Interview with Jessica Lee Anderson

Jessica Lee Anderson is the author of Calli, coming out September 13th. I reviewed Calli, and I loved it!Jessica's previous young adult  books include: along with her latest, CALLI.Jessica made my life when she read my review of Calli on the blog and...she commented. That seriously was the highlight of my week. I ran around jumping "an author commented on my BLOG!" and screaming.Jessica not only writes young adult, but she's written children's books as well. In addition, she's part of the TEXAS SWEETHEARTS AND SCOUNDRELS.She recently had shoulder surgery, so here's hoping for a quick recovery! I hope you enjoy the interview with her!

How do you feel or hope that your book will influence the LGBT community?

I hope it will be a validating book, especially for families with same-sex parents!

The theme in Calli is about family, and acceptance. Why do you think that these traits are important in life?

Family bonds, whether traditional or non-traditional, shape who we are from the very beginning.  We all have a desire to belong and feel accepted.  Our sense of belonging stems from a strong family unit and this prepares us for the future.

What quote do you think most applies to your experience with writing Calli?

“I'm not a very good writer, but I'm an excellent rewriter.” ~James MichenerWell, at least I aspire to be an excellent rewriter.

What was your reaction upon seeing the cover?

I was first drawn in by the beautiful colors which fit the story perfectly and the striking title treatment.  The model, though different looking than the Calli I had imagined, is posed in such a way that resonates her personality.

Do you outline? If so, how?

I do outline, though it is more like pages of notes about characters, intentions, and actions.

What was your favorite book to write and why?

TRUDY has been my favorite book to write as the story is close to my heart and is dedicated to my grandparents.  To my grandmother who inspired the novel and to my grandfather who took such loving care of her condition worsened because of Alzheimer’s. I felt possessed to write and it was such a healing and enjoyable process for me.

Your you love him or hate him (or her!)?

Since most of my rejection letters now come via email these days, I love him or her!   I’ll soon be receiving my author’s copies of CALLI, and I might be inclined to hug whoever delivers them.  (Well, a side hug since I’m wearing a giant sling as my shoulder heals after surgery. :)

What's your opinion on negative reviews? Do you read them or ignore them?

I try to not let reviews get to me and do what I can to ignore them.  There have been a few reviews that have stung, but I try to feel gratitude that people are reading and discussing my books.  This can be a really subjective business!

What's your guilty pleasure reward after writing?


How does your writing style change when writing for very young children as opposed to young adults?

When writing for very young children, I’m much more aware of word choices, word count, structure, and making sure the content is familiar and appropriate.  When writing for young adults, I focus more on character voice.

Do you think that you will ever write in a different genre of YA or will you always be contemporary?

I absolutely love to both write and read contemporary, though I’m open to writing a different genre.  I have a sci-fi-ish idea I hope to explore in the near future.

How did you react when you found out that your debut was getting published or picked up by an agent?

I was pulled from the slush pile and got “the phone call” when I was at work.  To say I was over the moon is a complete understatement!

What's in your reading pile?

These are my next three reads:SASS AND SERENDIPITY by Jennifer ZieglerTUESDAYS AT THE CASTLE by Jessica Day GeorgeHOW TO SAVE A LIFE by Sara Zarr

What books do you think have influenced your writing the most?

I think many of the books I read as a young reader and teen have influenced me the most—LITTLE WOMEN by Louisa May Alcott, anything and everything by Judy Blume, Robert Cormier, and Barbara Kingsolver.

Do you believe in writing chronologically or out of order?

I’ve done both!  I think each book beckons its own writing process.Any advice for writers?Reading is the best internship available!  And write.  Write.  WRITE.  (Okay, must go do as I suggest.)There will be a giveaway of an ARC of Calli soon, so wait up! Thanks for the interview, Jessica!