Friday, February 15, 2019

Jessica Branton Interview - How to Experience Death for Beginners

Photo Content from Jessica Branton​​

Jessica Branton​​ wrote her first novel at the age of fourteen. She has published short stories, poems, and newspaper articles since the fifth grade. Today, she is a member of The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrated. Charlie’s Port publishes her blog, and her plays have been produced by Act One Theatre in Cartersville and The Oak Theatre in Atlanta. She served as president for two years at On The Spot, an improvisational troupe that travels nationally. Jessica holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from the University of Georgia and will obtain her M.A. in English from Georgia Southern University in May of 2019. She continues to dream up stories and scribble them down when she has the chance.


Can you tell us when you started HOW TO EXPERIENCE DEATH FOR BEGINNERS, how that came about? 
It all started with Casey Darling. I loved the supernatural, and was kind of a dark teenager, so I had the idea of a psychic linked to death. From there, the story kind of exploded out of me.

What is needed for a story to be good? 
I think I’m still trying to figure that out haha. However, I think good, real characters and an interesting plot is important.

What do you hope for people to be thinking after they read your novel? 
I hope they hold on to and think about the people they care about. I hope they realize that people struggle in different ways and it is important to notice that and be there for them.

What chapter was the most memorable to write and why? 
Honestly, the prologue. That was the first chapter I ever wrote, and it felt so indicative of what the rest of the book would eventually be.

Which character have you enjoyed writing the most? 
Probably Danny. He’s similar to a friend I used to have (though my family and I have debated about which friend that is). He was a nice guiding light throughout the book.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author? 
To just keep writing. It sounds simple, but it really is important to keep practicing and expanding your repertoire.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us? 
Sadly, I’m currently focused on writing my Master’s Thesis. However, I do have plans for a sequel for this book, and I have several other ideas with a few substantial chapters on my computer.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why? 
I had to really think about this, but I think I might introduce Cameron to Sam from the Shiver trilogy by Maggie Stiefvater. I think the two could really connect since they both have a deep pain. On top of that I love that author and book, so connecting my world with hers would be astonishing.

Do you have any fun Halloween experiences you can tell us? 
My birthday is actually right around Halloween so when I was younger we did a lot of cool parties near or on Halloween. My favorite one was probably the time a couple of my friends and I dressed up as characters from Alice in Wonderland and had a tea party.

What's your most missed memory? 

There’s a house I used to live at that was right in front of a huge forest. I used to explore the woods on my own. Practically every day I would travel through the dense trees, winding river, and hilly landscape. I miss those woods a lot.

Have you ever written a love letter? 

When my current boyfriend went to Italy I wrote him a letter and told him to open it when he was lonely. I didn’t mail it, but I think that counts.

What would be the most amazing adventure to go on? 

I desperately want to explore all of Europe. I know that’s a common adventure, but how great would it be to explore Ireland’s country side?

What was a time in your life when you were really scared? 

First, you need to know that I worry about everything. So, when I was young, maybe middle school, I was stuck at a gym during a tornado warning. I was waiting on my mom, but I didn’t have a cellphone, so I didn’t know where she was or when she was coming. I was convinced there was going to be a tornado. It doesn’t sound terrifying, but I expected death. I’m still scared of tornados to this day.

What’s the most ridiculous fact you know? 

I am not the best at remember trivia. Although, I did just learn that Mercury ends up being closer to Earth than Venus is because of its orbit. Since Mercury goes around the sun so fast it ends up being on the same side of the sun as Earth more often than Venus is. I heard this from a professor and it just seemed ludicrous to me.

What did you do for your last birthday? 

I actually had class until eight on my birthday last year, so I didn’t get to do much. However, my boyfriend bought me an adorable cookie cake and we ate sushi together. I went home the next weekend to visit my family.

Casey Darling can enter the minds of people when they die. After receiving romantic advances from the enigmatic new guy at school, a serial killer invades her small town. Local police grow suspicious as she appears at crime scenes, but an FBI agent believes in her psychic powers. Will Casey fall in love or help take down a psychopath? Maybe both.

[Trigger Warning: This book contains situations of self-harm and stalking.]


Casey and her circle of friends are well-drawn... a solid and multilayered thriller. KIRKUS Reviews

A competent first novel... Branton is skilled at misdirection. IndieReader

You can purchase How to Experience Death for Beginners at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you JESSICA BRANTON for making this giveaway possible.
Winner will receive a Copy of How to Experience Death for Beginners by Jessica Branton. 


  1. I am a survivor of domestic violence. If you're in an abusive relationship, get out any way you can but get out now.

  2. My moment was giving birth to my first child my blood pressure was way to high and it was causing her heart rate to drop. They took me for emergency c section .

  3. When 2 of my daughters passed away.

  4. I was ten and I was afraid to go in our basement after my uncle died.

  5. Gosh, so many times. The first time I felt petrified was when we were in a lion park and our car was being followed by the pride of lions because it was making a lot of noise in comparison to the other cars.