Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A2A Chat with Jessica Burkhart

Tip of the Day: do you love horses or boarding school books? Then make sure to check out the new Canterwood Crest novels by our guest today Jessica Burkhart.

Everyone please welcome Jessica Burkhart the author of the Canterwood Crest series. The first book in the series TAKE THE REINS just released in January (and based on the chapters I've read so far, you won't be disappointed!) and three more books will be in stores this year.

Jessica was kind enough to take a break from her busy schedule to chat with me about her books:

1.) You seem to be really organized and focused with your writing. Can you share a bit of your daily writing schedule with us? And tell us how you stay on task.

I write six or seven days a week and often have to pull myself away from the computer! :) But I can’t start writing till I check email, Facebook, my blog and LiveJournal. Just can’t focus without checking those first. Then, it’s writing time! When I’m working on a draft, it’s almost like an obsession. The deadline just looms over me and I want to get the draft down ASAP so I don't feel anxious. Once I get the draft down, no matter how awful, it makes me feel more secure.

I stay focused because I truly love my work. I’m so grateful to be a fulltime writer and it’s important to me to do the best job that I can. That means meeting or beating my deadlines. Plus, certain people would show up at my doorstep and threaten to take away my lip gloss if I got close to missing a deadline! :)

[Emily: Oh no, not the lip gloss. Yes, I'd be motivated then too :) ]

2.) How has knowing you are writing a series changed your writing habits?

Writing a series has eased a bit of the “what idea do I go with next?” pressure. I know there are four books left to write in the Canterwood series, so that’s what my next eight to nine months are going to be. That makes me feel more comfortable and it helps cut down on the anxiety factor.

It also forces me to keep better notes about what I’m writing since it’s not a standalone book. I need to keep track of character details so I don’t say something in book one and contradict it in book five. Luckily, though, my editor and copyeditor watch for that stuff, too.

3.) What has been the most fun aspect of having a debut novel this year?

The most fun is knowing that my book is out there and no one can take it back! *grins* For months after I got the book deal, I was convinced my agent would call me at some point to say, “Well, I’m so sorry, but S&S decided they made a mistake and they’re taking back the book deal.” I waited for that to happen right up to the moment I got my ARC. Now, Take the Reins is on shelves and there’s no going back! :)

[Emily: I've heard alot of other authors have the same fear. It must be something you catch when signing the contract.]

4.) Do you have a favorite writing tip or quote that you could share with us?

How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live—Henry David Thoreau.

That quote resonates with me this year more than ever before.

[Emily: LOVE IT!!! I couldn't agree with this more.]

5.) And last, but certainly not least, if you were stranded on a desert island and could only watch one television show which would you pick? (And no, shows like Survivor Man don't count. We want to know what you'd really want to watch.)

One only? I have sooo many! But…okay. I would want Gilmore Girl reruns. I never get tired of them!

[You are a girl after my own heart, Jess!]

About TAKE THE REINS (summary from Amazon): When Sasha Silver and her horse, Charm, arrive on the campus of the elite Canterwood Crest Academy, Sasha knows that she's in trouble. She's not exactly welcomed with open arms. One group of girls in particular is used to being the best, the brightest, and the prettiest on the team, and when Sasha shows her skills in the arena, the girls' claws come out.

Sasha is determined to prove that she belongs at Canterwood. Will she rise to the occasion and make the advanced riding team by the end of her first semester? Or will the pressure send Sasha packing?

Thanks so much for stopping by and answering my questions, Jess. I can't wait to finish the books, and we all wish you the best of luck on your series and all your future projects.

--Emily, Miss Querylicious


Kate Fall said...

Great interview! Jessica, it sounds like you really love what you do. How inspirational.

DeenaML said...

Thanks for coming by, Jessica! I bought your first book for my YA section at the library!

Jessica Burkhart (Jess Ashley) said...

Thanks so much for having me! :) Em asked great questions and it was fun!

Lisa Schroeder said...

Yay - And I agree, I love Gilmore Girls! :)

Thanks for being here, Jess!

Bookworm said...

Great interview! Can't wait to start TTR! (: Yay, Jess!

Christina Farley said...

Great interview! I enjoyed it. And I can't wait to read all the books.