Friday, February 20, 2009

FREEBIE FRIDAY with Jessica Burkhart

Happy Friday! Today we have a treat for all you horse lovers out there - tween author Jessica Burkhart is in the house!

But first, the winner of Jennifer Banash's IN TOO DEEP is:

Congratulations! Please send me a note with your mailing instructions to gerb @ lindagerber. com and we'll get that sent out to you.

Meanwhile, please join me in welcoming teenfictioncafe sister Jessica Burkhart to the blog! Jessica is the author of the Canterwood Crest series and an all-around nice person. Now, I don't know about you, but when I was a tween, I was obsessed with horses! When TAKE THE REINS came out, I instantly fell in love all over again. Better yet, I have a 12-year old daughter who devoured the book and is chomping at the bit (hehe) for the next book in the series, CHASING BLUE, which comes out next month. And look at these gorgeous covers! Love, love, love! (Yes, you know how much I adore Melissa Walker's Cover Stories feature... here's the Canterwood Crest cover story.)

If you have a tween in your life (or if you're like me and love great stories - especially when they feature drama and horses), you're going to want to pick up these books!

Now on to the interview:

What inspired you to write TAKE THE REINS?
I was a serious (read: obsessed) equestrian most of my life. When I was thirteen, I had a spinal fusion for severe scoliosis and I couldn’t ride after that. It felt as if I’d lost a giant part of me—it was devastating. So, I started freelancing and I ignored horses for six years. I couldn’t stand to think about them.

In November 2006, I decided to try NaNoWriMo. Great, except for the small problem that I had nooo ideas. And you kind of need one to write a book…

Then, an idea for a horse novel hit and I couldn’t shake it. I ignored the “don’t write about horses, it’ll be too painful” voices in my head and started the draft of TAKE THE REINS. It was a blast to write and I was so, so happy when I went back into Horse World. I’m never leaving again!

Are any of your characters based on real people that you know?

Only every single one! Sasha is—oops. Better not say! ;)

What excites you?
The future! I’m making big changes in my life this year and I’m sooo excited. Change is good!

What turns you off?

Laziness, literary snobs, intolerance and people who are mean to animals.

What's the biggest lie you ever told, and what happened as a result of the telling?
I lied to a friend and myself and said, “I’m okay!” when I wasn’t. By saying I was fine, I put myself in a bad situation for a few weeks. If I’d told the truth, I would have really been fine.

What's the most suspenseful thing that's happened to you in real life?
Oooh, I’d say the time I passed out while driving! I was driving through the mountains in Virginia (I think?) and I looked over the guardrail and fainted for a couple of seconds. I should have known better than to look because I’m scared of heights. Smart move! I got lucky that someone was in the passenger seat and that few cars were around us. I was able to pull over and switch seats. But it was scary!

If you could invite anyone you wanted - living or dead - to hang out with you at a weekend retreat, who would you invite and why?
Instead of taking someone I’d never met before (what if we totally don’t get along?!), I’d take my closest friend. We’d sip pretty pink drinks by a pool, have hot guys fan us with palm fronds, gossip and watch lots of bad TV. Oh, and we’d invite Johnny Depp too. We’d convince him to give us a Captain Jack impression. My friend, poor girl, just doesn’t understand the magic that is Captain Jack Sparrow. But I think she’d change her mind after an in-person Captain Jack impression. Don’t you think?

What's one thing most people don't know about you?
Hmmm…they probably don’t know that I’d never been in a Starbucks until January 2009. Yes, 2009! I remember blogging about this a long time ago and author-friend Alyson Novel was like, “What?! Are you kidding me?”

What's your favorite quote?

“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” –Jack London

Milk Chocolate or Dark?

Dark! For sure. Mmm.

If you would like to be entered to win a signed copy of TAKE THE REINS and a way cool CANTERWOOD CREST postcard, leave a comment below and tell me about your love affair with horses or why you should win this book. This drawing will remain open until Tuesday, February 24.