This Page

has been moved to new address

Authors at the Decatur Book Festival 2012: Jessica Khoury Interview

Sorry for inconvenience...

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
Through the Looking Glass: Authors at the Decatur Book Festival 2012: Jessica Khoury Interview

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Authors at the Decatur Book Festival 2012: Jessica Khoury Interview

The author of highly anticipated book, Origin, Jessica Khoury is here today and I am thrilled to share with you a fantastic interview with her to kick off my series on the Decatur Book Festival 2012! When I saw that Origin is comparable to lost, I was sold! I hope you all enjoy the interview! Below is a little more info about Jessica and her book.


Origin by: Jessica Khoury
Publication Date: September 4, 2012
Publisher: Razorbill
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia, Fantasy
Page Count: 372
Author Website:
Jessica Khoury
Pre-Order the Book: Amazon, Barnes and Noble

Summary from Goodreads:

Pia has grown up in a secret laboratory hidden deep in the Amazon rain forest. She was raised by a team of scientists who have created her to be the start of a new immortal race. But on the night of her seventeenth birthday, Pia discovers a hole in the electric fence that surrounds her sterile home—and sneaks outside the compound for the first time in her life.
Free in the jungle, Pia meets Eio, a boy from a nearby village. Together, they embark on a race against time to discover the truth about Pia’s origin—a truth with deadly consequences that will change their lives forever.
Origin is a beautifully told, shocking new way to look at an age-old desire: to live forever, no matter the cost. This is a supremely compelling debut novel that blends the awakening romance of Matched with the mystery and jungle conspiracy of Lost.

Author Bio (From her blog):

Hi! I'm Jessica Khoury, I'm 22 years old, and I'm part Scottish and part Syrian. I was born, raised, and still live in a small town called Toccoa in the mountains of north Georgia with my husband, Ben. When I was four, I wrote my first book--an unauthorized sequel to Syd Hoff's Danny and the Dinosaur--which I illustrated, stapled together, and placed on the shelf of my preschool classroom. That's right. My career began with four-year-old fan fiction.

Besides writing, I love playing and coaching soccer, directing stage plays, and traveling around the world. Some of my favorite things: airports, funnel cake, thunder, Spanish national soccer team, beech trees, MINI coopers, and southern sweet tea.

Origin is my debut novel and will be released from Penguin's Razorbill imprint September 2012. Rights have also been sold in Germany, Spain, Poland, Bulgaria, and Holland. Film rights have been optioned by Scott Steindorff and Dylan Russell at Scott Pictures/Stone Village.

Without further adieu, here is my interview with Jessica!

Describe Origin in one sentence.
Origin is the story of Pia, who has been genetically engineered to be immortal, and her journey to escape the scientists who created her and, with the help of a boy from the jungle, discover the dark truth behind her existence.

What inspired you to write Origin?
I was out taking a walk one day and thinking about my writing. Up until last summer, all I had written was high fantasy, and I just couldn't get it off the ground. So I though, "Hey... there are other genres. What if I wrote something else?" So I kept walking, and a few minutes later this image fell into my mind: a crying girl trapped by glass walls and surrounded by jungle. I was fascinated by her and asked myself, Why is she crying? My self said to me: Well, because of a boy, of course. One question led to another, and ten minutes later I was running home to write the first chapter.

Is there a message in Origin that you want your readers to grasp?
I write to tell a story, not a message--though every book, ultimately, does end up having a message, usually even the author doesn't know what it is until the book is finished. At least, that's how I work. I think if I had to choose one message that I found in the book for readers to take away, it would be the challenge for them to ask the same questions of themselves that Pia must ask of herself (and there are lots of those).

Who are your top three favorite authors and why?
Lloyd Alexander--it was his books which first inspired me to take writing seriously, and prompted me to write my first novel when I was thirteen. He remains to this day my most beloved author; he had a gift with words, characters, and worlds that continually amazes and enthralls me. I also love Lois McMaster Bujold, who creates the most unique and compelling characters of any science fiction writer I've read--and she's won more Nebulas and sci-fi awards than any other woman! Go, girl! I also greatly admire Jean Craighead George; her books made me fall in love with nature and animals, and these passions I got poured into Origin.

What books have you read lately and loved?
Earlier this year I finished reading the Tomorrow series by John Marsden. It's an Australian series about a girl named Ellie and her friends, who go camping and return to find their country has been invaded by an enemy force. She and her friends become guerrilla fighters behind enemy lines. Very emotional, epic, and spine-tingling books. The movie version just came out and it was amazing too!

What books have most influenced your life?
Syd Hoff's Danny and the Dinosaur was the first book I ever read, and the first book I ever wrote was its unofficial sequel. ;-) Lloyd Alexander's Westmark trilogy was the book which inspired me to write my own first novel. Brian Jacques' Redwall made me fall in love with fantasy. Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game made me fall in love with science fiction. But the book which has most influenced me is the Bible--but I know, I know. That's cheating. =)

What do you think makes a good story?
A good character. That's all that it comes down to. When we read, it is the characters to whom we relate. They are the ones we cheer for, boo, or cry over. No book will live in readers' hearts if the characters are not compelling, endearing, and unforgettable.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
An author. (Also, an orca trainer and a zoologist--and those dreams are by no means over! ;-)

What did you consider most challenging about writing Origin, or writing in general?
Origin, being set in the Amazon jungle, was challenging because I'd never even been to a jungle of any kind, except concrete ones. So I had to spend twice as much time researching as I did writing for this book. That meant hours on the internet, reading books, watching documentaries--even playing "Sounds of the Rainforest" tracks while I wrote.

What did you enjoy most about writing Origin?
I really enjoyed studying the culture of the indigenous people in the Amazon basin. I knew a little bit about them, having read extensively on the life of Steve Saint, a missionary who, with his friends, was killed there over fifty years ago. I got to learn a lot about their lives, folklore, and, of course, the jungle. This is saying a lot--in school, I always hated research. Still do. But when I'm researching for a book, it's a totally different story. I fell in love with the Amazon, its people, and the mystery which enwreathes this mighty forest, which is one of the last true wild frontiers on our planet.

Is there something that makes Origin stand out (except the absolutely gorgeous cover)?
There is really nothing like Origin on the market right now. There are very few YA books set in the jungle, which makes it unique. Also, in Origin I approach immortality (usually always found in paranormal/fantasy books) from the perspective of science fiction, which is also kind of unusual in YA. Though the story isn't without its paranormal elements--it just depends on whose perspective you end the book with. That's all I'll say about that. ;-)

Thank you so much for this interview, Sara! What an honor to be on your blog! =)

Thanks so much for doing this interview! I cannot wait to see you at the Decatur Book Festival in September!

blog sign

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

Thanks for leaving a comment!

I read all the comments posted and appreciate that you took the time to share your thoughts! I try to reply to all of them as well.

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home