Jessica Verday wrote the first draft of The Hollow by hand, using thirteen spiral-bound notebooks and fifteen black pens. She likes: things that smell nice, rainy nights, old books, cemeteries, Johnny Cash, zombie movies, L.J. Smith books, abandoned buildings, trains, and snow. She is currently hand-writing her second novel, the continuation of Abbey and Caspian’s story, from her home in Goodlettsville, Tennessee.
Washington Irving’s Legend of Sleepy Hollow inspired many aspects of your book. What do you think Irving would say about The Hollow if he were to read it today?
Ahh, good question! I think (hope) he would like the bits and pieces of the original legend that I wove into the story. And I think he’d like what I did with Nikolas. Just a hunch...
Did you base the characters of The Hollow on anyone you know and do their names have any special significance?
None of the characters are based on one specific person, but more so have bits and pieces of lots of different people in them. Sometimes I give a character a personality trait I have, sometimes I give them a personality trait I wish I had...sometimes its even something as simple as eavesdropping on conversations and giving my characters personality traits based on things I’ve heard. As far as names go, each name does have a special significance, but I only have so much time in this interview. Maybe I’ll add a special section on my website to address this!
The covers for The Hollow are both eye catching and hauntingly beautiful. How much input did you have in the cover art? Also - can you offer us any insight into the significance of the necklaces on both of the US and UK covers?
The necklace is an important object between Abbey and Caspian in THE HOLLOW, and because of this it was chosen to be one of the cover centerpieces. I was asked if I had a sample of the necklace I described in the book (I didn’t yet, only pictures), so I sent those along to my editor. I also sent along some pictures of a certain actress I had in mind to be my perfect “Abbey.” That was the extent of my involvement with the US cover art. The UK cover was created without my input at all, but the artist did an excellent job on their own because their version of the necklace is actually a bit closer to what I describe in the book.
The heroine of The Hollow is a young girl named Abbey who has the interesting hobby of making her own perfumes. Have you ever tried making perfume yourself? What is your favorite perfume?
Although I have not tried my hand at making perfume yet, I have made my own soap. I did a lot of research on perfume making though, throughout the writing of book one and two, and I think it’s a terribly fascinating hobby. A proper perfume is made up of three parts – a top note, middle note, and base note- and it’s such a delicate balance to blend all three and still have a product that smells good in the end. So what’s my favorite perfume? I like solid perfumes – in vanilla bean, or pumpkin. And body spray perfumes in honeysuckle, or pomegranate.
Have you always had the entire storyline of The Hollow plotted out from the beginning, or are you creating it as you write the trilogy?
The only thing I’ve known from the beginning, is the ending. In fact, halfway through the writing of book two, I had a major, major revelation that pretty much turned everything I *thought* I knew about certain characters upside down. I’m very excited by it though. I think it made book two a much better book than it would have been.
If you were to attach a musical score to The Hollow, what music do you picture playing during prominent scenes?
Hmmm, I can’t answer this question yet because my playlist for THE HOLLOW is going to be released exclusively elsewhere. Although, I can say that all in all the one song that sums up the book in its entirety is the theme song: MY FAULT by Metisse.
Do you have any habits or little quirks that you implement as part of your writing process?
I write by hand, in spiral bound wide ruled notebooks. I always flip past the first page and start there. I have to use black rollerball pens, NO GEL! And I can’t listen to music while I write.
You’ve said you were a mime in England for two weeks. What was that experience like for you?
It was one I’ll never forget. Great in a lot of ways, because really? How many people will ever get to do that? Although my personal beliefs are different now than they were when I had that experience, I’m happy that I’ll always have those memories. (Plus, the people in England are very kind to mimes!)
What are the best and worst things about being an author?
The best, hands down, is getting an email from someone telling me how much they loved the book. As an author, you know you can’t please every reader out there, and some of them can be very vocal about their displeasure. So to hear the flip side of that is very balancing. And good for the soul. The worst thing about being an author? I think for me, it’s the frustration of hearing one person LOVE this or that about the book, and then someone else absolutely HATE that same thing. It baffles me to see/hear/read about two opposite reactions. It all goes back to the ‘You can’t please everyone’ line, but my brain likes to work out the logical side of things. And that’s an emotional reaction, not a logical one. Which just sends my brain running in circles trying to figure it out.
You have two more books planned for release in the Hollow series. Can you tell us a little more about them as well as any non-related Hollow projects you might have down the road?
Book two is done and will be in my editor’s hands soon. It is very much my favorite book in the whole wide world right now. It was a blast to write and I feel like I really grew as a writer during the process. I’ll be starting book three around Christmas time and I have a whole lot of ground to cover since it will be the last book for this series. I’m looking forward to the challenge though. As far as what’s next... depends on a couple of things. I have several proposals to write and then will sit down to look through them and see which one calls to me the most. One involves magic and robots, another involves demons and cotton candy. And then the third is a spin off book from THE HOLLOW. Definitely enough to keep me busy.
Is there anything else you would like to add for readers?
The main thing I like to remind people is that THE HOLLOW is a trilogy. I like to think of it as, Book 1: Questions, Book 2: Answers, Book 3: Choices.
Will you come back and visit us again down the road? We’d love to have you!
Thank you Jessica for taking the time to stop by!
When Abbey’s best friend, Kristen, vanishes at the bridge near Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, everyone else is all too quick to accept that Kristen is dead…and rumors fly that her death was no accident. Abbey has never felt so desperately alone. Then she meets Caspian, the gorgeous and mysterious boy who shows up out of nowhere at Kristen’s funeral, and keeps reappearing in Abbey’s life. Caspian clearly has secrets of his own, but he’s the only person who makes Abbey feel normal again…but also special.
Just when Abbey starts to feel that she might survive all this, she learns a secret that makes her question everything she thought she knew about her best friend. How could Kristen have kept silent about so much? And could this secret have led to her death? As Abbey struggles to understand Kristen’s betrayal, she uncovers a frightening truth that nearly unravels her—one that will challenge her emerging love for Caspian, as well as her own sanity.
The Hollow is book 1 of THE HOLLOW TRILOGY and releases September 1st 2009.
Order the Hollow at Amazon.com