Loss Blog Tour: Guest Post & Giveaway

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

You guys probably remember that not too long ago I reviewed a book called Loss by Jackie Morse Kessler and, much to happiness and surprise, it's my favourite book in the Riders of the Apocalypse series yet! That, my bloggy friends, is a feat in and of itself because series far too often go downhill after an extraordinary first-installment, which is what prompted this post last week.

So, for me it was a no-brainer when asked to participate in the blog tour for this all-too-awesome book. Today, I am so excited to welcome the amazing Jackie Morse Kessler, author of the series, to my blog. And what, pray tell, is she going to post about for us today? Well, I'm so glad you asked! Take the floor, Jackie!
Why Getting Sidetracked Can Be Good

When I first started writing LOSS, I knew, just knew, that Robin Hood would have to feature prominently. The protagonist of the story, a bullied teen named Billy, is given the bow of Pestilence, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Pestilence is an archer—and hey, that meant that Robin Hood would have to come into the story! Brilliant!

Except it didn’t work out that way.

The entire second section of the book was supposed to be about Billy’s trip into the past, searching Sherwood Forest for the elusive White Rider, also known as Pestilence. Billy was going to hook up with Robin Hood and the Merry Men, learn a little something about himself, and eventually find what he was looking for, but not in the way he’d imagined. I actually wrote about three chapters of this part of the story. They were good chapters. Solid.

And completely wrong.

I knew this because I hit a wall and couldn’t write another word. For me, writer’s block happens when my forebrain has taken the story all the way down a path that my back brain knows won’t work. Man, that sucked. I wanted to write. I tried to write. No writing happened.

But…as I tried forcing the Robin Hood part of the story to happen, something else was going on. I was doing research about plagues and other diseases through the history of the world. I didn’t have a reason for it; I just started Googling about infectious diseases, and soon I had an entire notebook’s worth of notes, a page per plague. I had no idea what I’d do with the information; it certainly didn’t fit in to the spiffy outline I’d written for the book. But it was fascinating stuff, totally worth getting sidetracked over.

So there I was, with the book due in two months, and the story wasn’t working. I decided to try something radical: I threw out the outline, whipped out my notebook full of pox and other sicknesses, and started writing. And I wound up using all of the research that had fascinated me. The second section of LOSS is still about Billy’s trip into the past, but in a completely different way…with very different results. We get to see so much more about the previous White Rider this way. I’m very happy with how it turned out.

And it was all because I let myself do research that, I thought, had nothing to do with what I was writing.

Sometimes, it’s worth throwing out the outline. (Just don’t tell your editor!)


And now...the generous Jackie has offered a great giveaway! 

LOSS by Jackie Morse Kessler came out YESTERDAY

One lucky commenter below will win a small cover poster of LOSS — and will be entered in the grand prize drawing! The grand prize winner will receive signed copies of HUNGER, RAGE and LOSS — and will get to name a character in BREATH, the fourth book in the Riders of the Apocalypse series. The grand prize winner will be picked on Sunday, April 1, 2012. No foolin’. 

TO ENTER: You MUST be a follower to enter this giveaway, please! Leave a comment about what you think the best part about getting sidetracked is for you. Please leave your email address and give yourself a +3 in your comment if you tweeted it or liked the lil' ol' facebook from the link on the right. This giveaway ends at midnight EST on Friday, March 30! Good luck, all!


  1. Great post! Jackie - if you're reading this, did this give you second thoughts about using an outline in the future? I go back and forth about whether outlines are better.

    As far as being sidetracked, I think it's the best way to get creative thoughts when you're not constrained by self-imposed lines. Although on the other side, self-imposed lines can give you the freedom to be creative within certain boundaries.
    alisoncanread at gmail dot com

  2. The best part about getting sidetracked is making new discoveries...like good buys down the clearance aisle or a new kind of cookie on the shelf=)


  3. The best part of getting sidetracked is getting other things done that you didn't plan on, but still are great things!

    +3 for liking :)

    dukesangel002 AT yahoo DOT com

  4. This is one of the series that I want to read the most. Very high on my TBR. Getting sidetracked...I do this SO VERY OFTEN. Sigh...I suppose the best part is that I typically get sidetracked with SOMETHING ELSE that I needed to get done anyway, so I can still cross at least SOMETHING useful off of my list - even  if it wasn't my initial goal.  ;) 

    How do you like a blog? Is that a dumb question? HAHA 


  5. blahahaha that was a typo on my part ;) it was supposed to say like facebook!

  6. Gosh, don't you love that? Trying new things is always fun!

  7. I just bought Rage the other week and have it on my shelf to read. I love this series. I am ready to read Loss. :D

  8. They keep getting better! I swear I'm gonna die waiting for the next installment, Breath :)

  9. Getting sidetracked gives me a reprieve from doing work or some tuition time! Haha, thanks for this giveaway! This series is so unique! It's the first time that there's a book about the four horsemen of apocalypse even though it's such a COOL AND AWESOME idea!! I was intrigued from the first time I heard of the series title.:D

    +3 - liked your FB (Yet Peng-Cyp)

  10. It's awesome, isn't it? Not only is it a great idea, but it just keeps getting better and better! Thanks for liking the FB page!

  11. This is such a fantastic series. Can't wait to read this one! I get sidetracked so often... in fact, checking my google reader for these blog updates is a sidetrack from outlining lol. But the best part is also reading fantastic blog posts about topics I've been thinking about myself, or finding fantastic giveaways!

    +3 for liking (Lori M. Lee on facebook)

  12. Blogging sidetracks me daily haha I'm sure my Google reader would, too, if I still looked at it ;)

  13. Hey Jackie! The best part about getting sidetracked has to be the unusual / surprising discoveries you make! for me, its unexpected books, or friends that I would otherwise never have made.

  14. I'm not a writer, so getting sidetracked really doesn't work for me! I think it's because I get sidetracked so easily and end up not getting much done! I'm really glad that Jackie got sidetracked though, because it sounds like the book really benefited from it! Thanks so much for the great guest post and giveaway, Jackie :)

  15. I'm glad she got sidetracked, too, because this series is SO great! :)))

  16. I think, like Jackie, said that getting sidetracked lets you really get excited about everything you find interesting. No recipes, no plans, just what you think really rocks.

    I'm a follower GFC Christina Kit. and email subscriber ccfioriole at gmail dot com

  17. I tweeted 

    and I liked you on facebook Christina Rita Condomaros

    ccfioriole at gmail dot com

  18. The best thing about getting sidetracked is discovering something new sometimes. Thanks for the chance to win!
    natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

  19. For me, getting sidetracked proves "It's not the destination, it's the journey" true.   Whenever I end up somewhere I had no intention of being, I always meet interesting people or have incredible experiences...

    elizabeth @ bookattict . com

  20. +3 Tweeted:  

    Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/BookAttict/posts/377175262312965

  21. What a GREAT interview! Really gives insight into the writing process (not the magical "the idea just came to me and I whipped it out in three months" kind either)! Thanks Jackie! And thanks Melissa for a really inspiring post!

  22. Excellent interview! While getting sidetracked can be frustrating, it often leaves surprising results.

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  23. Wow, doing something THAT radical, huh? I can't imagine just throwing everything out the window like that and then beginning anew. That takes a lot of courage.


  24.  Getting sidetracked can make an experience even greater. Who knows what can happen?

    GFC: Mary Preston

    Email Subscriber:


  25. The best part of getting sidetracked is that you will end up with more great experiences! :)

    GFC: Aik

    +3 Facebook fan: Aik Chien

    aikychien at yahoo dot com


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