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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Author Interview & Contest with Jackie Kessler

This week one of my author guests is Jackie Kessler. Well known for her 'Hell on Earth' series starring succubus Jezebel, Jackie has also teamed up with author Caitlin Kittredge to produce a very unique series. Black And White was the first book about the Icarus Project and now Shades of Gray is about to be released. Superheroes are back in fashion and any comic book fans will love these books.

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!


Contest Time!

Jackie is very kindly giving away a copy of BLACK AND WHITE.

How to Enter

Tell us who your favourite Superhero is!

No Superhero = No Entry

Earn more entries for each place you link this contest on the net. You can post on Facebook, Twitter & MySpace but make sure you add links here for me to confirm your entries! However please do not make individual postings for each entry. Please post all your info in one post.

You can also earn extra entries by emailing your friends about the contest. Just make sure you send a copy of your email or receipt to me at Amberkatzes_book_blog at gmx dot net.

Make sure you post your links here so I can confirm your entries.

Keep the contests going by using the Bookdepository.com links/Banners below and around the site!

The Book Depository

The contest will stay open until Sunday 27th of June 2010 4pm CET and the winner will be picked by a randomizer. Entrants should check back to see if they have won. I do not hunt down winners and will pick new winners for any prizes not claimed within 7 days.


LSUReader said...

My favorite superhero is Spiderman. Thanks for an interesting interview.

Christa said...

Oh no! I have to pick a favorite?!? I love Gambit because he's from New Orleans & has a pretty awesome superpower & of course, there's always Wolvie & Spidey. But my favorite? Probably Psylocke. She's British, got purple hair, & has some of the coolest powers ever. : D

Fun interview. As you can tell, I love superhero stories, so I really need to pick up Black & White one way or another.

ambience.of.rain {at} gmail.com

Barbara E. said...

My favorite superhero has always been Daredevil. I don't have very good eyesight, so I always thought it was cool that this man who was blind could be a superhero.
I'm looking forward to checking out Jackie and Caitlin's books.

jlewis5150 said...

I'm gonna have to say my favorite superhero is Underdog.


Bethany C. said...

Hmmm- I'm going to go with Emma Frost. She could have just sat on her inheritance, but chose to make her own way in big business (even though many of her methods go beyond shrewd.) Shout out to Spidey for my husband on Father's Day!

shared on fb- http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/profile.php?id=1625972197&v=wall&story_fbid=126478130720644

and twitter- http://twitter.com/bcardoo79/status/16633929417

emmad said...

I'm going to be boring and go with Superman ;)
Mainly because I've not been exposed to a large number of superheros.

Chel said...

My favorite superhero is... Iron Man! I dunno why but I really like the guy DX He's even the first movie I watched -in cinema- for the past 5years.

Vickie said...

My favorite superhero is Wonder Woman.

tetewa said...

Peter Petrelli from Heroes! tWarner419@aol.com

Martha Lawson said...

My favorite hero is Superman!!

mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

donnas said...

I still love Batman. Its really the recenter movies that have done it. But he is my favorite. And he has a dark side to him too.

Link - http://donnasbloghome.blogspot.com/2010/06/contest-links-for-620.html
Sidebar - http://donnasbloghome.blogspot.com/

bacchus76 at myself dot com

Lisa Richards/alterlisa said...

My favorite super hero is Wonder Woman cause if every mom didn't have a little wonder woman in her she'd never survive.


alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

Ladytink_534 said...

I've always liked Batman because he has the best villians! Poison Ivy, The Joker & Harlequin(♥), and Catwoman are awesome :)


Margay Leah Justice said...

My favorite superhero is Wonder Woman for the way that she empowers girls of all ages.

cait045 said...

My favorite superhero is Batman. They have been my favorite movies to watch.

SandyG265 said...

My favorite superhero is Superman.

Persephone said...

My favorite superhero is Batman, because he is so dark and brooding. Haha!

patronus89013 at yahoo dot com

k_sunshine1977 said...

for me, it's a tie between spiderman (because he's not the most suave of superheroes) and batman (because he's only human like the rest of us and because he embraces his dark side)

k_sunshine1977 at yahoo dot com

Jen D. @ Not Now...I'm Reading! said...

Great interview Amber. My favorite superhero will always be Storm. There's just something about being able to manipulate weather that intrigues me.

Thanks for the giveaway!


Anonymous said...

My favorite superhero is Jean Grey.


Kimberly B. said...

Great interview! I'm a bit behind on my comic book reading, but I have always been a fan of Wonder Woman. Not only is she strong and feminine, but she's an Amazon, and I love Greek myth!
Thanks for the terrific contest!

jellybelly82158 said...

I favorite superhero would have to be Wolverine. I love that wildness in him

Deowolf said...

I have to go with Hawkeye. While no actual superpowers, he's honed his body to perfection and uses a long bow...too cool.

Thanks for the chance to win...looking forward to it.

Anonymous said...

My favorite superhero is Storm from x-men. Awesome interview!


All This Silence... said...

Superman has always been my favorite superhero.

Kt Clapsadl said...

My favorite superhero would have to be Joanne, The Archer from the Zodiac Series by Vicki Pettersson.




Unknown said...

This is a very hard decision, but I guess that I will have to say Gambit.

AngelGoneMad said...

I have to pick one superhero..hmm that's tough!

I think it would have to be Rogue and Elektra (she is mad with those knives).

I have linked this contest in my side bar here.

shoutnaomi at googlemail dot com

matt and elisabeth said...

My favorite superhero has always been Rogue.


Anonymous said...

My favorite superhero has to be Wolverine. He's just your average human with a body of metal and retractable claws. Nothing out of the ordinary, right? :) And he loves his bikes too.

Spav said...

I've always loved Spiderman.

Tweet: http://twitter.com/Sparima/status/16894529229
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SiNn said...

humm super hero fav tough call

ok honestly id have to go with Gambit and Rogue from theXmen yes they both are heros

if i have to pick someone else well i couldnt becuse they rock

Kathy said...

I have always loved Superman the best. I really liked Batman for a while but I am back. Superman you'r the best.

Giada M. said...

One of my favorite superhero is Batman!*-*
Thank you for the interesting interview and this amazing contest! Please enter me if it is international. :)

Giada M.

SandyG265 said...

My favorite superhero is Superman.

clynsg said...

My favorite superhero is Spiderman--just think of all he can do with those web fibers!

cgclynsg0 at gmail dot com

Ina said...

oh I love Daredevil too :)
Jackie, thanks for a great interview!

Calliope said...

Batman. Hands down, no contest, Batman. I just love that he's human, with no actual super powers. Yes, ok, so he's a billionaire and agile and well trained and has a trillion-squared gadgets and accessories...but he doesn't have super-speed or super-strength or invincibility or a magic ring. He can't fly or read minds or pass through walls or anything like that. He's just human. And he still kicks ass, catches criminals, saves lives, saves the world and is every bit as great as Superman or Wonderwoman or Flash or Green Lantern.

And, gods, what a mind!

Chris J. said...

Love the question and the interview :)
My fave super hero is and I don't know if it truly counts but it is what I am going with,
"Zena, The Warrior Princess."
I named my yellow lab Zena, she is so royal, love her!
Thanks Jackie and Amber!

Llehn said...

Batman because he's dark and broody :D

Jessica Louise said...

My favorite superhero would be Batman, because he has that real mysterious side to him that you want to get to know and I love the gadgets he has.

I've tweeted...

I've facebooked...

Thanks for entering me. :)

Anonymous said...

I too grew up reading superhero comics and I still love them, so I have a lot of favorite superheroes. My top three favorite superheroes are probably Batgirl, Catwoman, and Zatanna. My three favorite male superheroes are Nightwing, Batman, and Superman (and Spider-man, too, on the Marvel side!).

wookieecookie7 at sbcglobal dot net

Melanie Montgomery said...

Im all for women superhero's and empowerment..but Im a MAJOR Batman fan!


Tyhitia Green said...

Thanks for the contest. My favorite superhero is Storm. :-D

Meredith said...

My favorite superhero is Superman! Nothing wrong with a guy who can save the day!

meredithfl at gmail dot com