Sep 23, 2015

Blog Tour & Guest Post: Picture Imperfect by Jelsa Mepsey


We're lucky enough here at The Book Bratz to be participating in the blog tour for Picture Imperfect by Jelsa Mepsey! We're going to show you a bit about the book and author Jelsa Mepsey and we hope it intrigues you as much as it did to us - and that you add the book to your TBR! 

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Title: Picture Imperfect
Author: Jelsa Mepsey
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Publication Date: September 22nd, 2015
Summary: Sixteen-year-old Max Prescott knows all too well the joys of cheating girlfriends and traitorous friends. He’s not eager to have his heart trampled again, but money and a fresh start can mean the difference between happiness and a dark path with his name on it. So when Melly Hewson, a perky and enigmatic classmate, asks him to be her model for a year-long photography project, Max agrees. Melly Hewson is everything Max isn’t. She’s outgoing, witty and always knows the right words to say. And despite his best efforts, Max finds himself drawn to her. Still, he isn’t stupid. He knows a girl like Melly will only use him and then never speak to him again. Besides, he’s been to that rodeo. As long as he keeps his feelings off the market, he won’t make the same mistakes as last time. Yet underneath Melly’s sweet smiles lies a secret she’d rather kept hidden. And as the year goes on and the photos pile up, Max and Melly will find themselves developing through the negatives, a story that when told could push them to opposite ends of their world. But the only thing worst than the truth is, the facade that surrounds them.

Guest Post by Author Jelsa Mepsey: The Road to Publication

PICTURE IMPERFECT started as a nameless book until it was complete at 1,089 pages, all written by hand when I was a high school junior. I started writing the novel two months after acquiring my dog, Waffles, who snuck his way into the story. At the time, I was a member of two wonderful communities: Inkpop and Literati Sedition. The original opening began with Max waking up from his hangover at home. Thankfully, my friends at Literati Sedition told me that I should start elsewhere. That’s how PICTURE IMPERFECT, known as Facades at the time, found its way to a quicker beginning.

From Literati Sedition alone, a website that never had more than 10-15 members at a time, I received at least 110,000 words of comments in about a year and a half to two years. Some of them seem to have been lost in transition, although utilized as I revised subsequent drafts. Sometimes, it took several hours to fix the newest draft of a chapter. At the same time, Facades was on its way to the Top 5 on Inkpop. The Top 5 are the five highest-ranked projects on the website and are reviewed by a Harper-Collins editor at the end of the month. Previously, I had two other projects hit the Top 5 and received positive reviews for them: Love at First Sight and Surrender.

When Facades was ranked 11th on the site, a month or two from reaching an editor’s desk for review, Harper-Collins announced that Inkpop would be shutting down in less than a week. By the time I started college half a year later, Literati Sedition shut down as well. I was left with no stable place for feedback. When I finished college three years later, the only two books I had finished were Second Chance and the sequel to Picture Imperfect. This sharply contrasted with how prolific I was the previous five years, having completed more than 30 first drafts of novels that need significant revision.

Meanwhile, I attempted to query Facades. Since the novel is very character-driven, I found it difficult to write a blurb that would “hook” readers. In the contests I participated in and the queries I sent, I received little attention and a lot of rejection. I decided I was better off taking my chances with a novel that would attract readers more easily.

In January 2014, Second Chance almost became my debut novel. It was easier to pitch a book about a school shooting, and it received many more requests from agents and companies. A different press made a contract with me to publish it, but was unable to fulfill their end. By July 2014, I was back to square one. Knowing Second Chance needed work, I temporarily shelved it. Then a new friend told me that Swoon Romance had an open call for submissions, and Facades fit exactly what they were looking for. Knowing Facades was my most polished manuscript and one of the ones I’ve always loved the most, I decided to give it a shot.

I braced myself for rejection. Instead, the partial request became a full request. The full request became a contract. Even then, it was difficult to be excited because I’d been burned before. When edits landed in my inbox, I realized that it was really happening. My book was getting published. After discussing a new book title, PICTURE IMPERFECT got a cover. My publisher organized my cover reveal for me rather than asking me to do it myself. The edits were amazing, and I fell in love with the manuscript again.

Publication may seem like the end of a long journey, but it’s far from that. Really, it is only the beginning of a lifetime of words and stories that I yearn to share.

About the Author

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Jelsa Mepsey writes young adult contemporary romance fiction, drawing inspiration from daily life. With her work, she is dedicated to spurring people to think about what they have taken for granted and to shed light on the issues people avoid talking about. As an Asian-American in her 20s, she is excited to explore more of the human experience as she herself journeys through life. Writing, rock climbing 5.12 routes, and playing various instruments have resulted in the formation of many calluses on her hands over the years. When not engaging in her previously mentioned hobbies, Jelsa can be found at her local library with a stack of at least ten books, naming her various pens, or staring at her dog Waffles for inspiration.

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