Featured Author of the Week: Jessie Sanders

Jessie Sanders

My name is Jessie Sanders, and I have one published novel so far, Into the Flames. Into the Flames is a young adult urban fantasy about Rahab Carmichael, a new girl at a boarding school in Boston, and her attempts to find normalcy. What she finds instead is a group of friends that are just as freaky as she is. For JuNoWriMo I’ll be working on the direct sequel to this novel. I’ve already written two other (unpublished) books in the world of Grover Cleveland Academy, and I’m excited to be starting this fourth book in the series.

The title I’m working from right now is Breathing Underwater…and Other Superhero Problems. Catchy, no? Anyway, Breathing Underwater follows Rahab Carmichael and her friends, Scout, Hawkins, and Bracken as they decide whether or not to don the masks of superheroes and save Boston from a new enemy. You see, the four of them have some very unique…let’s say, abilities, and they’re divided on how to go about using them. Scout and Hawkins think they should be used for the greater good. Bracken hates his powers and wants to ignore them, and Rahab doesn’t know what she thinks. On the one hand, she’d like to be able to help people. But on the other hand, what would happen to them if anybody ever found out that they were special? Her past experience can only tell her that it would be very bad.

My new novel is a little different than anything I’ve done before because I’m leaning on superhero tropes and clichés to get my ideas rather than shying away from them as I’ve done in the past. Into the Flames was really just a coming-of-age character development story that happened to include superpowers. Breathing Underwater is about villains, secret hideouts, and working together as a team. I’m excited and a little scared to push myself so far into the genre. Fortunately, I’ve already got solid characters and a lot of prewriting done going into this thing. I used Aaron Pogue’s prewriting guides to help me establish my plot arc and organize my subplots. But the best part is that even where that falls through, I know my characters’ motivations and idiosyncrasies better than I know my own. I can always count on them to pull me through. With their help I’m certain I’ll be able to pound out my 50,000-word goal by the end of June.

If you would like to know more about me, my novels, or my editing adventures, you can find me on twitter as @StormyNightP or you can read my blog at StormyNightPublishing.com. Good luck as you write your way through June!

4 Replies to “Featured Author of the Week: Jessie Sanders”

  1. I think it’s really interesting about the cliche problem. I’m also struggling with this because my novel’s based on fairy tales and fairy tales are essentially all cliche because they got there first. I’ve sort of done a similar thing and thrown myself into it so this article is quite comforting! Thank you 🙂

    1. Glad to be of some comfort, Charlotte! I understand your struggle to make fairy tales fresh and exciting. It’s a tricky balance between convention and new twists. Best of luck to you!

  2. “But the best part is that even where that falls through, I know my characters’ motivations and idiosyncrasies better than I know my own. ”

    Great line, Jessie. I think a truly well-developed character will have traits that we, as writers, would recognize as well if not better than those of the people we love and cherish in our lives. For better or worse, they need to became central figures in our own reality in order to exist meaningfully in theirs.


    1. Thanks, A.M. It’s a somewhat sad truth that we do as writers tend to spend as much time with our fictional creations than with our real friends. But I think the reward of bringing those creations to life for not only ourselves but our readers is well worth the time.

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