The Crossroads Tour: Day 12 Jackie Morse Kessler

Each day of The Crossroads Tour, a new question will be revealed on The Crossroad Blog Tour main page and each day the answer to that question will be found within one of the 16 different blog posts by Crossroads Tour authors. Your job is to get the question, read the blog posts, and collect all 16 answers by the end of the tour, on Halloween. Go HERE to get today's question and links.

Today's guest for the Crossroads Tour is author Jackie Morse Kessler.  Her debut YA novel HUNGER was released this month. To read a great interview between Death and Lisa (the main character in HUNGER), click here.

Did you have a book that you read either in Middle School or High School that scared you the most? What was it and what about it scared you?

Stephen King’s The Stand. Fabulous, brilliant, utterly terrifying End Of The World And What Happens After novel. Spiritual and scientific, and completely human—especially its evil characters. (Sure, Randall Flagg was the boogyman. But Trashy? Lloyd? Very, very bad men.) Years later, the unabridged version scared me even more…and the graphic novel adaptation is utterly astounding.  Best ever adaptation from novel to comic book that I’ve ever read. And even more terrifying.

Did you have a paranormal experience that prompted you in writing the story that you did?

Nope. No Horsemen visits for me. Which is undeniably a good thing!

Where did you get the idea for your story? Did you use a real life situation and put a twist on it?

I’ve had the idea for HUNGER for about 10 years; I had convinced myself that no one would want to read it, so I hadn’t written it. I used to be bulimic, and to this day I get so angry by the Thin Culture all around us (This Celebrity Is Anorexic—Here’s How She Does It!!!), and I still have self-image/body issues.  When I finally sat down to write HUNGER, it was very easy to slip into the eating disorder mindset to channel the characters. (I have to wonder if that voice ever really leaves.) Writing the book was extremely cathartic.

Did you have a favorite paranormal/horror storywriter as a child/teen that you wanted to emulate? If so, who and why?

Oh, Stephen King was my favorite horror writer, with Robert McCammon a very close second. (Swan Song? Stinger? Usher’s Passing? BRILLIANT books.) I loved how they both focused on the characters; this made the horror (whether happening to the characters or committed by those characters) all the more powerful.

What kind of research did you do for your story and did you run into anything weird while you were doing research?

Along with my own experiences with eating disorders, I read some accounts of anorexia and read about current global famines. (Dirt cookies? Very real.) I also read the appropriate passages in the Book of Revelations about the Four Horsemen. The only weird thing that happened was when the character of
Death sprung fully formed; he looks and sounds exactly like Kurt Cobain, down to the singing and guitar playing. I wasn’t even a Nirvana fan when I wrote the book!

What helps you to create characters that people will feel passionate about either in liking them or disliking them? 

The characters have to be real, even the monsters. There has to be something people can connect with, something that makes readers either root for or actively root against them. I do my best to channel those characters, to get into their heads and understand them as I write about them. (What gets a little disturbing is when they argue with me.)

If you could have a supernatural power or gift what would it be?

As much as I’ d love to fly…probably something like cloning myself, so I’ d finally have time to accomplish everything I want to do!

For more information about Jackie Morse Kessler, check out her website:

You can find her on Twitter at: @jackiemorsekess