Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Interview with NY bestselling author Jessica Brody

I'm thrilled to introduce my next guest star: JESSICA BRODY. Welcome Jess!

Let's get started *rubs hands together in excitement*

What is the first thing you did when planning to write My Life Undecided?

The first thing I do with every book is “beat it out.” That sounds kind of violent, but I promise you it’s not. I use a special storytelling structure technique from a writing book called SAVE THE CAT. The structure is called the Blake Snyder Beat Sheet (Blake is the author of the book and a master storyteller!) “Beating it out” simply means sitting down to figure out what the 15 essential beats (or plot points) of the story will be. It’s very similar to an outline.

LOVE STC!! I think it was you who introduced it to Alyson Noel and her to me. So thankful you did! I refuse to write another book without it.

How did the idea for My Life Undecided come about?

This book was definitely one of those “aha!” moments that I hear writers talk about. My husband and I were watching TV, an ad for a reality show came on and I said, “Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a reality show where you could vote on what the characters did. As in, “who they went out with?” or “Whether or not they forgave their backstabbing best friend.”

Like American Idol meets The Hills. We both agreed although it would be cool, it wouldn’t be practical from a production standpoint since they shoot those reality shows months before they air. I was not deterred though. I said, “Fine, I’ll write it as a book,” and then marched up the stairs and in ten short minutes, wrote a page-long synopsis for what would become MY LIFE UNDECIDED and sent it to my editor. She wrote back right away saying that she loved it and the book was born!

my life undecided

How long did it take you to write it?

The first draft only took about three months to write, which is pretty normal for me. Then my editor gave me some notes for a second draft which took a few weeks to implement. Then there’s about 2-3 months of really intense editing where the editor goes line by line and marks up your book with red pen. It always makes me feel like I’m back in elementary school!

Any writing tips? Writing rituals that helped you get going?

Yes! I always have to write in the same place, drinking the same coffee and eating the same pastry. Something about the repetition gets me in to writing mode. I actually did a whole blog post about it “How To Trick Your Brain into Writing”. You can read it here:

How long was your road to publication? And how did you deal with rejection?

The road was very long. And it was paved with rejection letters. At least a hundred. It took me five years to sell my first book. Actually my “first” book was never published. It’s still sitting on the proverbial shelf! I tried for three years to get an agent for that book and eventually started a new book. Then two years after that, I finally landed my first agent and she sold my book in only 10 days! So I like to say my “overnight success” story took five years.

Where can we learn more about you?

Well, you have lots of options! Visit my website: or follow me on Twitter @jessicabrody. I also have a Facebook fan page that I update all the time:

Thanks for such a fun interview! Fabulous questions!

No. No THANK YOU, Jessica! Awesome answers.
Okay guys, if you haven't already gotten to know Jessica, please check out her site. Awesome, awesome person and lots of talent.


Jennifer Lowery (Kamptner) said...

Love Saving the Cat! Awesome interview! Thanks so much for sharing :)

Sheri Fredricks said...

And you introduced me to STC, Mart, to which I thank you!

Nice interview. I can't believe you had 100 rejections, Jessica! How in the world did you survive that?

Brenda said...

And Mart introduced me to STC. And I told two friends, and so on, and so on....LOL.
Fabulous interview!

D'Ann said...

Great interview!

Karen Wilson said...

Interesting interview and good tips.

Elana Johnson said...

Ahhh! Jessica introduced me to Save the Cat too (well, her and my critique partners), and it is amazing. Can't wait to get this book!

Daryl said...

Awesome interview.

Martha Ramirez said...

Jennifer—Glad to hear you love STC too! Thanks for stopping by.

Sheri—YW My pleasure! Yay another STC fan!

Brenda- Thank you! STC is the best!

D'Ann and Karen—Thank you so much!

Elana-Right on! Another STC fan! Nice! Truly amazing.

Daryl-Thank you!

Angela Ackerman said...

LOVE Save the Cat!

I'll look up that brain trick link too--I could use this some days. :) Great interview!

Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

Martha Ramirez said...

Thank you, Angela! Yes-Jessica's brain trick is quite helpful!

Susanne Drazic said...

Hi Martha, I enjoyed your interview with Jessica. I'm now following her blog.

Martha Ramirez said...

Cool Susanne. Jessica is an awesome writer!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Great interview. I read Save the Cat not too long ago and plan to use it to outline my next book too. Thanks for the tip.

Lydia K said...

It was great hearing about her journey. Thanks Jessica and Martha!