YA Feature: Introducing YA author Jessie Harrell

*NOTE: This week's post is a day late as my internet went down, sorry!*

This week on Reading Away The Days YA Feature is YA author, Jessie Harrell. Jessie is the author of her debut novel, Destined! Check out the interview with Jessie and leave a nice comment below! Enjoy!

A little about Jessie:

I'm a creative person by nature, but ended up in the law, which doesn't allow much creative freedom.  I've been scrapbooking for years and have always enjoyed crafts and photography as creative outlets, but hadn't written creatively since high school until a few years ago.  At the time, my husband suggested that "we" write children's books, because (his words) "how hard can that be?" and I quickly learned it was WAY harder than it looked.  But when I sat down to write Psyche's story, the words just seemed to flow.  And I fell in love with writing.

Can you tell us a little about Destined your debut novel?

Destined is a retelling of the myth of Cupid & Psyche, but it's different from the other retellings on the market because Destined is not set in the present day. Destined is firmly rooted in ancient Greece, yet the writing and dialog is fresh (has a very modern feel), so it should not be hard for today's readers to become immeshed in the past.  But more than that, Destined is a story about love, loss and redemption.  The summary from the back of the book probably says it best:

"When Psyche receives a prophecy gone horribly wrong, she learns that even the most beautiful girl in Greece can have a hideous future. Her fate? Fall in love with the one creature even the gods fear.

As she feels herself slipping closer into the arms of the prophecy, Psyche must choose between the terrifyingly tender touch she feels almost powerless to resist and the one constant she's come to expect out of life: you cannot escape what is destined.

Destined is a fresh and heartachingly romantic retelling of the Cupid & Psyche myth from debut novelist, Jessie Harrell."

Where did you get the idea for Destined?

Well, Destined relies heavily on the original myth, of course, and I fell in love with that while I was majoring in Classics in undergrad.  I'm not sure where the ideas for tweaking the story came from really.  I just knew that I wanted Psyche to be strong, and much more than a pretty face. I wanted her to take responsibility for her own actions; I wanted her to have a friend; and I wanted the gods to have real personalities.  From there, it was just brainstorming...

In Destined your main character is given a prophecy of a destiny she can't escape. Do you beileve in destiny? That if something is destined to be you can't change it.

Yes and no.  I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason.  But I also believe that you get back out of life what you put into it.  So, for example, if someone told you that you only had months to live but you refused to accept that and kept a positive attitude, your chances of beating the prediction would be dramatically better than if you rolled over and accepted it. Does that make sense?

The cover for Destined is beautiful! Who designed it and did you have much say in the designing process?

Why, thank you!  I found my designer, Josh Longiaru, on line and we worked together on every aspect of the cover.  We had some basic ideas, but when I found Perri's picture and she agreed to let me use it on the cover, we were really in business.  Josh was great at putting all of the elements together for me and making suggestions, but I had the absolute final say on all aspects of it. SO. MUCH. FUN.

How does it feel to have your debut novel out there for the whole world to read. I would guess exciting and nervous at the same time?

Absolutely. The part that made me the most nervous was sending out the ARCs. Up until that point, only critique partners, my editor, and a collection of beta readers had read it and given me feedback (assuming we don't count the agents who declined representation).  I was terrified that those early reviewers wouldn't like it.  But when the reviews started coming back so favorably, I couldn't wait until release day. It makes me giddy when I see someone on twitter who posts that they've started reading it, or finished it.  I'm just dying to know what people think about it-- good or bad.

Is Destined the first book in a series? If so how many books will there be?

Destined is a stand alone novel.  However, I am outlining another book that will be set in the same ancient-with-a-modern-tone world, but will revolve around another couple and a myth all my own.

Why should we read Destined?

Because it has Greek mythology in it -- what more do you need?  LOL.  Truly, you ask a humbling question and one that I can't express that as well as my reviewers have.  Carina from Germany had this to say in her Goodreads review and I hope it answers your question:

"This is a very seductive and beautiful story which I can recommend to everyone who is looking for a romantic and well written novel. Destined is now definitely one of my favorite books of 2011 because it has everything I want in a story: interesting characters, an exciting storyline and a lovely style of writing."

Thank you to Jessie for the interview. Destined is available to buy now!

Amazon (paperback) or (Kindle)
Barnes & Noble (Nook)
Follow Jessie:


  1. Thank you so much for hosting me on your lovely blog. I appreciate it very much!

  2. The Cover is so beautiful . . . Awesome Interview :) Really wanna read this book now :) xx