Name: Jessica Martinez
Book Title: VIRTUOSITY, Simon Pulse, Fall 2011
Now is not the time for Carmen to fall in love. Two weeks before the most important violin competition of her career, she has bigger things to worry about—like growing out of that suffocating “child prodigy” label, and not disappointing her mother. But it isn’t just the wrong time. It’s the wrong guy. Jeremy is Carmen’s most talented rival, and according to her mother, he’s only interested in one thing: winning.
He isn’t the only one.
Carmen is so desperate to win she takes anti-anxiety drugs to control performance nerves. But what started a year ago as an easy fix is now a hungry addiction. Her mother insists now is not the time to quit, but Carmen is sick of not feeling anything on stage and even more sick of doing what she’s told.
But in the end, it isn’t love or drugs that derail Carmen. When the darker side of the classical music industry and her mother's ambition collide, Carmen is presented with a moral dilemma, forcing her to choose between her career and her love for music.
What made you decide to be a writer?
Not writing was seriously interfering with my love of reading. I got to the point where I couldn't read anything without either thinking a) this is beautiful, I wonder if I could do this, OR b) this is crap, I think I could do better. Turns out that not writing crap is harder than I thought it would be, but I'm trying.
(Side note: this is the hardest question EVER. When people ask me this I usually freeze up and mumble the title of whatever happens to be on my nightstand, regardless of whether I like it or not. But seriously, this list could be pages.)
Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery. Possession, A.S. Byatt. Cold Sassy Tree, Olive Ann Burns. Anna Karenina, Tolstoy. The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood. Peace Like A River, Leif Enger . Snow Falling on Ceders, David Guterson. Thornbirds, Colleen McCullough. Corelli's Mondolin, Louis de Bernieres.
Recently: Al Capone Does My Shirts, Gennifer Choldenko. After the Kiss, Terra Elan McVoy. The Book Thief, Marcus Zusak. Feed, M.T. Anderson.
Morning person or a night owl?
Both. I am one of those broken people who doesn't like to sleep. Maybe I'm doing it wrong. It works for me though, because I have little children and I don't like to write while they are awake.
PC or mac?
PC. I wish I was cool enough to say mac, though. I actually tried to do this post on my husbands mac a couple of hours ago and got too annoyed and had to put it down.
What did you have for dinner today?
Papa Johns! Sadly, it wasn't fresh, but sometimes yesterday's pizza is better than having to cook and clean it up.
Quick! Share 11 random things about yourself.
1. Canadian born and raised. And yet, I get furious when the AC is too cold here in Florida.
2. I'm a long-distance runner (marathons) though I've recently taken up triathlons in alligator infested lakes. For real.
3. I have played the violin since I was three and my son is nearly tone deaf--how did this happen? On the one hand it's sort of cute, but on the other, come on! I was playing professionally while he was in utero! Bad genes, that's how. Clearly, I should have included some sort of pitch test in my potential husband check-list. Don't worry, I still love them both.
4. I knit everywhere. My husband drew the line at live sporting events (Notre Dame football specifically because he thought drunken fans were going to start throwing beer cans at us. He was probably right.)
5. I was the worst waitress ever. Once I spilled an entire of tray of iced teas all over me, at the beginning of my shift no less, and that wasn't even close to my biggest screw up. Gotta love a liberal arts degree.
6. I try to get into the wrong car ALL the time. Most recently it was a big white minivan, so definitely not my silver station wagon. I don't know what my problem is.
7. This might make me the worst person in the world, but I just gave away the family guinea pig. Before you judge me, does anybody know how bad those little rodents stink? After a year of cleaning out that cage, I DO.
8. I'm suddenly a brunette after years of being blond. Not sure how I feel about it. Not really sure what my natural color is either.
9. Tuesday is currently my favorite day of the week because of Glee.
10. I have four brothers and a sister who refuse to grow up and quit blaming me for ruining their childhoods with all my violin-ing.
11. I'm a nerd, I've always been a nerd, and I'm not ashamed. Not anymore anyway.