Welcome to the final Blog Tour Stop for Jackie Morse Kessler’s RAGE, the second book in her RIDERS OF THE APOCALYPSE quartet!

For those not familiar with the series, check out my reviews of HUNGER and RAGE to get caught up! They’re well-worth your time.

Jackie, thanks for your fantastic responses. I enjoyed reading about how you came up with your ideas and LOVED the hints of what’s to come!


Jackie, you've previously stated that there was a lot leading up to why you began writing HUNGER. Did you always envision writing about the other three Horsemen as well, or did that come later?

JK: Oh, that definitely came later. Specifically, it happened when I was talking to my agent on the phone, right after I handed in HUNGER to my editor, and my agent asked me, “So, which Horseman are you writing about next?” And I was like, “NEXT???” She pointed out that there are Four Horsemen, and so I started thinking about it, and based on events in HUNGER, it made sense for the next Horseman to be War. And from there, I made the connection of having a teenage self-injurer—specifically, a cutter—to take up the Sword of War.

What made you decide to add a fantasy element such as the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse to a real, hard-hitting issue such as self-abuse? Personally, I love the way you mashed the two together. It doesn't come off as "preachy" and will get readers who may not otherwise read about such issues to pick up the book.

JK: Thanks! I actually had the idea of having an anorexic teenage girl become the new Famine for about ten years before I wrote HUNGER. I’m not the first one to do that; MARVEL COMICS had a supervillain back in the 1980s called Famine, who was an anorexic teenage mutant with the power of destroying food. She, along with the other Horsemen, wore costumes and rode mechanical steeds and fought the good guys. (Kapow!) But that was really about the battles; it didn’t focus on the girl’s anorexia. I wanted a story that took a hard-hitting look at eating disorders; I used to be bulimic, so having eating disorders be the focus was extremely important to me. You could take the Horseman element out of HUNGER, and there would still be a story. It would be a different story, granted, but it would still be a story. If you take the eating disorders out, then there would be no story left.

Next up is a book revolving around Pestilence, LOSS. Can you tell us a little bit about what to expect?

JK: The book that I **just** finished writing!!! :) LOSS is about a bullied teenage boy who is tricked into becoming Pestilence. There’s a lot more about the Horsemen in this book, and readers who have read HUNGER and RAGE may be happy to hear they’ll see a lot more of Death. :)

Are you able to reveal any secrets yet about the final book in the quartet? Will we see the awesome Death we all know and love, or be introduced to someone new? Do you have a title yet?

JK: **rubs hands gleefully** BREATH will be Death’s book. And I am giddy. Giddy, I tell you! Death is the only Horseman who is the original, so I think it’s not exactly a spoiler that it will be the same character that you’ve seen in HUNGER, RAGE, and LOSS.

What was the hardest thing about writing RAGE? The easiest?

JK: Man, that book was tough, emotionally speaking. It left me feeling raw and exhausted. And, um, about a third or so of the way through the book, I threw out my synopsis because, well, it was wrong. :) So I was pantsing a good chunk of the book, which was sort of terrifying when you’re used to plotting (and you have a contracted deadline to hit). I had no idea how the book was going to end until I wrote the last two chapters. :) “Easy,” I couldn’t say, but the coolest part of writing RAGE was when I finally heard the voice of War. I was about to write what was supposed to be the big battle/climax...but as I started, I heard this voice, and it said: “The world is a wound, and I will cauterize it.” And I was like, WHAT???? And that’s when I first really got War as a character, so I went back and made a bunch of changes. But that was awesome.

In RAGE, Missy's voice is so distinctive and different from the way Lisa sounded in HUNGER. Of the Four Horsemen, who is your favorite to bring life to and write scenes about? Why? I'll admit that personally, I'm a huge fan of Death. He's fantastic!

JK: Thanks! I’m glad the two voices are distinct. And yeah, Death is my favorite, hands down. Boy, wait until you read LOSS — you get to see a completely different side to him!

Did you always know the way in which you'd destroy Missy's life at the party? What gave you the idea?

JK: Yeah, I knew. From the moment I had the idea for the book, I knew. It was one of those fully-formed ideas that just happen—the same way that Death looking, sounding and singing exactly like Kurt Cobain just happened. Man, that was a tough scene. I cringed when I wrote it. (And I wanted to punch Adam in the jaw.)

I love that you donate some of the proceeds from each book to charities designed to help people with similar issues to the ones your characters suffer from. What made you decide to take this step?

JK: I knew from the beginning that I was going to donate a portion of HUNGER proceeds to the National Eating Disorders Association. I mentioned earlier that I used to be bulimic, so it was important to me to do something to help others who are suffering from eating disorders. And when I wrote RAGE, my crit partner mentioned To Write Love On Her Arms, and after I read about the organization, I knew it would be perfect for that book. If there’s a unifying theme to the Riders of the Apocalypse, it’s how we choose to destroy ourselves—and how we choose to save ourselves as well. And so, I’m giving some of the sales to specific charities. :) To everyone who buys the books: thank you for helping to make a difference!

A BACKWARDS STORY is the final stop on the RAGE BLOG TOUR, though Jackie will stop by The Hate-Mongering Tart on May 1st. Please be sure to check it out!