Meet Jessika Fleck.
Hi Jessika! Thanks for joining us today. Tell us a little about yourself.
Jessika Fleck is a writer, unapologetic coffee drinker, and knitter — she sincerely hopes to one day discover a way to do all three at once. Until then, she continues collecting vintage typewriters and hourglasses, dreaming of an Ireland getaway, and convincing her husband they NEED more kittens. Jessika has lived all over the U.S. from Hawaii to Vermont, but currently calls Illinois home. She resides there with her sociology professor husband and two daughters where she’s learning to appreciate the beauty in cornfields and terrifyingly large cicadas. Jessika writes both young adult and middle grade fiction and her work verges on fantastical and dark with a touch of realism. Her debut YA fantasy, The Castaways, is currently available as is Beware the Night. Both have received noteworthy praise. Her next book, Defy the Sun, will release March 10, 2020.
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Inspired by your coffee, knitting, and writing bio introduction: Do you ever find yourself knitting to solve writer’s block or just mull over a trickier plot or character issue?
No… That’s what the coffee is for. My knitting time is my ‘turn off my brain’ time. It’s when I completely zone out (but not enough I’ll mess up (hopefully)) and have some music or a crafty competition show on in the background (I recently discovered Skin Wars—it’s so good!). I will say, that it’s because I take these moments of zombie-like dead-headedness that I’m then able to go back to a particularly challenging writing moment refreshed and with renewed motivation. So, in a way, I guess knitting does help solve my writing woes.
A vintage typewriter? Epic. Do you use it to write your manuscripts now or just occasional snippets? Oh! Where did the first vintage typewriter come from?
Thank you! I actually have 5! :ducks: I don’t type my manuscripts on them. If I tried, I might go mad because, well, ALL of the reasons. I do love the tap-tap of typewriter keys though and if I’m writing without background music, I have an app that will add the sound to my keyboard. My first vintage typewriter was gifted to me from my mother-in-law. It’s a monster. She actually lugged it around college with her! It’s robin egg blue and I adore it.
What drew you to fantastical, dark, and realism writing?
That’s a hard one. I suppose it’s simply the result of the types of stories that come to me. I do tend to lean toward the quirky and dark when reading or watching movies as well, so it makes sense.
Were there any YA manuscripts that spoke to the MG level instead? Or vice versa.
Not really. When I begin drafting a story I know who the intended audience will be and I definitely tailor the book for that genre. There were a few aspects of Beware the Night that my editor felt made Veda seem too young for YA so those were re-crafted. For instance, originally, Veda had a pet ferret whom was more a side-kick. That poor guy was axed fairly early on.
What is your favorite novel item that you have collected so far?
Most definitely my hourglasses. I’ve acquired quite the eclectic collection—each one is unique and I love them. Second would be my vintage, illustrated copy of Jane Eyre.
For The Castaways, why corn mazes? Did you end up visiting different ones for inspiration?
They’re so creepy aren’t they? But also enchanting in their own right. I did visit a couple for inspiration and actually came up with the idea for The Castaways while walking through a corn maze on an October visit to a pumpkin patch.
For Beware the Night, why sacrifices?
No deep or particular reason other than it felt right with the story and within the setting and was always a part of the narrative for me.
What is the weirdest thing you’ve ever researched for a manuscript?
Hmm… Probably witch spells. :big grin:
Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers today?
Just that I’m so thrilled you had me here at A New Look for Books, Rae! Also, thanks so much to anyone who has or plans to read my books. It’s truly an honor to have these stories I’ve written out in the world.
Thanks Jessika for stopping by Bookish Looks!