Pity Isn’t an Option by Jessica Brooks – Interview & Giveaway

Welcome to Author Jessica Brooks

Jessica resides with her husband of over fifteen years, three awesome daughters, and a plethora of pets in Central California, where fog, frost, triple-digit heat and various items of produce arrive bountifully, depending on the season. She has an affinity for both coffee and owls, and loves to connect with fellow readers and writers on most social networks like Goodreads, Twitter and Pinterest. You can also connect with her on her blog, My Thoughts Exactly.

Jessica writes both young adult and adult fiction. PITY ISN’T AN OPTION is her debut novel.

Author Interview
What is one book everyone should read?

Wow. This is a hard one. I am horrible at picking favorites (I refuse to even name a “favorite” color because I can’t make up my mind!), so I’m going to have to make this a tie between two books:

1) Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

2) 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher
A couple of years ago, my answer would probably have been very different, but my three daughters are getting older now and both of these books cover topics that tend to be 
a) taboo conversation topics between parents/teachers and their teenagers/students 
b) conversations between teenagers and their friends 
c) people of all ages, now that I think about it!
We all know it’s a lot harder to go “against the flow” by asking questions or speaking up for people than it is to go “with the flow”, and both of these books show that, bottom line, helping and supporting someone well-outweighs the slight awkwardness that might be there initially in the situation. It confirms that we all go through things from time to time, and it’s okay to talk about it and ask people to help you move on.
If you could jump in to a book and live in that world, which would it be?
Erg. I’m not sure. So many dystopian and fantasy books have major governmental issues and fighting and… to be honest, I rather like the way things are here now! (No swords, no fighting… no weird diseases or powers people have that can incapacitate me…) Okay. How about a truce? I’m going to go with Narnia. But only because of Tumnus in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, and even only then because the movie version has James McAvoy playing Tumnus and I just love the guy. (And of course Aslan. I mean, who wouldn’t want to hang with Aslan?) Okay, okay just say Narnia. Yes. That’s my answer.
What’s the craziest writing idea you’ve had?
I can’t tell you the craziest idea I’ve ever had, because it’s one of my WIPs and I’m not ready to share it yet. But I will give you a hint: it has to do with a conspiracy. A BIG one.
Which authors have influenced you most how?
Um, Kristin Cashore is a wonderful influence not only in the fantasy/world-building aspect, but also in how to keep a reader going for a long time and still leave them thirsting for more. 
I also love Patrick Ness because his voice is just so different and amazing (I like different), and Neal Shusterman, too–the premise of the Unwind series just really struck a chord with me. I love storylines where things are close to the same as normal, but slightly different. (As opposed to verydifferent, like in The Hunger Games, for example. Quick fangirl shout out for the Unwind series–I can’t wait to find out what happens to Cam!!!)
Last, Jennifer Donnelly’s Revolution made a big impact on me (I’m finding I really love historical), as did A Northern Light (the time era in the latter reminded me a lot of the feel of PIAO). 
In your wildest dreams, which author would you love to co-author a book with?
You have no idea how long I debated over this. I mean, I really did consider the answer to this fordays. It was a tie between Jandy Nelson and Patrick Ness; but I think I’m a lot less poetic than Ms. Nelson and a lot more, I don’t know, “different” (for lack of a better word–sorry Patrick!) so I think he is my answer. Yes. Patrick Ness. I can only imagine the kind of stuff we would come up with!
Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
Because Jonas’ sickness is something you don’t hear about often; I know from personal experience that there is always more than one way to look at every situation!
Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book or any of your characters?
I actually had a playlist for both Jonas and Hattie going as I wrote (to keep me in their heads and hearts), so I’d say out of each of those, the song that best fits Jonas is We All Fall in Love Sometimes by Jeff Buckley, and Hattie’s would be Gone Away by Lucy Schwartz. 
Can you see yourself in any of your characters?
Definitely. The more a character says exactly what he’s thinking (think: no filter), the more like the character I am. In Pity Isn’t An Option, I’m a lot like Jonas. I tend to be quiet in crowds, but it’s only because I’m a different cookie and things get awkward quickly when I open my mouth. 
Do you write as you go or do you have the book all planned out from page 1?
Honestly, I have hardly anything planned out at the beginning. The second an idea starts I write it down on whatever is nearby, which is usually just a bunch of loose pages. Then I start jotting notes down in a journal, but again, nothing comes to me in order. It is actually quite time-consuming when I start moving things to the computer, because I have to figure out where everything goes!
Titles: do you write the books first and the title comes next or does the title come to you as you write?
Well, it depends. I’d say half the time I have a name from the beginning, and half the time I have to figure one out at the end. PIAO had a different title for a long time, until I searched for it on Goodreads (just to see what would come up) and I was like WOW okay we need a totally different title now!
Is there something specific you need as you write? Cup of coffee, pen, candy, certain room, etc.
I need coffee. All the time. (Hence my username on practically everything: coffeelvnmom) Everything else can change. Just not the caffeine. 😉

Pity Isn’t An Option

Seventeen year-old Jonas Norton is trying to come to terms with what his blood disorder has robbed from him, including his two most favorite things: basketball, and competing in Hatchet Racket, Wanless’ annual hatchet-throwing contest. The facts that his father works constantly to pay for his blood tests and Jonas can actually see the disappointment in his eyes for being such a failure only make matters worse. And even worse than all of that? Jonas’ own twin brother, Micah, is perfectly healthy and becoming quite the basketball player. Also, Hattie, the girl Jonas has loved for forever? She has no idea how he feels.

Sixteen year-old Hattie Akerman lives down the hill from Jonas. Though her father, Heath, tries to hide his lack of mental clarity behind the bottle and she’s pretty much given up on having any kind of relationship with him, she would still rather her younger sister, Lucy, not have to deal with the consequences of his behavior. Hattie helps her mother by baking food to sell at Market and looking out for Lucy. No matter what the rest of the town says about her crazy father, Jonas sticks up for them. He is, by far, her very best friend.

As if things aren’t complicated enough already, Heath and Micah are unexpectedly drafted into President Kendrick’s army (an army from which no one ever returns) just days before Thanksgiving. When Heath disappears instead of arriving at the Meeting Place to check in, Hattie and Jonas decide they’ve had enough, and take matters into their own hands. And though nothing could have prepared them for what happens next, Hattie and Jonas learn that hope can be seen in every situation. You just have to know where to look.


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