Jackie Kessler
March 13, 2010
Face the Fiction Presents: Jackie Kessler
Saturday March 13, 2010
6:30p - 9:00p
Raider Books
99 Lafayette Ave.
Suffern, NY 1090

This group meets on the second Saturday of each month and
spotlights guest speakers from SF and genre related fields of
interest. This month we welcome our favorite inner demon
Jackie Kessler (www.jackiekessler.com). "Some kids want to
grow up to be doctors, or movie stars, or political assassins.
Me, I wanted to draw comic books. Not Archie comics, either—
superhero comic books. Maybe it was all the heavily muscled
guys in spandex…So maybe it’s ironic that the book I wound
up writing had nothing to do with overly muscled men and
everything to do with scantily clad women. (Well, temporarily
scantily clad.) Oh, right, and demons." We've been fans since
Hells Belles and have devotedly followed her work ever since.
For directions to store: http://www.RaiderBookshop.com
First, let me apologize for the delay in getting this posted. As
most, if not all, of you know, there was a major storm that
hit around here on Saturday, which caused a lot of damage,
and no few problems. Half of my town is without
power, and though I am in the half with power, my brother
and his family are not, and thus I am spending some time
with my nephews, and donating my bed to my brother &
sister-in-law. That being said...

Saturday was a great, fun night for those who braved the
elements to chat with our dear friend Jackie. I arrived at
6:30 to find a nice assortment of friends already talking to
Jackie, and I quickly seated myself in the front row. Why?
Well, to suck up, of course! Seriously, though, it was
because I was recording the event. That's right, stay tuned
because we will now be broadcasting parts of our Face the
Fiction events, much like we did when Charlaine Harris came
to call! Yes, the SFSNNJ, always free, always fun, and always
innovating!

OK, so what did we get to see? Well, Jackie started off with
a bit of background and explained her Great American Novel,
with a wry grin, and then her several attempts to break into
the writing field. After scoring triple-digit rejections on her
fantasy work, she tried her hand at chick-lit with a story
about working in an adult boutique. Next, she tried her hand
at paranormal romance with Suspense Central favorite Hell's
Belles, and hit the ball out of the park! We discussed the Hell
series for a while, lingering on the most recent additions
before Jackie surprised us all with two readings from the next
book in the series! That's right, you saw it here first (or you
will have seen it here first when I get the video downloaded
and posted that is). Look for a release announcement and
more information on this awesome book in June!

Conversation moved on to Black and White, another
Suspense Central pick from earlier this year, and we chatted
about the creative process for Jackie and co-author Caitlin
Kittridge. Apparently, the two authors collaborated almost
entirely by email, working two chapters at a time (a Then
and a Now chapter), and playing off each other in a fairly
free-form manner. This process was duplicated in Shades of
Gray, which is due out on June 22, and will make a
perfect gift for Todd, for those trying to get their birthday
planning done early. We discussed the Icarus Project,
Frostbite & Meteorite, Corp Co, and the structure of the new
book at length, but the only thing I am going to tell you
is: wait till 6/22!

Next we discussed a project which Jackie was incredibly
passionate about, Hunger. This novel, due out in October of
this year, is Jackie's first foray into the YA genre. Having
learned from the inestimable example of Judy Bloom's
Wifey, Jackie wanted to use a nom-de-plume for her YA
books, lest teenagers start wandering into the racier Hell
novels, so these books are published under the name Jackie
Morse Kessler. The book itself revolves around several
important issues among teenagers: body image and eating
disorders. Jackie, who struggled with these issues herself,
wanted to write a book that tackled these issues in a
manner that would not preach or condescend, but rather
enlighten. How did she manage this herculean task? By
making sure that she wrote an absolutely amazing story!
Jackie read two chapters from the book, and all I can
say about them is "WOW!" I was floored, and am eagerly
waiting to read this one. Hunger deals with an anorexic
teenager named Lisa, who, after a failed attempt at suicide,
finds that she has become the avatar of Famine. Yes, capital
F, as in Horseman of the Apocalypse Famine! Jackie also
discussed the sequel, Rage, about a young girl who
self-injures and becomes the avatar of War. Plans are
already in the works for Pestilence and Death avatar books.
Tackling issues like these is what makes authors great, and I
think that we would all agree that Jackie is a great
author, a class act, and a fantastic guest!

Afterward, we all sloshed our way to the Kingsbridge Diner,
where I watched everyone else enjoy their meals... not that
I am jealous, or planning on becoming the avatar of Famine
or anything...