The time it was about a heart

Posted April 21, 2015 by Stacee in Signings / 0 Comments

I had planned on seeing Jessi Kirby at FoB, but that didn’t happen. Her launch party date had always been on my calendar and since Awesomeboss doesn’t care when I leave work, I took the trip to Newport Beach. I got up to the store around 3:30. I was able to find the books pretty quickly, but no one seemed to know where the event was actually going to take place. With time to kill, I found a chair and just hung out.

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Keiko was also attending the event, so we met up and hung out before hand. By 5:30, the event area still wasn’t set up and the various employees couldn’t tell us where it was going to be. Around 5:45, they set up chairs and a table next to the escalator. By then, Jessi had already walked by and chatted with us for a second.

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John Corey Whaley came out to introduce Jessi.

I know that she’s a very prolific writer. On the surface, they look like romance, but they’re so much more than that. And now Jessi will give her elevator pitch.

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JK: In one sentence it is a heart transplant love story.

JCW: The greatest thing is that it goes so far beyond a love story. It’s not only about loss and rediscovery, but about human connection. It’s a very unique quality.

What interested you in writing this story?

JK: When a family chooses to donate, you only get a few things. State and gender and the organ. That’s about it. Colton has lived his whole life in and out of the hospital and he wants to close that chapter of his life. The heart is held up as something that’s much more than a muscle. It’s where we attribute love and feelings. {there was a lot more to this}

JCW: I’m a huge fan of Moonglass and the feeling of loss is in both books. Is the amount of disconnect a theme that you keep going back to?

JK: I always get asked if I’ve experienced loss and I haven’t. It’s such a catalyst and a great place to start.

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And now that’s all the special questions I have.  Let’s open it up to you guys.

What are your tips for revision?

My editor is extremely thorough. She writes me 42 page revision letters. I do very little revision beforehand. If I’m unsure of something, I’ll read it out loud. On a bigger level, what is the main thing you want to say in each scene and are you accomplishing it?

Out of all four of your main characters which do you identify most with?

The person asking that is my sister and she already knows the answer to this. It’s Parker from Golden. She’s the good girl who doesn’t do anything wrong and it was fun to see about breaking the rules.

How long did it take you to write?

About a year.

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Did you talk to people who had transplants?

This is Zeke and he’s amazing. While doing research, I found an article that was about Zeke and how he was on the transplant list.  He was put on the top of the list because of a stroke. When he was out and doing well, I sent him a message and he was so sweet and answered all of my questions. No matter what I asked, he answered.

What do you do for writer’s block?

Just do something entirely different. Like watch tv.  I don’t do that a lot, but it’s nice to turn everything off.  I’ll usually go for a run. If I’m on a deadline, I’ll go back to where the story feels good and then I can usually find where it goes wrong.

{This question had something to do with the towns the books are set in, but I didn’t hear it}

I love the beach and I have a thing for the water so I always tend to work that in.

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What authors inspire you?

Judy Blume. Later on, I was introduced to Sarah Dessen and thought maybe I could write stories like that.

Favorite authors?

John Corey Whaley, Sarah Dessen, Jennifer Niven, and Jandy Nelson.

How do you read something while your writing?

Honestly, I don’t read a lot. If I’m working, I’ll read non-fiction for research.

How similar are the books from what you envision?

The first draft is just crap. By the time it’s a finished thing, it’s pretty close, but maybe it’s a little morphed.

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Did you have anyone in mind for Colton?

No. He was just himself.

After that question, there weren’t any other questions from the audience.  Jessi thanked everyone for coming {by then the crowd was standing room only} and the signing started.  There wasn’t anyone there to monitor the crowd, so we walked up to the table first.

There weren’t any markers set out for Jessi, so we had to wait for her husband to get her purse so she could grab her own.  I offered one of mine, but she wanted a black one and I only had hot pink or teal.  I gave her my book and she thanked me for driving up from San Diego.

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She also handed out little prizes {which turned out to be keychains with crystal hearts}.  After chatting with Keiko for a couple minutes, I headed out to battle the drive home.

As always, Jessi was adorable and her words are magic. If you get a chance to meet her, do it.

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