Tuesday, June 25, 2013

"My name's Dan." "And my name's Rose and our son Westley kind of glows."

 Today I would like to introduce all of you to Jessica who blogs over at Authorly Insane. You can read her blog HERE!!!!

BIO: Jessica Hammond is from a place halfway between reality and the moon. No one’s really sure what goes on in her mind, but she does rather like to eat curry and other wonderful foods. She’s currently partaking in the adventure known as high school as well as the wonderful world of being an indie author.

BOOK SUMMARY: Stuck on a foreign planet they’ve never heard of, Kat searches in vain for a way to get both he and Kadet back to Earth. Meanwhile, Kadet is starstruck with promises of fame and fortune. Yet, when Kadet gets mixed up in the schemes of two wanna-be villains, both Kat and Kadet must learn to work without the other or face a future alone.

 Where did you get the inspiration for both your books? (Finding Lily, and Kat and Kadet?)

Finding Lily was totally seat-of-my-pants. I had a vague idea about a girl in the future who got kidnapped and that it was in Chicago, but other than that I built my world as I wrote. Most of that inspiration came from books like Divergent by Veronica Roth, Anthem by Ayn Rand and various other very dystopian-esque stories.

Kat and Kadet came from reading Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, a silly imaginary cat-friend with a bad attitude, and an odd desire to write a book where the main character was a complete ditz with blue hair. When put together in a blender, things came out funny and I stuck with it.

 You just made me even more excited for Kat and Kadet.

 How did you do the covers for both books?

Finding Lily’s cover is actually a photograph of me in a dress I used for inspiration for one of Lily’s outfits. It was maybe fifteen days before I was going to publish, my cover artist wasn’t getting back to me, and I needed to solve my problem, so I set up a camera in the hall and went at it with a sort-of-not-really idea in my head. I then used whatever photo editing program we had at the time (I couldn’t name it if I tried) and fixed the lighting, and added in the title and my name

Kat and Kadet’s cover hasn’t been finished yet. (Oops.) I’m using a free online drawing program called Sumopaint to create it. Since I have the basic art skills required to draw circles, I’ll be digitally drawing it myself, unless the zaniness going on up in the attic of my mind decides otherwise.

 What first started your love for writing?

I’ve been writing since forever, really. (I once wrote a book with two friends during recess in second grade. I don’t remember anything about it except that a horse of some sort was involved and we thought we were the next J.K.Rowling because of it.) What started my definite path in writing, however, was when I read the Warriors series(s) by Erin Hunter. After I caught up to the published books, I started writing fanfiction–truly horrendous, self-insert fanfiction. I was so proud when I finished it, and I shared it with my teacher, who told me I had a gift and to never stop. I guess she was right, because here I am now! (I’ve improved since then, I promise you.)

 You aren't the only author I know who had a start with fan-fiction. I've heard it is a good way to learn some writing techniques. 

 Do you think you will continue writing, even years from now, or is it more of a hobby for you?

I think I will. It will likely still be a hobby–I know how hard it is to fit in writing time. My English teacher this year bemoaned this fact often. Still, I want to try. Maybe I’ll luck out and get it as a full-time job. Maybe I won’t. I’d be happy regardless.

 While reading Finding Lily I couldn't help but notice how well the formatting turned out. Do you have any formatting tips which helped with that process?

Yes, I do! If you are publishing with Smashwords.com (even if you’re not), read the book Smashwords Style Guide by Mark Coker. It will take you through the entire formatting process step-by-step, and help you to troubleshoot and even edit! I had it by my side as I formatted Finding Lily. It will take a few hours, but if you get a good playlist and you devote yourself to not letting anything slide, it’ll turn out great. I also suggest that, if you do choose to publish through Smashwords, you immediately check for mistakes once you upload it. The formatting machine thingy won’t catch them all, and if you catch them early on, you can fix them before anyone notices and upload an updated version.

 I should have asked you for tips before I began formatting.

 What is the most enjoyable part of writing for you? And the least?

The most enjoyable is that first draft. I love the idea portion–sketching out what I want my characters to be, discovering the story they want to tell, and the whole nine yards that comes with it. I’m a thinker, and with so much going on in my head, not all of it gets on paper, but I still love thinking.

 High fives! Someone else who likes first drafts!

Least favorite is by far the editing, especially that first time through. I’m a perfectionist, so nothing is good enough the second time through. It’s fine if its someone else’s works–after all, then I’m not admitting how much I royally stink at writing sometimes–but to do it to my own stuff is something I dread.

 How do you manage to find time to write while still getting all of your schooling done? (This one interests me as I failed miserably at it while I was still in school.)

Who said I was getting all of my schooling done? :p Honestly, I am a master at squeezing stuff in. I’m writing when I shouldn’t be during class, and I’m writing a lot of the time when I should be doing homework. I also am one of those people who, as my father says, “doesn’t have a life.” I beg to differ, but it’s true. I don’t do competitive basket-weaving or anything like that. I have a writer friend who does every activity you can think of, and guess which one of us has published a novel? If you make it a point to either set aside time or you at least keep a (somewhat) relaxed schedule, you’ll find time.

 For Kat and Kadet I believe I read somewhere that you got some inspiration for the story from your pet cat (correct me if I'm wrong.) Did you draw inspiration from anyone else around you?

Close–my pet imaginary cat and my real cat both inspired the character of Kat. And I do–all the time! People are great for mooching characters from. The main character is based slightly off of a great friend of mine, who doesn’t really worry about anything and can miss the bigger picture a lot, especially when she was younger. Most of the people I steal traits from, though, I don’t know very well. It’s that girl two desks over in Government, or that one dude who looked at me funny when we were at the grocery store that I find the most inspiration in.

 Were there certain stories which you gathered ideas from for these two books?

Oh yes! I think I mentioned Ayn Rand’s Anthem and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy earlier. For both, Uglies by Scott Westerfeld was an influence. Other than that, I just absorb everything I read, so the lines get a little blurred once they get to my head. My dad thinks that I should mention his ‘clever witticisms and stories of caps and their manufacture handling and use’ as stories that influence me, though they’re more of oral history. The sad thing is they probably have influenced my writing.

 And would you care to share your two favourite lines from your books?

Oh ho ho, you have no idea what you are getting yourself into! Give me a moment, and I might just quote back half a chapter. Hmm, favorite lines…Well, from Finding Lily, in chapter 5 I rather like

“What on earth?!” John whisked around to face Toby, his eyes blazing with concern.
“I don’t know. I just wanted to try shouting something different when I came to check up on y’all.”

I forgot about that line, but actually that was one of my favourites when I was reading it.

From the working draft of Kat and Kadet, one of my favorite lines is definitely from the first chunk (it’s not formatted yet).

Pride swelled in my chest and I tackled my robotic brainchild into a big hug….“Please remove yourself from me,” said Kat. I ignored him, too thrilled to care.

And I think that’s about it! I could easily quote a few million or so more, but I’d best stop here before I explode in my silly authorness. A good day to you all, und auf Wiedersehen!

 Thank you for allowing me the chance to interview you! It was a lot of fun to have you!

 Quote is from The Lorax - a movie I find I enjoy more each time I see it. 




  1. Yay Highlight! I really enjoyed reading this interview. I'm a little surprised that BK didn't show up to take it over, though.
    That's my favorite line from Kat and Kadet too. I liked it so much that I wrote it on my folder where it thrives with a whole bunch of other random quotes from books and TV.

  2. Great interview! It's the first time I've heard of Kat and Kadet, so I must look it up!

    1. I'm glad you're interested! It'll be out September 1st of this year in ebook form.

  3. Jessica, you can write my first drafts then, because that's my least favorite part.
    And brave to be on your own book cover!

  4. Thanks for interview, Jack! I'm glad you're excited for Kat and Kadet. It's been a long time in the making for such a short book, but I love it nonetheless. Also, if you ever have formatting questions, let me know. I'll try to answer them (or at least point you in the direction of someone who can).

  5. So cool, nice to know all about a blogger I haven't met :)

  6. I have Finding Lily on my Kindle! The opening is really good. Reminded me a bit of City of Ember. Unfortunately, it got buried when Mom sent a whole slew of books to me the other day, so I need to find it again and read it!

    Keep up the good work, Jessica! I do follow your blog, I just never comment. Sigh ... I follow many wonderful blogs that I never comment on, but really ought to.


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