Thursday, March 13, 2014

A Conversation with Jessica Love, author of PUSH GIRL

Jessica Love, Author of PUSH GIRL
Hi Jessica! I'm so glad you've agreed to stop by the blog for a chat! Your novel, PUSH GIRLS, is one that you co-wrote with television star, Chelsie Hill. How did this opportunity come about for you?

Thanks for having me, JRo! 

I got hooked up with Chelsie to write PUSH GIRL through some awesome agent/editor matchmaking. The publisher was looking for someone to work with Chelsie to tell this story, and here I was - a lover of contemporary YA who liked to write about dancers. It was a great match right away. 

It's a little different from what I imagined for my debut YA novel, but I'm so excited I had a chance to work on this book. It was a lot of fun, and I've enjoyed the opportunity to tell this story.
Goodreads Link

I was at dinner with an author friend the other evening and she was talking about how her agent was expressing the need for writer flexibility in today's marketplace. How a lot of times a house will have a niche they're looking to fill and you might pitch them book A, which they turn down, but then they come back to you and say, "But we're looking for book B, would you write it?" Sounds like you win at the flexibility game!

You're so right about being flexible! I've heard so many stories lately of authors in the exact situation you mentioned. I think it's important to keep your mind and path open - you never know what opportunity might land in your lap and open doors you never expected!

Since your debut book is sealed with a pretty cover, what kind of books do you imagine yourself writing when you're not working with a co-storyteller? Do you have anything in the works? Themes you tend to revisit every time you set fingers to keyboard?

I'm a romance girl at heart, and while there is a romance element in PUSH GIRL, the stories I write for myself usually keep the romance at the front and center. I love stories about falling for the person you least expect to and then figuring out how to deal with those feelings. Those are the relationships that show up in one form or another every time I sit down to write a book.

I love a great romance. I particularly like the kind that leave me with a kind of aching fullness at the end. Two recent favorites were Aristotle and Dante in Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe and Judith and Lucas in All The Truth That's In Me, two very different books and romances but both left me with that sweet, these two are going to be great, no matter what, feeling.

Oooh, I haven't read either of those! I need to check them out!

What are some of your all-time favorite couples in YA fiction and why do you think they were written right?

One of my favorite relationships in YA right now is Kami and Jared in Sarah Rees Brennan's Lynburn Legacy books. (UNSPOKEN is the first one.) These two have such a unique bond, and these books are so much about them navigating this bond and the feelings that come along with it. What makes this relationship get to me so much is that it isn't even entirely romantic. There is this deep friendship, and even more than friendship, really, between these two. They know absolutely everything there is about one another, and how do you translate that into real life? It makes for this crackling chemistry that i can hardly even handle. And then, of course, Sarah Rees Brennan rips your heart out when it comes to these two at every given opportunity. 

And one of my favorite classic YA couples is Remy and Dexter from Sarah Dessen's THIS LULLABY. These two are opposites attracting and they are both very flawed, but they both bring the best of themselves to the other one. I think that's what really makes me root for a relationship on the page - when people are messed up, but able to bring out the good in their partner. 

Yep. I love Sarah Dessen's storytelling. I haven't read anything by Sarah Rees Brennan and it sounds like I need to remedy that.

Oh, you should definitely pick up UNSPOKEN, then! I recommend it to everyone. It's hilarious and scary and has an awesome cast of characters. 

Okay, we're going way off the topic of PUSH GIRL now, but it's one I know is dear to your heart. I want to hear the story of how you got Patrick (if you look at prior posts, you'll know I have a weakness for author dogs) to be Gunner's best friend. And a photo of course! I mean, we can all relate to dogs, right? And they are our constant writing companions. Am I finding a tie-in here?

YES! My very favorite doggies! 
Patrick on the left. Gunner on the right.

We adopted Gunner about 3.5 years ago from a girl on CraigsList who had raised him since he was a puppy, trained him perfectly, then decided to get rid of him for some reason I will never understand. He's a Mini Schnauzer / Yorkie mix and he is seriously the most amazing dog ever. 
Last year we moved to a bigger place and wanted to get Gunner a buddy. I'd been following a local pet rescue on Instagram and kept seeing pictures of little Patrick, we think he's a Fox Terrier and Chihuahua mix, and his sweet face. I thought for sure he would get adopted, but he just kept being available. Finally I couldn't resist and I adopted him from the rescue. Turns out they saved him from the county shelter on his last day before euthanasia. Patrick is so different from Gunner, but he's such a little love! He loves to curl up right on my chest when I'm trying to write - he's the cutest, sweetest distraction ever. 

Everything is better with a dog, especially writing. 

Okay, it's crazy but we have reached the end of our interview! Any final words you want to add about Push Girl? And tell our readers, what are the next 3 books in your TBR pile, the liquid in your cup, and what song is playing on repeat these days?

And thank you so much for dropping in for a chat! I'm so excited to read your debut, Push Girl! 

I'm really excited to share Push Girl with the world! I hope you all like it. I promise it's not all sad and depressing...there are a lot of funny and lighthearted moments in there! 

I'm in the middle of Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith, so I need to finish that up. Once I'm done with that, I'm going to read Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry because some of my students want to talk to me about it. Then I'll probably pick up my ARC of We Were Liars by E. Lockhart so I can see what all the fuss is about. 

The liquid in my cup is coffee, of course. Lots and lots of coffee. (I have a small caffeine addiction.)

And the song on repeat for me is actually an entire album - the new album from Broken Bells called After The Disco. I can't get enough of it!

Thanks so much for having me, JRo! This was so much fun!

Be sure and stop in next week, when I'll be chatting with Megan Whitmer, author of BETWEEN!


  1. Loved this interview! I've heard a little about this awesomeness from Liz, and I'm so excited for you, Jessica! :D

  2. Thanks so much for having me, JRo! This was so much fun! :-D

  3. What a unique debut novel story! Sounds like a cool book.

    Hi, Jaye!

  4. How have I not heard of Push Girls before? I feel like a total ostrich. Anyhow, it sounds awesome. Great interview, and thanks for adding to my TBR :)

  5. This interview was like a dance--leaping from one interesting thing to another. Love the book cover and story-behind-the-story. And I agree wholeheartedly about Aristotle and Dante. Thank you both.


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