Author Chat with Jess Redman (Quintessence), Plus Giveaway! ~ (US Only)
Today we're excited to chat with Jess Redman author of
Read on for more about Jess and her book, plus a giveaway!
Meet Jess Redman!
Jess Redman is the author of The Miraculous, which Kirkus called “layered, engaging, and emotionally true” in a starred review and Quintessence, which comes out July 28, 2020. She is a former therapist and currently lives in Florida with her husband, two young children, and an old cat named SoulPie. Find her at jessredman.com.
Three months ago, twelve-year-old Alma moved to the town of Four Points. Her panic attacks started a week later, and they haven’t stopped—even though she told her parents that they did. Every day she feels less and less like herself.
Then Alma meets the ShopKeeper in the town's junk shop, The Fifth Point. The ShopKeeper gives her a telescope and this message:
Find the Elements.
Grow the Light.
Save the Starling.
That night, Alma watches as a star—a star that looks like a child—falls from the sky and into her backyard. Alma knows what it’s like to be lost and afraid, to long for home, and with the help of some unlikely new friends from the Astronomy Club, she sets out on a quest that will take a little bit of astronomy, a little bit of alchemy, and her whole self.
QUINTESSENCE is a stunning story of friendship, self-discovery, interconnectedness, and the inexplicable elements that make you you.
~ Author Chat ~
Tell us about the preorder campaign that you’re launching today for QUINTESSENCE.
QUINTESSENCE comes out on July 28th, so it’s time for me to start the Preorder & Library Request Campaign!
Everyone who preorders QUINTESSENCE or requests that their library order a copy will receive a bookmark, sticker, and Four Points postcard. Preorder-ers will also receive a signed bookplate OR they can order signed, personalized copies from my local indie bookstore, Books & Books here: https://shop.booksandbooks.com/book/9780374309763
Everyone who preorders or library requests will also be entered in a drawing for the grand prize—a $100 gift card from Books & Books!
Visit www.jessredman.com/preorder for more details!
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
QUINTESSENCE is about an anxious girl named Alma who moves to a new town and one night sees a star fall into her backyard. With the help of the mysterious ShopKeeper, a book of alchemy, and three unlikely friends, Alma sets out on a quest to find the elements and save that fallen star.
I’ve always loved magic, and every book I’ve ever written (published and unpublished) has included magic in some degree. The idea of the fifth element, which is called quintessence, was fascinating to me, so I dug into alchemy and astronomy to learn more.
Also, like Alma, I experienced panic attacks after a cross-country move when I was 12 years old. As an adult, I became a therapist, so mental health issues are always on my mind, and I believe strongly that having that representation of all kinds in stories is powerful for readers.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
I love Alma, the main character, so very much, but I have to go with the ShopKeeper. The ShopKeeper runs the Fifth Point, a junk shop/observatory located at the exact center of the town of Four Points. In the beginning of the story, he is waiting for someone to arrive at his shop, but we don’t know who. He’s a whimsical, enigmatic figure, and his true identity and future are one of the mysteries of the story.
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
My favorite scenes are always the climactic moments. I love stories that build to big, intense, fast-paced endings, and that’s what happens in QUINTESSENCE. I don’t want to give away all the ins and outs of the scene, but there is a storm and a fire and a near-death plummet off of something very high and a last-second save that changes the course of the story.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
Oh, this cover. This cover was illustrated by Matt Rockefeller, who did the cover for THE MIRACULOUS and for my next book, THE ADVENTURE IS NOW, and they’re all amazing. My favorite thing in this one is Alma’s reaching hand. I can feel her yearning and her excitement and her overwhelming sense of awe in that moment. She is on top of a roof with her quintescope, watching something fall out of the sky that looks like a golden child, and her quest is about to begin.
YABC: What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2020?
So, so, so many. Here are just a few: SOMETHING TO SAY by Lisa Moore Ramee, THE WILD PATH by Sarah Baughman, HOLLOWPOX by Jessica Townsend, and FLY ON THE WALL by Remy Lai.
YABC: What was your favorite book in 2019?
This is an impossible question because I was a 2019 debut and read All The Middle-Grade Books. But I loved FOR BLACK GIRLS LIKE ME by Mariama Lockington, JUST SOUTH OF HOME by Karen Strong, and THE LIGHT IN THE LAKE by Sarah Baughman.
YABC: What’s up next for you?
THE ADVENTURE IS NOW! In May 2021, my third middle-grade book will come out with FSG/Macmillan. It’s the story of video game-loving Milton P. Greene who has had the rottenest year of all time. Then it gets even rottener when his parents send him to stay with his research uncle on the electricity-free Lone Island for the summer. But on the island, Milton finds a field guide full of fantastical creatures, clues to a hidden treasure, and a definitely unrotten real-life adventure. I had so much fun writing this action-packed, quirky story.
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
Drafting, but I’m a revise-as-I-go drafter. By the time I finish the first draft, the book is in pretty good shape!
YABC: Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
Right now, my focus is on combatting racism in the United States, protecting our civil liberties, and addressing systems of inequality. I would encourage everyone to donate to organizations that support these causes, like the American Civil Liberties Union, Movement for Black Lives, Southern Poverty Law Center, and grassroots projects in your local community.
By: Jess Redman
Release Date: July 28th, 2020
Three winners will receive a copy of Quintessence (Jess Redman) ~ (US Only)
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*