In any case, AT WHAT COST is the name of Jessie's just released YA book. This is her first published novel and it sounds like a good one! Here is a short blurb about the book:
While Maggie wrestles with her options, Justin offers a solution: abortion. It would solve all her problems quickly, easily, and effectively. And her parents would never know, which means they won’t throw her out and cut her off like they’d always threatened if she got herself knocked up. But an easy decision becomes difficult when Maggie’s aunt discovers her secret and sets out on a mission to stop the abortion, putting a kink in Maggie’s plan. Now Maggie must decide which choice she can live with: abortion or teenage motherhood. Either way, it’ll be a tough road to travel.
You can buy it at Amazon, or go to Astraea Press.
Tracy: AT WHAT COST sounds like quite an emotionally charged book. What inspired you to write this story?
Jessie: The abortion topic has always been on my heart. I can remember researching it for a debate class in high school. Then my hubby served on our local ‘choose life’ board for a few years, right around the time I was praying about a topic for this book. When God told me to write about abortion, I told him I was unqualified, but he lined up interviews with post abortive women and gave me resources through our connections with Women’s Services of Jamestown, NY. It’s like I couldn’t get away from the topic.
Tracy: The book targets a teen audience. What made you decide to write YA fiction as opposed to adult fiction?
Jessie: Because YA rocks! I taught high school and middle school for quite a few years prior to writing full time. During that time, I read what the kids were reading, and I fell in love with the genre. Now, I read mostly YA. I find it to be real and gritty. It’s not afraid to take on issues like abortion, cutting, drug abuse and the like. Teens need these kinds of stories because, like it or not, it’s what they are dealing with.
Tracy: Tell us a bit about your writing background. When did you first start to write?
Jessie: Well, I recently found an assignment from third grade where I apparently said I wanted to be famous for writing a book. So, I guess it started then. I wrote a bit in high school. Short stories mostly. Won a few high school level writing contests. But when college came around, creative writing was laid aside in lieu of term papers. Then, when I started teaching, the desire to write resurfaced. Now, here I am doing it full time.
Tracy: Who would you say has inspired you most as a writer? (Another writer, a colleague, a family member…)
Jessie: Not sure. There isn’t really one particular person. I could say my dad; he’s always written little ditties here and there, but he only writes stories for my mom. I keep telling him he should put his stories together in a book, but he says he’ll leave the writing up to me. Other than him, I highly respect Laurie Halse Anderson. Her work hits the heart of what teens are dealing with. And I’ve met her a few times. She’s awesome and very down to earth. I can only pray that one day my work will have the sphere of influence that hers does.
Tracy: Is there anything else you can tell us about your writing journey?
Jessie: Hmm. Well, I can say it took a long time to finish At What Cost. Six years from inspiration to publication. I started and stopped. Then wrote a whole other book before I started again. Then the road to publication was crazy with a ton of rejections. (An embarrassing amount) But here we are at the end of the journey…or should I say the beginning. J
Tracy: What’s next? Do you have any works in progress or other contracted work?
Jessie: Yep, I have 3 WIPs. One that’s in critique stage (Wait). One that’s done, but I will obsessively look at it one more time. J (The Unviables) And I’m currently working on the sequel to Unviables, yet to be named.