This is the second week of Fresh Start September and we’ve already had so many great interviews and discussion posts. Thank you all again for participating! Today we have another treat for you: an interview with debut author Jessica Khoury! Jessica’s debut book, Origin was published last week and this standalone novel blends science fiction with the jungle! Intrigued? Let’s find out a little bit more about Origin:
September 4th 2012
Add this book to your TBR list on Goodreads
Pia has grown up in a secret laboratory hidden deep in the Amazon rain forest. She was raised by a team of scientists who have created her to be the start of a new immortal race. But on the night of her seventeenth birthday, Pia discovers a hole in the electric fence that surrounds her sterile home–and sneaks outside the compound for the first time in her life.
Free in the jungle, Pia meets Eio, a boy from a nearby village. Together, they embark on a race against time to discover the truth about Pia’s origin–a truth with deadly consequences that will change their lives forever.
Origin is a beautifully told, shocking new way to look at an age-old desire: to live forever, no matter the cost.
I can’t wait to start reading my copy. Without further ado, here is our interview with the lovely author, Jesica, where you can find out more about her road to being published, her favourite scene from the book, and her many varied dreams!
Lots of people enjoy writing and have a passion for it, can you describe what it felt like when Origin was finally picked up by Razorbill/Penguin?
It was so surreal. I was in the middle of an eye exam when I got the call from my agent that Penguin had offered, and I alternately screamed, cried, and hyperventilated while my optometrist sat patiently and graciously by. Then I had to sit for FIFTEEN MINUTES in the waiting room because they’d dilated my eyes. I couldn’t tell anyone my news! It was the longest, most agonizing, most glorious fifteen minutes of my life. As soon as they released me, I drove like a maniac across town, pulled my husband from his office, and screamed the news at him. I still sometimes feel the fullness of it hasn’t hit me yet!
What has been the most exciting aspect of the process in getting Origin published?
I think the most exciting part has been getting to meet readers. It’s so wild to think of strangers reading my work! And nerve-wracking too. But there is no sweeter feeling than getting to shake hands with someone who’s read and loved my book. It’s the most gratifying experience of all–because that’s what it’s all about! Getting to connect with readers.
Without giving away too many spoilers, what chapter, scene or moment did you enjoy writing the most when writing Origin?
My favorite scene was one of the last to be added to the book. It involves Eio taking Pia into the jungle during the night. She’s pretty upset over an argument she’s just had with someone in Little Cam, and to cheer her up, Eio climbs up this waterfall to pick a passion flower for her. The water is filled with bioluminescent algae, so it glows as he swims through it. It’s very visual, steamy, and sweet and I loved writing it!
Pia and Eio are very interesting names. Where do you come up with names for your characters?
So this is weird, but for Origin I didn’t plan any names. I made nearly all of them up on the spot. Pia’s name was one of the first things to come to me, and Eio’s was created in midsentence at the last possible moment. I literally wrote ‘”What’s your name?’ Pia asked.” And then I was like, Oh, crap, what’s his name? So I just made it up. Eio. And that was that. I knew it had to sound Ai’oan, which is why it’s all vowels. But other than that, it was a spontaneous decision.
It says on your profile that you direct plays! What about directing do you love and what would be your dream play to direct?
I love getting to bring so many different aspects of a production into one unified vision. For months, it seems the costumes, set, actors, etc. are all incomplete, inharmonious fragments. But I live for the moment when all these seemingly incongruous pieces come together to form a beautifully orchestrated whole. It’s so magical–and it’s a lot like writing! Much of what I do in writing, I learned from directing plays. Directing taught me how to dream up a vision and maintain it through what can often be a messy, frustrating process–but one which, if you stay focused, will ultimately pay off in a complete, seamless product. My dream play to direct would be the musical Evita; it’s my favorite production and I adore the complex politics and characters involved.
You seem to have so many varied interests, like sports, animals and song writing. What’s something you’ve never done that you would love to if you had the chance?
I would love to work in a professional theater or film environment, bringing together my love of writing and my love of the dramatic arts. I’d also love to play soccer at a highly competitive level. Also, I want to swim with an orca. I have many dreams. It’s all very complicated. =P
I want to say a big thank you to Jessica Khoury for participating in Fresh Start September and allowing Faye, Melissa and I to bring you this interview! We hope you all enjoy Origin and do let us know what you think!
As a bonus part of the event, we are giving everyone a chance to win some prizes donated by our wonderful participants and ourselves! The prizes include:
- 2 winners of Strange Chemistry ARC packs, each pack including a copy of Poltergeeks by Sean Cummings, The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke AND Katya’s World by Jonathan L Howard (courtesy of Strange Chemistry)
- 1 winner of an eBook of My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris (courtesy of Entangled Publishing)
- 1 winner of an paperback of Speechless by Hannah Harrington (courtesy of Harlequin) – US/CAN ONLY
- 1 winner of a hardcover copy of 34 Pieces of You by Carmen Rodrigues (courtesy of the author) – US ONLY, enter here
- 3 winners of a book of your choice from any that has been featured in Fresh Start September (each courtesy of the hosts)
The giveaway is INTERNATIONAL (except when specified otherwise) and will run until the end of the event (30 September). Remember to follow the Twitter and Facebook pages of the prizes you want to win, for example, to be eligible to win the Strange Chemistry Prize, you must follow them on Twitter and Facebook. Good luck!