Friday, April 24, 2009

Chatting with Jessica Burkhart (with a side of Friday Flair)

Welcome Jessica, Glad you could join us. Let's get started.

1. What made you choose to write? I used to be an equestrian until I had a spinal fusion for scoliosis. I needed a new hobby, so I started writing while I recovered. It soon became my favorite thing to do and went waaay behind just being something I did for fun.

Where did you get the idea for Take the Reins? I thought about my dreams when I was in middle school. I'd always wanted to compete on an equestrian team with my friends. I moved a lot as a kid and I knew what being the new girl was like. I injected that into my equestrian story and Take the Reins came to life.

2. Where do you write best?

Definitely in the living room on the couch. Or on my bed.

3. Is there a topic you’ve always wanted to write about?

I’ve got a new tween series idea kicking around in my brain—I don’t want to spoil it, so I won’t share yet. But I’m also working on a couple of ideas for YA readers. They’re dark and gritty—very different from Canterwood.

Sounds interesting. Very Interesting.

4. What was the last book you’ve read that you’ve been recommending to everyone?

I’m reading two ARCs right now that I won’t shut up about—Dani Noir by Nova Ren Suma and Devon Delaney Should Totally Know Better by Lauren Barnholdt. Both are *amazing* and they keep distracting me from work.

5. How do you get your ideas? Do you use real events in your novels and if so, can you describe one?

I get my best ideas when I try to think of what I loved to read when I was a tween. My favorite way to plot Canterwood is to have brainstorming sessions with Editor K where we toss ideas back and forth to find the best ones that will work for the series. It’s so fun when we have that “ah-hah!” moment and come up with something that’s perfect for Canterwood.

A real life event occurs in the first chapter of Take the Reins when Charm shies and gets loose at school. I had a horse bolt away from me at a stable once and run down the driveway. That’s terrifying!

6. Will there be more than eight Canterwood Crest novels?

The series is planned to stop at eight, but if there’s interest in more books, I’d absolutely love to write them. I adore my characters and could write 50 books about Canterwood. I’m so attached to the entire Canterwood world!

I hope there's more than eight, it's easy to become addicted to them. I read the first two in a weekend and immediately wanted Behind the Bit!

7. I’ve seen the covers on your website and they’re awesome, did you have any say in them?

I was lucky enough to be at both photo shoots for the covers. The fantastic group of people who worked on my covers encouraged my input and that was exciting. Photo shoots are sooo much fun and being able to watch your characters come to life is an amazing experience for a writer.

This one's my favorite.

That's awesome to be able to be a part of the shoot. I've heard that some authors don't have a say in their covers. Check out the covers here. (If you like reading about book cover's check out Melissa's blog for Cover Stories)

8. Are all the books written? If not, do you know plot points for all of them?

Nope, I’ve written five of the eight and only have a brief idea of where future books are going. I like to have a little spontaneity in the books and I’m never quite sure until I outline it how things are going to work out.

I bet that's both a lot of fun and a bit stressful at the same time.

9. How do you come up with your titles?

I’ve come up with a couple of titles, but the credit has to go to Editor K for most of them. She comes up with the best titles and when she asks my opinion, there’s never been one where I had to even think about it. They’re perfect for the series.

10. Name a celebrity, you’d love to have as a BFF

For a day, I’ve gotta go with R Pattz. (A guy can be a BFF, right?!)

Of Course! I have several - though they're not celebrities!

11. Listing if your favorites:

Type of shoe: boots

Candy: sour gummies

Pizza topping: toss up between cheese and pepperoni

Genre of books: contemporary

Singer and/or Song: JT

Restaurant: Southern Hospitality

TV show /Movie: Mean Girls

Color: Pink

Lip Gloss: anything sparkly

13. I hear you’re addicted to lip gloss. Is there a flavor that you wish someone would make?

Ooooh, fun question! Chocolate mousse would be awesome!

I'd use that! I'm addicted myself, but I think you have me beat!

14. What was it like to start college at 16?

Intense, but a great experience. It gave me what I needed to start my career early and I never regretted going to college at a younger age.

Here's a picture of Charm: Sasha Silver's horse

For more info check out Jessica's Blog and Canterwood's Website

Plus add flair:

Take the Reins: It took me a little bit to track down this book, but I was happy I did.
Sasha Silver is ready for more. She's enrolled in Canterwood Crest, a serious riding school. But in the first hour, she looses control of her frighten horse - causing an accidental spill. In doing so, she made her first enemy. Luckily, Sasha adores her roommate, Paige, who isn't involved in the equestrian side of school. Canterwood Crest is a huge step up from her previous riding experiences. Sasha hopes that she can live up to the school's reputation and her riding instructors expectations. After her first die, it's clear that Sasha can handle the riding portion of school. However, Heather's not used to sharing the spotlight. She senses competition from Sasha and it becomes her personal mission to take Sasha down. Sasha never dreamed she's have to deal with mean girls on top of challenging classes, long riding lessons, and competing to make the advance riding team. She's determined to come out on top, but first she has to go through Heather.

Chasing Blue:
Sasha's finally fitting in at Caterwood Crest. She wouldn't want to be anywhere else, especially since things are starting to heat up between her and Jacob. But could there be trouble in paradise? Heather's noticed Sasha's crush and she's doing everything possible to put doubts in Sasha's head. Sasha's trying to juggle her feelings for Jacob on top of dealing with Heather, a major horse competition, school work, and helping Paige win her dream of becoming a TV chef. There's only so much a girl can do. Plus the riding team starts working out in pairs; Sasha and Heather are assigned as one team. Could things get any worse? Will Sasha be focused enough on her riding skills to seriously compete in this competition or will her A game be thrown off by all her drama?

This series is a Saddle Club meets the Clique in a seriously fun and addicting read. Sasha could be your best friend: she's smart, but relaxing and knows how to have a good time. Plus she's determined and can hold her own against Heather. While she might not always like Heather (or her comments), she can sympathize with her. She's a great character that shows depth and wisdom.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Awesome interview. You asked some really great questions and Jessica is just plan awesome :)