Characters strike back

Hi, this is Jackie Morse Kessler. I wrote HUNGER, a novel about an anorexic teenage girl who gets appointed to be the new Famine, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Lisa, the protagonist, doesn’t think she has an eating disorder. But after her initial encounter with Death—who happens to look exactly like a dead alternative rock star—she starts to get a clue.

Read below as my characters Lisa and Missy interview me (the author). They get a little pushy. I get cursed out. But then again, I did put them through a lot.

LISA:

Hi, I’m Lisabeth Lewis, and this is Missy Miller.

MISSY:
[WAVES] Hi.

LISA:
And we’re here with our Creator, Jackie Morse Kessler, to talk a little about her two Horsemen of the Apocalypse books, HUNGER and RAGE.

MISSY:
And to find out why she’s such a jerk to us in the books.

JACKIE:
Hey, that’s not fair.

MISSY:
No? You made Lisa anorexic and suicidal, and then you turned her into Famine! Bad enough she had her own food issues—you had to go and show her starving people?

JACKIE:
Well…

LISA:
And look at what you did to poor Missy. She didn’t want to go back to cutting herself, and she would have made it, I’m sure. But no, you had to go and embarrass her like that in front of all those people! And then you had her become the new War! With a huge sword!

JACKIE:
Um…spoiler alert? RAGE isn’t out until April 2011.

LISA:
Please. It’s on the back cover copy.

JACKIE:
Oh.

MISSY:
Seriously, why did you do that to us?

LISA:
What did we ever do to you?

JACKIE:
Look, I wasn’t trying to hurt you on purpose.

MISSY:
Liar.

JACKIE:
Well, all right, I **was** trying to hurt you. But only to be honest. Lisa, I can’t write a story about an anorexic teenage girl without really showing what it’s like to be anorexic.

LISA:
Fine, I get that. But really…did you have to include the bathroom scenes?

JACKIE:
Which one?

LISA:
Both of them! Come on, no one likes to read about stuff like that!

JACKIE:
Like I said, I was aiming for honesty. I wasn’t going to gloss over the hard parts. Eating disorders suck. I wanted to make that clear.

LISA:
[MUTTERS] Painfully clear.

JACKIE:
And Missy, I can’t write a story about a teen girl who self-injures without getting into all of the pressures she’s under and how overwhelming things can be at times.

MISSY:
Did you have to make my ex-boyfriend so evil?

JACKIE:
Um. Yeah. I did.

MISSY:
You are **such** a [BLEEP].

LISA:
And what’s the deal with Death? Why does he have to be so mysterious about things instead of telling us how to do our jobs?

MISSY:
Or even what our jobs **are**? The whole “Go thee out unto the world” thing isn’t very helpful.

JACKIE:
Life is about doing. You learn by doing.

MISSY:
Like I said: not helpful!

LISA:
At least tell us why Death looks—

MISSY:
And sings—

LISA:
Like Kurt Cobain.

JACKIE:
I wish I had an answer for that one. It just happened. I didn’t even like Nirvana that much before I started writing HUNGER.

LISA:
You know, for an all-powerful Creator, you’re not as omniscient as you think you are.

JACKIE:
Hey, that’s why writers have editors.

MISSY:
That’s it, I’m out of here. Coming?

LISA:
Yeah. We’re not going to get anything useful out of her.

JACKIE:
Hey. HEY. Can’t you at least untie me?

LISA:
Tell us one nice thing you did for us, and maybe we’ll untie you.

JACKIE:
I’m donating a portion of proceeds of HUNGER to the National Eating Disorders Association. And a portion of proceeds of RAGE will go to To Write Love On Her Arms.

LISA:
[SIGHS] Fine. We’ll let you go.

MISSY:
Under one condition: You have to be nicer to the protagonist of your next book.

JACKIE:
Um. Define “nicer.”

MISSY:
That doesn’t bode well…

JACKIE:
Think of it as tough love.

LISA:
Uh-huh. Okay, bye.

JACKIE:
Hey—come on, untie me. Please?

MISSY:
Sorry, Jackie. Think of it as tough love.

JACKIE:
Okay, message delivered. I’ll be nicer to my characters. Come on, ladies. I’ll be good, I promise. Um. Hello? Ladies? Helllllllooooo?

~

2 thoughts on “Characters strike back

  1. I read Hunger, it was really good =3

    I found the sentence in it that we have to include in our stories, I think it was when she was first sucking in peoples hunger, and made them “Famished” =3

    *SPOILER*

    I was shocked when she killed her mom, and then brought her back to life, I was freaked out that she was actually dead, thank goodness she wasn’t. I liked the ending, can I have the job she gave up =3

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