Enjoy the interview and make sure you enter the contest! Oh and keep a look out for Jackie's new YA novel. It looks very nice!
Amber - Welcome to Amberkatze's Book Blog! It is great to have you here as a guest! Could you start things off by telling us a little about the Icarus Project?
Jackie – Thanks, Amber! I’m happy to be here. :)
The Icarus Project is the dystopian superhero series that I write with Caitlin Kittredge. I write in the point of view of Jet, the superheroine who works with Shadow; Caitlin writes in the point of view of Iridium, the supervillainess who works with Light. I’m the tortured hero; she’s the evil genius. Of course, she gets all the great lines. ;)
Amber - It has been a year since Black and White came out. Now Shades of Gray, book two, is finally here! What can readers expect from the new instalment?
Jackie – More battles, more points of view, more history and much more danger.
Amber - How did the Icarus Project come about? Was it your idea or Caitlin's? ;)
Jackie – Actually, we both came up with it. We’d agreed way back before either of us had been published that one day, when we both had book contracts, we would collaborate on a superhero story, since we both grew up reading comic books. So in April 2007, after Hell’s Belles was published and she’d sold Night Life, we started thinking about what we jokingly called Project Spandex. And after brainstorming and such, we wrote Black and White in 10 weeks.
Amber - What is it like working with Caitlin? Or even writing with another author? It must be weird after writing alone?
Jackie – Very different, yes. But it’s awesome. We’re on the same page when it comes to the story, and the gist of the characters. Because we wrote in rotating POVs, there was very little worry about who had creative control: we both did. We both offered suggestions/changes on each other’s chapters, but ultimately, it was up to each of us to decide what changes in our own chapters to make.
Amber - So how does the writing process work? Do you each write a different character? Or write back and forth?
Jackie – Yes to both. :) We rotated chapters/points of view. In Black and White, we literally went back and forth with the chapters; she’d write a chapter and send me the manuscript; I’d write the next chapter and send her the manuscript, etc. About halfway through, we created NOW and THEN sections for better flow. And about 2/3 of the way through, we created one-line summaries of all upcoming chapters to ensure we were tying everything up.
It was a little different for Shades of Gray because of timing and other deadlines. When I had more free time, I wrote a number of chapters, and then when Caitlin got the manuscript she’d write the chapters in between. But it was the same basic idea: I wrote my sections, and she wrote her sections, with both of us keeping the overall story in mind as we wrote.
In Shades, I wrote in the POV of Jet, Angelica, Night, and Garth; Caitlin wrote in the POV of Iridium, Vixen, and Luster/Arclight.
Amber - Black and White was very different to anything you or Caitlin have written before. Did you always want to write something for younger readers? Do you prefer superheroes to the paranormal?
Jackie – We didn’t write the books aiming specifically for teens, but we both agree that teens and adults who love superhero comics would probably love Black and White and Shades of Gray. (That being said, my debut YA novel, HUNGER by Jackie Morse Kessler, hits the shelves in October 2010 — that’s about an anorexic teenage girl who becomes the new Famine, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Caitlin’s debut YA, THE IRON THORN, comes out in February 2011. Preorder your copies now!)
It’s not a question of preferring superheroes to paranormal. It’s a matter of flavor. Some days, I want chocolate covered pretzels; other days, I want mint chip ice-cream. Both are yummy. But they’re not the same. :)
Amber - How long will the Icarus Project last? Have you both decided on an ending or will it keep going till something makes you stop?
Jackie – We sold Black and White in a two-book deal to Ballantine Spectra. What happens after Shades of Gray remains to be seen.
Amber - I really loved your Hell on Earth series. Are we likely to see anymore from Jezebel? Are you working on any other projects?
Jackie – Thanks! There’s lots of Hell going on. Right now, I’m serializing the fourth book, Hell to Pay, on my website every Tuesday, I’m posting a new chapter. This will go through the last Tuesday in December 2010. Completely free. Enjoy!
There will also be four new Hell short stories coming out in 2011, including “Hell’s Fury” in The Mammoth Book of Hot Romance and “Hell Bound” in Those Who Fight Monsters. I’ll be posting this on my website after everything has been finalized. And the third book, Hotter Than Hell, will be reissued as a mass market paperback in September 2010. (Daun!)
As I mentioned before, my debut young adult novel, Hunger, comes out in October 2010. The second book of The Riders’ Quartet, Rage, will come out in spring 2011. I’m currently working on the third book, Loss.
Amber - How do you pick the names for your characters? Do they have any special meanings?
Jackie – Usually. Jezebel...well, how could I not name a succubus Jezebel? Jet was named for her power over shadows. The main character for Loss, Billy, was definitely picked for a reason that I can’t get into. :)
Amber – A lot of authors have 'soundtracks' for their books. Is there any music influenced your books?
Jackie – Oh, I love music, especially with the Hell books. If you’ve read The Road to Hell, there’s a scene where Jesse summons the demon Daunuan. As I wrote that scene, I played Depeche Mode’s “Pimpf” again and again to help me with the mood. There’s actually a Music section in the Hell portion of my website, which gets into some of the music I use in the series.
No music for me for the Icarus books, and very little for Hunger. But for Rage? Yes indeed. Lots of Nirvana, among other songs.
Amber - What have you been reading and watching lately?
Jackie – I’m reading a whole bunch of things. I recently finished Shannon Delany’s 13 to Life, which I adored. Ditto Jeri Smith-Ready’s Shade and Stacey Kade’s The Ghost and the Goth. The multi-talented Michelle Rowen’s The Demon In Me was fabulous. I’m eagerly anticipating A.S. King’s Please Ignore Vera Dietz, as well as Heather Brewer’s Twelfth Grade Kills. And next year, look for Ty Drago’s The Undertakers.
Lately, I’ve been watching episodes of Angel back to back.
Amber - There are alot of online sites taking up peoples time lately. Are you on Facebook or any other sites? Do you think the sites are useful or do they just take up too much of your time?
Jackie – I’m on Twitter pretty frequently, and that updates my Facebook status. I blog consistently at the Deadline Dames every other Tuesday. I try to blog on my own sites, but lately it’s been tough finding the time.
Amber - If you could be any paranormal creature, what would you be and why?
Jackie – That’s easy: I’d be a god. (Clearly, as an author, I have a god complex as it is...)
Amber - And what superhero powers would you want? Or would you be a villain?
Jackie – This changes daily. Today, I’d have the ability to fly, because I think that would be awesome. And as much as I’d love to be a villain because they get the cooler clothing and the better lines and seem to have a lot more fun...I’d probably be a hero. (Sigh.)
Amber - Thank you so much for being a guest on Amberkatze's Book Blog! I hope you will come back again ;)
Jackie – Thanks so much, Amber!
Jackie is very kindly giving away a copy of BLACK AND WHITE.
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