Colleen Houck Book Club discussion

Jessica Day George
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Past Chats > Chat with Jessica Day George

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message 1: by Colleen (new)

Colleen Houck | 1525 comments Mod
Welcome to the group! Jessica will be answering questions in April 2019 in this thread only. In the meantime if you have a question for the author or just want to introduce yourself feel free to do so in this thread.


message 2: by Shay (new)

Shay (shayreader) | 13 comments Hey! I love your Princess of the Midnight Ball books. Are you planning on doing anymore retellings?


message 3: by Plethora (new)

Plethora (bookworm_r) | 1 comments Exciting, we discovered you years ago when my daughter found Tuesdays at the Castle, such a fun series.

Silver in the Blood was fascinating, I could have seen this being a series. Are you considering something similar? I enjoyed the Romania vibe and looks like you had a great time researching the book.


message 4: by Colleen (new)

Colleen Houck | 1525 comments Mod
How did you get started writing?


message 5: by Colleen (new)

Colleen Houck | 1525 comments Mod
What are your favorite types of books to read?


message 6: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jessdaygeorge) | 12 comments Shaylee*cheeky* wrote: "Hey! I love your Princess of the Midnight Ball books. Are you planning on doing anymore retellings?"

Not any straight up retellings, but I have, for many years, being working on a new series that is about the descendants of the fairy tale characters. Which, I know, sounds super cutesy, but it would deal with the repercussions of those stories: what's it like for Cinderella now, what has she passed on to her children? It's called Stolen Crowns, and it's up here on Goodreads but still has no release date because I can't. quite. get. it. perfect.


message 7: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jessdaygeorge) | 12 comments Plethora wrote: "Exciting, we discovered you years ago when my daughter found Tuesdays at the Castle, such a fun series.

Silver in the Blood was fascinating, I could have seen this ..."


I thought about doing a second book (still think about it), but my publishing contract/schedule was so locked tight for the next couple of years, that we thought doing a sequel would be weird.

But I truly, truly love this book with all my heart and soul. I dragged my husband around Romania with a private guide (shoutout to Horia Matei, immortalized as "Uncle Horia" in the book!) to see all the places with my own eyes! We stayed in the very room in the Hotel Rembrandt that is in the book!


message 8: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jessdaygeorge) | 12 comments Colleen wrote: "How did you get started writing?"

When I was 11 and read The Hero and the Crown (for the first time), and found out that Robin McKinley's job was to write stories about dragons and princesses with long red hair, I decided that would be the job for me!

Starting in Jr. High, every chance I had, I wrote a short story and sent it in to magazines, contests, anywhere. Started writing novels at 20, but sadly my vision of being the next Robin McKinley had gotten waylaid by the fact that . . . this was pre-Harry Potter and Twilight and there was only a handful of YA fantasy authors, and nobody seemed to want any more. I tried writing for adults, failed miserably, got rejected 200+ times, quit, decided to write a book about talking dragons for my new baby, the market had caught up to me, and I got published within the year!


message 9: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jessdaygeorge) | 12 comments Colleen wrote: "What are your favorite types of books to read?"

As we can see from my Goodreads, I will read anything with text on it! Like . . . anything. I love Scandinavian crime novels, and YA fairy tale retellings and BOARD BOOKS! My kids are 14, 10, and 7, and I just bought 2 more of the Babylit board books for our family . . .

I'm not super into horror, because I am such a scaredy cat. So maybe let's say I'll read anything but horror? (Except for Odd Thomas and Cherie Priest's The Family Plot.)


message 10: by Trudy (new)

Trudy Dalton (trudyjeanne7) | 63 comments Who inspired you most (from a personal point of view or an author point of view) when you decided writing was your passion?


message 11: by Trudy (new)

Trudy Dalton (trudyjeanne7) | 63 comments What’s your perfect book day look like? Ex: mine looks like a rainy day with a crackling candle, perched in a reading nook, with various cheese trays :):):)


message 12: by Ashley (new)

Ashley | 78 comments Where’s your favorite place in the world to escape to?


message 13: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jessdaygeorge) | 12 comments Trudy wrote: "Who inspired you most (from a personal point of view or an author point of view) when you decided writing was your passion?"

I basically became an author because of my deep love for everything Robin McKinley. I read the Hero and the Crown and The Blue Sword over and over, and when I was in Jr. High I got to go to a reading and signing and meet her and I'm still walking on air nearly thirty years later! Not just because of how unique and beautiful each of her books are, but she is such an interesting human being, and was so good and kind!


message 14: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jessdaygeorge) | 12 comments Trudy wrote: "What’s your perfect book day look like? Ex: mine looks like a rainy day with a crackling candle, perched in a reading nook, with various cheese trays :):):)"

I like softly falling snow, personally! And oh, I would love a cheese tray but sadly I am not supposed to eat cheese these days . . . some dark chocolate or a hot cocoa made with coconut milk . . . Also, my children NOT IN THE HOUSE! :)


message 15: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jessdaygeorge) | 12 comments Ashley wrote: "Where’s your favorite place in the world to escape to?"

I freaking love Disney anything. We are Disney vacation club members and we go on Disney cruises all the time. Lounging around reading on a Disney cruise ship is AMAZING. So is Castaway Cay, their private island. I would love to live in The Cotswolds or the Peaks District of England, but every time I'm there I'm so busy running around seeing the things it's not much of an escape!


message 16: by Colleen (new)

Colleen Houck | 1525 comments Mod
Jessica wrote: "Plethora wrote: "Exciting, we discovered you years ago when my daughter found Tuesdays at the Castle, such a fun series.

Silver in the Blood was fascinating, I coul..."


I just finished Silver in the Blood and I would love a sequel. I don't think it would be weird at all, even if you had to wait. Those characters are so amazing and there is so much more in that world. You should definitely consider it. It was awesome!


message 17: by Colleen (new)

Colleen Houck | 1525 comments Mod
Jessica wrote: "Colleen wrote: "What are your favorite types of books to read?"

As we can see from my Goodreads, I will read anything with text on it! Like . . . anything. I love Scandinavian crime novels, and YA..."


I'm not big on horror either but I'll read almost anything else.


message 18: by Colleen (new)

Colleen Houck | 1525 comments Mod
Jessica wrote: "Colleen wrote: "How did you get started writing?"

When I was 11 and read The Hero and the Crown (for the first time), and found out that Robin McKinley's job was to write stories about dragons and..."


That's so interesting that you had to wait for the market to catch up to you. There's a good lesson in that for aspiring writers. Everyone remembers the easy, burst-onto-the-scene success stories but I'm much more impressed with those who just plug away and don't give up. It takes chutzpah to keep at it and that's the reality of a writer's life.


message 19: by Colleen (new)

Colleen Houck | 1525 comments Mod
Jessica wrote: "Trudy wrote: "What’s your perfect book day look like? Ex: mine looks like a rainy day with a crackling candle, perched in a reading nook, with various cheese trays :):):)"

I like softly falling sn..."


I love that idea. Never had cocoa with coconut milk. I've got to try that one.


message 20: by Colleen (new)

Colleen Houck | 1525 comments Mod
Jessica wrote: "Ashley wrote: "Where’s your favorite place in the world to escape to?"

I freaking love Disney anything. We are Disney vacation club members and we go on Disney cruises all the time. Lounging aroun..."


Really? I've never been on a Disney cruise. I've always imagined it crowded with kids, sticky, and basically like standing in line at Disneyland but on a ship. Never thought of it as relaxing. How does it compare to a non-Disney cruise?


message 21: by Colleen (new)

Colleen Houck | 1525 comments Mod
When you begin developing a book idea, does it come to you automatically that it's going to be middle grade or YA or do you start leaning one way or another? Meaning, do you start with character or story?


message 22: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jessdaygeorge) | 12 comments Colleen wrote: "Jessica wrote: "Ashley wrote: "Where’s your favorite place in the world to escape to?"

I freaking love Disney anything. We are Disney vacation club members and we go on Disney cruises all the time..."


Oh, it's so CLEAN. And the food is SO GOOD. I've never been on a non-Disney cruise, I've never been interested in cruises. But a couple of years ago a friend who has been on every cruise line was like, If you do go, go Disney. We'll never go anywhere else now! They have areas just for adults, and a lot of the longer cruises are mostly adults (we went through the Panama Canal last fall, there were probably less than 50 kids on the ship). The spas have ruined me for other spas. I will only get massages at Disney spas now!


message 23: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jessdaygeorge) | 12 comments Colleen wrote: "When you begin developing a book idea, does it come to you automatically that it's going to be middle grade or YA or do you start leaning one way or another? Meaning, do you start with character or..."

Sometimes a storyline comes to me, sometimes it's the character. I will get a random image of a guy in the woods and be like, Oh, hey, I bet he's the solider from the Twelve Dancing Princesses! And then I find a story to go with him. And sometimes it's more like, What if you lived in an enchanted castle and someone attacked? Then I usually let my editor tell me what category a story will be! A lot of my books fall into the gray area between middle grade and YA, like the "middle schooler" age group, which makes it even harder. We usually just hand wave the age of the characters and decide to market it older or younger based on the amount of peril, to be honest.

Silver in the Blood was one of the rare exceptions where I felt very strongly that it needed to be solidly marketed as YA. I wanted there to be a real romance, and I needed the characters to be of "marrying age" for one of the aspects of the plot. I wanted them to be out and about in society, all of them: Lou and Dacia, Mihai, Lord Johnny.

When I first pitched the idea to my editor about doing a book set in Romania that would have shapeshifters she was like, But what about making it middle grade? Kids love animals! And I just went, Er. No. By the time I was ready to show an editor the manuscript, though, that editor had gone on to a different publisher and my new editor was like, Oh, wow, this is not middle grade, FYI! And I was like, Whew, yeah, I know!


message 24: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jessdaygeorge) | 12 comments Colleen wrote: "Jessica wrote: "Plethora wrote: "Exciting, we discovered you years ago when my daughter found Tuesdays at the Castle, such a fun series.

Silver in the Blood was fas..."


Thank you so much! Oh, I've got a plot of a sequel and first chapters just burning a hole in the hard drive! One of these days . . . .


message 25: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jessdaygeorge) | 12 comments Colleen wrote: "Jessica wrote: "Colleen wrote: "How did you get started writing?"

When I was 11 and read The Hero and the Crown (for the first time), and found out that Robin McKinley's job was to write stories a..."

I think a lot of the "overnight success" stories, when you dig in, have been working for a long time. I know of two other people who hit a trend right on the head, but it was an old manuscript they had "trunked" and then they met an editor who was looking for that type of book, so voila! Right place, right time!

But my motto always has been, "Never give up, never surrender!" If you want to be a writer, write, keep writing, and eventually you will find your place!


message 26: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jessdaygeorge) | 12 comments Colleen wrote: "Jessica wrote: "Colleen wrote: "What are your favorite types of books to read?"

As we can see from my Goodreads, I will read anything with text on it! Like . . . anything. I love Scandinavian crim..."


I always say I'm not big on horror, because I'm such a scaredy cat, but then I find myself recommending the Family Plot by Cherie Priest or Odd Thomas by Koontz all the time! Love those books!


message 27: by Trudy (new)

Trudy Dalton (trudyjeanne7) | 63 comments What book are you reading at the moment?


message 28: by Colleen (new)

Colleen Houck | 1525 comments Mod
Jessica wrote: "Colleen wrote: "Jessica wrote: "Ashley wrote: "Where’s your favorite place in the world to escape to?"

I freaking love Disney anything. We are Disney vacation club members and we go on Disney crui..."


That sounds nice. I'll have to try it then. I've only been on one cruise and during my massage, the woman told me that my hubby and I were the youngest people on board and that included the ship! ;)


message 29: by Colleen (new)

Colleen Houck | 1525 comments Mod
Jessica wrote: "When I first pitched the idea to my editor about doing a book set in Romania that would have shapeshifters she was like, But what about making it middle grade? Kids love animals! And I just went, Er. No. By the time I was ready to show an editor the manuscript, though, that editor had gone on to a different publisher and my new editor was like, Oh, wow, this is not middle grade, FYI! And I was like, Whew, yeah, I know! "

Isn't that funny how editors respond to ideas so early on. I'm often surprised by how strongly they feel about something I haven't even written yet.


message 30: by Colleen (new)

Colleen Houck | 1525 comments Mod
Thanks to everyone for joining the chat and to Jessica for being such a lovely guest! The winner of the chat this month is Plethora. Congrats! Don't forget to join me next month when my featured author will be the amazing Mindy McGinnis!


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