Home to many seasoned and new authors, the Ontario Teen Book Festival brings together fans of young adult literature from across the state and their favorite novelists for a spectacular completely free event. Fans of all ages are invited to attend a special event full of meet and greets, panels and more! Each author’s books will be available for purchase thanks to returning sponsor, Once Upon a Time bookstore of Montrose.
Join us on Saturday, March 3rd from 9AM-5PM at Colony High School located at:
3850 E. Riverside Drive, Ontario, CA 91761
About Kim Turrisi
A graduate of Florida State University, Kim Turrisi began her career in film and television. After a year of on-set production (getting coffee, wrangling actors and taking lunch orders) Kim segued to the development side of the business. First working as a development executive at Columbia-Tri-Star and eventually shepherding many projects in family entertainment for Disney, Viacom and Hallmark.
Her debut Young Adult novel JUST A NORMAL TUESDAY is loosely based on the author’s own experience, the debut YA novel follows 16-year-old Kai as she struggles through the emotional aftermath of her sister’s suicide. Kai spends a month at grief camp, discovering a roadmap to piecing her broken heart back together.
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About Just a Normal Tuesday
It’s just a normal Tuesday…until sixteen-year-old Kai finds a s
uicide note from her beloved older sister, Jen. Now Kai is the only child in a family reeling with grief. Unable to make sense of her sister’s choice, Kai begins to lose control. She cuts class. Lashes out at the people closest to her. Pops the same pills that killed her sister.
As she spirals toward rock bottom, her parents offer her a lifeline: a summer away at camp. Grief camp…for teens. Kai reluctantly agrees to attend, even though she’s not exactly in the mood for s’mores. But she finds solace in meeting kids like her, and slowly she begins to come back to life—and even love—at The Treehouse.
Tell us a bit about Just a Normal Tuesday.
Just A Normal Tuesday offers a road-map for anyone who has been touched by loss and anyone who is looking for hope in a broken world. Sixteen year old, Kai Sheehan’s, world is turned upside down when she comes home on a seemingly normal day to find a suicide letter from her older sister who she adores. Her world crumbles and she spirals out of control. At the end of their ropes, her parents send her to a grief camp where she finds hope with the help of teens who have suffered unimaginable losses.
What was the hardest scene to write?
The one where she reads the suicide letter. Since it’s based loosely on my teen years, it brought up a lot of feelings that were extremely difficult to relive over and over as I wrote then revised.
What are common misconceptions about author life?
That we make a lot of money! Or that we sit down to write and the words just flow. When that does happen, it’s wonderful but the truth is that sometimes, they don’t or the ones that do are terrible.
Any new projects in the works?
Yes, first up is a young adult adaptation of a wildly popular web series called CARMILLA. It’s much lighter than TUESDAY so it’s been a welcome relief.
I have a few other things in the works but I can’t talk about them yet.
Do other authors help you become a better author? If so, how/who has helped you the most?
For sure. I have a terrific circle of writer friends who keep me sane and on track whenever I’m about to derail. Marlene King, Veronica Rossi, Martha Brockenbrough, Anna Shinoda and Aaron Hartzler. In fact, there would be no book with Aaron. His encouragement when I was afraid to write this really made all the difference in the world.
How did you realize you wanted to become a writer?
I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I loved reading. I was probably the only person in any of my classes who loved essay questions. Words are really powerful and I love that.
How many unpublished or half-written works/books do you have?
Let’s just say that I have a lot of half thought out ideas and a few finished books that need a lot of work. I do have two that I’m really excited about revising. The others…not so much.
What did it feel like holding a copy of Just a Normal Tuesday for the first time?
Like I imagine winning a Gold Medal in the Olympics feels. I cried like every other debut author I know. It was a victory for me personally.
Do you write with music? If so, what type?
Always. I create playlists for my characters then an overall one for the book itself. So it depends. For Just a Normal Tuesday, there was a lot of angst ridden music. Mostly, alternative music.
Any tips for someone trying to become a full-time writer/author?
Journal all the big moments in your life whether they are fun like a first kiss or hard. The first time someone hurt your feelings. First break up. First loss. Scribble all of the adjectives you can to describe how you were feeling. That way they’ll be fresh when you look back on them years later when you’re writing your first book.
Vomit it all in your first draft. You can and will revise later. You’ll lose chapters, characters, pages of dialogue. It’s always better to have more.
Write what you know. Don’t be afraid. Be fearless.
When you are revising, I have one tip that Marlene King gave me early in my career. Pretend each word you use costs you a dollar.
Thank you so much, Kim!