Jessica Love: PUSH GIRL

We have a lot of fantastic authors at OneFour KidLit and are excited to introduce them all to you. Today we’re talking to Jessica Love, author of PUSH GIRL (co-written with Chelsie Hill), coming in March 2014 from St. Martin’s/Thomas Dunne. One author, four questions. Here we go!

Hey, you’re getting published! How’d that happen?

Hey, you’re right! And this is pretty surreal. Especially because my book is a little different, so my path has been a little different, too. I was working on polishing up a book of my own to get it ready to go when I was approached with the opportunity to work with Chelsie and St. Martin’s on this book.  It was really just some magical agent/editor matchmaking, and I couldn’t be more thrilled about it.

The craziest part of all of this has been doing all of the writing AFTER the deal, which is pretty different from most debuts. Plus, I’ve never written with someone else before, so there’s a lot of new stuff going on for me with this book. I love it, though. Working on this girl has been an awesome ride so far.

What’s your debut book about? Can you share any cool details with us?

PUSH GIRL is fiction, but it’s based on Chelsie Hill’s actual life story. (Here’s a little bit about her journey, if you aren’t familiar with her. She’s a really kick-ass girl.) The story is about a dancer in high school who gets hit by a drunk driver and is paralyzed and has to adjust to life in a wheelchair. There’s drama with friends and some kissing and family issues and I really love everything about it.

What do you do in your daily life outside of writing?

I’m a middle school English teacher (and I go back to school today, actually!), so I get to hang out with thirteen-year-olds all day. I spend most of my money going to concerts or traveling with my husband and my friends. I’m completely obsessed with my dog, Gunner, and I spend most of my free time talking to him as if he were a person. I’m on the internet a lot, and if you ever want to see me go into a hot panic, just hang out with me when my phone battery is dying.

What inspires you to write?

It’s usually music that inspires me. The first book I wrote was inspired by a song, and the book I put aside to work on PUSH GIRL was inspired by an episode of a reality show I saw that featured a guy who was in a band. His band’s songs are on constant repeat any time I’m working on that ms. I connect with music so much, that there will usually be a lyric or a verse that hits me in a way I don’t expect, and before I really know what happens, a story starts tumbling around in my head.

Even with PUSH GIRL, where I was building a fictional world that was based on a real story, I found songs that tapped in to the feelings for different scenes and listened to them on repeat. There’s something about music that really inspires me to be my best creative self! (This is why I spend so much money on concerts…it’s an investment! That’s what I tell myself, anyway.)


Jessica Love is a middle school English teacher, an MFA student at Spalding University, and a full-time internetter. She lives in Orange County, California where she spends her free time going to concerts, brunching, and instagramming pictures of her dog, Gunner. Her debut YA novel PUSH GIRL, written with Chelsie Hill from Sundance Channel’s reality TV show Push Girls, comes out in March ’14 from Thomas Dunne/St. Martin’s.

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