This is the first time Jessica has been on my blog. Welcome, Jessica. What has drawn you to writing for the YA market?
I had a turbulent high school experience. When I gave my heart back to God, (my second salvation I call it) the local pastor told me he wasn’t sure I should be allowed in his church. I was completely caught off guard and devastated. I mean, if that doesn’t confuse you, what will? I write for an audience who needs to hear the message I was so desperately looking for. Primarily I write hoping my stories will capture readers and speak to their hurts. I want them to experience life through my characters and make better decisions than I did. (I guess I am parenting through my writing.)
Sounds like a good reason to me. What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
While trying to impress my husband I dressed up as a clown and paraded around the Stop & Shop in southern CT. He was dressed up as Ernie from Sesame street.
For many years, I was a professional clown, so I love that. When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I was writing throughout high school but really had no idea I was a writer. My senior year of college I bought my first PC and started a dark thriller. Two years later I was still writing it.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I’m a night-time reader so a book has to grab my interest and keep me awake. I still prefer nonfiction. I’m constantly learning. I read a great deal about Jewish History and the Hebrew language as it applies to the Bible but still comb through self-marketing, parenting and homeschool books. I also enjoy other YA novels, and read spiritual thrillers back in the day. (Now I hate to be scared and avoid books that deal with crime or murder.)
What other books have you written, whether published or not?
My first manuscript was a self portrait that mirrored my dark side. On the other hand I have also created a manual for Writing and Following the Spirit of God. I’ve been convicted to only write when the hand of the Lord is on my ideas, otherwise I pretty much mull around the house. Other than that, I like writing for a younger audience.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I stay home when I can. I remind myself of what God has already done for me and the promises He has made. I try very hard not to let the media or news get to me on an emotional level. And I am shy when it comes to publicity. I think a humble heart is more deserving.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of, besides family?
In general I am extremely proud of myself for the way I have handled the setbacks that could have broken me. I dealt with an extreme amount of pressure when I was a teen and somehow God steered me through what could have been life-threatening circumstances.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I like eagles. They fly above the crowd and see the world in a perspective unlike all others. That’s the way I try to look at life.
What is your favorite food?
I’m going with the cheese. Whether it’s fried, on pizza or sprinkled in a salad I like all types. But I really love those mozzarella sticks you buy at the grocery store and peel yourself. It’s so fun.
Right now, I'm really into goat cheese, but not feta. Is it hard to break into the YA market?
That depends on your angle. If a publisher can see that have you a ministry in mind, it is easier. This niche is very reader oriented. I find that teen readers don’t care about “big names.” If they like you, they spread the word. No one seemed to care I was newbie when they bought my book. The industry however had to be persuaded.
What advice would you give to an author wanting to do that?
Go for it. Pray and make sure your heart is ready. A lot of people will come at you with praise and criticism. You have to be faithful to your vision. I wouldn’t sell out to an editor or a publisher who toned down your message but I would allow a professional to help you tone your style and format into a marketable product.
What would you like to tell us about the featured book?
Relationships are complicated. Weathering through seasons of emotions and fear is what makes us human. In this sequel to Drawing Marissa, watching Marissa heal from the death of father and miscarriage has given me the courage to let God heal my own heart. I think readers need story that conveys the heart of God in real world issues.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
My website is http://www.jessicaadriel.com/. I am also on Facebook and Shoutlife.com Or they can email me at MoreFromJess@Gmail.com
Thank you, Jessica, for spending this time with us.
Readers, here's a link where you can order Forgiving Sean:
If you missed Drawing Marissa and want to read it first, here's a link where you can order it:
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