Inside the Author’s Head: How Caissie Met Jane
Today at RAoR we welcome guest blogger Caissie St. Onge, author of the recently released Jane Jones: Worst. Vampire. Ever.
Jane Jones is not your typical vampire and author Caissie St. Onge is not your typical YA author, but together they made one great novel! Jane Jones: Worst. Vampire. Ever. is a smart, funny read–Who could ask for anything more? Read on to find out how Caissie and Jane found eachother in of all places, on Twitter.
Hi, Random Acts of Reading! I cannot tell you how actually pleased I am to be virtually meeting you via this guest blog post! I think it’s especially fitting to say our first hellos through our computers because the original seedling of an idea for my upcoming YA novel debut, Jane Jones: Worst. Vampire. Ever. also sprouted here, on the Internet.
Twitter, to be precise, was where it all started. I know, I know. Hello. My name is Caissie, and I’m a Twitterer. Sometimes I’m reluctant to confess it to people, because when I do, I can tell they just don’t get it. I didn’t get it either, at first, but in my life as a comedy writer and TV producer, I figured I needed to keep an open mind! I had to try to embrace it! Well, embrace it I did. And it wasn’t long before I was sneaking off to make out with it! (Now that I wrote that, I feel like it might be a weird visual. I didn’t actually make out with Twitter. I just mean I really liked it-liked it. I may have kissed my phone once. I was experimenting.)
The way I soon came to see it, if Facebook was like a living family album and yearbook of the people you know and love from your past, Twitter was like an exciting cocktail party populated with fascinating people you hoped to get to know. And those people could get to know you too, without ever knowing that you were in your jammies, which is strictly on a need-to-know basis. As a joke writer, the 140 character limit was the perfect exercise in brevity being the soul of wittiness. I would log on and banter with friendly celebrities. I would sign in and chatter with kindly strangers. I would even sometimes flirt with this one guy that I really liked, who I dated when I was a freshman in college, who happened to be down the hall, tweeting from his office in our house.
It was during one of these after-the-kids-were-in-bed Twitter sessions that some comedian friends in Los Angeles and some writer/performer friends in Minneapolis and I in Connecticut were discussing the popularity of the vampire genre in books, movies and television. Everybody was talking about how the characters kept getting more and more impossibly sexy. I replied, only half-kidding, that as far as I was concerned, being turned into a vampire was the worst possible thing that could ever happen to a teenager! Think of it. Stuck forever in the most awkward stage of your life, having to listen to your parents yammer on about how it was in the mortal days. I tweeted that if I had been a teen vampire, with my luck, I would have been blood intolerant. I mused that maybe I would write a book about that.
I’m sure I started jawing about something else, and wouldn’t have thought much more about it, but then something interesting happened. A direct message from this fella, Arjun Basu, who writes these amazing little short stories, came in saying, “I think you actually should write that blood intolerant vampire book. I’ve published a book. Let me know if I can do anything to help you.” Then another message from a youth librarian who had been following me, saying, “My kids would love a book like that. You HAVE to write it!” Then I got messages from people I’d never spoken to at all, asking, “When are you going to write this book? I want to read it!” For the first time, I was considering the possibility that I could take this funny premise and spin it into a bigger story that young people might be eager to read, and that was incredibly exciting. I mean, I love writing gags for television hosts, but I’d be lying if I said I never harbored fantasies of being an author. Specifically, an author like the authors who spoke to twelve-year-old me, creating characters that made me want to be a writer too. Humorous. Flawed. Sincere. But if it hadn’t been for these strangers online reaching out and telling me to run with my idea, I might have just let it wither and die, like so many other ideas I haven’t necessarily had the courage to pursue in the past. Like my idea for a phone app that busy employees can use to exercise in the bathroom during their breaks at work, called “Toilates.” Wouldn’t you buy that? For ninety-nine cents?
In many ways, I feel like I’m still just a kid, watching cartoons, trying to figure out who I am and hating the majority of vegetables. Writing my first YA novel was educational and terrifying and exhilarating, and every step of the way, the same community of people that encouraged me to take that first step, cheered me on enthusiastically from their laptops. It takes a village to help me write a book! And I’m not exactly sure what I did to deserve it, but I’m sure I’m grateful for it. And I will happily return that generous favor any chance I get.
Some believe that social media can be an echo chamber, and a time waster, which isn’t always bad, but I believe it can also be a life changer. In ways both great and small. And I think I would say the same whether I ever wrote this book or not. But I did write this book. And I am thrilled. And I cannot wait to hear what you think of it. Maybe you’ll tweet me!
Your new friend,
Make sure you click over to Caissie’s Blog–there are more vampires, and more funny, over there.
Aaaaand one more totally cool note about Jane Jones–how about this for some great nationwide television publicity:
On Monday’s Live: With Regis & Kelly, Kelly Ripa gave a concise and glowing title presentation for Jane Jones: Worst. Vampire. Ever. She ended with this high praise, “I love this lady. I love the idea of this book. I haven’t read it yet, but I know that I’m gonna love it.”
Watch the clip http://www.criticalmention.com/report/8909×213892.htm# .