Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Writers Like Us - Jessica Warman

Jessica Warman writes an amazing contemporary story. I absolutely loved BREATHLESS. I love Jessica's ability to write heartbreaking characters who terrify you one moment and you want to hug the next. So I was thrilled when she agreed to be this week's Writers Like Us!

Her answers are below in bold. Let us know what makes Jessica like you in the comments.

Jessica on Writing

  • I've written 7 number of books, and 4 have seen the light of day.
  • My favorite type of scene, character, and setting to write is I usually gravitate toward small-town settings, and I love to write about young people who are trying to figure out how to become adults without going crazy. The teenage years are so different from any other time in life, and I think people tend to dismiss teenagers far too easily. We were all there once. It was hard – hard enough that I definitely wouldn’t want to go through it again. So I like to create characters who I would have related to as a teenager, in the hopes that my readers will find ways to identify with them, too.
  • No matter how long I've been writing, I still have issues with transitions in my writing. I’ll read another author’s book, and they make it look so easy! But I constantly struggle to move my characters from one scene to the next. I never know if I’ve wrapped things up enough, or if I’ve done it too much… I’ve been dealing with this issue for years, and it hasn’t gotten much easier.
  • A typical comment from my critique partner is to watch my sentence lengths. I had a critique partner point out once that I’d written a sentence that was, I think, 108 words long.
  • The book I wished I wrote is “Flight” by Sherman Alexie. It is SUCH a gorgeous novel, and I never could have pulled it off in a million years. I read it in a single sitting one afternoon, and I immediately started reading it again.

Jessica on Getting Published
  • If my agent (or editor) really knew how crazy I was, she would find out that I feel like a scatterbrained mess about 98% of the time. Sometimes I look at my books and I just cannot believe that I actually managed to write them. It’s surreal. I feel quite incompetent most days, with rare bursts of confidence that manage to sustain me long enough to keep going, somehow.
  • When I was querying, I felt terrified. 
  • The biggest mistake I ever made querying was I started sending out query letters before the book I was seeking representation for was actually finished. It all worked out okay, but I would not recommend that for anyone else – it made for a few very stressful weeks once I got some interest and had to come up with an ending ASAP! 
  • The craziest thought I've ever had while writing is I cannot believe I get paid to do this.
  • When I got "The Call," my first thought was: I’m not even sure I remember. I was just freaking out. I’d been working on getting published for so long, and I’d been rejected so many times, that I couldn’t believe it could possibly be happening for real. (And it doesn’t get any less exciting – I still freak out whenever I sell a proposal.)
  • When I saw my book sale in Publishers Marketplace, I bought every copy they had at Barnes and Noble.

Jessica on Life Outside Writing
  • If I weren't a writer, I'd probably be a I’ve always thought about starting a crime scene cleanup company. You know, the people who go in and clean up the gore after someone dies in an unpleasant way? I know I would love it. I love cleaning, and I love gore, so it seems like a great fit.
  • Secretly, I'm terrified of sloths. Everyone thinks they’re so cute, and I just don’t get it. They’re so slow… maybe TOO slow? There’s something suspicious about it. Plus, have you taken a good look at their eyes? And those claws? Nope.
  • My secret girlfriend/boyfriend is Louis CK, the comedian. Sometimes I send him tweets, offering to bake him a pie or give him a hug on a bad day. He is my celebrity fantasy husband. 
  • Sometimes, when no one is around, I watch Law and Order reruns all day, and then claim that I did something really worthwhile and productive with my time. Last week, I told my husband I spent all day reading “A Brief History of the Middle East,” when I was actually watching the “21 Jump Street” remake. 

Jessica Warman is the author of the young adult novels, Between, Where the Truth Lies, and Breathless. She studied at prep school and Seton Hill University, where she earned her MA in creative writing. When she isn't writing, she likes to run, read, and spend time with her husband and two daughters. Jessica lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. You can visit her website at www.jessicawarman.com


  1. "I love to write about young people who are trying to figure out how to become adults without going crazy." Well said! That's one of the things I love about writing YA as well. Great interview, ladies! :)

    1. I loved that too, Jaime! I also liked that Jessica brought up transitions--I struggle with them too and this is the first time an author has addressed them in this series!

      Thanks for commenting! :)

  2. Sloths ARE suspicious. I never realized that until just now. What are they trying to pull with all of that hanging and smiling?
    Jessica is hilarious. Another great interview, Valerie.

    1. Right? I never realized it either but I may be slightly creeped out by them now too! :)

      Thanks Robert!


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