Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Author Spotlight: Just a Normal Tuesday by Kim Turrisi + Interview

Posted by HelloJennyReviews at 12:00 PM
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.
Kim created and wrote an online web series for which she won a Daytime Emmy. She wrote for ABC Family's webisode series, PRETTY DIRTY SECRETS, an internet companion piece to smash hit PRETTY LITTLE LIARS. 
While she’s always been a voracious reader and writer, she never thought about writing for teens until she immersed herself in the children’s publishing world as the Director of Special Projects for the Society of Book writers and Illustrators. There, reading children’s literature is a big part of her job. 
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.
One of Kim’s favorite parts of the writing process is to create playlists for her characters that she listens to when she writes. When she revises her manuscripts, she’s generally in mismatched plaid and her desk is riddled with junk food. She collects Chuck Taylor’s, Van’s, and has a killer sock collection. 
Born in Hawaii, she credits her love of travel to her life as an Air Force brat moving every two years. When she isn’t writing or reading, she can be found obsessing over her dogs, Riley and Rocco.
Represented by Tricia Lawrence at EMLA
Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @kimmyt22 

Title: Just a Normal Tuesday
Genre: YA Contemporary Mental Health
Author: Kim Turrisi
Publisher: KCP Loft - Kids Can Press
Publication: May 2nd 2017
Cover Rating: 4/5
Just a Normal Tuesday is about suicide. More so about the horrible aftermath that follows a suicide of an older sister. This book shows us just how horribly a family can be destroyed when a loved one is lost in such a tragic and painful way. At times, this book was very hard to read. I have a personal history with suicide and the people I love. I have lost many friends to various forms of suicide and for various reasons. During a time when mental health issues seem to be at a high, this book is very important and I really think everyone should read this.

Our main character is Kai. I find her name to be rather interesting because her parents and sisters names are very, very common. But Kai is a very complex character. Even before the suicide turned her life upside-down, she was interesting. Her best guy friend is her gay ex-boyfriend. She was quirky and just overall an interesting teenager. Then the drugs and drinking came after her sisters suicide and everything spiraled down the drain. She was so angry and self-destructive. Her parents enrolling her in a Grief Camp was definitely the right thing to do. And her friends telling her parents was also the right thing to do and I am glad Kai realized both of these things.

Before reading this book, I had no idea Grief Camps were actually a thing. While, I do have some certain opinions about such a thing, I do think it is a very helpful idea. I do not think Grief Camp is for everyone because every person grieves differently, but with our youth, they tend to react to loss in destructive ways and I think sending them to a camp rather than them getting in trouble with the law or ruining their grades at school. But the bonds these kids formed in this book that helped each other get through their pair was very beautiful. Pain is one of the few things that actually strips us down to the bone and shows who we really are on the inside. 

This book left me with an overall feeling of just wanting to hug the ever loving  crap out of people. Have tissues near by when you read this book. You will more than likely need them a few times. 

In the end, this book was VERY impactful and I really think everyone should pick this up and red it. Also, needless to say, my sister got a lot of random gushy text messages from me while I was reading this book and she may or may not think I've gone insane. But, she thought I was insane prior to reading this book so that is nothing new. 

Overall, I gave the book 4.5/5 stars.

1) How did you become an author?
I've always been a writer but I made the transition to author recently. I work at the Society of Children's Bookwriter's and Illustrators so I'm surrounded by kid lit and talented authors. I fell in love with YA and dove in. I love the solitude that writing brings. My first book was awful and the rejection pile was vast. Just A Normal Tuesday was born when a dear friend and incredibly talented writer,Aaron Hartzler, was brainstorming with me. Honestly, I'm not sure I would have written it if it wasn't for him. 

2) Have any of your characters ever been influenced by someone you know in real life?
All of them in some way. I pick qualities that I love or don't of people I've met and thread them into my characters.

3) Do you have any pets?
I have two dogs, Riley (An Australian Shepard) and Rocco ( A Golden Retriever) along with a god dog, Stormy ( A golden doodle) who visits often.

4) Are you currently working on any other books?
I am. I'm working on a series that I'm in love with and a stand alone with another writer that I'm so excited to see come to life. 

5) What is your favorite book?
I have way too many but my go to is On The Road by Jack Kerouac. Anything Maya Angelou


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