BRANDEE’S BOOK ENDINGS’ INTERVIEW OF J. STERLING
One of the many reasons that I LOVE J(enn) Sterling is that she tells it ALL and HOW it is. She shares her journey (both past personal experiences and the journey of her success) with all ofus through her writing and with her major interaction with her readers. I was SO fortunate that I was able to meet Jenn in Chicago and not only spend time with her at the TFECI Meet and Greet, but to spend TWO nights out on the town with her in a more fun “real-life” atmosphere. Jenn made me feel like she was one of my long-time friends and I felt like I was having one of my girl’s weekends that I take with my friends.
Upon returning home from my trip, what started as sending Jenn some photos of those awesome nights, turned into what I like to think as the beginning of a beautiful friendship (I wished she lived closer) J! I just happened to have a bad day and Jenn, as the caring person she is, jumped right on board to making me feel better and better yet, became a whole new inspiration to me (I should frame our email conversation – haha), which in turn also pushed me into making the jump to create Brandee’s Book Endings! So, Jenn, I thank you!
What I would really like to do here is have you get some of your questions answered about the books and Jenn, but in doing so, hoping you get a glimpse of what I see in Jenn and hoping you will end up appreciating her for all that she is and WILL be.
So…..Let’s get down to it!
Brandee: Your currently released books include: In dreams, Chance Encounters and your most recent October 2012 release, The Perfect Game. I have some questions about all 3 books, but we will get to The Perfect Game last, but certainly not least.
I saw on one of your recent blog posts that someone asked you … “which one of your books was your FAVORITE!?!?!?!?!?” I would like to include this for those who may not have seen it.
Jenn: At first, I just sat there staring at her like “how the hell am I supposed to answer that question?!??!!”
But then I realized… I absolutely do have a favorite.
I told her that I was most proud of The Perfect Game. That I’d worked so hard to learn, grow and become a better writer and storyteller that at this point… that’s the one that I’m the most proud of.
But the truth is……The book that is my favorite is the one that started this whole journey. The original story that I couldn’t get out of my head. The dream that haunted me for over ten years. The boy I’ve never met who will always own a piece of my heart.
I’m talking about In Dreams.
That book is my favorite because it’s my guts, my heart and my soul. It’s a part of me in ways I only wish you all understood. It’s my favorite because it represents so many aspects of life that I believe to be true; like soulmates, reincarnation, past-lives, talking to the dead…
And I was pulled to write it. It called to me so strongly I could no longer ignore it. It HAD to be written. Even if it wasn’t written very well, it was a story that demanded to be told. In Dreams is more personal to me than anything else I’ve written- probably because I didn’t just let you into a couple years of my life, I brought you into my heart, into my dreams, into my soul and my beliefs. I brought you into MY ENTIRE LIFE. In Dreams isn’t a simple story about love. It’s a story about love that spans lifetimes. A love you can’t get over or move past. It’s about a love that pulls you in so tightly- even if you don’t get why- you know you don’t want to let it go.
So my answer to her? ”My favorite book is the one that’s written the worst and that people hate the most. How ironic is that?”
PS- so many of you have found In Dreams lately and have fallen in love with it. I want you to know how much that means to me. I know it’s rough and not written as well as I would like, but we all have to start somewhere right? THANK YOU for giving it a chance. I am thankful.
Brandee: What was your motivation for Chance Encounters?
Jenn: CE was literally taken from one single event that happened to me; I created an entire storyline around it. I was like, hey, I could write a whole book around this! And so I did! Which I will admit was weird because my other books do stem from so much more than one event in my life- so creating this WHOLE book around one thing felt so much different in terms of my writing. I felt like I was writing with my head instead of my heart.
Brandee: Now, onto The Perfect Game and all those questions everyone wants to know! Again, I am assuming readers have not seen some of these answers before.
In your acknowledgements of The Perfect Game, you say that the story was influenced by a lot of real events and people from your past…..AND, further, say “To the real Jack Carter”…….Since reading the book, I have seen you comment on many things about things in the book that actually happened to you……so, we get that “Jack Carter” is real, and that “you” are Cassie (side note: I saw so much of you in her character even from the very beginning of the book with [“Well, I’m a good dancer. And this butt of mine—oh, you know what it does.” I started shaking my hips in the crowded driveway of the fraternity house.] I am sure this reminds me of something of our meeting in Chicago!), but how much of the story and the characters are actually based on truth?
Jack’s personality is based A LOT on “my” real life Jack. While the baseball portion of things combines other guys I’ve dated, the core of his cockiness, ego, sleeping around and walls up personality is based on this one particular guy.
Melissa is the name of my best friend and roommate in college- although in real life, she barely ever swears and is ridiculously sweet. Way sweeter than I am. Lol
The mugging scene really happened- minus the actual theft because I didn’t have a camera at the time. He beat the crap out of me just for shits & giggles apparently. A lot of the scenes actually happened. The quarters- while they didn’t happen on our first date, they happened in the classroom. “Jack” pulled a ton of them out of his bag and tossed them on top of my desk in class. A lot of the baseball stuff. The girls, the groupies, cheating, etc.
And you were right on when you say that Cassie is pretty much me. Of course there are things that are exaggerated and things I wouldn’t do in real life, but for the most part- this book is based on my personal college experience (a lot of truth mixed with A LOT of fiction).
Brandee: Some of us saw that the “real Jack” read The Perfect Game……how did he feel while he was reading it? LOL
I’m not sure how he felt while he was reading it. He knows the truth (our actual lives) so he knows what was truth and what was fiction while he read it, so that probably made him roll his eyes more than a few times. lol I do know that he really liked the book. He’s excited for all my success and he’s been nothing but super supportive. J
Brandee: The Perfect Game has been doing Awesome and has been on the Amazon top 100 Kindle books steady since the release and was on the USA Today Bestseller’s list. Did this success surprise you?
Jenn: The LEVEL of success has been surprising, amazing, and so freaking exciting! I never even thought about best seller lists until I made them (minus the amazon top 100 – that was always a goal of mine for this book). The fact that TPG has been in the amazon top 100 for almost as long as its been out, blows my mind daily. I’m so thankful. And so damn happy.
Brandee: When I told you one of my friends said that she loved it and that it reminded her of Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire, you mentioned unfortunately that “not all the comparisons are positive” and some comments went as far as saying that you copied Beautiful Disaster. BUT, as we learned above, The Perfect Game is mostly YOUR story (through your life experiences) with added fiction to it. I know that as of the release of The Perfect Game – you had not even read Beautiful Disaster yet (by the way, get on that). Anything you care to say on this type of comparison?
Jenn: It’s extremely difficult as a writer when you’re compared to another book negatively. When people say that I’ve downright copied dialogue, or scenes from another book, I want to tear my hair out. LOL First of all, I would never freaking do that. Second, I write the way I talk, so I can only imagine that when I one day meet Jamie, if she writes dialogue the way that she talks, then it will be like meeting my twin. HA I think a lot of books have similar themes, characters, etc- but I don’t think they copied each other. Writing is a very personal journey and a lot of us have similar stories to tell.
Brandee: Why did you choose baseball as the sport revolving around The Perfect Game?
This book is basically a huge part of my college life all wrapped up in one fictional tale. Baseball is the only sport I love. I grew up watching it and I played softball for over 12 years. The bottom line is, I know baseball (and ball players) intimately. I feel comfortable talking about the sport, the stereotypes and the guys who play it.
The sequel The Game Changer is expected sometime in 2013! I know you never intended to write a follow up, but now that you are (THANK YOU!!!), I was curious as to why the change of heart?
THE READERS!!!!! I’ve never had such a visceral reaction from my readers before. They NEEDED more Jack and Cassie. So I took some time to think about if I had another story there before I committed to writing one. I realized that I did have more I could tell- and here we are!
Brandee: Lastly, any special message you would like to give to your readers?
Thank You! It doesn’t seem like nearly enough to express what you’ve given me the last 3 months. I am so incredibly thankful for your love, encouragement, word of mouth, excitement, etc. Thank you for wanting MORE from me. Thank you for making my dreams come true. Thanks for being awesome. Come to my book signings so I can hug you in person! J
Thank you to Jenn for spending the time to answer my questions.
Now, everyone else……if you have not done so already……..Go get some J. Sterling Books, share & review!
ALSO - MAKE SURE YOU ENTER THE J. STERLING AUTOGRAPHED BOOKS GIVEAWAY! CLICK the link below to go to where the the Giveaway is!
CLICK HERE to check out Brandee’s Book Endings’ Customized J. Sterling Author Page – her books, her series, future releases, contact information, teasers, book details, Merchandise Store and MORE!