Friday, August 10, 2012

The New Haven Project: Anomaly by Jessica Gilliland and Kimberly Gourgon (Author Interview + Giveaway!)

The New Haven Project: Anomaly

Goodreads summary: Five years have passed since Caitlin Tierney was kidnapped from New Haven, a secret facility for gifted children. Deemed a threat to society by the government’s Anomaly Control Team for her empathetic and telekinetic powers, Caity was implanted with a chip meant to neutralize her abilities and keep her on the ACT’s radar.

Now Caity is trying to live the life of a normal 21-year-old but her nightmares are getting worse. She’s haunted by the past she can’t remember, the painful experiments she endured in New Haven and Chase Taylor, the love she lost.

When a mysterious letter arrives one day and promises Caity answers to her forgotten life, she suddenly finds herself thrown back into the world of New Haven…and into the arms of her old flame. For once it seems like everything will be alright, but how much has New Haven really changed? And how much has Chase changed?

While conflicted by the dark secrets she uncovers about New Haven and her beloved Chase, Caity stumbles upon a group of Anomalies who call themselves The Punks. They’re charming and unexpectedly, Caity finds herself drawn into their small family…and to their leader, the quiet, enigmatic Kismet.

Ultimately, Caity must decide where her loyalty lies: is it with her first true love Chase and the cloaked objectives of New Haven? Or is it with the peaceful, nomadic Punks?

And how far over the line will she be willing to go for either one?

The Authors

Jessica Marie Gilliland was born and raised in the East Bay. She is currently living in Hayward, California with her fiance Rob.

She loves all things sci fi and paranormal. She can't get enough forbidden romances and is a sucker for a good post apocalyptic tale... well, it doesn't even have to be a good one. Any one will do if it's got zombies in it ;)

Jessica loves to write and go on adventures with her co-author Kimberly. They are inspired by late night swims, beach days, ghost hunts and and the occasional Buffy marathon.

She's constantly writing & dreaming up new worlds and characters and strives to look at the world through diferent lenses.

Kimberly Gourgon is a 20-something year old Massachusetts transplant that currently lives in the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area of California with her husband, Alan. She is an Emergency Veterinary Technician by trade, but has always had a passion and a need to write. Her debut novel, The New Haven Project: Anomaly, (written with Goodreads author Jessica Marie Gilliland)is now available for purchase/download on both and

In her free time she enjoys reading and writing, photography, road trips, comic books and graphic novels, going to concerts, blogging, hanging out in book stores, horror movies, and spending time with her family and friends. She is a proud Harry Potter and Marvel Comics nerd with a strong interest in tattoos, poetry and art.

You can purchase their book at: BARNES & NOBLE|Amazon

Check out their blogs:|

The Interview

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Jessica: I am 27 years old and I live the San Francisco Bay Area. I’ve been here all my life. I am currently living in Hayward with my fiancĂ©, Rob. I graduated from Expression College for digital art in 2009 with a BA in Animation and Visual Effects and did a 2 year stint as a graphic designer for dress designer Jessica McClintock. Art, Film and storytelling is my passion. I get the most joy from it and it comes pretty naturally to me. Right now I’m also paying off my immense school loans by working the night watch as a 911 dispatcher for the city of Oakland. It’s quite an exhilarating job with some pretty crazy real life stories every day, so It keeps me busy and allows for me to keep up with my writing and art between calls… until this writing thing kicks off *wink*

Kimberly: I’m 27 years old and I live in the San Francisco Bay Area of California with my husband, Alan. Although writing has basically become a full-time occupation, I earned a degree in Veterinary Medicine and make my living as an emergency veterinary technician. I work the overnight shifts so during the daytime I’m either dreaming or writing (or dreaming about writing). I’d like to think I’m just your average 20-something-year-old. I love reading and writing (I’d better, anyway!) as well as art and music. I’m most at home either typing away on my laptop or dancing in a crowd at a concert. I’m a huge Harry Potter enthusiast, as well as an avid tattoo collector and comic book/graphic novel nerd.

What inspired you to write Anomaly?

Jessica: Like a lot of my projects, I was inspired by a dream I had involving the character that eventually became Chase. I woke up that day and wrote the prologue really quickly and a rough outline of the dream but it has changed so much from that first glimmer of an idea to the fully realized series it’s become. A couple of weeks later I told Kim about the dream and showed her the prologue and she seemed really interested in the concept so I went to work on a more detailed outline. She and I collaborated to create the Punks and make the original story what it is today. That was the start of Anomaly and the start of our co-writing.

Kimberly: Well, the simple answer to that is that Jessica inspired me to write Anomaly. She came to me one day with this idea—this dream she’d had—and we came to this mutual decision to write it together. At that point, the only thing I’d ever really written was poetry and very short stories but Jessica loved my writing style and we realized that our strengths and weaknesses would probably complement each other. Together, we could create something amazing. And it just kind of took off from there. We collaborated, drawing inspiration from the things we loved in our lives and the kinds of things we’d want to read. Anomaly was born.

Is there anything in your book based in real-life experiences?

Jessica: Although Anomaly centers around a corrupt government and seedy underground testing facility, I’d like to think that all the basics of human emotions and experiences are in there. We can all relate to first loves and certain relationships turning out to be less than the way you imagined them or what you were trying to force them to be. I think we’ve all struggled to find our place in the world and find somewhere where we feel we truly belong. The relationships between the characters aren’t exact replicas of relationships in my life but they’re definitely representative of experiences I’ve had growing up. I try to incorporate my own life experiences into the novel and exaggerate them to fit the scene. I think that is necessary when writing and making something feel real.

Kimberly: For me, a lot of the real-life experiences were nestled in the subtle nuances of the story: how a character felt about something or someplace…their response to a situation…something they said that I’d thought before. I’ve gleaned certain aspects of people I’ve known and loved (or hated) and I’ve given them a place to be within our characters. Now, I can’t say for sure that Anomalies are real or that a secret government agency exists, but…you never know, right? The world is full of possibilities, and maybe there’s a little supernatural spark inside us all.

Which Anomaly character do you think is just like you?

Jessica: That’s tricky because there were a few different drafts of the story… When I started with the first rough draft I was most like Caity. Or rather, I made Caity most like myself. Writing in first person, I really had to get into the character and make her as real as possible. So, her decision process and the way she felt about certain characters in certain situations was pretty much the same way I would feel and react to them. However, I feel as if after Kim got her hands on the next draft, I turned out to be more like Alexis and Caity seems more like Kim and I really like combination of the two, because it makes Caity more rounded and polished a character.

Kimberly: I don’t think there’s a single character that is just like me…I think I’ve lent myself to all of them, and put certain aspects of myself into each one respectively. I’ve given Caity my fieriness and Chase my willpower. I gifted Alexis with my mischievousness and my loyalty to Kismet. My goofiness lives in Spaz and my positivity resides in Charlie. My cunning is embodied by DeMarcus. Maddie has my temper. Truly, there’s not a single character that is solely me…because I’m all of them.

Do you listen to any kind of music while writing? Which singers or bands do

Jessica: I always listen to music when I write. I listen to certain bands, songs and types of music depending on the scene I’m writing. It really helps me to portray the emotions I’m going for and it’s a great inspirational tool because when I hear a song that I was listening to when writing, it always brings me back into that mindset and gets me pumped to write more.

I listen to a variety of music but the big ones for Anomaly were The Spill Canvas, Ludo, Rise Against, Neon Trees and The Gaslight Anthem.

Music played a bigger part in the writing of The New Haven Project series simply because of Kismet’s talent. Kim and I love going to shows. We love the feeling you get when you’re in the middle of a thousand people all in tune with the music and we’re particularly moved by a man who can pick up a guitar and draw your full attention to him and make you feel like you and he are the only ones in the auditorium. That’s what Kismet is to us. He’s that lovesick feeling you get when you feel so strongly for something so unattainable.

In my day it was N’sync and the Backstreet Boys but I guess it’s something akin to Bieber Fever these days. I don’t get that feeling much anymore, but every once in a while there’s a song and a voice that brings it out again and draw upon that when I write for Kismet.

Kimberly: Music was an essential tool and friend during my writing process for Anomaly. It helped soothe my nerves; Anomaly was my first launched ship, my maiden voyage into the world of writing. I was worried sick that I wasn’t good enough, that I was constantly doing something wrong. Music became my way to let off steam and relax so that instead of feeling forced, the words came naturally to me. I probably burned through thousands of hours’ worth of music while writing Anomaly, but I think the most notable bands that I would go back to time and again were the ones that I imagined would play in the background during certain parts of the book, if the book were a movie. Rise Against would play during the fight scenes. The Spill Canvas played a huge part in the creation of the Punks and their journey. I also listened to Ed Sheeran, The Airborne Toxic Event, Damien Rice, Florence and the Machine, Mumford and Sons…the list for Anomaly was huge.

Have you ever experienced writer's block? What did you do to overcome your writer's block?

Jessica: I have my moments when I get a little blocked, but honestly, I am constantly working on multiple projects, so if I get blocked with one of them I just diddle with another until it comes back. It sounds weird and a little vain but most of the time all I have to do to unblock myself is start reading my story from the beginning, and I’m inspired all over again.

Kimberly: I actually get writer’s block constantly. Unlike Jessica, I can’t have my thoughts on too many projects at once. I can focus like a laser on one thing at a time and that’s about it. And my ability to write is deeply affected by every other aspect of my life so if I have a bad day, or I’ve gotten into an argument with someone, or I’m busy with my night job then I find it hard to get into the flow of my writing. And if I’m not in that golden zone where all the stars and planets have aligned, then I just can’t bring myself to write. I can feel the difference in my words when my heart is in it and when it’s not, so the best thing I can do during those times is just take a step back and take some time off. This probably drives Jessica crazy, even if she’s gracious enough not to admit it, but it’s a necessary evil. I just can’t put out work that I know I didn’t do my best on. I owe it to myself and my readers to give my all.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Jessica: My advice is to read! I was never a big reader. I've always been a watcher. Movies, television and music were my inspiration. I've gotten really into reading the last couple of years and it's really helped me with the fine tuning that I was having trouble with. Second, know the business you’re in. Do research, read blogs of people in the business who have years of experience, join writing groups and just chat about books.

Above all, never give up on yourself and don't be afraid of critique. Even a bad review or less than constructive criticism only makes you a stronger writer and a better person for being able to handle it with composure and a smile on your face.

Kimberly: Take a deep breath, take your time, and whereas you should be critical of your work, don’t be so hard on yourself that you cripple your own creativity. These are things that were told to me but I didn’t realize the truth of them until Anomaly was finally done and the nerves had died down. This writing thing…it’s scary. You’re taking this very personal thing you’ve created and you’re showing it to strangers, strangers who have the power to crush you with their words, their thoughts, their opinions. It can be very intimidating, but be brave. Have heart, and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. You’ll never know what can happen until you try.

Favorite tv shows?

Jessica: My All Time favorite tv series is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I am a HUGE Buffy fan. HUGE.
I finally got Kimberly to start watching it too and we’re on the same page with that. Pretty much anything Joss Whedon does is at the top of my list. I was bummed that Firefly didn’t make it to season two but the movie Serenity gave me closure. I love Whedon’s blend of drama, fantasy and comedy in his work.

I have a healthy obsession with fairy tales and all things Disney so Once Upon A Time was right up my alley and season one did not disappoint.

Teen shows like Vampire Diaries, Pretty little liars and The Secret circle are my guilty pleasures. I’m also addicted to bad reality TV like Teen Mom and I used to watch Flavor of Love religiously, though I’ve never seen an episode of the Jersey shore.

I love crime shows like the first 48 and I’m a sucker for biographies and documentaries; especially the ones about twisted serial killers. Modern family and Wilfred tickle my funny bone… And last but not least: Big Bang Theory rocks my world, because, at the core of me is a huge Star Wars, trekkie who wears darth vader t shirts and has a lightsaber above the mantle.

Kimberly: BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER. I put that in caps not because I’m yelling it (or maybe I am) but because there’s no other way for me to indicate just how much I love it. I laugh, I cry, I bite my nails. I love the blend of humor and darkness, and how moving it can be at times. The episode “The Body” (the one where Buffy’s mom dies) is one of my favorite episodes of all time of ANY show, simply because it is such a poignant representation of human loss and grief. Whedon specifically chose to omit music from that episode, and incorporated disorienting camera effects to mimic the confusion a person feels at the loss of a loved one. The acting and the drama were both so realistic that it made me sick to my stomach…and it was perfect. Simply amazing. After Buffy, I watch a lot of shows about cooking. The Food Network dominates my DVR, truly.

Favorite ice cream flavor?


Kimberly: I’m not really a huge fan of ice cream, honestly. And while I’m admitting that, I might as well say I hate chocolate too. I’ll wait for the hate mail to start pouring in on that one aaaany minute now…

Are you bilingual or trilingual?

Jessica: I speak English and I know how to say “the police are outside” in Spanish but that’s about it. Living in California, that’s shameful, I know.

Kimberly: I took four years of French in high school and for the most part, I can understand it when it’s spoken to me but I can’t speak it to save my life. Other than that, no. I have some Rosetta Stone DVDs that are collecting dust on my shelves…I guess I should probably get on that at some point…

Favorite vacation spots?

Jessica: Since I’ve never been anywhere tropical like Hawaii, I’d have to say Lake Tahoe. It’s gorgeous and I enjoy spending my summers in tranquility by the Lake… Vegas is a very close second, though. I have a bit of a gambling fetish… I say fetish and not problem because it’s only a problem if you lose! LOL!

Favorite authors?

Jessica: My co-author Kimberly is my favorite author but that’s a biased statement, so I’ll go with Suzanne Collins because Hunger Games changed my life. It was the first book in so long that I just LOVED. I was honestly was getting really bored of YA until I read it. It seemed all the stories coming out were about low self esteemed emo chicks whose lives were meaningless until they met the new boy in school who seems to be head over heels for her, although she had no redeeming qualities. Granted, A Collection of Souls strayed that way somewhat, but I’m trying to get away from female protagonists with “Bella Syndrome” (No offense to Bella. I hadn’t read a book in years before Twilight, as you can probably tell from my super long television show answers.)
Kimberly: I love Amanda Hocking for her mastery of the Young Adult genre and because she pioneered the way for Indie authors with her My Blood Approves and Trylle series. Francesca Lia Block’s poetic style of writing has ALWAYS affected me deeply. She writes beauty into every novel, no matter how sad or sick the content may be. I have every single one of her books, and I reread them constantly. I love J.R. Ward and her paranormal romance books because she created an intricate vampire warrior world that I actually cared about. Too many times I’ve read paranormal romances where the strongest point of the book was the sex, and the storyline was just an afterthought. This is not the case with Ward’s books; I’m just as enthralled with the plots as I am with the romance. My newest find was Isaac Marion and from the very first page of his zombie novel, Warm Bodies, I was hooked. He has this incredible way with words…poetic, yes, but it’s more than that. He paints such a vivid picture when he writes. His words get into your head, your throat, your gut…and they don’t let you go. They possess you. I’m VERY excited to see what else he comes out with in the future. And I will always be a fan of Dean Koontz and Stephen King because these authors, respectively, helped build my love my writing and entertained me throughout my growing years.

Favorite books?

Jessica: Number one is the Hunger Games, as I sated before. I just finished The taker by Alma Katsu and I’m really looking forward to the sequel. She writes so beautifully and the story is such a page turner. I’m also in the midst of reading a lot of Indie authors like myself, and one shines brighter than the rest right now because it’s so different and has such a haunting, deliciously creepy feel to it. It’s called The Nightmare Stone by Finian Black and it’s becoming a fast favorite.

Kimberly: Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion, for the above-mentioned reason. The Rose and The Beast by Francesca Lia Block, because they’re modern-day retellings of fairy tales and I LOVE fairy tales. From The Corner of His Eye as well as the Frankenstein series by Dean Koontz. Pretty much every Stephen King novel released in the 80s and 90s. The Hunger Games was an incredible series, and I really did enjoy Amanda Hocking’s My Blood Approves series.


It's our favorite part! The author, Jessica Gilliland, has two sets of prizes for us, mere mortals! First set: a signed paperback of their book (US residents only). Second set: three (3) ecopies of their book (nook or kindle)! CLICK HERE for the giveaway contests!

1 comment: