Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Jessica Verday Interview

Woohoo, do you feel that chill in the air? Know what it is? It's September. Know what that means? Fall is here! (Ok not really yet exactly, but it sure feels like fall already, doesn't it?)

Know what else September brings?

The release of Jessica Verday's highly anticipated debut, The Hollow.

Oh and September also means the FNC gets to interview her-lucky us!

About Jessica...Jessica Verday wrote the first draft of The Hollow by hand, using thirteen spiral-bound notebooks and fifteen black pens. She likes: things that smell nice, rainy nights, old books, cemeteries, Johnny Cash, zombie movies, L.J. Smith books, abandoned buildings, trains, and snow. She is currently hand-writing her second novel, the continuation of Abbey and Caspian's story, from her home in Goodlettsville, Tennessee.

Check out her website HERE, it's awesome, has cool music and something sort of haunting about it.

About The Hollow...When Abbey's best friend, Kristen, vanishes at the bridge near Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, everyone else is all too quick to accept that Kristen is dead?and rumors fly that her death was no accident. Abbey goes through the motions of mourning her best friend, but privately, she refuses to believe that Kristen is really gone. Then she meets Caspian, the gorgeous and mysterious boy who shows up out of nowhere at Kristen's funeral, and keeps reappearing in Abbey's life. Caspian clearly has secrets of his own, but he's the only person who makes Abbey feel normal again...but also special.

Just when Abbey starts to feel that she might survive all this, she learns a secret that makes her question everything she thought she knew about her best friend. How could Kristen have kept silent about so much? And could this secret have led to her death? As Abbey struggles to understand Kristen's betrayal, she uncovers a frightening truth that nearly unravels her—one that will challenge her emerging love for Caspian, as well as her own sanity.

And now....we grill her!

What was your creation process for The Hollow? Meaning, whatwas the original nugget that inspired the book – the character, the story? How did it develop/evolve from there?

I heard Abbey's voice in my head say a very specific sentence. Sorry, I can't reveal what that sentence was yet. I started thinking about this girl and what her words meant and then all of these bits and pieces started coming together from there.

When in the process did you realize there would be more than one book? When did you know it would be a trilogy? How did you outline the series, and did that affect the plot of the first book?

I started writing down a couple of random scenes then realized it was actually book 2 that I was writing. There was so much more story that had led Abbey to that point, that I had to go back and start from a different place.

What were the most difficult and best parts of writing yourfirst novel? How long did it take you to write from concept tooutlining to completion to sending if off to agents? And by the way kudos for writing by hand-wow!

It took a year and a half to write. The best part of writing it was seeing how the story and the characters evolved from the first time I heard Abbey until now. The most difficult part was just the waiting and not knowing.

Can you tell us a little bit about how you created the characters of Abbey and Caspian?

They came to mind almost fully formed. And then once I started writing, bits of their backgrounds started to come through and it was something of a discovery process after that.

What are your secrets to a great first five pages?

There really are no secrets. But you want to do everything you can do to hook your reader and pull them in to your story.

You have some seriously beautiful and haunting music on yourwebsite. What is it? Is there a play-list for The Hollow and did music play any role in your writing?

Although music didn't play a roll while I was actually doing the writing, (I need a quiet environment to write) there were definitely different songs that as soon as I heardthem, I knew they'd fit the book perfectly. Yes there is a playlist for the book that I'll be releasing soon but the official theme song that plays on the website is "My Fault," by Metisse.

What do you see as your greatest strength and your greatest weakness as a writer?

My greatest strength would probably be that I see almost every scene in my head before writing. That really helps when creating a whole environment instead of simply two people talking. My greatest weakness is that I need a lot of peace and quiet to write in and sometimes that's hard to come by.

Can you briefly detail your journey to publication after finishing your first book? (Finding an agent, an editor, promoting the book, etc.)

I sent out about 2 dozen queries, received 4 offers of representation, after a slight round of edits, the book was sent out and the next day we had our first offer. Less than a week later the book went to auction.

Which authors have inspired you the most?

LJ Smith and Caroline B. Cooney

What non-literary thing inspires you to write?


You are stranded on a deserted island for five years. What five books would you want with you?

"How to build a boat in less than 5 Years", that's pretty much the only one I'd have time for, since I'd be hard at work building my boat.

Now for the most serious question in this entire interview: Buffy the Vampire Slayer the Movie? Or Buffy the Vampire Slayer the TV Show?

;) TV Show

Thanks so much for stopping by Jessica! Congratulations on your release!


  1. GREAT interview...I can't believe she wrote her manuscript BY HAND!!! Makes my hand cramp just thinking about it.

  2. Great interview! I bought The Hollow already and can't wait to read it!

  3. Thanks Jessica! And this interview makes me wonder: is there a Verday-approved novel-writing black pen brand? Hmmmm... I see potential for a spokeswoman job :)

  4. Love the cover of this book. And I'm with Kimberly, just reading this interview made my hand hurt!

  5. Me too! Sometimes my hands hurt from typing...cannot comprehend!

  6. I haven't read this book yet, but I love the cover.


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