AUTHOR Q&A FROM JESSIE ROSEN
1. How did this story come to you?
The core idea for Dead Ringer was something my literary manager and I started discussing a long time ago. We were both obsessed with the massive twist in Gone Girl and wanted to play with the idea of that occurring inside a YA world. After a lot of brainstorming, the story developed. But, for the record, I said, “No way—this is too crazy!” for at least a few months before believing I could pull it off.
2. Is DEAD RINGER based on a true story?
The novel is based on true towns, some true people, a lot of researched facts (like hacking, police investigation, and even some scientific stuff), but the main concept is purely fiction. That said, I would love to know if something like the Dead Ringer reveal has actually happened in real life! Once you’ve finished reading, please let me know what you know.
Want to know more? Read a guest blog post here about the bits that are fiction vs. reality and here for which real-life boys inspired my main character, Charlie Sanders!
3. Did you do anything to prepare for writing sessions? Have any sort of pre-writing ritual?
I have endless pre-writing rituals. First I outline like mad using notecards, Excel sheets, and a lot of Post-its on my fridge! That’s all done before I start drafting. Then when I’m actually writing every morning (another ritual), I spend about 30 minutes each night prepping what I’m going to tackle the next day. I made a bulleted list of how the next scene will unfold so I’ve already done the hard thinking before I hit that terrifying blank white page the next day!
4. Some authors write in coffee shops, others in their beds… What surrounds you when you write?
I tend to write in coffee shops, and almost all of Dead Ringer was written in a gorgeous little spot in Los Angeles called Zinque. I need to leave my house so I’m not distracted by my puppy…or all the things I want to clean. But anywhere I write needs to be light, bright, and cozy. Zinque has a “garden room” with floor-to-ceiling windows that let the sunshine in and really plush couches so I feel like I’m in the living room of my ideal house.
5. What drew you to write YA? Why not an adult mystery thriller
Two things drew me to writing a YA thriller. First, I felt like the YA world was missing mystery thrillers like a Gone Girl or Girl On A Train. But mostly I wanted to challenge myself to write in a high school tone and voice. I’ve worked in an adult voice for my entire career, so this felt like a great opportunity to branch out.
6. Was the transition from blogger to author natural for you?
No! It took so much hard work (and convincing on the part of my managers and husband) to tackle this project. I was sure that I couldn’t do it: the length, the tone, the heavy plotting. I read a lot of YA and adult novels before launching into Dead Ringer, and I read even more books on the craft of writing a novel or sticking to any long writing project. To that end I highly recommend Anne LaMott’s Bird by Bird and Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way.
7. Which character in DEAD RINGER was the most difficult to write? The most fun?
The most difficult was definitely Laura. One part of that is because I wanted her to be strong but still sweet, and the second part is because of all the events that unfold around her (sorry, not telling). The most fun was definitely Sasha. She is the curious, obsessive side of myself that felt easy to tap into as I wrote.
To be clear, I am not a genius hacker.
8. What are your three favorite or most memorable books?
I think favorite and most memorable are the same for me. They are:
A Wrinkle In Time by Madeline L’Engle. My favorite book as a child and one I still reread today. It’s such a fun journey with such clear characters. I love it more every time.
The Secret History by Donna Tart. A master class in mystery. I thought about this book a lot when writing Dead Ringer because I wanted to match the incredible suspense it achieves.
Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen. To me, it’s the most epic love story of all time, perfectly told. I read it overnight in eight hours straight in high school. I always think of Elisabeth and Darcy when I’m crafting lovebirds. I love their yin/yang dynamic.
9. Everyone’s wondering: Will DEAD RINGER have a sequel?
Here’s hoping! I originally conceived the story as a trilogy, so the plan for books two and three are already laid out! Will enough people love book one to make two and three come true?? That’s where you readers come in 😉 Fingers crossed.
– Jessie Rosen
Read DEAD RINGER today and find out just why it needs that sequel! Available on Amazon, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo or direct from the Full Fathom Five Digital store (direct purchases give Jessie more royalties!).
ABOUT JESSIE ROSEN
Jessie Rosen is a writer, producer, and performer. She grew up in New Jersey, attended Boston College in Massachusetts, and began her writing career in New York. Her live storytelling series Sunday Night Sex Talk has received national attention. She was named one of “The 25 Best Bloggers, 2013 Edition” by TIME magazine for her blog 20-Nothings, which was also named in “The 100 Best Websites for Women” and “The Top 10 Best Websites for Millennial Women” in 2013 by Forbes.
Rosen is the oldest of four girls, which gives her a special window into the minds of teenagers. She now lives in Los Angeles, where she’s working on film and television projects, as well as her next novel.
Visit her website, http://20-nothings.com.