Today my guest is Kim Jewell, published author of Young Adult fiction including Invisible Justice, Brute Justice and Misery’s Fire.
Chrystalla: Hi dear Kim and welcome to my blog! Why don’t you tell us a few words about yourself first?
Kim: Hello, and thanks for having me! My name is Kim Jewell and I’m a wife, mother, step-mother, marketing executive, animal lover (three dogs and one very naughty cat!), and if that’s not enough to make me crazy… I’m also a new author!
Chrystalla: Why do you write?
Kim: I’ve always written in my career – I’m in marketing and public relations, so my writing was pretty much ad copy, press releases, newsletters, website copy… It was always a dream of mine to turn to fiction writing, but I just never knew how or where to start. And I was waiting for the right storyline to inspire me.
I took a break from marketing several years ago, went to work for my best friend to help her manage her dental practice. I stayed with her for three years before the law firm I’m working at now called and requested an interview with me. Once I started working here, I got back into the swing of writing again, and my creative juices started flowing. I had forgotten how much I missed it! I dreamt the storyline for Invisible Justice shortly after I got back into marketing (apparently my creativity doesn’t stop even when I’m sleeping!) and started writing pretty much the next day. It was completed in less than three months.
Chrystalla: What inspires you?
Kim: I was told once by a fellow writer/friend that my “voice” was very similar to Alice Sebold (The Lovely Bones, The Almost Moon). Did she influence me? No, I read her work after I started writing, but I did pick up both of those books just to study her voice and delivery. She’s incredible, very powerful writing.
I’d say I’m probably more inspired by the stories and authors of YA writing – I love the creative plotlines and the sheer entertainment of being swept into a story so imaginative and beyond anything our every day mundane reality could provide. I adore both the Harry Potter and Hunger Games series, and our bookshelves are lined with all kinds of YA books and series – Percy Jackson, Eragon, Lord of the Rings, Twilight, Artemis Fowl, and more. I had a reviewer compare my work to James Patterson’s Maximum Ride series, so I guess the reading I’ve been doing in this genre is paying off!
Chrystalla: What genre(s) do you write and why?
Kim: So far all I’ve completed is in the young adult arena – it’s a genre that our entire family has always enjoyed, both in literature and in movies. When the boys were young, I read the Harry Potter novels to them before bedtime, and I remember standing in line waiting to see the first movie with them. True story – the first HP movie came out the same day we closed on our house. We told the title company to hurry up the process because we had movie tickets that were more important! Our entire family has always been fascinated by the creativity in YA literature, so this feels the most natural for me and my voice.
Chrystalla: What can you tell us about your writing projects and recent releases?
Kim: Invisible Justice is told from the perspective of Sam Dixon, a fairly typical 16-year old, at least until he starts to experience random bouts of burning fire sensation that spreads throughout his entire body. The flashes don’t last long, but they’re excruciating. They also leave him with heightened senses – he can see farther (and in the dark!), hear things blocks away, smell the faintest of chemicals in the water… The powers come and go just as the flashes of pain do, but each time they last a little longer, and eventually strengthen and manifest into other abilities. When the flashes are done, the powers stay for good.
A random meeting connects him with Leesha Conway, another teenager who has already gone through the flashes, and is left with the power of telekinesis. She can lift and move pretty much anything, people included, with just the power of her mind. They team up to find out what is happening to them and who is responsible. Along the way, they find two more teenagers who have been affected and the team works desperately to track down the doctor responsible for the genetic manipulation. He’s not entirely honorable, though, and will stop at nothing to control the teens once they’ve started realizing their powers.
Brute Justice picks up where IJ left off, the evil doctor is still in hiding, and they finally find him and start tracking him like he’s been watching them. The four teens start gathering intel on him, waiting for the right opportunity to approach him for questioning. They track down another teen named Jade, but the mystery about her is that she has been through the flashes, but hasn’t realized a power of any kind. They also find yet another teen toward the end, and without giving up too many details, this character adds a very interesting dynamic to this book and for the other books to come.
Chrystalla: Tell us about your latest release (could include blurb, small excerpt like 200 words).
Kim: Misery’s Fire is a story about a nineteen-year-old (Grant) who gets killed when he tries to avenge his sister’s (Misery is her name) murder. He wakes up in hell with a caseworker named Angelo whose only purpose is to make Grant as miserable as possible. When he can’t break his spirit, he hastily resorts to a punishment from a flip comment Grant makes about nothing being worse than high school. So he sends him back to the fiery pits of cliques, chicks and acne.
Grant gets plopped down in this fancy private school (polar opposite of his former impoverished life) with nothing but the clothes on his back and a bag full of freshman books. New body, new face, no one to turn to for help. So he is forced to learn how to survive, and make choices based on his new sense of right and wrong. Angelo plays his part, throwing evil temptations at him, and Misery has some divine intervention as well.
Chrystalla: What gave you the idea for this book?
Kim: Misery’s Fire was a dream my husband had. He was so excited to tell me the idea for my next book, and then couldn’t find the right words to explain it to me. He ended up sitting down at his laptop, and 750 words later had written the outline for me. His piece was so compelling, I first told him he should write the book. He declined, and nudged it back my way. “You’re the writer, not me,” he said. Then I tried to use his words as a prologue to set the story up. After a lot of reader feedback, I finally conceded to taking out the prologue, but his ideas, and much of his writing is woven throughout the story.
Chrystalla: What is special about this book – what sets it apart?
Kim: This one’s a lot darker, edgier – still YA, but it definitely skews to the older teens. It covers some heavy topics like gangs, crime, drugs, bullying, and also family loyalty, redemption and faith. My initial goal when I first started writing was to create entertaining stories that would appeal to teenagers, but would also appeal to their parents as well. I wanted to cover some heavy topics that are affecting teens today, and really open up lines of communication between parents and their kids. This one’s the one to read with your teen if you struggle getting them to open up about tough issues.
Chrystalla: Do you have a favorite scene in the book?
Kim: The scenes between the main character (Grant) and his sister (Misery) are my favorites – at least the happy ones. The last scene, where they say goodbye, made me cry when I wrote it. (Yep, I’m a total sap!)
Chrystalla: What kind of research did you do for this story?
Kim: I did tons of research while writing this book, but I like the research process, so it was kind of fun for me. I read up on everything from drugs and gangs, to how to start a motorcycle, to different kinds of temporary tattoos. I’ve also got a friend whose husband is a police officer, so I bounced a lot of fact-finding questions off of her as well. Oh yeah, and I had to pull out the old anatomy materials and dust off my knowledge of dissection from high school!
Chrystalla: What is the hardest part about being a writer? How do you get past it?
Kim: The hardest part for me is simply finding the time to write. I’ve got a full-time job (which I love) and a full-time family (whom I adore), so I cram my writing time into my lunch hour. (It’s pretty much the only hour I get truly to myself.) I wouldn’t change anything about my life, but there are days when I wish I could cram about eight more hours into my lunch hour!
Chrystalla: What can we look forward to next from you?
Kim: Right now I’m working on a sci-fi novel entitled After the Pulse, which explores life after Earth has been hit by an electromagnetic pulse. This one was a storyline that came from one of my husband’s dreams, and I swear it was right after he watched the movie Zombieland. (He loves that movie.) So it explores what happens when the electrical grid has been disabled by the pulse and people are no longer able to rely on cars, computers, telephones, television – you name it, it’s been zapped. Oh, and there are some random zombies and other crazies thrown in. It’s a sci-fi/horror that is told from the eyes of a sixteen-year-old. It’s suitable for YA, but should appeal to all sci-fi lovers.
I’ve also started a silly little middle-grade romance novel in which a sasquatch girl falls in love with a teenage boy. The twist – the sasquatch population is much more highly evolved than the human race, and they feel far superior to humans. It’s their higher intelligence and advanced technology which enables them to blend in with society when absolutely necessary, but also helps them evade our wandering and ever-curious scientist explorers looking for proof of Bigfoot existence. Imagine her family’s dismay when they find out Flora has a crush on a filthy human! Oh the horror! It’s called Sasquatchattraction, and I’ll eventually pull it from the shelf, dust it off and finish it, but…
Right now my readers are asking for the next book in the Justice Series, so after I’ve sent my current WIP to my beta readers and editors, I’ll get back to that series. Flora’s budding romance will have to wait a bit longer, I’m afraid.
Chrystalla: Where can people learn more about you and your writing?
Kim: My blog is the best place to start – www.kimjewell.wordpress.com
Where to find Kim Jewell:
Kim: My blog: www.kimjewell.wordpress.com
My Twitter handle: @kimjewell
My Facebook profile: http://www.facebook.com/kim.jewell
My Facebook fan page for Invisible Justice: http://www.facebook.com/kim.jewell#!/pages/Invisible-Justice/221641074526221
My Google+ profile: https://plus.google.com/u/0/welcome?gpinv=AGXbFGyKkgfgvf9j3afLZ4mebi4QFFKmy_qHljqHYLMqUugGrdPEbOhxJO1KsSNrZdm3VLExI5vVZ9bF6jE14Bf3Wt3dOiU-EK1DGJDKRetpINwdviKVqKk&hl=en_US#107041475975574332063/posts
My LinkedIn profile: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/edit?trk=hb_tab_pro_top
Kim’s book links: