This is Kim Turrisi’s first novel and is based off of her story as her sister committed suicide when Kim was fifteen. The emotions are raw and real in Just a Normal Tuesday. It was released last week on May 2nd and I feel everyone should read this novel. It truly touched me; so far this is my #1 read of the year. My review for Just A Normal Tuesday is here.
JRR (Jessica’s Reading Room):Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m an Air Force brat so I moved every two years. That alone helps me adapt to new situations fairly quickly. My love of music is from my father and my love of reading definitely from my mom and sister. Both read to me every day when I was younger. I was destined to be a book nerd and I’m okay with that. I went to college in Florida at Florida State University and I am a diehard Seminole fan.
JRR: I am a book nerd as well and proud of it. I have a problem and freely admit it! Did you always want to become an author?
I always wanted to be a writer. I wrote screenplays first then two web series. Working at the SCBWI(The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators), I fell in love with young adult literature. I can’t imagine doing anything else. If I’m not writing it, I’m reading it. There are so many incredible YA authors.
JRR: There really are so many good YA author and books out there, yours included! What does your writing process consist of?
I always, always write with music playing. I create a play list for the book I’m about to tackle then a play list for my protagonist. When I wrote Just a Normal Tuesday, several songs were on repeat while I wrote the really tough stuff. Lots of angst. I keep notebooks about each of my characters that I go back to as I outline my book. I like to know what they wear, what foods they like, habits they have, what they read and definitely what music they listen to.
JRR: That playlist and the notebooks helped when you wrote Just a Normal Tuesday since for me you really nailed all the emotions. What kind of advice can you give to aspiring authors? I know the journey to become published and can be a long and difficult one.
My best advice is to never give up. It is hard road but when it does happen, I promise that all of the rejections and revisions are worth it. Also, make sure you surround yourself with other writers and take their notes to heart. With Tuesday, I was so close to it, I needed other perspectives to stay on track. I’m grateful to all the people who read it and those who rejected it but gave me notes. It made this book so much better.
JRR: That’s a good way to take the rejections; using the notes you were given to improve the book. What made you go the ‘traditional route’ for getting Just a Normal Tuesday published versus indie/self -publishing?
It was a goal I gave myself. There was no question that I would go the traditional route. In my every day job, I work closely with editors at the traditionally publishing companies so it was my comfort zone.
JRR: Where did the idea for Just a Normal Tuesday come from? Did you take your personal experiences to form Kai’s character, especially when it came to the range of emotions she felt after her sister’s suicide? Was Just a Normal Tuesday difficult to write or was it a kind of therapy and a way to get those emotions and feelings out?
Just a Normal Tuesday is based on what happened to me when I was fifteen. I fictionalized a portion of it but honestly, a lot of the emotions and events were spot on. I would say Kai and I shared the spiral of anger and despair. This was probably the hardest book I will ever write since it’s so close to my truth. There were many dark days having to recall all that I went through at such a young age. It’s also the first time I’ve talked about it since then.
I didn’t get to go to Grief Camp at fifteen but in writing this book, I felt like I did all these years later. It was quite cathartic even when it felt like I was climbing Mt. Everest.
JRR: The emotions Kai experiences were so real and raw! At times I felt like I was hearing your story (which in a way we were) with the first half of the book. It felt like you were talking to me as I was reading.
Who do you hope your book reaches? I feel that everyone should read this book, especially those who lost someone at a young age. There is such a wide range of emotions the reader will experience as the book is read.
When I set out on this journey, my hope was that anyone feeling left behind by a loved one would see themselves in this book so they felt less alone and that it helps them find their path to healing. The stigma of suicide can be isolating especially if no one is talking about it. That’s how it was for me.
Grief is a universal feeling. No matter how you lose a loved one, it’s devastating. Suicide is especially crippling since it’s sometimes so difficult to understand.
***Thank you so much for your time with this interview Kim! I know you have been very busy with the launch of Just a Normal Tuesday, so this means a lot that you agreed to an interview at this time. Good luck with the book! I hope it reaches many people out there who need it. It truly touched me and I hope everyone reads it.
If you are considering suicide please get help. There are many organizations that can help. You are worth it!
The National Suicide Prevention Helpline
The Trevor Project (LGTBQ)
For those who have lost someone, here are some camps that can help: