Book Nerd Interview
Jackson Pearce is twenty-six years old and currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with a slightly cross-eyed cat and a lot of secondhand furniture. She graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in English and a minor in Philosophy. She auditioned for the circus once, but didn’t make it; other jobs she’s had include obituaries writer, biker bar waitress, and receptionist.
Jackson began writing when she got angry that the school librarian couldn’t tell her of a book that contained a smart girl, horses, baby animals, and magic. Her solution was to write the book herself when she was twelve. Her parents thought it was cute at first, but have grown steadily more concerned for her ever since.
Jackson is the author of SISTERS RED, AS YOU WISH, SWEETLY, and two forthcoming books, PURITY (April 2012) and FATHOMLESS (Fall 2012).
What was your first introduction to YA literature, the one that made you choose that genre to write?
I don’t really remember the first time I read a YA book—that’s just the genre I’ve always read and enjoyed! I definitely didn’t “choose” to write in this genre…I just write stories, and they happen to fit into the YA section at a bookstore. Which is totally fine by me!
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I wanted to be a veterinarian for a while, but then I learned that I’d sometimes have to put dogs to sleep, which was NOT okay with me. Ever since then, I’ve wanted to be a writer!
What was the greatest thing you learned at school?
How to write in cursive because NO ONE KNOWS HOW anymore, and it looks way prettier and is way faster than print.
When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?
I’ve always written stories—I don’t think there was any one moment when I knew I had a calling for it. It was just something I did.
What is the hardest part of writing?
Getting past the first fifty pages. Up until I hit that fifty-page mark, I’m not sure I actually have a book on my hands.
For those who are unfamiliar with your Novel; Purity, how would you introduce it?
Hello, good sir. Might I recommend this book, PURITY, to you? It’s scandalous and filled with one-liners. You look like a bloke who would enjoy such things.
What inspired you to write this particular book?
I wanted to tell a funny story, but also one that raised a lot of the questions I had as a teenager (and sometimes as an adult) but was afraid to ask.
What part of Shelby did you enjoy writing the most?
Her scenes with Jonas and Ruby. Together, the three of them were a lot of fun to write!
If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
Ruby from PURITY to Scarlett from SISTERS RED. I can’t think of two people less alike, which would make for a hilarious conversation.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
…alas, it’s a secret at the moment!
Is there anything additional you would like to share with your readers?
Here’s a picture of my dog:
When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?
Are you lying?
What is your most memorable travel experience?
I, sadly, have not gotten to travel to very exciting places for the most part, but I did really love a trip to CT I took to research a historical novel. The story was about Mark Twain, and I spent the day with the area’s Mark Twain expert and a Mark Twain impersonator who came in costume. It was like spending the day with Mark Twain himself.
If you could be any mythology creature, what would you be?
Something with wings. And the ability to be invisible. And something that can talk to animals.
What's the loveliest thing you have ever seen?
My checking account, when it goes from zero to more than three digits.
Where can readers stalk you?
A novel about love, loss, and sex -- but not necessarily in that order.
Before her mother died, Shelby promised three things: to listen to her father, to love as much as possible, and to live without restraint. Those Promises become harder to keep when Shelby's father joins the planning committee for the Princess Ball, an annual dance that ends with a ceremonial vow to live pure lives -- in other words, no "bad behavior," no breaking the rules, and definitely no sex.
Torn between Promises One and Three, Shelby makes a decision -- to exploit a loophole and lose her virginity before taking the vow. But somewhere between failed hookup attempts and helping her dad plan the ball, Shelby starts to understand what her mother really meant, what her father really needs, and who really has the right to her purity.
After losing her mother to an ailment, young Shelby goes though life with the promises that her mother asked her to keep. She feels that these promises are the only things that keep her connected to her mother. When her father volunteers her for a Purity ball, one promise seemed too strange to keep and she learns an uncertainty that will maintain her promise before she will have to vow her purity.
Author Jackson Pearce has created a great coming of age story. Her incredible grip of the teenage mindset is truly remarkable and is evident with how the characters are easily relatable. Through the descriptions of Shelby and how she interacts with her friends and family, she felt real and authentic. She is the perfect protagonist for this kind of journey.
Jackson’s eloquent writing style is simply wonderful. She has mastered mixing humor and real-life situations into a book that deals with serious issues. Although the book touches on religion, it was done right as the reader will learn Shelby’s struggle with faith is something everyone goes through at one time in their lives. The universal theme will appeal to all. When faith is questioned, it is lost. When it’s found, people will take a path that is their own. This contemporary story is truly incredible. It covers real-life situations of promises, relationships, and love.
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