Author Interview: Marissa Kennerson

Meet Marissa Kennerson.



Hi Marissa! Thanks for joining us today. Tell us a little about yourself.

Marissa Kennerson received her B.A. in English Literature from the University of California at Berkeley. Before earning her master’s degree in psychology and art therapy, she worked for Wired and Glamour. She’s the author of the YA cult-suspense novel, The Family, which she did not write from personal experience, since the only cult she’s ever been in is the cult of YouTube makeup tutorials.She lives in California with her family.


The Interview.

Cult-suspense gives me the shivers. What was the weirdest fact you came across in your research for The Family?

Hmm…great question. I came across a lot of weird stuff. I researched North Korea and read a book called, “Nothing to Envy” by Barbara Demick. That was a true education, and I was pretty astounded by how people are living there. A very sad and powerful read.


Psychology, art therapy, and literature – oh my! How do these three fields influence your writing and editing processes?

Well..there always is an artist at the heart of my books and the creation process is huge for her. She’s bucking the system because she is an artist. For Twig – her art brings up  her memories, and for Anna – creating saves her sanity during her imprisonment.

My past as a psychotherapist definitely influences my writing! I always think about how a person experience will inform their relationships, actions, thought process, etc. Spending a few years listening to people tell stories also helps with dialogue and thought process.


I came across Tarot on Twitter and nearly drooled. I adore the whole premise of the book. Can you share the origin story behind Tarot and how it came to be what it is now?

Razorbill wanted to do a story about Tarot, and they knew I love all things boho, Stevie Nicks, The IChing – so we got together and the tale was woven…I loved the idea of introducing Tarot to young readers – with a light touch. I was in Vancouver last December and ran into the cutest Tarot shop called The Good Spirit. The owners goal is to make Tarot a little lighter, more fun. I love that.


What is your least favorite part of the book to publication process and how do you deal with the writing blues?

I think waiting is hard…when you’re between books, drafts, edits. Waiting on feedback is tough. Best thing to do is start the next project, but a lot of times I will just do nice things for myself like exercise, yoga, read a great book or watch something fun. Writing blues are best cured (for me) with all of those things and also reaching out to other writers. Connection is huge! I have some great writers around me and their support means the worlds.


If you could live in any book for one day, what book would it be and why?

What a great question! I think that answer could change depending on what mood I was in! Right now I’m craving some small town charm…so I might pop into one of Kristan Higgin’s novels like, “On Second Thought.” (Not YA.) I would LOVE to spend a day in Fennbirn with Mirabella from Kendare Blake’s, “Three Dark Crowns.” That would be ahhhmazing.


Do you have a playlist to either of your novels? If yes, share a song that depicts each. If not, what song would you pick to highlight The Family and Tarot?

Side of the Road by Lucinda Williams for the Family. There’s a point where Twig so desperately wants to get away but is so deeply tied to the Family. It’s a song about being able to experience yourself outside of a relationship but not have the relationship go away.

Wildflowers by Tom Petty (RIP) for Anna and Tarot. It just describes her life in Cups really beautifully as she experiences freedom and new parts of herself for the first time.


Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers today?

Thank you for your time today! If anyone ever sees themselves in one of my books or finds a little comfort from them…that means everything!

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