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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

PAF: Interview with Jackie Morse Kessler + giveaway!

Paranormal April Fools

I’m thrilled to welcome Jackie Morse Kessler back to the blog today for a chat about her newest release, LOSS, the third book in her Riders of the Apocalypse series, available now.

Keep reading to learn more about LOSS and to enter to win a copy of your very own or a LOSS poster from Jackie!


Hi, Jackie, and welcome back to Tynga’s Reviews! You’ve been busy since your last visit.

Thanks so much! Ooh, I’m a returning guest! **happy dance**

This series deals with some very serious issues: HUNGER tackles anorexia, RAGE deals with self-injury, and now LOSS takes on bullying. Is it difficult to write about such heavy subject matter?

It’s been getting tougher with each book. With HUNGER, writing it was almost cathartic, because I’d had the idea for so long before I finally wrote the book. RAGE left me emotionally drained, and LOSS even more so. It’s exhausting, and it leaves me raw. Thankfully, chocolate and a few Supernatural reruns help get me back to my happy place. :)

What do you hope your readers take away from this series, LOSS in particular?

I hope that the books raise awareness of issues such as eating disorders, self-injury, and bullying—in all its forms—and that people start talking about these things more openly, more candidly. The more that we talk about these things, the more likely it is that people suffering from them will get the support and help they need. That’s my biggest hope.

You donate a portion of the proceeds from each of the books in this series to an organization related to your protagonists’ problems. With LOSS, for example, you’re supporting the Alzheimer's Association. What prompted you to do such a wonderful thing and how do you decide which organizations to support?

Alzheimer's Association

I knew from the moment I started writing HUNGER that, if I were fortunate enough to have a publisher buy the book, I would donate a portion of proceeds to the National Eating Disorders Association. I’m a former bulimic, and it was extremely important to me to do something to help support an organization that does so much to help those who have been affected by eating disorders. When I was working on RAGE, a friend had suggested that I consider the organization To Write Love On Her Arms as a possible charity. So I looked into TWLOHA and I was thrilled with what I found: an organization that works tirelessly to provide help and support to those suffering from depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicidal thoughts.

As for LOSS, originally, the book was going to focus exclusively on coping with Alzheimer’s, especially those who are in the difficult role of being the caregiver of a loved one who is battling the disease. (As I wrote the book, Alzheimer’s became a subplot and bullying turned into the major focus.) Alzheimer’s runs in my family, so this is a very personal cause for me.

What is Billy’s (LOSS’ main character) favourite book or author?

Billy likes to read about adventure in faraway places, anything that helps him escape how lousy his real life can be. He’s big into epic fantasy, especially LORD OF THE RINGS and the BELGARIAD, and recently, he got into Butcher’s CODEX ALERA.

Can you give us a little (non-spoilery) tease about the fourth book, BREATH? I can’t wait to *finally* read Death’s story because he’s my favourite.

Thanks! I’m in the throes of writing BREATH right now. I hope that it answers all the questions raised so far in the series, as well as tells Death’s story. It gets dark. And if I do this right, it will have a twist. And Twinkies.

Was that sufficiently teaserific without giving anything away? :)

Riders of the Apocalypse

And now a couple quick April Fools’-related questions:

Have you ever pulled off a successful prank?

Um. No. Not unless you count the time I, ah, borrowed my friend’s car. Before I had a license. And didn’t tell her. (I am such a role model.)

What do you think of prank-based shows like Punk’d, Scare Tactics, or Candid Camera?

If I watched them, I could probably give you an answer. :)

Thanks very much for visiting us, Jackie!

Thanks again for having me!


Want more on LOSS? Here's the cover copy:

Jackie Morse Kessler Loss Fifteen-year-old Billy Ballard is the kid that everyone picks on. But things change drastically when Death tells Billy he must stand in as Pestilence, the White Rider of the Apocalypse. Now armed with a Bow that allows him to strike with disease from a distance, Billy lashes out at his tormentors...and accidentally causes an outbreak of meningitis. Horrified by his actions, Billy begs Death to take back the Bow. For that to happen, says Death, Billy must track down the real White Rider, and stop him from unleashing something awful on humanity—something that could make the Black Plague look like a summer cold. Does one bullied teenager have the strength to stand his ground—and the courage to save the world?

Read an excerpt

Pre-order: Amazon | Book Depository

If that's not enough on LOSS for you, you can visit some of Jackie's other tour stops. Click on the banner to find out more.

Loss blog tour

Click on the covers to learn about the first two books in the series:

Jackie Morse Kessler HungerJackie Morse Kessler Rage



We have two giveaways today so please pay attention! There are different ways to enter AND different end dates!

Giveaway #1: Jackie is offering the following giveaway:

One lucky commenter below will win a small cover poster of LOSS—and will be entered in the grand prize drawing! The grand prize winner will receive signed copies of HUNGER, RAGE and LOSS—and will get to name a character in BREATH, the fourth book in the Riders of the Apocalypse series. The grand prize winner will be picked on Sunday, April 1, 2012. No foolin’.

Open internationally.

To enter the poster/grand prize giveaway, you must leave a meaningful comment by noon EST on Friday, March 30, 2012.

And if that's not enough, we have more!

Giveaway #2: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is graciously offering one (1) copy of LOSS to a lucky reader!

To enter the giveaway, fill out the Rafflecopter form below.

US/Canada only

Ends Sunday, April 15, 2012
(like all of our Paranormal April Fools’ giveaways)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Jackie Morse Kessler Jackie Morse Kessler grew up in Brooklyn, NY, with a cranky cat and overflowing shelves filled with dolls and books. Now she’s in Upstate NY with another cranky cat, a loving husband, two sons, and overflowing shelves filled with dragons and books (except when her sons steal her dragons). She has a bachelor’s degree in English and American Literature, and yet she’s never read any Jane Austen (with or without zombies). She also has a master’s degree in media ecology. (The living study of technology and culture. Which is cool, but she still can’t figure out how to use Tweetdeck.)

Jackie spends a lot of time writing, reading, and getting distracted by bright and shiny new ideas. (She just came up with a new idea right now.) She has a weakness for chocolate and a tendency to let her cat take over her office chair.

Website | Twitter


Born and raised in the Toronto area, Jenn moved to St. John's, Newfoundland, eight years ago for school. She's still in school (thankfully on another degree!), now trapped in her dissertation. When she's not dissertating, which happens more often than it should, Jenn spends her time reading, watching movies, playing volleyball, travelling, and enjoying the local music scene. Her latest addictions: yoga and Almond Crunch cereal.

27 People left their mark' :

  1. Those are some of the most beautiful covers I've ever seen! Wow! And I love the idea of organizing a series around the riders of the apocalypse. Sorry I don't have anything more meaningful to say, but I haven't read any of the books (yet! I definitely will now). But, oh! those covers!

  2. Great post! I've been meaning to read this series since I started seeing reviews of the new book lately. It sounds really neat and I love the covers! (Yes i'm a cover whore baha)

  3. I love the Riders of the Apocalypse story. Has definitely been one of my favorites growing up. I also love the covers :)

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  4. Hi Jackie. Great interview. Your series sounds good. Thanks for the giveaway.

  5. Love the interview and the ideas behind the books - gotta check them out. And hey, Supernatural (specifically Sam and Dean Winchester) are a good way to recharge.

  6. Your books sound thought provoking, and it's great that you donate portion of the proceeds from each book. Thanks for the giveaway.

  7. Great interview! Sounds like a great series. Thanks for the giveaway.

  8. I'm glad this book deals with important issues like bullying. Bully is crap and it's time for the silent majority to step up!

    Also, I loved the Belgariad, so nice choice Billy!

  9. Sounds like a very good series! Thanks for the chance to win!

  10. I enjoyed the interview. How generous that you donate proceeds to an organization that deals with the issues mentioned in your book. The book sounds very good.

  11. This is amazing! The way Jackie personified the Four Horsemen but turned it into YA with an exciting plot is awesome!

    I love that Billy reads:))

    ccfioriole at gmail dot com

  12. I have heard so much about this series, but I didn't know about the donations to the causes. What a wonderful thing to do :) thanks for the chance to win!

  13. Hi Jackie! I think it's awesome that you donate a portion of the proceeds from each of the books in this series to an organization related to your protagonists’ problem! My grandmother died from complications related to Alzheimer's so it really means a lot that with LOSS you’re supporting the Alzheimer's Association! Thank you so much for what you're doing to help:)

  14. I'm very curious about this one :)

  15. I've been following your tour and can not wait to read your book! I also wanted to say thank you for all the interviews and insight into your character and book. I've already begun to get attached and have not even read it yet!

  16. The whole series looks amazing. I have it on my wish list.


  17. I really want to read this series. It sounds very good. Please enter me in contest. Tore923@aol.com

  18. I didn't realize this was a series!! Thanks for sharing all this!

  19. Thanks for this giveaway - I would love to win! I think it's great that these books deal with eating disorders, self-injury, and bullying. I agree with you and also hope they raise awareness on those topics and get people talking!

  20. Ever since the series started with Hunger, I've been really impressed with the way these tough issues are handled. Jackie you are absolutely amazing! Not only for writing about such hard to deal with issues and spreading awareness of them but also donating to the various charities.

  21. It's wonderful to tackle such tough and prevalent issues. Kudos!

  22. I haven't read this series but they sound really interesting. I really like the covers, very eye catching. I am adding these to my ever growing list. Thanks for the chance.

  23. Sounds like a great series, and I'd love to read them all.

  24. Congrats on the new release! Im looking forward to reading Loss.

  25. Hi Jackie. Your book sound amazing. Thank you for the wonderful interview.

    - Beckie

  26. I love the covers of your books! plus, the story sounds amazing!

  27. This sounds like such a good series! Covering important issues and donating the proceeds to great causes. I look forward to reading them all. Thanks for the offer!