Interview: Jessi Kirby

Thanks to debut author Jessi Kirby for stopping by to answer a few interview questions. Kirby’s book Moonglass will be released on May 3rd. I hope you’ll pick it up! For more information about Kirby and her novel, be sure to check out other stops on the Teen Book Scene tour by clicking the banner below.

Like many YA authors, you were an English teacher before writing your first novel. If you were still teaching, how might you teach Moonglass? What lessons would you most want students to get out of your book?

Wow. Until you asked, I’ve never thought about how I would teach it! I didn’t really ever get to teach contemporary YA, so it’s an interesting question. I suppose we’d start out with the imagery and motifs in the story—the ocean, sea glass, mermaids, running, etc. We’d discuss their possible meanings and try to come up with some themes from there. I’m not sure that we’d arrive at any lessons, per se. But I’d hope my students would come away from it thinking about the same things I hope anyone would—guilt and redemption, loss and healing, and the incredible beauty of the ocean and the beach.

If you could spend a day with Anna, what would you like to do together?

We’d start it out with an early morning run on the beach, followed by breakfast at The Beachcomber. Then, if it was a good day for sea glass hunting, we’d walk the beach looking for glass, maybe not even talking much, just enjoying the sun and the sand. We’d finish the day off with a sunset surf session and bbq in her back yard.

What were your favorite books or authors as a teen? What is one contemporary book that you wish you had been able to read as a teenager?

Looking back, my teen book choices seem kind of random: Stephen King, Interview with a Vampire, On the Road, Siddhartha. I read all over the place. If I had to pick one book I wish I’d been able to read back then, it’d be The Sky is Everywhere, because I would have adored Lennie and been in complete awe of Jandy Nelson for that story. Just like I am now.

Do you have any unusual writing rituals?

I don’t know if these count as unusual or rituals, but I pretty much need to go out and run before I sit down to write. It’s my thinking time. I listen to the playlist I’ve made for the book while I run and that gets me in the right frame of mind to dive back into the story. And I need chocolate. Preferably Cadbury Mini Eggs, but since those only come out in the spring I usually go for chocolate covered espresso beans since they pull double-duty with the caffeine!

Can you share anything about your upcoming writing projects or publications?

Yes! My next book is due out Summer 2012, and it’s a road-trip story with a good dose of romance.

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