JESSIE STEPHENS


Image source: thewest.com.au

Jessie's debut book about three true stories of heartbreak was published earlier this year and we had the pleasure of asking her a few questions about it.

Click here to see our reviews.

 

SYNOPSIS

Claire has returned from London to the dust and familiarity of her childhood home, only to realise something is wrong with her partner Maggie.

Patrick is a lonely uni student, until he meets Caitlin - but does she feel as connected as he does?

Ana is happily married with three children. Then, one night, she falls in love with someone else.

Based on three true stories, Heartsick is a compelling narrative nonfiction account of the many lows and occasional surprising highs of heartbreak. Bruising, beautiful, achingly specific but wholeheartedly universal, it reminds us that emotional pain can make us as it breaks us, and that storytelling has the ultimate healing power.

 

TGOB:
Of the three narratives and relationships that you explored, did you find yourself relating to or finding comfort in one more so than the others?

JESSIE:
I've thought hard about this and I don't think so! I found parts of all three that I related with and that I'd experienced. I have been surprised by how many people have said they most connected with Ana. I think there's something in 'the one who got away', or that person we always wonder about. Seems far more common than I expected. 

 

TGOB:
How long did the research component of the process take in comparison to the actual writing of the book?

JESSIE:
Generally I spoke to the subject for about a month before I started to write, but the research continued throughout the entire writing process. I'd call them or message them or meet up with them to check on details and get clearer scenes in my head about what had happened. The research was the 'easy' bit. Writing was much harder!

 

TGOB:
Why do you think we see so many works of fiction that romanticise heartbreak pervading our bookshelves, over those like ‘Heartsick’ that explore the more honest and ugly sides to it?

JESSIE:
I think too many books and films and other works of art look at heartbreak in retrospect. That means we're applying all the lessons we've learned and imbuing those experiences with wisdom. I wanted to write a book where three subjects were still in the muck, and weren't being didactic in their retelling. It's refreshing to hear from someone who is in the throes of pain or grief, rather than someone who has recovered from it. 

 

TGOB:
How have you felt about the response from readers?

JESSIE:
Overwhelmed, but in a great way! I've received thousands of messages from people who have read the book which I didn't expect. The thing that has struck me most is that heartbreak is far more universal than I expected. So many people have experienced it and still live with it, even though they might be married with kids now. 

 

TGOB:
Do you have plans to publish or release any follow on content from ‘Heartsick’, or perhaps a new literary project entirely?

JESSIE:
There have definitely been developments in the stories that make me want to follow up their stories! Perhaps I'll do that in a few years. I do have a new literary project that I'm excited by, also in the genre of non fiction. 

 

Thank you to PanMacmillan Australia for sending us an advanced review copy of this book.

You can find more information about the book and purchase a copy here.

RRP: $34.99

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published