By: Jessica Kapp
Publisher: Diversion Publishing
Publication Date: August 15th, 2017
People would kill for her body.
Raised in an elite foster center off the California coast, sixteen-year-old Tabitha’s been sculpted into a world-class athlete. Her trainers have told her she’ll need to be in top physical condition to be matched with a loving family, even though personal health has taken a backseat outside the training facility. While Tabitha swims laps and shaves seconds off her mile time, hoping to find a permanent home, the rest of the community takes pills produced by pharmaceutical giant PharmPerfect to erase their wrinkles, grow hair, and develop superhuman strength.
When Tabitha’s finally paired, instead of being taken to meet her new parents, she wakes up immobile on a hospital bed. Moments before she’s sliced open, a group of renegade teenagers rescues her, and she learns the real reason for her perfect health: PharmPerfect is using her foster program as a replacement factory for their pill-addicted clients’ failing organs. And her friends from the center, the only family she’s ever known, are next in line to be harvested.
Determined to save them, Tabitha joins forces with her rescuers, led by moody and mysterious Gavin Stiles. As they race to infiltrate the hospital and uncover the rest of PharmPerfect’s secrets, though, Tabitha finds herself with more questions than answers. Will trusting the enigmatic group of rebels lead her back to the slaughterhouse?
A book goes through a lot of different versions and rounds of editing before it’s complete. What are some fun facts or behind the scenes info you can share about the characters from your book or the world you created for it that may or may not have made it to the final draft of the book?
You are so right, and what a great question!
It’s amazing how much a story can morph and change over the course of its life. BODY PARTS went through at least two rounds of edits before it got the green light from my critique partners, then more edits from my agent, and finally a couple of rounds with my publisher. I think I’ve read BODY PARTS about 834 times. Give or take a few.
I know every round of edits is important, but I absolutely love the honeymoon stage of drafting. It’s that first meeting with your characters. Awkward but exciting—maybe you even get a few butterflies. You learn a little bit about them as you create the world they live in. Different quirks and mannerisms. Every time I part with my characters, I can’t wait to see them again. They can do no wrong. Yet.
Revisions are where the first fight takes place, but ultimately it’s where the story takes shape. Wrestling with scenes and characters is that first true battle between the author and the manuscript. Feelings get hurt. Tears are shed.
And sometimes people die.
In the original version of BODY PARTS, I had a young boy named Cameron (R.I.P. little buddy) who had to be axed per feedback from my agent. He lived at the Center for Growth, which is the foster center for the younger children (under 12). He was the child being moved up to the Center for Excellence after Tabitha was matched with a family. Even though his role was small, erasing him from the world was tough. It’s hard to pretend he never existed when we’d spent months together. My agent’s notes are so insightful though, and I trusted her judgment.
But Cameron wasn’t the first to go.
In my early, early, early draft of BODY PARTS, the citizens on the island took on a bigger role in the organ-harvesting scheme. They weren’t kept in the dark, and I had Tabitha meeting the parents who selected her—or rather, selected her for her organs. Something in my gut told me the story was heading in the wrong direction, and I chopped two chapters out completely. It was the best decision I could make for the story.
I wanted to play up the fact that people didn’t really want to know where the organs came from. They just wanted to take pills to perfect themselves without doing any work on their own. They don’t care who pays the price—as long as it’s not them.
In that way, the antagonist is not just the pharmaceutical company or the people working at the foster center, but also the people ignoring the horrific acts done on their behalf. There is something evil about their willful blindness.
Jessica Kapp enjoys writing Young Adult Contemporary and Speculative Fiction. Story ideas often strike at inopportune times, and she’s been known to text herself reminders from under the covers.
She lives on a small farm in Washington with far too many goats and an occasional cow.
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