part of the proceeds go to help all those organizations. Great interview!

Christa said...

I'm so excited about this series! Thanks so much for the wonderful interview... and cigarette butts?!? Come on, now, that can't be healthy. : D

AtenRa said...

Bullying,Alzheimer's and Robin Hood??LOL, I can't wait to read Loss!
Loved both Hunger and Rage,Jackie Morse Kessler is an exceptional writer!
Thanks for the interview, Eleni :)

GMR said...

A cranky cat? LOL. The books shown certainly sound interesting...will be on the look out for them. The inspiration behind the book, though sad to hear is actually inspirational too....taking an experience like that and turning it into that can empower others, KUDOS to you! And double KUDOS for the portion of the proceeds being donated to a worthy cause. Wishing you much success...and thank Eleni for such an interesting interview! Happy reading....

Jacquelyn Wheeler said...

Great interview! Boy, do we have a lot in common. I can't wait to pick up your books!

Jackie said...

Thanks so much for the great comments, everyone! And Eleni, thank you for the interview. :)

Nely said...

I just read this and reviewed it myself. I really enjoyed it. I have Rage to read/review too. I can't wait to get started on it.

Great review, btw. :D

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