Seven months ago, Viola’s boyfriend told her he was gay—moments before she was going to lose her virginity to him. Heartbroken, Viola has resigned herself to near invisibility, until she inadvertently summons a young jinn out of his world, Caliban, and into her own. Here he will remain until she makes three wishes.
Jinn is anxious to get back to Caliban, but Viola is terrified of wishing, afraid her wishes will be manipulated into curses. Jinn knows that should she wait too long, the Ifrit, guardians of earthbound jinn, will press her to wish by hurting those around her.As they spend time together, Jinn can’t deny that he’s slowly falling in love with Viola, blurring the lines between master and servant. It’s only after Viola makes her first wish—for a popular boy to love her—that she realizes the feelings are mutual.
With every wish Jinn’s time with her diminishes, but the longer she waits to wish the greater danger she’s in from the Ifrit. Together, Viola, Jinn, and Viola’s ex-boyfriend try to outwit the Ifrit while dealing with their own romantic complexities and the alcohol-laced high school social scene.
It’s that time. The first Deb of the New Year! Today I’m sharing my interview with Jackson Pearce, author of the forthcoming AS YOU WISH, which will be published by HarperCollins and hit shelves in the fall of this year. Her second book, SISTERS RED will be released by Little, Brown in the Fall of 2010.
Before we get into the interview, I think you’ll appreciate Jackson better if you watch this youtube video she created titled, “The Imaginary Writing Process.” It’s hilarious, trust me.
Hi, Jackson! As You Wish is your debut novel, so a big congrats on that. But can you give us a little statistical rundown on how long it took you to get to this point? How many books? How many rejections? How many days, months, or years?
Books: 2– AS YOU WISH is my second completed novel. The first one is eternally shelved, and there were several bits and pieces of novels that never became full-fledged books.
Rejections: A zillion. I sent my very first book, KEYBEARER, to EVERY agent in the business– I was so desperate that I actually sent it to a few agents who had terrible reputations! AS YOU WISH fared a little better, but I still had to do two major revisions while querying. By the time it got to my current agent, it was all revised up, and she offered to represent me.
Days/Months/Years: This is a tough one; being a writer is all I’ve ever really wanted to do, so in a way I’ve been working toward it for ages. I didn’t start seriously looking into the business side of writing until my junior year of college– mainly because I started to worry about having to get a “real job” when I graduated, an idea that I wasn’t a fan of (but, for the record, ended up having to do anyway). I sent my first query out in early 2005. I sold AS YOU WISH in mid-2007.
Which “Call” thrilled you more? The call in which you landed an agent or the call in which you landed your book deal? Can you describe to us what it felt like?
Believe it or not, I think the call when I landed my agent was a bigger deal to me. It was totally out of the blue– I was spying on my neighbors (they were talking about me right outside my front door, I swear) and suddenly a call from a 212 area code appeared. I answered and tried to speak coherently but mostly just babbled. When the call about the book deal came in, I was already anticipating it; we’d had enough interest that I’d already accepted and gotten excited about the fact that the book would likely sell, so it was a little more relaxed. I still had to pull off to the side of the interstate though.
Throughout your journey as a writer, what resources have you found most valuable to your success? Websites? Books? Conferences?
I didn’t go to any conferences and only read a handful of books– most of which I wasn’t a big fan of. There are, however, some REALLY helpful websites that I adore: The Blue Boards (http://www.verlakay.com/boards/index.php), Agentquery.com, and the livejournal community. I think that personal interaction with other writers is the key to success. On the more tangible side– a laser printer. Oh man, I would wither away to nothing without my laser printer. I bought my first one off Craigslist– met the guy in a parking lot and paid cash in a very shady deal– and it saved my life. Other tangible valuable writer resources include caffeine, candy, and a DVR so you stop missing Deadliest Catch because you’re revising.
A laser printer? Never heard that one before, but I have to say, I’ve had my eye on one for awhile. Craigslist is a great idea to start out.
You’re a young author! Did you write As You Wish in college? Do you think your age has affected your journey to publication at all?
I wrote AS YOU WISH my junior and senior years of college, and found my agent just after I graduated. I think my age has had a profound affect on my journey to publication. On the purely business side, I realized about midway through college that I didn’t really WANT to work (shocking, isn’t it?). I wanted to write, all the time. I began seriously looking at getting my work published because I wanted it to be my career. I think that if I were a little older and had a more established career path, I wouldn’t have been quite as eager to get published.
The downside to being a young author is a lot of older authors– even those still “young” by most standards– give you a bit of a brush off. There are times where I would be incredibly frustrated about queries or rejections and someone would say “oh, you’re so young! Don’t worry about it! You have time!” It always felt a bit like a cold shoulder; yes, I’m young, but I still know what I want and aim to succeed. That said, those people were the minority of the writing community, and the support I found in other venues was priceless.
Thanks for sharing. I’m always interested in the subject of young authors–I’d love to follow a similar path! (I signed with my agent a few months after graduating college, too.) During the time that you’ve been a client, your agent started her own literary agency, I believe. Was that a difficult transition? Is it normal to stay with the agent or the agency?
Soon after AS YOU WISH sold, my agent formed Bliss Literary, her own agency. To be honest, it wasn’t a difficult transition at all– nothing much changed, and staying with her was an easy decision since I hadn’t had too much contact with the rest of her previous agency. Bliss has been very successful, and I have no regrets at all about moving with my agent.
Agents tend to move around, it seems; I think that’s why it’s so important to find an agent you really click with, one you’ll stick with wherever she goes.
Always nice to hear about solid agent-author relationships.
This is Fumbling with Fiction, so I have to ask, in your writing career have you ever had a big “Oops!” moment?
I’ve done a few careless things– misspelling agents names, using the wrong form of “there” by mistake, but I’ve actually been lucky so far and had no major disasters.
Lucky you! You’re now at the beginning of your writing career. Can you believe it? Where would you like that sure-to-be illustrious career to take you?
No, I can’t believe it! I actually remember thinking while in college how great it would be to just write books and coach colorguard (something I’ve done for a while). Now that I’m actually doing it, I’m in a bit of shock. I’m not sure where I want to go from here though; I’ve spent so long focusing on getting to this point that thinking beyond it just seems crazy.
It’s nice that you are appreciating it as you go through it, though.
Now that you are a soon-to-be-published author, seeing the view from the other side, what has been your favorite moment in the publishing process so far? What part of the process has most surprised you?
My favorite part was finishing up the last round of revisions, actually. I think I was so interested in the industry from the start that I didn’t have any serious OMG surprise moments.
Tell us a little about receiving your first editorial letter. What was yours like? How did you feel when you received it?
I actually loved my first editorial letter because it was very, very clear. XYZ are the problem, here are some examples, go to it! I wasn’t left overwhelmed by vague advice, so it was easy to know exactly where to start. I also have grown to somewhat enjoy the revising process, because it’s fun seeing the book improve as you go along. I think the key is not allowing yourself to stress over it– to remember that it’s JUST WORDS, and it’s okay to move/rearrange/delete them. You aren’t murdering the story
Finally, if you could have written one book previously published by another author, which book would it be?
I would love to have written any of John Green’s books for the quality, J.K. Rowling’s for the way they revolutionized the industry, or Little Women because….well, it’s Little Women. It’s awesome.