March 8, 2012

Oppression Blog Tour: An Interview with Jessica Therrien and a Review of Oppression

I’m thrilled to be interviewing Jessica Therrien today as part of her Oppression Blog Tour. I met Jessica during the Third Writers’ Platform-Building Campaign and was immediately drawn to her clear love of writing and enthusiasm. Her first novel, Oppression, debuted February 28, 2012 from ZOVA Books.

Stay tuned after our interview for my review of Oppression.  

Welcome, Jessica, and congratulations on your first book!

Thanks Tia! I’m really excited. J

Tell us about Oppression.

You’d think summarizing my own book into a paragraph would be easy, right? Honestly, I’m horrible at that, so I’m going to cheat and give you the back cover blurb. ;)

Elyse knows what it means to keep a secret. She's been keeping secrets her whole life. Two, actually. First, that she ages five times slower than the average person, so that while she looks eighteen years old, she's closer to eighty. Second, that her blood has a mysterious power to heal. For Elyse, these things don't make her special. They make life dangerous. After the death of her parents, she's been careful to keep her secret as closely guarded as possible. Now, only one other person in the world knows about her age and ability. Or so she thinks. Elyse is not the only one keeping secrets. There are others like her all over the world, descendants of the very people the Greeks considered gods. She is one of them, and they have been waiting for her for a long time. Among so many of her kind, she should not be very remarkable--except for the prophecy. Some believe she will put an end to traditions, safeguarded by violence, which have oppressed her people for centuries. Others are determined to keep her from doing just that. But for Elyse, the game is just beginning--and she's not entirely willing to play by their rules.

Oppression is Book One in the Children of the Gods series. What is the current status of the series?

Book two is in the works. The manuscript is about 80% complete. I’m just tying the chapters together at this point. ZOVA Books will be publishing it sometime next year.

Book three is in my head. I have a simple outline (one I probably won’t stick to, because I never do).

I’ve always envisioned the series as a trilogy, so book four hasn’t been thought through, but you never know where the story will take you.

What was the hardest scene you ever had to write? Why?

The hardest scenes for me are those where big things happen. I want them to be amazing, so I’m really hard on myself. Even as I’m writing book two, I’ve left the most pivotal chapter for last. I still haven’t completely finished it.

In your bio, I read that you studied Chinese and lived in Taiwan. How did this experience affect your writing and passion for language?

I’ve always loved language, and I do have a special love for Chinese. It’s an amazing feeling to be able to communicate in a different language, but learning Chinese did make me appreciate English. I wrote a lot of poetry in Taiwan, and realized that I could only truly express myself creatively in my mother tongue. That’s probably true for most people. Take poetry by Pablo Neruda for example. His poems were originally written in Spanish, and though they are beautiful in English, they don’t have the same emotional significance as they do in Spanish.

Do you plan out your story in advance or prefer to let your characters and ideas take you on a journey?

My characters always walk their own paths. I try to control them, plan out their futures, but they never listen. My creative brain likes to go where it wants.

What was the last book you read that surprised you?

Blood Red Road was a wonderful surprise. I don’t know what I was expecting when I opened the book, but it wasn’t the honest, raw, and strangely beautiful voice I found. Saba is one of the best characters I’ve ever encountered.

Finally, for fun, what’s your favorite way to get the creative juices flowing when the words aren’t coming?

It depends on my mood. If I’m lazy, I’ll opt for a good episode of The Vampire Diaries. There are twists and turns around every corner, and it reminds me to write the unexpected. If I’m feeling nostalgic, I’ll turn on some music. If I’m desperate, I turn to good books. They always inspire me to write the very best I can.

Thanks for a wonderful interview, Tia!

Thank you, Jessica.


Elyse is a wonderful character that embodies the wisdom of old age with the innocence of youth. She’s known deep loss and deep friendship, but she’s never been kissed. Or, at least not until she meets the alluring William.

William explains to Elyse that she’s not alone, that there are others like her, and she’s an important component in how their kind will survive. Her parents had kept her hidden to keep her safe, but it’s time for her to learn more about her kind and her abilities. There are others who want her dead, to make sure the prophecy doesn’t come to pass. Who can she trust?

So much of the novel is about fate and choice. Elyse struggles with the idea of her future being set in stone, beyond her control. She’s determined to make her own way, but will it change anything?

I love a story that takes off on page one and doesn’t let you go, not even at the end. There’s something for everyone… romance, action, intrigue, fantasy, emotions, and a long list of compelling and interesting characters. Beyond Elyse and William, I found myself most drawn to Sam, a descendant of Dionysus who can cause people to have various amounts of alcohol in their blood, and Kara, a girl forced to do unimaginable things. But is she bad?

The ending leaves you wanting, no needing, the next book in the series. Who survives? What does the prophecy really mean? Plus, the romantic in me wants more William and Elyse.

Jessica Therrien has crafted an intriguing tale full of characters to care about and questions to ponder.

Rating: 5 stars

Hard to believe this book is available for 99 cents, but only for a limited time!

For more information on Oppression:

For more information on Jessica:

From Jessica’s Blog Tour page: Over the next 15 days I'll be collecting comments from all of the blog tour stops. At the end, I'll pull one lucky winner out of a hat. They'll win an Oppression poster, an Oppression notebook, and a signed copy of Oppression. Thanks in advance to everyone who checks out the blog tour posts, and thanks to all of the bloggers who were nice enough to invite me over to their blogs.


Jessica Therrien said...

Thank you sooooo much Tia :) You're awesome.

Tia Bach said...

I was thrilled to do it. Can't wait for the rest of the series. I love William and Elyse, but can I admit I want more Kara?! ;-)

Sarah Tokeley said...

I have this book, and I'm looking forward to finally getting a chance to read it! Thanks for this interview, what an interesting person Jessica sounds like :-)

Tia Bach said...

Sarah, It's wonderful, and it's a quick read which I appreciate more and more these days with an ever-expanding to-be-read pile! ;-)