Jessica Brody is the author of 52 Reasons to Hate My Father, My Life Undecided, The Karma Club, and the first two books in a new sci-fi/suspense/romance trilogy: Unremembered and Unforgotten. Her books have been translated and published in over 20 countries and several have been optioned for film and TV. Sometimes she wishes her memories could be erased so she could reread all her favorite books for the first time. She splits her time between California and Colorado.
1.What got you into writing / what made you sit down and actually start something? I read the book, Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding and it completely cracked me up. Until then, I hadn’t been a big fan of reading. Because everything I read was for school. I didn’t realize that books could be fun and entertaining and make you laugh! I remember reading it and thinking to myself, “I want to do that.” I want to write books that make people laugh and turn non-readers into readers. Just like that book did with me. I think that’s what started my yearning to be published.
2.What is a usual writing day like for you, how is it structured? Get up. Get dressed. Make coffee. Write 1500 words (usually takes me about 2-3 hours). Gripe to husband about latest story crisis. Listen to husband suggest ideas about how to solve latest story crisis. Shoot down everything husband has to say because it’s stupid and he doesn’t understand anything! Wait two hours. Realize husband is actually quite brilliant and his solution fixes everything. Apologize to husband for being a difficult, moody writer (and praise him for his brilliance). Eat dinner. Watch TV. Sleep. Repeat.
3.Do you get writers block? If so, how do you overcome it? I never use the term “writer’s block”…well, except right there. I’m a firm believer in the law of attraction. What you resist persists. What you focus on only gets bigger. If I went around saying, “Crap, I have writer’s block,” then yes, I would have writer’s block. If I refuse to even acknowledge the concept, then it doesn’t exist. And guess what? I’ve never had it. Of course, I get stuck from time to time as any writer does. To deal with it, I usually just mediate and tell myself, “the solution already exists; I just have to remember what it is.” By the time I wake up the next morning, the problem is almost always solved.
I wrote a much longer article with 5 specific tips on how to overcome writer’s block. Here it is!
4.Are you a plotter/planner when it comes to writing a story? I’m a huge outliner! I always outline before I start writing. I use a plotting method called Save the Cat, created by Blake Snyder. It’s amazing! It basically breaks down all stories into 15 beats and then teaches you how to create those 15 beats so that you have a well-crafted, engaging story that will resonate with readers. I never start writing until all 15 beats are in place.
5.What was the publishing process like for you,& any advise to aspiring authors? The publishing process was really really difficult! It took me five years to sell my first book. Actually my “first” book was never published. It’s still sitting on my shelf! I tried for three years to get an agent for that book and eventually started a new book that would become my first published novel. After five years, I finally landed my first agent and she sold my book in only 10 days! That’s the power of a good agent.
My advice to writers: Don’t be afraid to write badly. All writers have awful first drafts. That’s why they’re called first drafts. Sometimes you have to just get through the story before you can make it pretty. I think a lot of new authors quit halfway through the book because they’re afraid that it’s not good. The first draft won’t be good. Just finish it and fix it later. The hardest part about writing a book is getting to that last page.
6.What has been your highlight since becoming a published author? Definitely getting fan mail. It just makes my day when a reader likes my book enough to take the time to tell me about it.
7.Can you share a little of your most recent book with us? And any other books of yours, if you wish. I just released the second book in the Unremembered Trilogy, called Unforgotten. The Unremembered Trilogy is a little bit like the Bourne Identity, with an Inception-like twist. It’s a sci-fi/suspense trilogy about a teen girl who survives a plane crash but has no memories and no identity. She has to piece together the mystery of who she is with really only one clue: a boy who claims he helped her escape from a top secret science experient.
8.Apart from writing, what do you do in your spare time? What spare time? What is this phenomenon of which you speak?
9. What tip would you give to new authors when trying to build a fan-base / get followers and market their books? (What to do and what not to do.) You have to have a web presence. Website, Facebook Page, and Twitter profile are the essentials. Being accessible and visible online really helps you connect with readers. But be sure to separate your personal pages from your author pages. Keeping that separation is important for you and your readers.
10.What is the hardest thing about writing? The easiest part of every book I write is the beginning. I LOOOOVE set ups. I love setting up new worlds and characters and giving them all sorts of fun challenges and embarking them on great adventures. The hardest (and my least favorite part) is the middle (act 2 for all you screenwriters) when I actually have to deal with all these fun challenges and great adventures. I end up not only hating my characters and my story, I hate myself for setting up so many impossible storylines. Then by Act 3, all is forgiven and I’m back to loving everyone again.