One of my guilty pleasures in life is reading romance. And I can’t possibly think of a better way than delving into the wonderful struggles and heartfelt moments of a relationship created by Jelsa Mepsey, author of PICTURE IMPERFECT (September 2015, Swoon Romance).
Jelsa Mepsey writes young adult contemporary romance, drawing inspiration from daily life. With her work, she is dedicated to spurring people to think about what they have taken for granted and to shed light on the issues people avoid talking about. As an Asian-American in her 20s, she is excited to explore more of the human experience as she herself journeys through life. Writing, rock climbing 5.12 routes, and playing various instruments have resulted in the formation of many calluses on her hands over the years. When not engaging in her previously mentioned hobbies, Jelsa can be found at her local library with a stack of at least ten books, naming her various pens, or staring at her dog Waffles for inspiration.
Me: So tell us a little about the book.
Jelsa: Sixteen-year-old Max Prescott knows all too well the joys of cheating girlfriends and traitorous friends. He’s not eager to have his heart trampled again, but money and a fresh start can mean the difference between happiness and a dark path with his name on it.
So when Melly Hewson, a perky and enigmatic classmate, asks him to be her model for a year-long photography project, Max agrees. Melly is everything Max isn’t. She’s outgoing, witty, and always knows the right words to say. And despite his best efforts, Max finds himself drawn to her.
Still, he isn’t stupid. He knows a girl like Melly will only use him and then never speak to him again. Besides, he’s been to that rodeo. As long as he keeps his feelings off the market, he won’t make the same mistakes as last time.
Yet underneath Melly’s sweet smiles lies a secret she’d rather kept hidden. And as the year goes on and the photos pile up, Max and Melly will find themselves developing through the negatives, a story that when told could push them to opposite ends of their world. But the only thing worse than the truth is the facade that surrounds them.
Me: Oh, I’m swooning already 😉 How long did it take you to write this book?
J: It took about three and a half months to write the first draft of Picture Imperfect. (January 19, 2011-May 3, 2011).
Me: It must be wonderful to finally finish the journey. What Genre do you write and why?
J: I mainly write YA contemporary fiction, sometimes with romance and sometimes without. As much as books are for escaping to a different world, books also tell us a lot about the world we live in. My goal with my work is to write stories that could take place in the real world and use them to invoke deep thoughts and discussions.
Me: I think that’s a great MO. Can you pick a favorite line from your latest work and tell us why this is your favorite?
J: “And that’s how I end up running out of a Chinese restaurant with a unique solution to my problem, a full stomach, and a new friend.”
I love how whimsical this line is, as it concludes the MC’s first day at college away from her parents. I’m only two and a half chapters into writing this particular WIP, but I look forward to continuing to work on it.
Me: What can you share with other writers were your 1-2 biggest learning experience(s) or surprise(s) throughout the publishing process?
J: There is a lot of in between times of waiting, whether it’s for a cover, edits, or other information. There’s just so much to do before a book is ready for the world!
Me: Do you have a favorite author(s)?
J: I don’t think I can pick just one, especially with all the wonderful author friends I have!
Me: Fair enough 🙂 What are a few things about yourself most people would expect?
J: I graduated from college in three years with two majors and a minor. I don’t like cake (so people get me cookie cakes instead). And I’ve written 2 million words of fiction by hand so far.
Me: Oh I’m a huge fan of handwriting my work, too. Can you offer one or two helpful tips for fellow writers?
J: Query only when you are ready and not before. The best judge of when you are ready is not just you, but also multiple honest people who have read your work, helped you improve it, and believe in your story. Feedback from other people is essential to a polished manuscript. Get a minimum of three people to look at and help you with your work. More is better.
Me: Great advice! If you could cast your characters in a Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play your characters?
J: This was answered in one of my blog tour posts, but I’ll tell you guys again!
Max Prescott – Devon Bostick
Melly Hewson – Vanessa Morano
Adam Prescott – Ross Lynch
Tina Hawthorne – Eliza Dushku
Cassy Carlson – Elizabeth Gillies
Jaxon Grum – Drake Bell
Mr. Campbell – Leonardo DiCaprio
Me: Something fun. Chocolate or Wine (or any other adult beverage)?
J: I’ve actually only been of legal age for less than a year, so I haven’t tried that many “adult” beverages yet. I do like to enjoy a nice mixed alcoholic drink occasionally. I probably have it about as often as I have regular chocolate, as I prefer dark chocolate.
Me: What is your favorite meal?
J: Anything with meat and cheese. Quesadillas are the best.
Me: A girl after my own heart : ) Favorite Color?
Me: If you were a superhero, what would your name be? What would you wear?
J: My power would be the ability to make anyone, including myself, wake up and fall asleep whenever I wanted. I’d be “Sleep Spinner” and I would walk around in my penguin-print pajamas.
Me: Sounds quite evil *does best Dr. Evil impression* What’s next in your future?
J: I’m polishing the sequel to Picture Imperfect and trying to decide what to do about a related novel-in-verse. Meanwhile, I may write a MG fantasy series for the first time while continuing to write my current WIP.
Me: Sounds amazing…and busy! Thanks for joining us today, Jelsa. And for our readers, check out all of Jelsa’s links and an excerpt from her book below. There’s even a link to a song from the book. Awesome!
Click on Author Interviews on my homepage if you’d like to be featured on an upcoming post of Behind the Scenes, an author spotlight series.
Excerpt from Picture Imperfect:
She unzips her camera bag. “I should, um, probably take your picture.”
“Oh. Right.” I glance behind me. No noises. That’s good. “Wanna stick around?”
“Actually, I need to go home. We’ll do some shots there soon.” She scratches her head. “Do you have a music player of some sort?”
“Yeah.” I pull my iPod out of my pocket. “Why?”
She grins, revealing her braces again. Is she ever going to get those off? “Pretend to listen to it.”
She said to pretend, but I don’t. Instead, I turn it on, shuffle the music, and listen to the song that comes on.
I can’t face the truth
Since I’ve met you, I feel different
Is this what it is?
What it is to love?
I never put this song on my iPod. Where did it come from? Doesn’t matter. As I continue listening to it, Melly says something and waves before leaving. I just continue listening to the lyrics.
Stop haunting me, taking over my head
It’s best if we left these things unsaid
‘Cause I never wanted to fall for you
But now I think I have