Saturday, October 5, 2013

Interview: Jessa Russo

Pens and Peonies is thrilled to be hosting established author Jessa Russo on the blog today!

Jessa has been creating stories in one form or another for as long as she can remember. Though somehow, even when recognized in college for her writing ability, she never realized she was meant to follow her passion and actually become a writer. Years later, a rediscovered love of reading combined with a heavy love for paranormal romance led to writing her first novel. Jessa began writing seriously in 2009. She has no plans of stopping. When not writing or reading -- or raising the coolest kid ever -- Jessa enjoys making memories with her amazingly supportive family and friends, while secretly planning her next trip to New Orleans. She will always call Southern California home, where she lives with her husband and daughter, and a Great Dane who thinks he's the same size as his cranky sister, the Chihuahua.

As part of her BLOG TOUR for the launch of the second book in the EVER Trilogy, Pens and Peonies has pinned down Jessa for a fabulous interview!

Why are you a writer?

Why is the sky blue? I think because God intended it.

What is your writing schedule like?
Schedule? HA! I wish.

What advice would you give yourself if you could go back in time before you were published?
Long answer: Oh geez. My biggest self-sabotaging hurdle is my lack of patience. I’m always in such a hurry when it comes to getting published. In every other aspect of my life, I’m late for EVERYTHING. I take my time writing, and I definitely don’t consider myself a fast writer, but once the book is done, I want it out, out, out! And I’ve regretted the rushed decisions I’ve made in this journey, though I will not go into those in any detail.

Short answer: Be patient, Jessa.

What has been the most thrilling part of being published?
Holding my books in my hand. My publishing journey has been a bit less than what I anticipated, which is really okay. Though, I do have my moments of self-doubt and wishing for more, and my CP’s often have to remind me of what I have accomplished. In many aspects of my life, I have a hard time with focusing on what I don’t have, rather than what I have, so this fault tends to bleed over into my writing career as well. I hope that one day I have other thrilling moments, like movie deals and NYT best seller status (hey, one can hope!), but for now, it’s definitely holding my books in my hand. They’re beautiful.

What was the hardest part of writing EVADE?
Ugh. The hardest part of writing EVADE was getting past the negative reviews about EVER. I truly, TRULY, wish I’d ignored them. I should have never logged onto GoodReads, never had Google alert me to new posts about me, never read any reviews, good or bad. It changed me. It affected who I was both personally and professionally, but only because I let it. I had a very difficult time getting back into Ever’s story, and EVADE took me way longer to finish than it should have. But, I’d allowed myself to feel so defeated by the people who didn’t like Ever, that I let that overshadow the people who loved her. Worse even than that however, is how I let that negativity overshadow MY love for this series. It won’t happen again.   

How many books have you written, and which one is your favorite? 
I have completed four books now. EVER and EVADE (Books 1 & 2 of the Ever Trilogy—YA paranormal romance), DIVIDE (YA standalone fairytale redux—Beauty and the Beast mashed up with a bit of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde), and ARK OF DREAMS (an edgy new adult contemporary Noah’s Ark retell—evil governments, conspiracies, false claims of biblical rains, and the two people caught up in the middle of it all who beat the odds and find love along the way.) ARK is definitely the best thing I’ve written so far, and I’m very proud of it and so excited to start working towards getting it ready for submission!

What's one thing you can't live without?
Aside from my family, pets and friends? Um . . . if I had to leave my house and take only ONE thing, I’d grab our little safe/firebox because it has the letter from my dad that he wrote to me when I was four years old. He was in the hospital due to his heart condition, and thought he was dying, so he wrote a letter for my mom to give to me when I turned 18. He died years later, when I was 16, and that letter is my most precious material possession. Aside from the diamond he gave my mom, which is now on my finger.

Fast Facts:

Coffee or tea? Coffee! Never black, and always with CoffeeMate creamer. Unless I’m sick, then it’s tea with massive amounts of honey and lemon, and . . . occasionally . . . whiskey.

Morning or night? Morning. I love early mornings with coffee and silence.

Rivers or oceans? Both. But I have to live within an hour of the coast.

White wine or red? Again, both. Red for cool evenings, white for hot summer days/nights.

Champagne or liquor? Champagne, definitely champagne. I love mimosas. *grin*

Cupcakes or ice cream? Ice Cream.

Laptop or desktop? Desktop.

Casual or couture? Um . . . I think I’m a healthy combo of both. Though I don’t spend a lot of money on my clothes, I do shop often and always look good. *struts*

Ponytail or headband? Hairclip. Yup. Now you know my dirty little secret.                          

Shower or bath? Ugh, I hate baths. If I want to relax, like, with a glass of wine and a book, I shower first, THEN sit in the bath. I’m sure that’s a huge waste of water, but sitting in dirty bathwater or shampoo/soap filled water grosses me out.

Summer or winter? Fall.

Motorcycle or bicycle? For guys? Motorcycle. Chopper, if we’re being specific. Unless we’re talking about me specifically, then neither. I can’t even ride a bicycle. You can laugh.

So now you know Jessa's dirty little secret! What's yours?

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Book Blurb:

In this thrilling sequel, Ever Van Ruysdael's race to beat the odds—and the clock—begins with the introduction of an integral part of her past. As secrets are revealed, and truths uncovered, she learns her imminent death is the least of her problems: Ariadne did more than just put an expiration date on her life; she marked Ever's soul by upping its value for greedy collectors looking to buy their freedom.

Condemned by the countdown on her life, and hunted by hired Seekers, Ever’s journey leads her to question everything she’s known and everyone she’s trusted, while growing closer to the one person from her past she was determined to avoid—and the one guy she never could—Toby James.

With her ex-boyfriend by her side, and the countdown clock rapidly ticking away, Ever tries thwarting fate’s plans. But as her nineteenth birthday approaches, and desperate Seekers follow her every move, she may be too late.

A marked soul is hard to come by . . . and even harder to escape.

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Connect with Jessa!

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Help spread the awesome interview through social media!
Check out #author #interview w/ @jessarusso!!! #amreading #EVADE
The interview where Jessa Russo admits to self-sabotage and the one thing she can't live without!
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Click HERE to see Jessa's full BLOG TOUR schedule!


xoxo ~Marisa


  1. YOU CAN'T RIDE A BIKE?! HAHA *points and laughs* No, just kidding. My hillbilly Great Uncle Curtis said this about bicycles: 'It looks like you're running like hell to give your ass a ride.'

  2. I loved this interview . . . although it made me miss Jessa even more :-( Oh, I can't wait to read ARK . . . hurry up and get it pub'd already, hahaha . . . I kid. Get a NY Publishing deal you will. Do or do not. There is no try ;-) But you've accomplished tons already! I LOVE Ever and Evade!!

  3. Great interview! I can't ride a bike either. LOL. I can't wait to read all of this!! And to meet you. California isn't too far away!!!!

  4. Wonderful interview, ladies. I love the sound of ARK, Jessa. It sounds like a great love story.
    I'm so glad you got past the negativity with Ever's reviews, because I'm sure I don't just speak for myself when I say that you have a great series. I love Ever and am glad you wrote and published Evade. <3

  5. Wonderful interview, ladies. I love the sound of ARK, Jessa. It sounds like a great love story.
    I'm so glad you got past the negativity with Ever's reviews, because I'm sure I don't just speak for myself when I say that you have a great series. I love Ever and am glad you wrote and published Evade. <3