Author Spotlight: Interview with Jessica Therrien

Welcome back my lovelies! Night #6 is here and we are now HALF way through the 12 Nights of Christmas event! Woot :) We left the east coast and traveled all the way back to California to chat it up with Author Jessica Therien and delve into the world of Greek Mythology.

*At Cearno's Cafe in San Francisco waiting for Jessica Therrien to arrive*

Neyra: *leans towards Ana* Oh.My.Gosh Ana, look at him, isn't he gorgeous! With his beautiful green eyes.. *sighs* 

Ana: *Takes a sip of my iced tea and looks towards the man Neyra is ogling* wheeew *fans self* gorgeous indeed!

Neyra: *sigh* His name's William *spots Jessica walking into the cafe, smiles and waves her over*

Ana: *looks at William one last time then turns and stands to give Jessica a hug* thanks for joining us 

Neyra: *Hugs* Hi Jessica! Thank you for meeting with us today! Please, have a seat. Would you like some coffee? :]

Jessica: *Hugs* Hey guys! I'm dying to have coffee. *Pats massively pregnant belly* No caffeine for me, though. I miss it so much. Writers need coffee!!

Neyra: Awe! Baby bump, too cute! ^-^ How far along are you? And yes, I'll bet with all those long hours overworking your brains and most likely very little sleep! 

Ana: Aww. Well you look gorgeous! Glowing & everything :) *calls the waitress over & asks for a pitcher of water*

Jessica: Thanks! I'm six and a half months. We're having a boy, and he's due in early January. I used to joke that I was a stay-at-home author for my book babies. Now I'll be a stay-at-home author AND a stay-at-home mommy. I'll keep having my book babies of course, but now I'll have a real baby too. It should be interesting. 

Neyra: Eeep! that's too many babies! >.< LOL I bet you're excited though. Little boys are so fun, but once they get to the crawling and walking stages *whistles* Good Luck! :D 

Ana: you can always punish him later by writing him into one of your books. Though, that'd probably be awesome. Have you guys thought of a name? Is your thought process the same as when you're thinking of names for your book characters? 

Jessica: *Haha* It's okay. My book babies don't cry or crawl, so they're a little easier. We have picked out a name, but I'm keeping it super secret in case we change our minds. It was really hard to pick one that both my husband and I agreed on. Character names are much easier. My husband doesn't get a say. *sips glass of water*  

Ana: ooh secrets! looking forward to finding out what you both name him. *grabs a menu* While we're here, go ahead and order something...ANYTHING! Our treat :) 

Neyra: *eyes the cashier, and mutters to self* He's just so Hot.. *turns to face Jessica* Oh, yes that's understandable, we look forward to finding out your little bundle's name in the future ^-^ & Speaking of Names & book characters, I'm sure you can guess why we picked this city and this particular cafe to have the interview *smiles mischievously*

Jessica: Oh that's sweet of you. I'll get the fruit bowl and a blueberry muffin, one of Elyse's favorites. Yeah, a lot of people are surprised that this place actually exists. A friend of mine used to live upstairs in Elyse's apartment, so I spent many summers in this cafe. Of course, it was called Just Bean There back then. (Address: 201 Steiner Street, San Francisco, CA Link to Cafe Location) It's a little more mysterious these days, being owned by a Descendant and all...

Ana: It must have been fun growing up here. *smiles* ..Excuse me *stands up* do continue without me *heads to the little girls room*

Neyra: *leans forward to get a fruit* Thank you, and yes, I am definitely surprised, but at least now I have an actual picture in my mind as to how this place looks. (I was imagining it to be a little darker with wooden countertops and all).  

Speaking of Descendants, for those readers who've yet to read your book.. Oppression is the story of a young girl (Can we call her young? I mean she is old. lol), named Elyse. She's keeping secrets, and has always had to live in hiding. For one, she ages five times slower than any average person; and, two, she has the ability to heal with her blood, though she doesn't understand why. Alone for 39 years after the death of her parents, only her best friend, Anna, knows of Elyse's strange ability and age difference, or so she believes. Soon she finds herself thrust into a world she never knew existed, with others just like her, descended of the people the Greeks considered Gods. There is a prophecy, and Elyse finds herself in the middle of it all. But can she play by their rules when she's forced to choose between the life she knew and the life she's been thrust into?

I love Greek mythology based books, but they're always about the usual Gods; Hades, Zeus, Aphrodite. Your book talks about, their children's children. How did the idea for Oppression come about?

Jessica: Well, when I studied Greek mythology in high school, I remember learning that some of the places, like the city of Troy for example, are thought to actually exist. I thought, if the places actually exist, wouldn't it be crazy if the gods did too, only there was a logical explanation for it all? That got me thinking, if people with abilities and long lives were discovered in ancient Greece, they would no doubt be mistaken as gods and treated as such. I used that concept to explain modern day mythology and to develop my story about the Descendants in today's world. Most books based on Greek mythology tend to stick to those traditional ideas and gods, whereas I was more focused on the premise that the Greek gods were never really gods at all. This gave me a lot more flexibility and allowed me to be creative with which gods to use as Descendant bloodlines. I'm still really having a lot of fun with it.

Ana: *walking back to the table and hears the ending of Jessica's explanation* Well, I think its a great idea and I'm sure a lot of people enjoyed your book. *takes a sip of water* Now, I'm a big paranormal fan, but when I read the synopsis for your book, Greek mythology stood out. I was excited. I love Greek mythology, reading your book definitely upped my visit to the theaters to watch Immortals. Including Henry Cavils sezzy self on the big screen ;)

Neyra: *Looks up* Welcome back hon, and yes I agree the concept of Greek Mythology always stands, but as I said before there's always more focus on the Gods we're all familiar with. *takes a sip of coffee* I'm sure, Jessica that there was a lot of research done despite you already having studied Greek Mythology in high school? Were there any new surprises you weren't familiar with that were woven into Oppression?

Jessica: I did tons of research. Looking up Greek gods was part of the fun. I just loved/still love trying to figure out which ability goes with which bloodline. Sometimes things fell perfectly into place and took my story in a new direction. For example, I knew I wanted Elyse to be descendant of the Greek god of healing, Asclepius. When I did a little research on Asclepius, I came across this little tidbit: "The blood of the Gorgon, which Athena gave Asclepius, came from two very different veins. The blood from the right side could heal mankind, while the blood of the left vein could kill." I thought, what a cool twist to add in there. So Elyse's right side heals, while her left is poison. *Takes a bite of blueberry muffin*

Ana: *nods head* I really don't want to give away any spoilers, but when I read that little tidbit I was, for lack of a better word, excited. Knowing that Elyse was close to killing someone else, had she... yeah. *grabs a grape from the bowl and tosses it in mouth* Definitely some awesome powers, if a bit scary. The killing part that is.

Neyra: Oh i was definitely loving that twist too Ana, and very clever of you Jessica. There were many Gods I knew nothing about that were mentioned, Dionysus, Hermes, Iris, Asclepius included, so that was a lot of fun to read about, I especially loved Nyx! Now, before I get to the droool worthy William (Yes, I have no shame >.<) My other favorite characters in the book were Sam and Nics. I thought they were the cutest non-couple ever, but there's so much tension between the two. Any particular reason Nics is adamant about letting Sam in? 

Jessica: Haha! Agreed. William is drool worthy ;) Nics and Sam are two of my favorites as well, but when I asked fans which characters they loved, Kara took the cake. I like to give readers more of what they want, so I go more in depth with Kara's character in the next book. Though Sam and Nics are in the second book, you'll have to wait until book 3 to get to know them a little better. Nics is a firecracker. That's just who she is.

Ana: *wipes up drool....cough* uh, yeah... Aww *waiting (im)patiently for Nics & Sam's book* I love Sam... He is just....*sigh* I was so wary of Kara in the beginning, but as the book progressed, she really started to grow on me, so I'm definitely looking forward to her book.

Neyra: Napkin? *laughs at Ana* I’m with you though, I’ll be forever waiting on Sam & Nic’s story >.< And Kara grew on me throughout Oppression as well, I thought I’d hate her, but I was able to sympathize with her character. I bet her story will be a good one ;)

Ana: Okay, I've got another question for you Jessica. *brightens up* If you were a Descendant of any bloodline, which bloodline would you be a Descendant of and what would your powers be? 

Jessica: I'd love to be descendant of Iris, like Rachel. Flying would be my power of choice. That or Aether (you'll meet this bloodline in the next book). That bloodline has the power of teleportation. 

Ana: Oh that's so awesome! I agree with Neyra, flying or teleporting would be freakin' cool! I'm not opposed to Sam's power either ;)

Neyra: Lol, right. Because Sam's power's the coolest by far ;) Okay, I hope you ladies don't mind, but I'd like to steer this conversation right back to my favorite topic, William. x] For all of us here as readers we've read plenty of books where the male love interest is a moody, controlling, me-man-you-woman; or me-supernatural-you-weakling with a troubled past bad boy. But William is far from the "norm" of now-a-days YA fiction, as I mentioned to Ana, he's the boy-next-door type, total sweetheart. What prompted you to write his character this way? Not that I'm opposed mind you, I LOVE William ^-^

Jessica: *Smiles* I'm so happy to hear you say that! Honestly I never thought of it that way, but you're right. There is a very distinct type of love interest in most YA novels, and William definitely doesn't fit that description. That's probably because I wasn't trying to write him in a way that would make other girls fall in love with him. I was writing him in a way that would make Elyse love him...the way I love my husband. I probably shouldn't admit this, but I already have in several other interviews. William is based on my husband, and though they are not one in the same, my husband happens to be a very sweet and loving guy (who is also smokin' hot, haha!). 

Neyra: *Smiles back and laughs* A smokin' hot husband who's a total sweetheart? You are so lucky! But I'm definitely glad to hear that those type of men aren't extinct. Lol.. And yes, William is nothing like the typical YA hero so many readers fall for. I think that for some of us, falling in love with the troubled bad boy is a guilty pleasure of sorts, and I hate to admit this, but most of the time the sweethearts get overlooked. But when I met William, I couldn't help but think, "Oh my God! Did he really just spill coffee on her?" lol He's definitely got the looks, but I think mostly it was his personality. He's charming, funny, and he's protective without smothering. I was so glad that, though he was opposed to it, he didn't try to stop her from seeing her best friend. 

Ana: Omg. When he spilled coffee on her I was like "NO HE DIDN'T!" with my ghetto girl accent xD I'm glad though, that Will isn't a bad boy, I like him how he is! And extra kudos points to your hubby for being the spark of William! Lol. He seems to be very forthcoming, very much like an open book, and like Neyra said, he doesn't smother Elyse. But with William being protective of Elyse, will there be a change to his personality in the upcoming sequel, Uprising?
Jessica: Haha! I'm glad you like his personality :) I do too. He does grow a lot in Uprising. He has to learn to let Elyse be who she needs to be, which at times means letting her step into harms way despite his protective nature. BUT...he's the same old William at heart, charming, funny, and always trying to make light of things. 

Neyra: Oh, I'm so glad to hear it! So many times the characters become too possessive, too controlling, too different from who we fell in love with that it changes so much, at least it does for me lol >.< I'm so ready for Uprising, and I'm glad February is just around the corner.

Ana: I definitely agree. I'm glad to know he's gonna give Elyse a bit of breathing room. Ain't nothing wrong with being protective. But that birds gotta fly! lol. *takes a sip of water* And we're both excited for book two, what can we expect in this next installment? 

Jessica: The first thing that comes to mind is more action. Elyse learns how to use her ability as a way of defending herself against the enemy. You'll meet great new characters who have some interesting abilities, including members of The Council. Also, Elyse and William run into a few obstacles that really challenge their love for each other. Personally, I like Uprising a lot more than Oppression. I feel like it's more of a page-turner. A LOT happens.

Neyra: Excuse me while I squeee for a minute .....*proceeds to squeeing*..... coughs.....  I am definitely excited ever more now, glad you're making Elyse a fighter and not have her stand behind everyone else while they risk their lives for her. And, oh no! Now I'm conflicted, while I think William and Elyse are perfect for each other and don't want them fighting, I also don't believe the love when a couple has it easy. I'm excited about The Council too, we didn't see much of them in Oppression, and I was hoping there'd be more of them in Book Two. And speaking of, Ryder was the cause of some not-so-lady-like reactions from Ana and myself as we read... was his character hard to write?
Ana: I'm squeeing right there with you Neyra! *squueeeeeeeeeee* lol. I'm definitely looking forward to more action. Oppression was definitely the warm up and Uprising is sure to be on fire! 

Jessica: Not to worry. William and Elyse are destined to be. Fate sort of has a way of making sure they stay together, but it doesn't mean it's always easy. And, yes, you'll definitely see more of The Council in book 2. Christoph is a very real enemy, and you get to learn a little about why he is the way he is. Ryder was a much simpler villain to write. He's one of Christoph's many pawns, blindly following The Council's cruel ways without question, and he enjoys the power it gives him. Christoph, however, is a smart man, and though he does bad things, he truly has good intentions for his people. I really enjoyed writing his character. I wanted readers to understand his side of things. He makes very valid points, but he's manipulative and is willing to do whatever it takes to get what he wants. He truly believes he's doing what is right for their people.

Ana: ^_^ I'm looking forward to more villains. As much as I love the hero's in the book, the villains definitely balance things out. You can't have the good without the bad! Christoph sounds like an awesome characters, so I'm definitely excited to read more on him :) 

Jessica: Yes, get ready for crazy times. Planning, wrapping, chaos, AND A BABY! Haha! I'm so excited! *excited shimmy* As far as beverages, I'm a sucker for the holiday coffees. Peppermint mochas, oh how I'll miss you!  

Neyra: ^-^ yes your little bundle of joy should be home for the holidays!  How exciting! Oh shoot, I'll have to refrain from ordering any coffee drinks today >.< LOL I've never tried the Peppermint mocha however, 

Ana: Yaay! I haven't tried the Peppermind mocha either, but there is a first for everything! lol. What is your favorite thing about the holidays? The weather? The holiday spirit?

Jessica: *takes a sip of water and drools over the coffee menu* My favorite thing about the holiday season is family. I just love getting together and spending all day in my PJs with everyone. I mean, PJs, good food, laughing, yummy holiday just can't beat it. I wish it was Thanksgiving or Christmas every day!

Ana: Oh, man! The mounts of joy that would bring children across the world if it were Christmas or Thanksgiving every day! And of course, the occasional adult. ;) Family is definitely one of my favorite things about the holidays as well :)

Neyra: *Quickly tries to hide coffee menu from Jessica >.< hears her last sentence and laughs out loud* I think if it were Thanksgiving & Christmas everyday none of us would ever hit the gym xD I gotta agree though, these are the times where families come together. Besides your precious little bundle, is there anything you hope Santa brings you, or are you playing secret santa this year? :)

Jessica: Not really, lol :) I'm easy. Maybe just a ton of cute baby stuff! I'm baby crazy right now.

Ana: As you should be! I'm super excited for you and wish you all the best ^_^ 

Neyra:  Lol seriously! ^_^ I also wish you all the best Jessica.

Thank you so much for being a part of our 25 Nights of Christmas Event, Ana and I had so much fun chatting with you and getting to know you more, we are definitely looking forward to hearing great things from you. Congratulations once again on your baby boy and the success of Oppression! We hope to be able to catch up to you sometime in the future! ^_^  Take Care, *Hugs*

Concluding our little chat with Jessica, we will be giving away a copy of Oppression! Winners choice of either paperback or eBook copy! 
How to enter:
Fill out the rafflecopter below to enter.
MUST be BOTH a follower of Beach Bum Reads and Darkest Addictions to be eligible to win.
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Good luck to all who enter!

Jessica Therrien is the author of the young adult paranormal fiction series Children of the Gods. Book one in the series, Oppression, was published by ZOVA Books in February of 2012 and became a Barnes & Noble best-seller shortly after its release. The second book in the series, Uprising, will be available in May of 2013.

Aside from her Children of the Gods series, Jessica's work can also be found in a published collection of flash fiction stories called Campaigner Challenges 2011. Out of over 350 submissions her story, The Soulless, won first place for people's choice and fourth place in the judging round of Rachael Harrie's Writing Campaign Challenge. Her story, Saved, is also available as part of the anthology.

Jessica spent most of her life in the small town of Chilcoot, California, high up in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. In this town of nearly 100 residents, with no street lights or grocery stores, there was little to do but find ways to be creative. Her mother, the local English teacher, inspired her to do all things artistic, and ultimately instilled in her a love for language.

In 2003, Jessica attended California State University Long Beach where her passion for language found her studying Chinese, and in 2005 she moved to Taiwan to study abroad. From 2005 to 2006 Jessica was fully immersed in the Chinese language as she attended National Taiwan University, and in 2008 she graduated from San Diego State University magna cum laude.

Jessica currently lives in Chula Vista with her husband and is working on book three in her Children of the Gods series.

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