Monday, July 27, 2015

PPLYAFest Interview #1 with Jody Casella

If you haven't heard, the Pickerington Public Library just hosted its YA Author Fest on Saturday and I highly recommend it. There were panels and workshops and signings as well as food trucks for lunch.  About 20 awesome authors participated this year and they were some of the best people (to meet and read). As a blogger, I was given the opportunity to interview three authors participating in the fest. Jody Casella, Cinda Williams Chima, and Mindy McGinnis were my authors of choice and I was lucky enough to have time with each of them. It was so much fun getting to sit down and talk with them and I have so many new questions for next year! To kick off my interviews, you will find the Q&A with Jody Casella below. Don't forget to check out her book, Thin Space, after seeing how she came up with the idea. Side note: Jody's answers are not word for word, but a paraphrasing of my notes.

Interview with YA author Jody Casella

Raychelle: Your novel, Thin Space, is based upon the Celtic belief of thin places, where the veil between our world and the spiritual world thinner. What was your research process? How long did it take to nail down the idea for Thin Space?

Jody: It's often said that two ideas that have nothing to do with each other create a story and that is what happened with Thin Space. One day while picking my son up from the bus, I saw an older boy exiting behind him who was completely barefoot. It was in cold weather and my initial reaction as a mother was worry but as a writer I wondered about his motivations. I thought he would make an interesting character but I didn't have a tory for him yet. Then a couple months later while out to dinner, I read a clip* in a local magazine about the Celtic belief of thin places. These two seemingly unrelated ideas sparked the story. I wrote most of it during NanoWriMo and then had about a 1 year revision process.

*Article clip via Jody's website: "The Celts believed in thin places, where the veil between this world and the Other is, well, thin... In these places the seen and unseen world are most closely connected and inhabitants of both worlds can momentarily touch each other."

R: You mentioned that two different ideas inspired you to write Thin Space, one of those being the barefoot boy behind your son on the bus. I’m curious if you ever learned more about him or if he knows he sort of inspired Marsh.

J: He doesn't know that he inspired Marsh or the idea of being barefoot to go through thin space. I didn't learn any more about him either but I did meet other people who knew of him. I was talking about how the idea formed for Thin Space and it sparked conversation among the people in the group who knew of the barefoot kid, but no one knew why he was always barefoot. I met a girl who used to date him and when I asked her about it, she couldn't remember him ever mentioning a reason. She just thought he hated shoes. You may be thinking, what school would let a kid walk around all day barefoot, but they did. I visited the school for a presentation and they couldn't believe that a school would let someone walk around without shoes and I told them it was this school, but they didn't believe me.

R: Do you have any plans to revisit some of your unpublished novels? Can you tell me a little bit about them?

J: There is a sequel to Thin Space that I would like to revisit and try to get published, but right now I am working on something else.

R: Can you tell me about your current project?

J: I don;t know if I should say much about it, but it is currently called Splintering. Greek Mythology and Driads play into the story which was partly inspired by my parents cutting my favorite tree down while I was at camp one year.

R: You’ve lived in a couple different states, from CT to TN to KY and now OH. How has that played a role in your writing? (Geographical setting, etc)

J: It definitely plays a role. I have lived in OH for 8 years and when we moved here, we moved into a creepy old home so that sets the scene for writing creepy and supernatural stories like Thin Space.

R: What have been some of your biggest learning experiences throughout the writing/publishing process?

J: There is so much out of your control but it is a dream come true and I have learned to just let things happen. I will always keep writing, even if no one reads it because I love to write and create stories.

R: Give me one unique fact about yourself…

J: A dog bit my face when I was younger so I hated dogs for the longest time. Now we have a dog named Zooey and I love her so much. Most of what I post are pictures of Zooey.

More About Jody Casella

Jody Casella is a former high school English teacher with a degree in Creative Writing from Rhodes College and a Masters in English from the University of Memphis. Her first novel Thin Space, a paranormal YA mystery published by Beyond Words/Simon & Schuster, received a starred review from Kirkus. She lives with her husband and two teenagers in Columbus, Ohio. In addition to writing books, she visits schools, libraries, and book clubs to talk about the creative/revision process, sporadically cleans her house, and walks her dog. A lot. 

Visit her website or Goodreads to learn more.

About Thin Space

There’s a fine line between the living and the dead, and Marshall is determined to cross it in this gut-wrenching debut novel.

Ever since the car accident that killed his identical twin brother, Marshall Windsor has been consumed with guilt and crippled by the secrets of that fateful night. He has only one chance to make amends and set things right. He must find a thin space—a mythical point where the barrier between this world and the next is thin enough for a person to step through to the other side.

But when a new girl moves into the neighborhood, into the same house Marsh is sure holds a thin space, she may be the key—or the unraveling of all his secrets.

As they get closer to finding a thin space—and closer to each other—Marsh must decide once and for all how far he’s willing to go to right the wrongs of the living…and the dead.

You can buy Thin Space at these retailers: BN | Amazon | IndieBound | Books-A-Million |
Visit Cover to Cover (614-263-1624) to order a signed copy.

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