From Imagination To Publication

Monday, March 28, 2011


Hey All,

Just a few announcements:

1.       I had a FABULOUS weekend with my SCWC buddies…so fun hanging out with people who love writing just as much as I do.

2.       Speaking of SCWC (Southern California Writers Conference).  They posted a little success story blurb about me on their website!  Check it out:  SCWC Success Story Blurb

3.       Also, I just wanted to give special thanks to author Michele Scott who introduced me to the people at ZOVA.  Without her support, I might still be sending out queries (yuck!).  Thanks a million Michele!  Michele’s new novel HAPPY HOUR just came out in March.  It is currently available in e-book form on or Barnes & Noble and will be available in print shortly (copies are on back order).
Here is a link to a review of the book: Happy Hour Review

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Hunger Games

Is there anyone out there who hasn't read The Hunger Games?  If you haven't (in which case I am totally jealous, because I would love to be reading it for the first time...) go read it already!

Here is the latest scoop on the movie.  YES!  THE MOVIE!  I know...

Friday, March 25, 2011


All right.  I've officially made the jump to Twitter.  I feel really silly and ridiculous because I'm only 25 and I have no idea how Twitter works.  Apparently I've been living under a rock.  I'm sure I'll figure it out, but what the heck is with all the @ signs and # symbols...Haha.

Anyway, if you have jumped on the Twitter bandwagon, follow me @ *wink wink* :!/JessicaTherrien

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Writing Mode

First, I just want to say thank you to everyone who has shown their enthusiasm and support for me by following my blog (even though my mom probably made you).  Whatever the reason, thank you. 
I’ve been thinking about writing a lot lately.  I’m in deep.   This is good, because, although you may be under the impression that all I do is think about writing, you’d be wrong.  I also have a full time job, a wedding to plan, and as much as I hate to admit it, horrible brain-rotting T.V. to watch (I’m addicted).
BUT…my point is that I am in writing mode.  I love writing mode.  This is partly thanks to my SCWC buds, Holly and Chris, who are working on their manuscripts and are letting me read/critique them.  Their books are great, and reading great books always makes me want to write.
While I’m waiting (impatiently) to dive into the editing of The Descendants, I am working on writing the sequel, which I am completely in love with.  For some reason, this book is just pouring out of me.  I think it is because I am equipped with the right tools this go ‘round, and I have several things/people to thank for that:
1.       Southern California Writers Conference!
If you love to write, or want to write, you should go to this conference or another like it.  I learned more about writing there than I have in…well forever; not to mention, the people I met offered insights about my work that I never considered.  The next SCWC conference is in September, and I believe it’s in Newport Beach.  Hope to see you there!

2.       Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
This book changed the way I look at writing.  When I was working on The Descendants, there were times when I gave up.  I set the book down and vowed never to touch it again.  It was too much, too large a task to complete…what was I thinking.  Well, my Uncle John passed along a token of knowledge being a writer himself—Bird by bird.  The title comes from a childhood memory of Anne Lamott’s little brother, overwhelmed with a book report on birds that was due the next day.  Their father, a published writer, told his son to take it bird by bird.  Although Anne imparts many valuable pieces of advice, the one important thing I took from her was to take it one little section at a time.  I am too much of a perfectionist to crank out 30 pages in one sitting, but if I take it a paragraph or even a sentence at a time, before you know it, I have a chapter, and then eventually a novel.  Holly and Chris – I am bringing you both this book for our little writer’s-fest this weekend.  Can’t wait!

3.       Vampire Diaries
Ok.  I know some of you may roll your eyes, but hear me out.  This show changed the way I write.  If you haven’t seen it, you should (because it is awesome), but also because it is a great example of a page turning story.  At every commercial break they leave you hanging, and just when you think you know exactly how it is going to play out, one of the main characters gets stabbed in the back and DIES!  My point is that the writers for this show are genius.  They basically think of the least likely and unexpected thing to happen, and that’s what happens.  Then the fun part is figuring out how to make it all turn out okay in the end.  So, in writing the sequel to The Descendants, with every chapter I think to myself…what is the last thing anyone would expect, and then I write it.

4.       Realizing How I Write
I didn’t really understand this when I was writing The Descendants, but everyone’s writing process is different.  I think this is why I gave up so many times.  I just hadn’t figured out how my mind wanted me to write.  So many times I would sit down at the computer, with the whole day ahead of me, and NOTHING would come out, not one word.  Then other times, I would be in the car, and dialogue would just be playing in my head nonstop, and I would have no way to write it down.  I’d have to wake Brian up from his nap in the passenger side seat and say, “Hey, wake up.  I need you to write for me.”  He isn’t a fan of this method.  What I eventually figured out is that I need to plot in my head before I write.  Throughout the day, I travel in my mind to the place where my Descendants story exists and basically press the play button.  The dialogue starts up again, mostly because there is no pressure (the blank computer screen isn’t staring me in the face saying, “Write or fail.”) and really there isn’t any risk in thinking.  So I work out all the details, the plot, the dialogue and I run through it in my head until it is formed into a scene.  Then, when I finally sit down at the computer, I have fully crafted ideas that have been molded and remolded by the little perfectionist in my head.  So now, when I’m running on the treadmill at our office gym at lunch and my boss asks me, “Aren’t you bored?”  (I have no music, no T.V., no newspaper or book)  I always tell him, “No.  I’m writing.”

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

ZOVA's Website

Here is a link to ZOVA's website which is now up and running:

Here is their blog:

Press Release

ZOVA Books Signs Young Adult Debut Author Jessica Therrien

ZOVA Books announces the signing of young adult novelist Jessica Therrien for her debut novel The Descendants.

Los Angeles, CA, March 21, 2011 - ZOVA Books announces the signing of young adult author Jessica Therrien for the release of her debut novel, The Descendants. ZOVA Books is a boutique publishing firm representing such acclaimed authors as Dances With Wolves novelist and Academy Award winning screenplay writer, Michael Blake, as well as the Pulitzer Prize nominated bestselling author of Sacagawea, Anna Lee Waldo. Their partnership with Jessica Therrien marks a significant expansion of their catalog into the young adult readership.

Jessica Therrien's work was first noticed by ZOVA Books at the Southern California Writer's Conference held in San Diego, where she discussed her manuscript with ZOVA author, Michele Scott, during one of the conference's critical feedback programs. Mrs. Scott, who is currently releasing her novel Happy Hour with ZOVA Books, brought the debut author to her publishers' attention.

Mrs. Therrien's young adult title, The Descendants, tells the story of a young woman who discovers that she belongs to a secret society of individuals with extraordinarily long life spans and unusual abilities. Fearful of prophecies about their only daughter, her parents kept her hidden from the world – and the society – as long as they could. But when their own untimely deaths leave her to fend for herself, the truth of her origins and the fateful prophecy find her at last.  Joining the ranks of such widely popular works as the Twilight Saga, The Hunger Games, and the Mortal Instruments series, Mrs. Therrien's paranormal romance/adventure promises to be the next fan-favorite in its genre.

ZOVA Books Editor-in-Chief, Daniel Silva, says, “We are incredibly excited to launch Jessica Therrien's young adult novel, not only because The Descendents is such compelling work, but because Jessica herself is such a dynamic author. Her energy and enthusiasm is a tremendous addition to our catalog of authors.”

About ZOVA Books:

ZOVA Books is an independent publisher of genre and literary fiction based in Los Angeles, California. Established in 2010, they are one of the fastest growing small publishers in the nation, representing such notable authors as #1 New York Times Bestseller Michael Blake, author of Dances With Wolves, #1 New York Times Bestseller Anna Lee Waldo, author of Sacagawea, and acclaimed bestseller Michele Scott.

ZOVA Books has entered into a groundbreaking partnership with Hollywood production and management company Circle of Confusion to represent its catalog for film, television and foreign rights.

Established as a creative organization focused on the success of individual authors and the development of multi-platform creative projects, ZOVA has developed the next generation publishing company that reconciles the best practices of traditional publishing firms with the innovations of small and specialized firms, embracing the opportunities of both print and digital distribution in its commitment to providing the best possible literary works to readers around the world.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Exciting News

Hey everyone!
Here is the latest update.

If you can believe it...Matt from ZOVA emailed me and said he secured my website name:

A press release will be out next week!  Not to mention the Southern California Writer's Conference wants to do a separate release as well.

Ok, so there isn't anything going on with the site, and actually I have no idea how I am supposed to even build it, but who cares right!?  In time, things will happen.  The point is, one of these days you will be able to click on and see a website all about my books.  I'm probably supposed to stay calm and collected for moments like these, but in all honesty, I'm freaking out.  I mean, did he just say "press release?"  How flippin' crazy is that?

I was doing such a better job of holding in my excitement in the beginning.  When ZOVA first offered the publishing slot, I remember emailing them back with a simple, "Thank you very much.  I'm looking forward to reviewing the contract."  HA!  I'm sorry but things like press releases and websites and picking cover designs that I like...It's too much, the excitement has officially boiled over.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What a NOOB!

So, Molly emailed me with several links to websites and blogs related to all things YA.  After perusing a few, I was blown away by how awesome the blogs are, and ultimately realized...I am such a noob.  I seriously need to kick it up a notch.  

Here is one I really liked:  

Hopefully I will be in her shoes at the end of this year.

Also, as a side note that is completely unrelated, I am in a heated battle with my fancy feast kitty, Romeo, as I write this.  I'm guarding my stairs with my spray bottle as he attacks.  What a punk.

Thanks everyone for bearing with me while I figure all of this out!

Monday, March 14, 2011

It's Official

It’s official!  I met with Molly and Matt of ZOVA Books over the weekend and signed the contract.  The feeling is so surreal.  It’s not every day you see your dreams become a reality.  So many people told me it was impossible, that publishing was beyond reach.  Well, it’s not, thanks to people like those at ZOVA!  I can’t wait to get started.
In my meeting with ZOVA they broke down the process for me.  The first step was that I had to change my name everywhere to Jessica Therrien.  They said I can't start marketing as Jessica Thayer and then switch at the last minute to my soon-to-be married name.
For those of you who don’t know, I’m getting married on the fourth of July, to the best man on the planet.  It is going to be a blast, dinner, dancing, fireworks!  It will definitely be a night to remember.
As you can tell, there is a lot going on in my life right now.  I’m getting published, married, not to mention my hours were just increased at Otay Water District.  I am a Strategic Planner by day and an up-and-coming novelist by night.  I swear it’s like leading a double life.  Forgive me if I get off on a tangent.
Once my name is changed, and I’ve gotten myself out there on the internet, the real work begins.  The first hands-on task is a content edit (character and plot changes, if any).  I will be working with Dan, ZOVA’s publisher to hammer out those details.  When that is finalized, they will do a line edit, checking for grammar, spelling, and sentences that need fixing.  Even after about five drafts of editing, there is always something.  No manuscript is ever truly perfect.  Once we’re done with the edits, it goes through a process of approval, and I will be allowed to sign off on the final version.  It gets really exciting after that.  Copies get sent out to reviewers, and if I get lucky, one of them will pick up The Descendants and love it.  The goal is to start some buzz around it, pump it up.  What I am looking forward to the most I think is working with them on cover art before it goes off to be printed and distributed.  Molly and I “walked the stacks” as she put it, and talked about which covers we like in the YA section of Barnes & Noble.  (How exciting is that?!)
For now my job is simple—wait.  Something I’ve learned from this industry is that waiting is one thing an author needs to get really good at.  Right now, ZOVA’s editor is working on other projects and I must wait my turn.  This will be good.  Maybe it will teach me patience, a skill I’ve yet to master.
I will keep you all up-to-date on what is going on and will share the press release when it comes out.
Thanks to all of my family and friends for their love and support.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Southern California Writers Conference (SCWC)

They told me I needed a website.

"What if I'm not even published yet..."
"You still need one."

I'm not sure if this counts as a website, but I guess it will do.  Nothing but good came from the conference, so I suppose I should listen to their advice.

Not only did I meet two of the most amazing writers/friends at SCWC, the experience may end up being life changing.  I submitted the first 20 pages of my completed manuscript for an advanced read with two agents and an author.  I never thought the author would open the door to opportunity, but she did.  She introduced me to a publisher who requested my full manuscript.  It was more than I could have hoped for.

I waited for two weeks before I heard back from them, and was so excited when I read the email that I accidentally smashed a snail as the jumping and flailing ensued.  Poor snail.  Brian said it was his time to go.

They offered me a Winter 2012 publishing slot.  It still hasn't sunk in.  I sign the contract tomorrow.

Here we go...