Monday, May 13, 2013

GOLDEN Pub Day Playlist!

Today is the official GOLDEN pub day, and in honor (no pun intended) of that, I thought it'd be fun to share with you the songs I listened to on repeat during the writing this book. I am officially no longer allowed to play them in the house, where my family can hear them--they had quite enough during the writing process, but here they are for you, in case you're curious. Like many, many writers, I make a playlist for each book I write. For me, the story playlist is a short-cut in while I'm writing. I can be driving, or running, or doing the dishes, but if I'm listening to my story's playlist, my mind is right there in the middle of it.  The songs I choose either fit a specific scene, character, or emotion I want to convey in the story. Those of you who've read it already may be able to see how the songs fit with Parker and Julianna's story.  For those of you who haven't, maybe this can be a sneak peek into it.  Either way, enjoy!


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

GOLDEN Inspirations: Fate, Destiny, and the Possibility of Meant-to-Be


So GOLDEN comes out a week from today!!! Once again, the prospect of the book finally being out there in the world is at once thrilling and kind of scary. And strangely, this one feels a little more scary than the first two.  I think because GOLDEN is definitely the most personal book I've written thus far.

The number one question I’m asked as a writer is “Where do you get your ideas?” And it may sound silly, but that is the number one hardest question for me to answer. I’m horrible at it, and usually end up talking in circles and not answering it, because by the time a story in my head becomes an actual book, it’s hard to distinguish where or how it began.
But GOLDEN is different. With this one, I do know where a lot of the ideas behind it came from, and that place is my own young adulthood--and, if I'm being honest, my adult-adulthood too.  The things I still believe in and am inspired by are what I wrote about in GOLDEN.
That being said, I thought it’d be fun to share a few of those inspirations this week, starting with those big, romantic ideas of Fate, Destiny, and Meant-To-Be.
Those ideas have always fascinated me, and I know I'm not alone in this.  I think for lots of people, the possibility of their existence gives life potential for magic.  The kind of magic that can't be explained by happenstance or coincidence. The kind of magic that proves some things are maybe even meant to be. 
The tricky thing about these ideas though, is that more often than not, it's hard to see them as they're happening.  It's easy to look at the past and find patterns, or see in hindsight the way things  somehow aligned to force a crucial decision, or form a perfect moment, or make a dream come true.  But in that moment, the feeling that something bigger is going on is too often easily dismissed. We explain away the inklings, brush off the goosebumps. 
In GOLDEN, Parker is pragmatic and driven on the outside, but inside she wants more than anything to believe in Fate, and Destiny, and things that are meant to be, and that belief is what finally pushes her to take a leap when she stumbles upon Julianna’s journal.  
What if she was meant to find it? What if she's the one who's supposed to know the truth? 
Though Parker is the quintessential rule-follower, she justifies taking the journal by assigning it a bigger meaning than just coincidence.  She wants to believe that she found it for a reason—or maybe it found her.
And it did--at least in my mind, because that is the beginning of the story.  For the first time in her life, Parker trusts the moment and the feeling, and when she does, it makes, in Frost's words "all the difference."
Just like in real life. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

GOLDEN Inspirations

So GOLDEN comes out in a week!!! Once again, the prospect of the book finally being out there in the world is at once thrilling and kind of scary. And strangely, this one feels a little more scary than the others, I think because GOLDEN is definitely the most personal book I've written thus far. 

The number one question I’m asked as a writer is “Where do you get your ideas?”  And it may sound silly, but that is the number one hardest question for me to answer.  I’m horrible at it, and usually end up talking in circles and not answering it, because by the time a story in my head becomes an actual book, it’s hard to distinguish where or how it began.
But GOLDEN is different.  With this one, I DO know where a lot of the ideas behind it came from, and that magical place is my own young adulthood. That being said, I thought it’d be fun to share a few of those inspirations this week, starting tomorrow with the big, romantic ideas of Fate, and Serendipity, and Kismet.

So stay tuned!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Book Tour Info--The Return of SUMMER LOVIN!!!

In just a few weeks, on May 14th to be exact, GOLDEN will hit the shelves and I will hit the road for the second annual SUMMER LOVIN TOUR! I could not be more excited about this tour, as I will be joining Kimberly Derting, Morgan Matson, Shannon Messenger, Sarah Ockler, and Suzanne Young for what promises to be a good time!

I hope we're coming to a bookstore near you, and I hope you'll come out to see us when we do!


May 15th at 7:00PM
Once Upon a Time Bookstore
2207 Honolulu Avenue
Montrose Shopping Park
Montrose, CA 91020
May 16th at 5:00PM
Mrs. Nelson’s Toy and Book Shop
1030 Bonita Avenue
La Verne, CA 91750
May 17th at 7:30PM
Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore, Redondo Beach
2810 Artesia Blvd
Redondo Beach, CA 90278
May 18th at 3:00PM
Event with Whale of a Tale Bookstore
*held at a local library, location TK
May 20th at 7:00PM
University Bookstore
4326 University Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105
May 23 at 6:00PM
Changing Hands Bookstore
6428 South McClintock Drive
Tempe, AZ 85283
May 24 at 4:30PM
Panel at the Phoenix Comic-con
Phoenix Convention Center
100 North 3rd Street
Phoenix, AZ 85004

Monday, April 1, 2013

A GOLDEN Behind-the-scenes Sneak Peek

Today, a month out from the release date of GOLDEN, I'm equal parts nervous, and excited, and hopeful that it's a story people will read and love. It's a story that's near and dear to my heart, in large part because the setting is based on my hometown, Mammoth Lakes, CA.
When I wrote MOONGLASS, I had just moved into a little beach cottage, where I fell in love with every little detail and nuance of the beach. While I was writing IN HONOR, I took a road trip to Sedona, where I went on a sunrise vortex tour, swam in the creek Rusty and Honor took a dip in, and spent one heck of a Dime Beer Night at the Museum Club, which inspired the country bar they visit.

But writing GOLDEN was different. I wasn't writing about a place that was all new and fresh to me, or a place I'd never visited. I was writing about a place where my friends and I spent too many nights to count driving endless loops around our little town hoping it'd somehow get bigger; where we spent our summer days hiking trails and daring each other to jump into the freezing lakes, and where I spent many a winter night looking up at the stars from my bedroom window that perfectly framed Orion against the black sky. 

When I was writing this book, I was writing about home.

In the fall of 2012, while I was working on it, I decided to take a trip home, and drive the roads I drove as a teenager, and find all the old spots I wasn't sure I'd remember how to get to, because it seemed important for this story. And it was. The places I remembered, and the way I saw them through old and new eyes all found their way into Parker and Julianna's story. So today, I thought it'd be fun to give you a personal, behind-the-scenes tour of the place I called home as a "young adult."

Mammoth High School
This is the front of my high school, and an image that instantly conjures up for me all the complicated feelings of being seventeen. It hasn't changed AT ALL since I was there!

I said the hallways felt small. There were three in my high school, and this is "Senior Hall." It's the place Parker, Kat, and Trevor share a few scenes, and it too looks exactly like I remember it, except for the "Class of" year on the lockers, of course.
 "Summit Lake"

Summit Lake is beautiful, and has a tragic history in GOLDEN, and in real life, Convict Lake does too.  It's a still, quiet, hourglass-shaped lake, just outside of my hometown, and was the perfect place to use as the site of Shane and Julianna's tragedy.
"The Grove"

These are some of the carved up aspen trees that border the creek spot where we all used to um... convene. On weekends. At night. Sometimes with questionably acquired beverages. It had a name amongst us local kids, which I will not reveal here, but in GOLDEN I called it "The Grove".
"McCloud Lake"

There is a scene in GOLDEN where Parker visits a place Julianna wrote about, only to find it totally different from how it was described in her journal. "McCloud Lake" is, in reality, "McCleod," and it does indeed have a whole swath of bleached-white, skeleton trees at the base of its trail. They're so eerie, and I thought were perfect to show how much things had changed in the 10 years between Parker and Julianna visiting them.

This is actually McCleod Lake, which I used to walk the half-mile trail to with nothing but a notebook and a blue pen--always blue, because I thought black seemed too somber. I went there to think, and to write. It was a place I thought of as my own, peaceful and quiet as I often found it, and so it worked its way into the story as that same kind of place for Julianna.
The Road To Freedom and Discovery (AKA Highway 395)

I took this shot on my way into town, but this what you'd see on your way out of town too, and that's how I envisioned Parker seeing it--a wide open road and a big, huge sky full of possibility.  I can say from experience that she couldn't have been more right.
I don't really believe in the saying "You can't go home again." I did, while I was writing this book, and I do every time I look at these pictures.  GOLDEN is a story that is close to my heart for many, many reasons, but I think the biggest ones are right here. It's the book of my home, and of what I remember of being a teenager.  

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A GOLDEN Giveaway, Upcoming Events, and Tour News!

Apparently, we’ve already come to the end of March, which is CRAZY to me. I feel like it was January, and I blinked, and now we’re here!  In any case, the fact that it’s March means that GOLDEN will be out in less than two months, which means I’ve got LOTS of fun stuff coming up that I wanted to share with you! 


First off, starting today and going through April 9th, you can enter to win 1of 75 ARCs of GOLDEN over on Goodreads!
And, if you’re so inclined, you can share the good news by tweeting about it or sharing it on Facebook: 

Wanna win an ARC of GOLDEN by Jessi Kirby? Enter here:

Upcoming Events and Appearances

As spring and festival season get underway, I’m happy to announce I’ll be appearing at:

Saturday April 6th 
Irvine Marriot
Panel: Young Adult-The Awesome Age, with Josephine Angelini, Cecil Castellucci, and Sarah J. Mass

Saturday April 20th
USC Campus
Signing in the Simon & Schuster/Once Upon A Time Booth at 1pm

Summer Lovin Part II Book Tour!!!

And now, the thing I’m MOST excited about—I will once again be heading out on tour in May, but it won’t be alone.  I’ll be joining Kimberly Derting, Morgan Matson, Shannon Messenger, Sarah Ockler, and Suzanne Young!!! I could not be more excited about being a part of what promises to be an awesome group tour of writers I have so much admiration for!

I will post specific details just as soon as I have them, but in the meantime I can tell you we’ll be touring from May 15th to May 22nd, and we’ll be visiting stores in LA, Seattle, and Phoenix.
Whew. So there it is, an update on things that are happening SOON!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

GCC Presents...Melissa Walker and SMALL TOWN SINNERS!

The Girlfriends’ Cyber Circuit is a web ring of YA authors which I’ve recently had the great honor to join. Check these posts for the latest releases!

Happy Sunday!  This week I am so excited to feature Melissa Walker and her fabuous contemp, SMALL TOWN SINNERS, which is out in paperback this week.


Does falling in love mean falling out of faith?

“Lacey Anne Byer is a perennial good girl and lifelong member of the House of Enlightenment, the Evangelical church in her small town. With her driver's license in hand and the chance to try out for a lead role in Hell House, her church's annual haunted house of sin, Lacey's junior year is looking promising. But when a cute new stranger comes to town, something begins to stir inside her. Ty Davis doesn't know the sweet, shy Lacey Anne Byer everyone else does. With Ty, Lacey could reinvent herself. As her feelings for Ty make Lacey test her boundaries, events surrounding Hell House make her question her religion."

Melissa Walker is a writer who has worked as ELLEgirl Features Editor and Seventeen Prom Editor. All in the name of journalism, she has spent 24 hours with male models and attended an elite finishing school for girls in New Zealand, among other hardships.
She co-founded I Heart Daily with fellow ex-ELLEgirl Anne Ichikawa in 2009. It’s a daily newsletter about likable stuff.
Melissa lives in Brooklyn and has a BA in English from Vassar College. She would tell you her SAT scores too, but, you know, the math part was hard.

 She loves meeting teenagers, and is game to speak at your library or school about writing, books, fashion, magazines or pop culture (but, you know, in a smart way).

Before we get to the GCC interview, Melissa has a special behind-the-scenes peek at Dean, one of SMALL TOWN SINNERS main characters:

Melissa: Before I write the book, I do little interviews with some characters. That information almost never makes it into the manuscript, but I like having it. Here's a tiny bit from Dean, one of main character Lacey Anne's best friends:

What makes you mad?
This town. My own anger. Hypocrisy.
What makes you happy?
Lacey and Starla Joy, almost exclusively. They are the only ones who get me.
Favorite childhood memory?
All of it. Back when you could play with kids just because you were the same age and in the same spot. That started breaking up early, but it wasn’t really until middle school when everyone else got tall and I got wide that people stopped looking at me. I mean, people like Hunter Patterson, who broke his arm when he fell off my porch playing pirate ship. Does he just not remember that? It’s like I have a disease, or worse, like I’m invisible.
AND, as an added bonus, Melissa is running a huge book giveaway over on her blog. Check it out here to enter!

And now for a few hard-hitting questions...
1. Do you have a pre-game writing warm-up? Something you do before you write to help get you in the right frame of mind?

I love to have a large iced coffee with cream and sugar, so that it basically tastes like melted ice cream. With that by my side, I'm good to go.

2. Is there a time of day you like to write best?

In the morning. If I don't do it early, the day gets away from me, sacrificed to the gods of reality TV, snacking and twitter-feed-reading.

3. Where do you write most often? Do you have a picture you wouldn’t mind sharing of your writing space?

I write in various coffee shops all over Brooklyn these days. I'll attach a pic of one of my favorite windows in Manhattan, though, Housing Works!

4. What things do you always have on hand when writing?

Special pens, notepads, snacks…The above mentioned iced coffee and my laptop area all I need!

5. How do you stay focused when writing?

I don't. I find that if I look up, eavesdrop on a conversation, stare out a window, talk to someone next to me... that helps. What doesn't help is getting online and checking fb/twitter/email. I try to avoid that (unsuccessfully, usually).

6. What is your worst writing distraction/procrastination tool?

The internets. Totally. Sometimes I even go to a spot with no wifi to help me focus.

7. Describe your perfect writing day:

Coffee and a sit-down by 9:15am. Done writing 1000 words by 11am and ready to play with my daughter! (This very, very rarely happens... usually I'm plunking along until at least 2pm to get 1000 good words.)

Thank you so much for stopping by Melissa, and I hope there are many perfect writing days in your future!

For more about Melissa and her books, visit her website at or follow her on Twitter here