Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Guest Post – Jackie Morse Kessler (and Giveaway)

SONY DSCToday I welcome Jackie Morse Kessler to the blog. Rage, the second book in Jackie’s Riders of the Apocalypse YA series has just recently been released and Jackie updates us on some of the themes surrounding the series including a preview of the forthcoming third book.


Riders of the Apocalypse giveaway! Three lucky winners will receive one copy each of HUNGER and RAGE along with postcards and a mini-poster! To enter, send an e-mail to RageGiveaway@gmail.com. In the body of the e-mail, include your name and e-mail address (if you're under 13, submit a parent's name and e-mail address). One entry per person and prizes will only be shipped to US or Canadian addresses. Entries must be received by midnight (PDT) on 4/30/11. Winners will be selected in a random drawing on 5/1/11 and notified via email.

Rage and Hunger giveaway_low res (1)

Got Issues?

By Jackie Morse Kessler

One of the questions I’ve been asked on panels has to do with the balance of paranormal elements and contemporary issues. When writing a novel that has both, where is the focus? Is it a contemporary novel with paranormal elements, or is it a paranormal story with contemporary issues? And the answer is... it depends. (Don’t you hate those answers?)

When I wrote HUNGER, I set out to tell a story about an anorexic teenage girl who becomes the new Famine, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The focus of the book is on eating disorders, far more so than on the fantastical elements. If I stripped out the Horsemen from the book, there would still be a story there. It would be a very different story, but it would be there. But if I took away the eating disorders, there would be nothing left. 

It’s a similar situation for RAGE, which is about a teenage self-injurer who is tapped to become the new War. The book focuses on self-injury and, to a lesser degree, coping with bullying; the protagonist’s journey as she becomes War is very internal, even when she travels across the world. How she relates as War reflects how she is dealing with her need to cut. These books are less urban fantasy and more magical realism. And even though they have building elements in the books as a series, each book stands alone.

That being said, the third book, LOSS, is a departure — and not just because the protagonist is a boy instead of a girl. While the story looks at bullying, as well as coping with the effects of Alzheimer’s on a loved one, it also delves far more into the paranormal elements than the previous two books. It’s also longer than HUNGER or RAGE—which probably goes hand-in-hand with there being more exploration of the Horsemen along with the hero’s personal journey. In LOSS’s case, the contemporary issues and the paranormal elements complement one another far more so than in the first two books. Why? Because it felt right. There is no right or wrong here; some authors may feel that they can slip in contemporary issues while they focus more exclusively on the paranormal story, while others may feel that the two elements, paranormal and contemporary, should be equal partners. That’s the fun thing about writing—there are so many different ways to tell a story. :)

As for what will happen when I write BREATH...well. Stay tuned!

Lisabeth Lewis has a black steed, a set of scales, and a new job: she’s been appointed Famine. How will an anorexic seventeen-year-old girl from the suburbs fare as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?

Traveling the world on her steed gives Lisa freedom from her troubles at home—her constant battle with hunger, and her struggle to hide it from the people who care about her. But being Famine forces her to go places where hunger is a painful part of everyday life, and to face the horrifying effects of her phenomenal power. Can Lisa find a way to harness that power—and the courage to fight her own inner demons?

A wildly original approach to the issue of eating disorders, Hunger is about the struggle to find balance in a world of extremes, and uses fantastic tropes to explore a difficult topic that touches the lives of many teens.
Missy didn’t mean to cut so deep. But after the party where she was humiliated in front of practically everyone in school, who could blame her for wanting some comfort? Sure, most people don’t find comfort in the touch of a razor blade, but Missy always was . . . different.

That’s why she was chosen to become one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: War. Now Missy wields a new kind of blade—a big, brutal sword that can cut down anyone and anything in her path. But it’s with this weapon in her hand that Missy learns something that could help her triumph over her own pain: control.

A unique approach to the topic of self-mutilation,Rageis the story of a young woman who discovers her own power and refuses to be defeated by the world.
Jackie also writes adult urban fantasy and paranormals as Jackie Kessler. You can visit her at her two websites www.jackiemorsekessler.com and www.jackiekessler,com.

Hell On Earth Series
The Icarus Project Series


  1. These books really do sound fantastic, and I've read some great reviews. Thanks for writing about issues that affect society. I always enjoy when an author goes out on a limb and attacks ugly things no one else wants to talk about. And you weaved it with fantasy, which is even more awesome. :)

  2. Good posting its an interesting site...

  3. I always enjoy when an author goes out on a limb and attacks well its a good one...

  4. Thanks for sharing the information. I am doing research on Cary Kochman Wilmette . Do you have any information? Pls let me know.

  5. I almost read all books of jackie kessler and felt that this Rage was all time better than other ones,I brought it on first day when it released using this website and to buy this book.It was one of the best book:) Regards!


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