Thursday, October 15, 2009

Jessica Verday

The Hollow
by Jessica Verday
Available Now

When Abbey's best friend, Kristen, vanishes at the bridge near Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, everyone else is all too quick to accept that Kristen is dead and rumors fly that her death was no accident. Abbey goes through the motions of mourning her best friend, but privately, she refuses to believe that Kristen is really gone. Then she meets Caspian, the gorgeous and mysterious boy who shows up out of nowhere at Kristen's funeral, and keeps reappearing in Abbey's life. Caspian clearly has secrets of his own, but he's the only person who makes Abbey feel normal again...but also special.

Just when Abbey starts to feel that she might survive all this, she learns a secret that makes her question everything she thought she knew about her best friend. How could Kristen have kept silent about so much? And could this secret have led to her death? As Abbey struggles to understand Kristen's betrayal, she uncovers a frightening truth that nearly unravels her -- one that will challenge her emerging love for Caspian, as well as her own sanity.

IBT: If you could choose one fictional character to bring into real life, who would you choose?

JV: I would choose Anton from SUMMER OF MY GERMAN SOLDIER. That was the first book I read that completely shocked me with its ending. I remember reading it in 6th grade and sobbing for hours! I wanted to re-write and completely change what happened.

IBT: How did you survive being a teen?

JV: I was always sort of on the fringe area - I wasn't really a geek, Goth, athlete, or terribly popular - so I never fit into one group. I was a cheerleader, acted in the school play, won the Science fair, was on the yearbook committee... I tried a little bit of everything. Although during middle school, I kind of existed in this world where once I got home I'd change into my "cool" clothes (I went to a private school with a very strict dress code) and it completely changed my attitude. Just being able to take that one small element of choice and make my own decision gave me confidence that was invaluable. I also read a LOT. (Which was probably why I wasn't terribly popular.)

IBT: Growing up I loved the story of The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, and then growing up I read the short story by Washington Irving. Tim Burton's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow just put this story as my favorite work of classic American fiction ever. How did this story inspire The Hollow for you?

JV: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow inspired me because of how real it was. I could go visit the town that inspired the story. Walk through the same cemetery that Washington Irving played in when he was a child. Visit his grave, and the graves that inspired the characters he would write about... To place a modern day story in a setting that was filled with such living history was too good to resist. Plus, I've always had a thing for ghost stories, Hallowe'en, and cemeteries!

IBT: How have the books/movies you've read inspired the books you've written?

JV: What are you currently reading?Of course The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving was such a huge inspiration for THE HOLLOW, and the Tim Burton movie was wonderfully dark and gothic - I couldn't help but be inspired by that beautiful scenery! The Legend has always been one of my favorite stories and when I first heard Abbey's voice in my head it all just completely fell into place. I knew that my book had to be set in Sleepy Hollow. As far as what I'm currently reading, I try to stay away from anything YA while I'm writing. It messes with the voices in my head too much. So I usually stick to Tess Gerritsen. Although I just picked up a ton of Stephen King books and am in the middle of Pet Sematary. (So good!)

IBT: How do you decide what ideas make it on the page? What were some of the ideas that didn't make it?

JV: I started off with a notebook filled with possibilities. Pieces of the original Legend of Sleepy Hollow that I could weave into the story, different aspects of what it would be like to grow up living in such a historic town, how a girl could learn to deal with tragedy and what that would be like. As I started writing, most of these plot threads translated very easily to the page. But there was one thread in particular that revolved around the town council that just did not fit in any way shape or form. I still love the idea though so I'm actually saving it to see if I can work it into another story.

IBT: What's the strangest thing you've ever gotten inspiration from?

JV: Although it's not that strange, the best answer I have for this is a picture that I keep near me. (It usually travels between my office desk and my bedroom desk) But it's this absolutely breathtaking print that captures the prom night scene from THE HOLLOW perfectly. I stumbled upon it right before I wrote the scene and it was literally like seeing the image in my head captured on film for me. I bought it immediately and still get a chill every time I look at it.

IBT: What is your favorite type of hero?

JV: My favorite type of hero is someone who is unabashedly romantic, has a heart of gold, and is determined to win the girl no matter what. Sometimes he's stubborn, ruthless, and aggravating...but sometimes he's scaling mountains and sailing across the ocean. If he'll do whatever it takes to make his heroine happy, I'm completely sold.

IBT: As an author how do you respond to those who think that censorship is a necessary evil?

JV: This is a very tough question for me to answer because I kind of understand both sides of the issue here. One one hand, I don't think that anyone has the right to govern what someone else can read/think/do/say. So in that sense, any type of censorship=BAD. But I do think that we have to recognize that we live in a world full of children and adults. Ratings are put on movies, television, games, even toys, for a reason. When someone tries to censor a book, or ban a book, I think that all too often emotions and tempers can get so volatile that we lose sight of the fact that the person who initially raised a concern generally is doing it with the best of intentions. We just have to take the time to find out what those intentions are and then decide from there whether or not it's a valid concern. (Which I don't think is an easy thing to do either, but that's a whole different topic).

IBT: Have you ever written something that you feel uncomfortable writing, knowing that your family and friends will probably end up reading it?

JV: I have a dark chick lit that I started before I wrote THE HOLLOW and I'm about halfway through it, but since it's for adult readers it does has adult themes and sex scenes. Whenever I take a break from my YA stuff and go re-read it again, I'll be honest, my first thought is always "Do I really want my family to read this?" But then on the flip side, I have some future YA books planned that will delve into abuse, freedom of choice being taken away, runaways... Either way I go I'm sure there will be moments of uncomfortableness. I just make it my goal to try and stay true to the story.

IBT: What favorite book of yours would you like to see be turned into a movie?

JV: I'd love to see BOTH SIDES OF TIME by Caroline B. Cooney turned into a movie. What a romantic book that was! Annie and Strat...sigh... I'd love to see them come to life.

IBT: Are you doing anything special for your book release date?

JV: I'm not sure yet - still planning!

IBT: Good luck with The Hollow! And I'll make sure to keep my eyes out for Book Two coming fall 2010 and Book Three coming fall 2011!


3 Columns Blogger Template by Amanda at BloggerBuster