What’s Up Wednesday

I feel like I’ve been posting a lot of interviews + giveaways lately, and while hopefully you all enjoy those, I discovered the What’s Up Wednesday feature from friends Caroline Richmond and Dahlia Adler today and thought it would be fun to participate in something less promotional. It’s a weekly meme hosted by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk, and you can find the link here!

what's up wednesday


Yesterday I finished THE LUCY VARIATIONS by Sara Zarr, which was amazing. It’s about a 16 year old pianist, Lucy, who gave up her brilliant career and hasn’t played since walking offstage in the midst of a competition 8 months ago – and what happens when her brother’s new piano teacher, Will, sparks her realization that she misses music. Lucy’s story is fascinating, and her relationship with Will is…complex. The book really explores the nature of creative gifts, the notion of what we owe ourselves and others, the business vs love aspects of it. Sara Zarr is one of my writing heroes; I love the way she talks about craft, and I am amazed by her exact-perfect wordsmithing, the way her characters feel so deeply true. I’m super-excited to meet her tomorrow at her signing in Bethesda! I’m often asked in interviews if there are any authors I fangirl over, and the answer is YES and she is one of them.


Tomorrow & Friday, I’m planning to read through Cahill book 3 one more time before sending this draft to my editor. I got some truly fabulous line notes and suggestions from my CPs so I want to tweak a few things. Then – eep! – it’s time pry it away and push “send” and let Editor Amazing do her job.


THE LUCY VARIATIONS. After the intensity of her competition days and the pressure from her family, Lucy’s become kind of a zombie. Will suggests that she make a list of the things she loves, and through that exercise and his mentorship, she realizes how much she loves. I too tend to get awfully caught up in the hustle and bustle of deadlines and promo and forget to really pay attention, you know? This book combined with my recent vacation make me want to wake up.


I just got back from three days in the Poconos with The Playwright. It was super-fun! Like summer camp for grownups. We played bocce and shuffleboard and mini golf and Scrabble and went swimming. And he taught me archery! I really needed a few days off, away from my laptop and work, with my very favorite person.

jess archery

8 Responses

  1. That trip sounds amazing! I'm impressed with the archery–I tried once and had never realized how much strength you need.

    I've never read anything by Sarah Zarr, but after your recommendation I may pick up that book–it sounds really interesting, and those are such fascinating, complex questions raised.

    1. I was surprised by how much arm strength the archery took, too, and it wasn't even a big bow. My arm is sore, ha!

      I highly highly recommend THE LUCY VARIATIONS – I hope you'll like it!

  2. I'm kind of embarrassed to admit that I still haven't read any Sarah Zarr. I really should check her books out because I've heard nothing but good things about them. You're the second person that I've seen today who has posted a picture of herself shooting an arrow. Everyone's going all Katniss Everdeen and it's kind of awesome. I always loved archery when I used to counsel at a summer camp.

    Thanks for the reminder to be in the moment, to pay attention and try to enjoy the things we're doing. I needed that! 🙂

    1. Ha, was the other person Sarah Enni? I saw that too! We're all playing Katniss. 😉

      I've really loved Sara's last two books – HOW TO SAVE A LIFE and now THE LUCY VARIATIONS. I've got to try the earlier ones!

  3. Erin Funk

    Your vacation sounds like it was a lot of fun! I love what you said about not forgetting to really pay attention to things, even when you're busy. I find when I stop paying attention to everything that's going on around me and all the little details, I start to lose clarity in my writing. Thanks for the great reminder and for taking part in our meme. 🙂

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