Ok Girls, how long have you been writing?
Jessica: I’ve been writing on and off for years. I don’t remember my first story or when I started, but the earliest one I can remember with any detail was a fanfiction for Bucky O Hare and the Toad Wars back in the early 90’s, I might have written some horrible Star Trek stuff before that.
Briana: I have a clear memory of writing back when I was 9 years old. It was a pop up book made with construction paper and crayons and featured farm animals. I have no idea what the story itself was about, but I remember those details. I’ve been writing on and off ever since, from fanfiction to what I write now.
Tell us where you were born and where do you live now.
Jessica: I was born in Missouri but moved to Minnesota shortly after. I’ve grown up for most of my life in Minnesota around the Twin Cities. Currently I live in St Paul with my partner and sometimes coauthor.
Briana: I was born in Chicago and grew up there or in the suburbs nearby for 18 years of my life. I left home to go to Iowa State University, where I met Jessica online, and after graduation in 2006 I moved to Minnesota to be with her. We live together in St. Paul right now with our cats and geeky things.
How do you know the idea is good enough to write a book about it?
Jessica: All ideas are good enough, it’s just a matter of spending the time to develop that idea into something that’s complete and others will be interested in reading. I usually know it’s one of those ideas that I want to invest the time in by how often my muses keep pestering me about it. It’s like those songs that stick in your head and won’t go away until you hum it around someone else? My stories do that, they haunt me until I’ve told them fully to other people.
Briana: I agree. If my muses keep whispering to me about it, then I know it’s time to bounce the idea off of Jessica (whether we’re writing together or not), put together and outline, and start writing. I get a lot of ideas, but there’s always the one that I can’t stop thinking about and really want to jump into.
Who has made the greatest difference for you as a writer?
Jessica: Two people, actually. My best friend Nate grew up with me and we both wrote. He and I would trade notebooks during lunch and during classes so we could read each other’s stuff and discuss them, and help build the other’s worlds. We still do this now, though neither of us write as much as we used to. I’m happy to say he’s looking into publishing his work now too!
The other is my partner and coauthor Briana. We met through writing and have always been each other’s support and editors on various different projects. She helped me chase the idea of actually getting a book published when I’d mostly let it fall by the wayside.
Briana: My family, especially my parents. My mother is a huge fan of my work, she reads everything I write — and I mean everything. My father isn’t much of a reader, but he’s still supportive. Jessica, of course, is a huge influence too. She’s a great muse to bounce ideas off of and making plans for our books is always fun.
There’s also my big brother who, unfortunately, passed away when I was 13. However, I’d like to think that he’s still watching me and cheering me on. I want to make him proud of me.
What is the name of your book?
Seeking the Storyteller is the book we’ve written together.
Tell us more about it. Perhaps a back cover blurb.
Jessica: Seeking the Storyteller is an Urban Supernatural book. It takes place in the Twin Cities and centers around this creature called the Storyteller, who can read your entire life like a book. He lives in a library full of books and each one is a person’s life, which he can read from beginning to end and change anything he wants.
Briana: The Hunters are a group of people who make sure that the people in the Twin Cities continue to live their lives oblivious to the existence of demons. However, with news of the Storyteller, one of the Hunters (Alix) decides that he wants to find this creature so he can rewrite a tragic event that happened in his life where he lost his family. In order to get to the Storyteller, Alix has to put aside his feelings about demons since he has to work with them to find him.
Is there a book trailer for your book?
No, for this one there isn’t. There might be for the sequel though.
Do you have a favorite character, why?
Jessica: I love all the characters. If I had to pick one, I’d have to say Haven. We have several plans for this character, but I love using him to explore the human world from a different angle. He’s grown up on the run and has no idea really who he is or where he’s from. So he knows a lot about staying alive, but interacting with people is a new thing for him.
Briana: That’s a tough question because I love all of them! I really like Mira because she has to learn a lot about herself and other people along the way. She’s one of those really happy characters who thinks the solution to things is as easy as writing it down and wishing it away, sort to speak, but she gets to learn along the way that life isn’t that simple.
What kind of impact do you expect your works to have in the reader’s lives?
Jessica: That’s a pretty big question I haven’t really thought of. I guess I’d like to just give them a good story with characters they’ll like and want to follow. I would also love to inspire other writers to go after publishing their work. Because it’s a lot of work, but it’s also a lot of fun.
Briana: I agree. I didn’t really go into this thinking about a grand message, but along the way some have come up. For instance, when something bad happens, we always wish we could make it go away. With the Storyteller, you actually can. However, you have to think about the consequences of that decision. It’s not that simple, you know? In real life you can’t just erase the bad, you have to live with it and grow from it, and I think that’s something a few characters get to learn how to do.
Do you have any advice for authors trying to break into the industry?
Jessica: Write. Don’t worry about getting into the industry first, you have to write first. Get that novel finished and polished as much as you can, then worry about the publishing world. It’ll take a lot of work no matter how good your novel is, but having a finished and polished novel first helps a lot. However, keep in mind that no matter how ‘finished’ your novel is, you’ll still have to go through editing. So make sure, when you do step onto this side, that you’re open to listen to others’ ideas and critiques. It’ll make your work even better.
Briana: Also, don’t stop at that first rejection letter, or the second one, or the tenth one. You’re allowed to be bummed out, but not so much that you stop. Take a break, do something fun, and step away from your work for a day. We called this the “chicken nugget trip.” My first book got rejected 10 times. Instead of giving up completely, Jessica would take me out of the house and give me a moment away from the work. Chicken nuggets and/or ice cream. Then, I would go home, go to bed, and wake up feeling better. So don’t give up, but also take a break (a SMALL break) away from the work so you can breathe.
Also, when your work does get accepted (because it will!) don’t assume that the job is complete. That’s just the beginning. There’s editing, re-editing, re-reading, cover art, acknowledgements, dedications, blurbs, and so much more work to do. And even when that is done, it’s still not over. Next comes promoting your work. And, yes, your publisher will help, but you also have to do the work too. Honestly, a writer’s job is never done, but if this is something you love it’s going to feel so good to work at it.
What are your new years goals?
Jessica: I don’t really set new years goals. Instead I like to set goals for the next place I’d like to be. So my next goal would be to get an old story that I’ve been working on, on and off since High School, finished and publish-ready. I finished the first draft and now I’m in the long editing stage, so I’m getting there!
Briana: I agree, I don’t really set New Years goals either. My next goal is to get our books out there more, which we’re working hard at by going to different conventions. I also want to get the next book done, past the rough draft stage and ready for the “getting published” stage.
Where can we find your book?
Seeking the Storyteller is available on Amazon as an ebook or a physical copy.
We also offer a signed copy with a sketch at our own online store.