Jess Evander is the young adult pen name used by multi-published author, Jessica Keller. Jessica holds degrees in both Communications and Biblical Studies. She writes Young Adult Fiction and Inspirational Romance and has 100+ magazine and newspaper articles to her name. Making her home in the Midwest, Jessica believes there’s never a wrong time to eat cake.
Despite the fact that she acts as a parent to her alcoholic father, Gabby Creed feels pretty normal. But her life is turned upside-down on her seventeenth birthday when a bracelet appears on her wrist and sucks her back through time. Turns out she’s not even a little bit normal. She’s a Shifter—a protector of humans and of history itself. And she’s not alone. The other Shifters believe Gabby is special, even more special than the mysterious Michael Pace. Oh, and the Shades—seriously creepy creatures who feed off of human despair—are determined to capture her. It’s all a lot to absorb. So Gabby’s grateful to have Michael as her Trainer—or she would be if she could get her rebellious heart under control. Then again, if the rumors about her blood are true, saving yesterday will be the least of her worries.
Q&A with Jessica Keller
Maddie F. asks, “What made you want to become a writer?”
The funny thing is I never had dreams of being a writer until I was older. When I was younger, I had a lot of trouble reading and got bullied in school for it (even by the teachers—reading out loud in class was inhumane torture). So as a child I hated books and reading and writing. But I’ve always been a storyteller—whether it was exaggerating a retelling of a trip with a friend to the store, or making up adventures to entertain a kid I was babysitting, I believed in imagining and sharing truth through fiction long before I ever considered becoming an author. It was late in high school when I discovered my love of reading and devoured all the classics. I’ve never been without a book to read and a new story idea to write ever since.
Becca P. asks, “Was your first book ever rejected? If so how many times?” (Sara Ella adds: Any advice for how to deal with rejection?)
I was offered a publishing contract on the first book I submitted (don’t hate me—it’s not how it sounds!) BUT there was rejection before that.
At the first writer’s conference I attended, in my first agent appointment I pitched a story idea and the agent asked to see the first page of my manuscript. She *might* have read the first two sentences before looking me in the eye and saying, “Your ideas have merit, but if this is the best you have then you should look for a different profession.”
I went home that night and cried my eyes out and told my husband I was never going to write again. Then in the morning I realized I had two options: 1) I could let the feedback/rejection defeat me, or 2) I could use it as a challenge. I chose the second, and it made all the difference. I spent the next 6 months dissecting books I loved and nailing down why they worked and what made me love them. Then I plotted a story and wrote it—that was my first book (Home for Good), which sold on its first pitch.
Unfortunately, rejection is part of our business and doesn’t go away once a book is published. The one star reviews will still be there for everyone to see. The mean tweets. All of it. I find reader rejection so much harder to deal with then any pass from a publishing house or agent—because it’s so public.
Best advice? We’re human, so know that rejection is always going to hurt, but don’t allow it to defeat you. You can have the eat ice-cream day, as long as the neck day you shake it off and glean the feedback from it and move on.
Daniela D. asks, “Where did you come up with the idea for your book?”
The TimeShifters series all started when I was having a discussion with one of my good friends about how strange it is that angels and demons have been a part of human history without humanity realizing it. Have they impacted human wars and events? If so—how? What would it look like if we saw that?
However, I had no desire to write a book about angels and demons. Just not my thing. But it was enough to spark my imagination. Soon after that, Michael and Gabby strolled into my head as fully formed characters—Shifters who time travel to protect humans against Shades (creatures to feed off of human despair).
Laura P. asks, “If you could hangout with your characters for the day, what would you want to do?”
Great question. I think I’d just want to do something ridiculously fun with them. Like eat ice-cream for breakfast and then all go bowling and keep going on fun adventures together all day. Gabby and Michael usually function with the weight of the world on them, I’d want to give them a “day off” to laugh and be stress free—which I know they’d enjoy since both of the characters, despite the rough parts of their lives, are quick to laugh and both love a good joke.
Sara Ella (me) asks, “What is your most anticipated read of 2015 and why?”
Tough question and I’m totally going to cheat and list more than one!
- Book 4 in the Eyes of E’veria series (Serena Chase): The Sunken Realm – because the hero, Cazien, is a pirate (really, no other reason required) and Serena’s storytelling ability is awe inspiring and I can’t wait to see how everything ties up in this series.
- Book 3 in the Doon series (Carey Corp & Lorie Langdon): Shades of Doon – because Carey and Lorie ended Destined for Doon with the MEANEST cliffhanger ever and I must find out what happens to Veronica and Kenna. And I need more Duncan (my favorite of the hero princes) simply because life needs more Duncan (are you sensing a theme? I love a good hero!).
Thanks for chatting on the blog today, Jessica! It was a treat to have you! (BTW I totally agree that the 3rd book of the Doon series is one to anticipate. Can’t wait for that one.)
Jessica Keller has graciously offered to give a copy of Saving Yesterday to one lucky reader! Leave a question or comment for Jessica below to enter.
Be sure to record you entry via the Rafflecopter, and earn extra entries there too by following and sharing on social media. Enter through Thursday, April 30th. One random winner will be chosen and announced in my May newsletter, so be sure to sign up via this form: