J is for Jillian

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As you may know, I’m currently working on a rewrite of my contemporary YA manuscript, Cross My Heart. This story is a labor of love — emphasis on the word LABOR. Once called Loving Max Holden (a title I might revert back to), it’s been giving me headaches for nearly two years. But I CANNOT let it go. Why, you might ask, have I stuck with a troublesome manuscript for so long? Well, its main characters, Jillian and Max (who you’ll meet on Saturday!), are just too adorable for words. I love them so much, and, simply, I can’t not tell their story.

Jillian is the most like me of any character I’ve written. She’s got a dry wit about her, and one might say she’s emotionally stunted. She’s constantly measuring herself against others, wondering how she compares. Though she puts on a casual-cool air, she’s highly analytical. She’s tight with her dad and angsty about her (pregnant and perfect) step-mom. Jill loves to bake, and she’s got clear goals in mind. She’s not the swooning type, and she’s definitely not that girl who’d let her life be derailed by a boy.

Until… it is.

Fun shoes!
Meet Jillian…

Where she sleeps…

Blue & White
Where she lives

Cupcakes Coffee Cream Brownies White Chocolate Lemon Truffles
What she loves…

What she dreams of…

What she reads…

Cream in your coffee?
What she drinks (no sugar, please)…

. Meet in the middle.
What she learns…

Tell me: Do you use visual inspiration for your WiPs?


49 thoughts on “J is for Jillian

  1. Elodie says:

    Awww! 😀 Jillian sounds like somebody I’d like to call a friend! And those pictures are indeed quite inspiring, Katy! I cannot wait to read that book…The more you mention it, the more intrigued I am. If you ever need fresh eyes on it, you have my email/Twitter/blog/pinterest/Instagram, right? 😀
    I also use visuals for inspiration and I have to say that Pinterest is great for this! 😀

  2. Meredith says:

    Hi Jillian! Can I have your kitchen, please? 😉 The story sounds pretty awesome—baking and cute boys? Yes please!

    I use a lot of visuals too. I would be lost without my Pinterest boards!

    • katyupperman says:

      Isn’t that kitchen gorgeous?! I think I’m living vicariously through Jillian a bit on that one. And doesn’t Pinterest make “research” so much more fun? Love it!

  3. Alison Miller says:

    Stop posting pics of food! Just kidding – but my tummy’s a little rumbly now. 🙂 And, um…I hope you’re hard at work on those revisions because Alison misses Jillian and Max something fierce.

    • katyupperman says:

      Oh, no! Food pics two days in a row! I didn’t even realize. I love that you referred to yourself in third person in your comment, SWF. My husband was just making fun of me for doing that the other day. And yes… I’m working!

  4. Sophia Richardson says:

    Funny, I just posted twice about Pinterest and image inspiration, must be something in the water. I gravitate towards photos of setting and occasionally possible character photos, but mostly I just seem to be hoarding pretty pictures!

  5. Carrie says:

    These are great. I’m trying to use Pintrest to create some boards for things I’m working on. Great work.

  6. Liz Parker (@LizParkerWrites) says:

    Katy I love this post! This is probably my favorite of all the ones I’ve come across today. I’m inspired to put something like this together for my characters now. I’m intrigued by this WIP! I also love your tie-in to A-Z.

    • katyupperman says:

      Thanks so much, Liz! It was lots of fun to put together, and it happened to fit in perfectly with RTW too. Pinterest is great for collecting and organizing inspirational images. I highly recommend it if you’re not already using.

  7. Zanne says:

    I have never thought about doing this, but now I want to spend the day finding pictures for my WIP. 🙂 I am definitely interested in this story–it sounds like something I would enjoy reading.

    • katyupperman says:

      Thanks, Zanne! I’ve spent many days collecting images. I find them really inspiring, and they make writing descriptions much easier and much more fun!

  8. Colin says:

    Sounds like a very well-developed character, Katy. I can only imaging Max is as well-realized (I guess we’ll find out on Saturday…). 🙂

    • katyupperman says:

      I’m that way with some things too, but over all, I like to have a really clear picture in mind before I write descriptions. Collecting photos helps me to develop my characters and settings in more detail.

      It’s so fun to learn about everyone’s individual processes!

  9. Juliana Haygert says:

    I love Jillian already!
    I do use pics to inspire me. Usually, I create a folder of pics for each WIP. I guess I should try Pinterest for that, right? lol

  10. Laurie Dennison says:

    These are wonderful pictures. They paint such a nice image of your character. After all these posts today, I hope in the future of publishing and enhanced e-books we get to see more books meshed with photography. 🙂

  11. Leigh says:

    Jillian sounds great! And I love her kitchen style!! Stylish 🙂
    Dropping in again,
    #885 of A to Z challenge…
    Leigh @ oneandoneequalstwinfun.com

  12. Rebecca B says:

    On the basis of these pictures, I am dying to read your book. Dying! I love this aesthetic, and she sounds like a great character. Good luck with the rewrite–I’m starting one myself right now. 🙂

  13. Cynthia says:

    These are nice pictures. Definitely curious to learn more about Jillian, her baking, and that boy. I would be curious to see a picture of him too!

  14. Rachel says:

    Um…I know this is crazy but I’d love to beta. I’m sure you have a 1,000 beta readers but…this sounds SO good. I am not much of a baker but i love reading books about baking and brown haired girls. lol. (My MC is also a J – Jenna!) I really like both titles for your WIP and I hope you continue — please give us all blog readers a snippet some time? *looks at Katy innocently*

    • katyupperman says:

      Rachel, I’m actually posting a tiny snippet tomorrow for my Lucky Seven post. 🙂 And thanks for the offer to beta… I might just have to take you up on that when I’m done with this rewrite!

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