Do you believe in real life fairy tales—the happy endings or the tragedies?
Jessica: Yes I do! They both exist. You can’t have a happy ending without the tragedies. Of course, even real life fairy tales take work in order for them not to turn into tragedies, though. =)
What evil character in television or in literature still haunts you to this day? Did they have any influence over how you created Mother?
Jessica: I would have to say Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty. She was just so unbelievably EVIL. She definitely influenced me as I was writing Mother.
In RENEGADE your character quickly realizes that her utopia is actually a dystopia. You called this place Elysium. How much does it relate to the Elysium of Greek mythology? Does the story itself have any other Greek myth influences or references?
Jessica: Elysium—or the Elysian fields, actually--was the Greek’s version of heaven. And that is EXACTLY what the city is supposed to be. Heaven. Not necessarily in a biblical or mythological sense, but as a place of peace and safety. It was supposed to be exactly what the Citizens wanted. Where they’re the happiest. And I think for the majority of them. It’s true. After all, “Ignorance is bliss.”
What can you tell us about RENEGADE that we won’t discover simply by reading the widespread public synopsis?
Jessica: I guess the statement, “Don’t take things at face value,” comes to mind here. That’s rather vague I’m afraid, but it’s the best I can do. There are many things with RENEGADE that make it appear to be one thing (the cover, the story itself, the opening chapter), when in fact it’s something else all together. So don’t go into it with preconceived notions, because more than likely it won’t be what you thought. And I think that’s a good thing.
If you could pick out your own personal Elysium, your own person paradise, where would you choose? And who would be there with you?
Jessica: A beach house on the coast. Preferably somewhere always warm. And I’d be there with my family.
What’s the hardest lesson you learned on the road to publication? What’s been the happiest experience you’ve had during or since publication?
Jessica: My hardest lesson would be patience. Everything in publishing works on it’s own timescale and rushing it, just isn’t a good idea. I found that out the hard way. And to enjoy every step of the process. Not just to go from one step to the next, constantly looking forward. After all it’s the journey not the destination that matters.
I don’t really have the happiest moment. I wanted to say when I got my agent, and then when I got my offer. Or my first publication date, but the truth is, every moment I spend writing, knowing I’m able to support my family from making stuff up and typing it, is my happiest moment. Even when I’m frustrated because a plot point isn’t working, or a crit. partner hates a character, it’s worth it and it makes me happy to be able to do it.
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Since the age of three, sixteen-year-old Evelyn Winters has been trained to be Daughter of the People in the underwater utopia known as Elysium. Selected from hundreds of children for her ideal genes all her life she’s thought that everything was perfect; her world. Her people. The Law.
But when Gavin Hunter, a Surface Dweller, accidentally stumbles into their secluded little world, she’s forced to come to a startling realization: everything she knows is a lie. Her memories have been altered. Her mind and body aren’t under her own control. And the person she knows as Mother is a monster.
Together with Gavin she plans her escape, only to learn that her own mind is a ticking time bomb... and Mother has one last secret that will destroy them all.
Make sure to stop by later today for a giveaway of the first three books in the Watchers series by Veronica Wolff!
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This is one of my most adored covers and it's also one of my most anticipated reads of the year! Thank you, Jessica, for your generosity and fascinating insight into RENEGADE! Comment down below if you're scared of Maleficent or you're a believer in blissful ignorance.