Sep 5, 2013

Author Spotlight: Jessica Spotswood

Welcome to our second installment into Author Spotlight where we pick one author that'll we'll feature on the site with either a guest post, interview or something else that's a lot of fun along with a giveaway that will be opened internationally. This months author is not only super nice, local (to me) but extremely talented and creative.

September we're excited to be featuring Jessica Spotswood who is the author of Born Wicked [2012], Star Cursed [2013] and the Untitled conclusion [2014]. We are doing a little bit of everything today as we have a character interview with the youngest Cahill sister, Tess; an author interview as well as This or That feature!

I grew up in a tiny one-stoplight town in Pennsylvania, where I could be found swimming, playing clarinet, memorizing lines for the school play, or—most often—with my nose in a book. I've been writing since I was little but studied theatre in college and grad school. Now I live in Washington, DC with my brilliant playwright husband and a cuddly cat named Monkey.

Website - Facebook - Twitter - Goodreads

Being sisters with Maura and Cate seems like a stressful job, if you will; how do you manage being the peacekeeper and staying so innocent?

I love both of my sisters. And I know that beneath all their bickering, they love each other. I wish they could push everything else aside and focus on that. Honestly, after what Maura’s done – I’m not very happy with her. I don’t know if Cate will ever forgive her. I don’t know if I could, in her position. I hope I could.

Since you are the youngest sister what’s something you’ve seen your older sister do and swore you wouldn’t do that but ended up doing it anyway?

I’ve seen them keep secrets from one another, and it never turns out well. We’re much better at solving problems when we work together. But some secrets – well, some things are too dreadful to share, aren’t they?

Does the prophecy terrify you, not knowing who the next oracle is going to be but more so not knowing which of you might die and worse, which might be the one to do the killing?

No, it’s an utter delight. Tess scowls at her interviewer. Of course it’s terrifying! We’re sisters, and we love each other. I can’t imagine any scenario in which we’d hurt one another like that. Not in our right minds.

What’s your favorite thing about Maura? And the opposite, what’s the one thing you wish she would change?

Maura loves being a witch. She’s never been ashamed of it, or scared of what she can do. There’s something marvelous in that. I wish – well, I wish she were a bit less stubborn and more forgiving. She holds a grudge better than anyone I’ve ever met, and she never apologizes.

What’s your favorite thing about Cate? And the opposite, what’s the one thing you wish she would change?

Cate would throw herself in front of a wagon for anyone she loves. Really, she would. She’s so loving and so loyal. I wish she would realize she doesn’t have to. We need her to look after herself a bit, too, and let us do our own growing up.

Would you rather see Cate with Finn or with Paul?

Tess laughs. With Finn, silly. Paul’s grand, but Finn – Cate trusted him enough to tell him our secrets. She blushes. I hope someday I might find someone who looks at me the way he looks at Cate.

If you could trade places with one person, who would it be and why?

I’d trade places with one of the past oracles for a day. One of the ones who lived back when the Daughters of Persephone ruled New England. None of them were witches, you know. They were only blessed with prophecies. Most of them went mad. But I’d like to see firsthand what it was like.

What’s the one thing you hope to accomplish in your life?

Oh, I don’t know if I could choose just one thing! I hope that I will be able to help somehow in the war – that I can make a difference. And I want to read all the books in the Sisters’ library, and then write my own. I want to learn Chinese – Mei’s teaching me – and learn more ciphers from Sister Gretchen, and bake a perfect Christmas pudding, and beat Mei at chess, and—oh, there’s so much I want to do! The world is so great big and interesting, isn’t it?

Thank you, Tess for the great interview and stopping by; now if you don't mind, we'll get to an interview with your creator, Jessica Spotswood!

Cliffhangers are known throughout Young Adult books and it seems like the cliffhanger for a second book is far worse than the first one; your book, Star Cursed, is a perfect example of that. What’s one of the worst cliffhangers in a book you read? How did it make you feel?

The ending of ASHES by Ilsa Bick is crazy. The heroine’s about to be attacked by zombies and then it just ends. I was desperate for book two!

How much research went in to this series? You not only have history of witches in there but you also have a time period to write about while making it seem awfully authentic.

I’m glad it seems authentic! I did lots of research into the fashion, d├ęcor, and technology of the 1890s. The Cahill Witch Chronicles takes place in an alternate history, so I was able to change things up a bit, but I wanted to evoke the feeling of that era, the romanticism of it – candlelight and carriages and corsets!

If you could put yourself in your own trilogy as one character, which character would you be and why?

Cate’s roommate, Rilla. She’s this sweet little chatterbox. She always wants to fix everyone hot chocolate, she loves reading romance novels, she wants everything bright and sunny and yellow. Frankly, she’s a bit of a flibbertigibbet, so sometimes people forget that she’s actually super clever and a very powerful witch. Also – she gets a bit of a romance and a job in Cahill Book 3, which was really fun to write. I love Rilla.

After you finish a draft or edits, what’s the first thing you treat yourself to?

A long nap. Then probably reading a book. When I’m on deadline, I’m such a night owl; I’ll work from 10pm until 5am, which obviously cuts into my before-bed reading time. I also like to buy myself a pair of earrings or a necklace or some other little present when I finish a major draft (first or last).

Was it less stressful with the release of the second book, Star Cursed, opposed to when Born Wicked came out and it was your first book release ever or was it just as nerve-wracking?

Star Cursed was way less stressful than Born Wicked – which is funny because Star Cursed was about twelve times harder to write. But I went on tour a week after BW came out, and I was so nervous about that, though it ended up being tremendously fun. I wasn’t touring for SC, so I did a big book launch party at an awesome local bookstore, One More Page, and celebrated with cupcakes and champagne and friends. It was super-fun!

Thank you, Jessica! I am super glad you agreed to participate in this but we're not finished yet! We've got a few THIS OR THAT questions left!

Romance or Action? Romance!
Dystopian or Fantasy? Fantasy
Hottie or Underdog? Underdog
Chocolate or Wine? Wine
Coffee or Tea? Tea!
E-Book or Physical Book? Physical book
Vampires or Werewolves? Vampires (I love Vampire Academy!)
Summer or Winter? Fall ;)
Eyes or Smile? Smile
Books or Movies? Books, always!

So Jessica is a local author for me and while sadly I missed her release party for Star Cursed last month I will be seeing her in a few weeks for another book signing so I'm able to get one lucky winner a personalized copy of Born Wicked! So this makes it extra special for the winner because this book will be for you and only you! This contest is open internationally so anyone and everyone should enter! Plenty of chances to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I loved it when she talked about her sisters! I'm a younger sister myself so it was fun to find something to relate to her about :)

  2. Oooooh, Marissa Meyer! That would be awesome - thank you for that recommendation! :)

  3. I found it interesting that Born Wicked was more stressful, but also easier to write. I can understand that though. All the stress of writing and wondering if the book will sell and get good ratings and all of that.


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