Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Guest Post: Best Selling Author Jessica Therrien

Welcome to the PEARLS OF WISDOM Author Tour! 

Today's guest is Jessica Therrien, Best Selling Author of Oppression: Children of The Gods Series book 1. Uprising, Book 2 is scheduled to release in May 2013. Jessica received her first book contract with Zova Books without a literary agent after pitching it to them at a conference. I love her success story, and I love her writing. Jessica's next project will be represented by me at the Corvisiero Literary Agency. In her guest post today, Jessica shares with you 4 fantastic and useful tips. I'm sure that at most will come in handy! 
Jessica's Post: 

Maybe these tips will help you, maybe they won't. Every writer has their own experiences, their own beliefs, their own processes and techniques, but here are just a few things I've come to understand through writing, editing, and getting published.

1. Get used to waiting:

If you plan to introduce your writing to the publishing industry, at some point you will find yourself waiting in suspense for something. Whether it is the response to a query letter or partial, news from your agent, or feedback from your editor and/or publisher on your rewrites, you will catch yourself counting the hours, days, weeks, or months until you finally get word. That waiting feeling never goes away, no matter where you are on your publishing journey. Try and get used to it.

2. Stop and write when lady muse comes to visit:

For some people writing may come easily. If you are one of those people who can just sit down and write, whenever, wherever, no matter the circumstances...I envy you. For me, it doesn’t work like that.

Most of what I consider to be good writing comes to me like an epiphany. Words just start flowing from somewhere in the universe, using me as the vessel needed to get them to paper. I've heard other writers speak of the same feeling, so I know I'm not the weirdo here, but when the universe starts writing through you, let it.

When writing Oppression, I had one of these moments in my car. I repeated the narrative and phrases of dialogue over and over in my head as I drove, knowing that if I didn't get them out soon they would be lost. The second I got home I ran for my notepad and started furiously jotting down what I had been repeating. Just at that moment my husband of only two weeks walked in with a sweet greeting...
"Hey sweetie, how was your--"
"Sssh," I cut him off abruptly. "I have to write this down."
"Why what's wrong--"
"Sssssssssh," I snapped again. "Don't talk."
As I continued to scribble, he raised his eyebrows and walked over to the cat, who was more than happy to welcome him home with love.
"Hi Romeo, yeah, so cute..."
I sighed very heavily, clearly irritated, and walked out the backdoor with my notepad, looking for silence.

As soon as I finished, I thought, shoot, I was really crazy and mean just now. I ran up to the man cave to find my new husband and immediately apologized.
"I'm so sorry. I just had to get it out you know, or it would be gone."
"Yeah, whatever, don't talk!" he mimicked me with a smile.
I laughed. "I'm sorry."
He laughed too. "Don't worry about it. I get it. Writing emergency."
"Exactly," I said.

*Thank you husband for understanding and accepting my writing process, even when it makes me a crazy person.

3. Fall in love with your characters, not your first draft:

First drafts are special, because they come with a sense of accomplishment. After months or even years of writing your book, your baby, it is finally done, and in your mind it is perfect. Wrong!
(Well, maybe a few perfect first drafts exist out there, but not very many)

For most of us, the first draft is our heart and soul on paper (or in Microsoft Word), but just because you are attached doesn't make it right, complete, or by any means perfect.  With Oppression I was very much attached, and very much convinced it was the best it could be. I was blind to its flaws, and even the possibility of making it better. It was a foolish point of view.

My best advice to overcoming this attachment to your story is to be open to change, don't be afraid of it. Get honest and brutal feedback from people that AREN'T YOUR FAMILY. Despite what your family will tell you, they are bias. Mom is too star-struck by you to believe anything you wrote isn't pure genius. Get another opinion. It might hurt, but it will open your eyes.

Above all else, as you go through the gut-wrenching process of CUTTING, editing, and re-writing, try and attach yourself to your characters. Attribute all of those "wasted" chapters that you'll end up taking out to character development. If you think of cuts/edits like this, nothing is ever a waste.

4. Learn to love editing:

For me, editing is the hard part. It is more work than the writing itself. I never liked the idea of editing. It was tedious, and I always found myself wanting to start writing that next chapter, something new, but editing is just as much a part of the writing process as the actually writing.

Instead of thinking of it as a chore, think of it as an opportunity to take your characters places they've never been, or getting to know them a little better. Editing and revising are worth every minute, so do yourself a favor and look forward to it.

Write on my friends!

Jessica Therrien is the author of the young adult paranormal fiction series Children of the Gods. Book one in the series, Oppression, was published by ZOVA Books in February of 2012 and became a Barnes & Noble best-seller shortly after its release. The second book in the series, Uprising, will be available in May of 2013.

Aside from her Children of the Gods series, Jessica’s work can also be found in a published collection of flash fiction stories called Campaigner Challenges 2011. Out of over 350 submissions her story, The Soulless, won first place for people’s choice and fourth place in the judging round of Rachael Harrie’s Writing Campaign Challenge. Her story, Saved, is also available as part of the anthology.
Jessica spent most of her life in the small town of Chilcoot, California, high up in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. In this town of nearly 100 residents, with no street lights or grocery stores, there was little to do but find ways to be creative. Her mother, the local English teacher, inspired her to do all things artistic, and ultimately instilled in her a love for language.

In 2003, Jessica attended California State University Long Beach where her passion for language found her studying Chinese, and in 2005 she moved to Taiwan to study abroad. From 2005 to 2006 Jessica was fully immersed in the Chinese language as she attended National Taiwan University, and in 2008 she graduated from San Diego State University magna cum laude.

Jessica currently lives in Chula Vista with her husband and is working on book three in her Children of the Gods series.

Oppression Blurb: There are others like her. Many of them. And they have been waiting for her for a long time.

Elyse knows what it means to keep a secret. She's been keeping secrets her whole life. Two, actually. First, that she ages five times slower than the average person, so that while she looks eighteen years old, she's closer to eighty. Second, that her blood has a mysterious power to heal.

For Elyse, these things don't make her special. They make life dangerous. After the death of her parents, she's been careful to keep her secret as closely guarded as possible. Now, only one other person in the world knows about her age and ability.

Or so she thinks.

Elyse is not the only one keeping secrets. There are others like her all over the world, descendants of the very people the Greeks considered gods. She is one of them, and they have been waiting for her.

Among so many of her kind, she should not be very remarkable--except for the prophecy. Some believe she will put an end to centuries of traditions, safeguarded by violence, which have oppressed her people for centuries. Others are determined to keep her from doing just that. But for Elyse, the game is just beginning--and she's not entirely willing to play by their rules.

Uprising Blurb: The Descendants have waited long enough for freedom. 

Elyse has done everything she can to protect her friends from The Council's reach. As long as they believe she's dead, she has time to rest and train for war. And war is inevitable. 

When Kara arrives with the news that Anna and Chloe have been captured, Elyse is faced with the realization that no one is safe until The Council is stopped and Christoph is destroyed. She doesn't need a prophecy to tell her to lead an army. Christoph has done the one thing that ensures she'll fight to the death. He's threatened the people she loves. 

It will take more than the words of an oracle to help them fight against the most powerful Descendant alive. To break The Council's oppression and rise up against a plot so many years in the making, Elyse will need to get dangerously close to her enemy. So close, in fact, she may not survive.


  1. Thank you for the tips, Jessica! :)

  2. Thank you! This was a great reminder of things that I know--but all to often forget...ummm...ignore....block out? LOL- any way they are things I need to post over my computer to keep me on the right path.

    And your series sounds great! (I'm going to buy it as a reward for being patient :).

    Thank you for the post, Jessica--and thank you for hosting her, Marisa!

  3. "When writing Oppression, I had one of these moments in my car. I repeated the narrative and phrases of dialogue over and over in my head as I drove, knowing that if I didn't get them out soon they would be lost."

    For this reason, I carry a digital recorder with me, so I can SPEAK what's on my mind. It works great for dialogue. I also have Dragon voice recognition software, which allows me to transcribe it right from the device. The accuracy can be hit or miss. But when it hits, I've magically got 200-300 words already typed in.

    1. Wow. Great idea :) I'm looking into that Dragon software. Thanks!