Jessie Rosen Author Interview
Please provide your official author bio/summary.
Jessie Rosen is a writer, producer, and performer. Since 2007 she has written the blog 20-Nothings.com – a TIME TOP 25 Blog and named among the Top 100 Websites for Women and Top 10 Websites for Millennials by FORBES. She lives in Los Angeles, where she’s working on film and television projects, as well as her next novel.
Tell us a little about yourself. How did you begin writing? What inspires you to write?
I have always been writing. It started with little stories my mom would “publish” between pieces of cardboard cut up from cereal boxes, morphed into journalism at college and then expanded to blogging, TV/film writing and this novel most recently. I am inspired to write by hearing stories that move me and deserve to be told. I have always understood myself and the world through characters and stories. So not only do I want to give my readers something to enjoy but I also hope to change their perspective or offer them a vantage point they’ll take with them long after they finish the book.
Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?
My intended audience is YA lovers who enjoy a twisty tale that turns into a very wild ride. I’ve always thought about DEAD RINGER as a GONE GIRL meets PRETTY LITTLE LIARS, so lovers of those amazing titles will hopefully love this book, too.
How did you come up with the title of your book or series?
The team at Full Fathom Five (my publisher) and I did a lot of brainstorming about a title that would be instantly catchy and instantly clear. The idea of my main character Laura Rivers being a dead ringer for a dead girl is the whole crux of the story, so the title felt like a perfect fit.
Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?
Full Fathom works with amazing artists, one of whom came up with this concept. The goal was to make the cover instantly intriguing and, frankly, creepy. With the darkness of the cover we wanted to convey maturity and the fact that this really is a thriller. The legs in the water only added to that whoa factor. But my favorite part is the pink toe nail polish. Just a little splash of color to remind you this is a YA tale.
Who is your favorite character from your book and why?
Ooh this is tough. I think my favorite character is Sasha because I wish I were as genius as she is when it comes to her special skills (that I can’t possibly reveal…). Sasha is also the character that remains a mystery for much of the book so she was really fun to write.
How about your least favorite character? What makes them less appealing to you?
Hm I don’t know if I have a least favorite character but I certainly don’t agree with a lot of the things that Amanda does in the story. She has a motivation so I understand why she does what she does (and did what she did in the past), but I would never follow that same path.
If you could change ONE thing about your novel, what would it be? Why?
Great question! I think I would like to spend more time at Laura’s house getting to know her and her world a little better. We see her mostly in school and outside of school with Charlie, but a bit more about her environment would be nice to paint an even clearer picture of this new girl.
Give us an interesting fun fact or a few about your book or series:
Almost every single name in the book is the name of a real person, same goes for all the towns and places. I’m from New Jersey where the book is set, and I wanted to give my friends some fun “easter eggs” to find in the book.
Another fun fact: I wrote the book while raising my puppy. Louie arrived at 8 weeks old right around the time that I started working on DEAD RINGER, and by the time I was finished he was a well-behaved pup! I should have thanked him in the acknowledgements!
What other books are similar to your own? What makes them alike?
The Pretty Little Liars and Gossip Girl series remind me of my book. Also Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver and Conspiracy Girl by Sarah Alderson. The former are in a similar tone as my novel and paint a similar posh world. The latter deal with equally intense issues and unfold in an equally twisty way. I also really looked to Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn for inspiration on dealing with multiple narrators.
How can we contact you or find out more about your books?
Examples: Webpages and/or social media
DEAD RINGER is all over the web, as am I! Here are some handles:
@DeadRingerBook on Twitter and Instagra
I am @20Nothings on Twitter and @JessieRosen on Instagram and my blog is www.20-Nothings.com
What can we expect from you in the future?
Hopefully two more books in the DEAD RINGER series! I’m also tackling an emerging adult novel right now. It’s an epic love story set against a major national tragedy, and it all takes place in 72 hours.
What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?
Share, share, share! Whether it’s placing it on your GoodReads shelf, adding it to your blog list or Tweeting/Instagramming your love to friends. Every little bit is so helpful.
Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers trying to get published?
Write, write, write. The more you write the easier that writing becomes. Writing is a muscle and if you exercise it, it will get stronger.
Know the market. I did a TON of reading before embarking on this project and it really helped me understand what YA readers (and readers overall) were enjoying and how I could create a story that both tied into my passions and ideas but also found a place in the world.
Is there anything else you’d like to say?
I’d like to say THANK YOU for your support and that I have been overwhelmed by the support and appreciate from the entire book-lover community. I always knew the book lovers were fantastic people, and it’s proven every day that I work toward my release date!
And now, before you go, how about a snippet from your book that is meant to intrigue and tantalize us:
Here you go!
For the first time in forever, she had decided to wear her long, blond hair down and parted on the far-left side so a waterfall of curls danced over her right eye, the slightly bluer one—the one that usually made her self-conscious. Today she let the curls do their thing instead of making sure every piece of frizz was locked down with an army of gooey hair products. She wore simple makeup paired with a shocking pink lipstick she’d seen on the girls strolling the pier all summer long. It was wild, but it made her feel powerful. Her first day outfit was a vintage, floral shirt belted over a flirty, white sundress to make sure her tan legs showed, because why not milk the Cali-girl vibe? On her feet were cork-soled wedges in a neon-colored, striped print from 1989—one of her favorite vintage finds besides the car, of course. She was pretty sure she wouldn’t look like anyone at this posh, brick-and-ivy-covered, suburban New Jersey school, and she loved that fact. She was ready to start out on a totally new foot.
But just as Laura’s first-day confidence finally locked in, it vanished.
Across the parking lot, she caught the glance of two girls getting out of a shiny, white Corvette. Laura smiled in their direction, but something was off about the way they both looked back at her. Their faces were frozen in a strange, almost confused look that made her instantly uncomfortable. It was more than just the usual new-kid-in-school stares.
It wasn’t until the shorter, curly-haired girl glanced back and quickly turned away again that Laura saw the real feeling behind her eyes: she was scared.
Book Summary (Goodreads):
From the moment Laura Rivers steps foot into Englewood High, she notices the stares—and they aren’t the typical once-overs every pretty new girl endures. The students seem confused and…spooked. Whispers echoing through the halls confirm that something is seriously off. “That new girl looks just like her,” they say.
It turns out Laura has a doppelgänger, and it isn’t just anyone—it’s Sarah Castro-Tanner, the girl who killed herself by jumping into the Navasink River one year ago.
Laura is determined not to let the gossip ruin her chances of making a fresh start. Thanks to her charming personality and California tan, she catches the eye of Englewood’s undisputed golden boy, Charlie Sanders, and it’s only a matter of time before they make their relationship official.
But something is making Charlie and his friends paranoid—and Laura soon discovers it has to do with Sarah Castro-Tanner.
What really happened to Sarah? Why is Charlie unraveling? And how does Laura Rivers fit into it all?
After all, she’s the dead ringer for a dead girl.