PLEASE READ THIS! MY LIFE DEPENDS ON IT!
Okay, maybe that was a bit melodramatic, but I’m sorry, I’m feeling a bit melodramatic at the moment.
Here’s the deal. My name is Brooklyn Pierce, I’m fifteen years old, and I am decisionally challenged. Seriously, I can’t remember the last good decision I made. I can remember plenty of crappy ones though. Including that party I threw when my parents were out of town that accidentally burned down a model home. Yeah, not my finest moment, for sure.
But see, that’s why I started a blog. To enlist readers to make my decisions for me. That’s right. I’m gave up. Threw in the towel. I let someone else be the one to decide which book I read for English. Or whether or not I accepted an invitation to join the debate team from that cute-in-a-dorky-sort-of-way guy who gave me the Heimlich Maneuver in the cafeteria. (Note to self: Chew the melon before swallowing it.) I even let them decide who I dated!
Well, it turns out there are some things in life you simply can’t choose or have chosen for you—like who you fall in love with. And now everything’s more screwed up than ever.
But don’t take my word for it, read the book and decide for yourself. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll scream in frustration. Or maybe that’s just me. After all, it’s my life.
Hello Jessica, it's great to have you back on YA Fresh! So how did you get the idea for MY LIFE UNDECIDED?
Jessica: This book was definitely one of those “aha!” moments that I hear writers talk about. My husband and I were watching TV, an ad for a reality show came on and I said, “Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a reality show where you could vote on what the characters did. As in, “who they went out with?” or “Whether or not they forgave their backstabbing best friend.” Like American Idol meets The Hills. We both agreed although it would be cool, it wouldn’t be practical from a production standpoint since they shoot those reality shows months before they air. I was not deterred though. I said, “Fine, I’ll write it as a book,” and then marched up the stairs and in ten short minutes, wrote a page-long synopsis for what would become MY LIFE UNDECIDED and sent it to my editor. She wrote back right away saying that she loved it and the book was born!
In MY LIFE UNDECIDED, your main character turns to a blog to enlist the help of others in her decision making. What inspired you to have her look for help in this type of format?
Jessica: I wanted to use a format that represented how teens interact with each other today. And so much interaction (between teens and adults!) these days is online. Kids are growing up on the internet. They’re having experiences there, meeting people there, sharing their live there. Our online “presence” has become part of who we are. In one way it can expose more of ourselves than we ever allowed to be exposed before, and yet in another way, it can make us more anonymous. I liked the contrast of this and I wanted to use it in the book. Brooklyn spills all her secrets to the world, and yet she does it anonymously. Her blog readers are practically living her life for her…without even knowing who she is. It was really fun to explore this in the story.
If you could travel back in time, what time and place would you choose? And if you could take only 3 things with you, what would they be?
Jessica: I would love to travel back to visit the court of Henry VIII. I’m obsessed with Tudor history (even before the TV show started!) I think it’d be fun. All the gossip and intrigue…and dresses! But my big, opinionated mouth would probably land me in the tower for some sort of treason. Which is why I’d probably bring my kindle to keep me entertained in the prison, my favorite pair of sweat pants to stay comfy, and a huge case of veggie sausage…cause they ate a LOT of meat back then and I’m a vegetarian!
Do you have any writing "don'ts" you'd like to share?
Jessica: Not really. I don’t believe there’s one way to do anything. What works for some people might not work for others and vice versa. I guess the only “don’ts” I can think of are: “Don’t stress. Don’t worry.” Failure is inevitable in a job like this. It comes with the territory. But I believe it’s only there to make the successes more meaningful. Remember everything happens for a reason and everything has an opportunity hidden in it somewhere. You just have to find it!
Thank you again for sharing with us, Jessica! I wish you the best with your writing! What’s up next for you?
Jessica: Ooh, I have TONS of fun stuff in the works! Some I can talk about and some I can’t…YET! My next book is called 52 REASONS TO HATE MY FATHER. It will be released in Summer 2012. I just finished all the edits. I’m so excited about this one! It’s about a spoiled teen heiress, famous for her partygirl antics and tabloid headlines, who’s forced by her ever-absent mogul father to take on a different low-wage job every week for a year, if she wants any hope of receiving her trust fund. I had SO much fun writing that one. And it was recently optioned for film! So fingers crossed it actually gets made! How cool would that be?
And right now I’m working on the first book in a new sci-fi trilogy I just sold called UNREMEMBERED. It’s about a sixteen year old girl who wakes up amongst the wreckage of a devastating plane crash with no memories. She's forced to piece together her forgotten past with only one clue to her identity-- a mysterious boy who claims she's not from this time.
A few fun facts about Jessica Brody’s own life undecided:
• Jessica was born in Los Angeles, moved to Colorado when she was twelve, moved back to California after college and now indecisively splits her time between both states.
• Jessica graduated from Smith College in Massachusetts with majors in Economics and French because she was convinced she wanted to be an “important business woman.” After a brief stint as a strategic analyst for MGM Studios, she abandoned her business background to become a full-time writer. Now she uses her mad spreadsheet skills to build complicated outlines for her books.
• Appropriately, when writing this book, Jessica couldn’t decide on a title. So she polled 50 of her closest friends to finally come up with My Life Undecided.
Visit her online at: www.JessicaBrody.com. And coming soon: www.MyLifeUndecided.com, where you can post your own undecided questions, poll the community, and get some answers.