Authors Are Rockstars: Death Interviews Billy

Hello everyone! I’m so excited to be a part of this tour cause I think I have the most awesomeness interview EVER!

My stop is featuring the one and only Jackie Morse Kessler, author of the Riders of the Apocalypse series.

Ms. Kessler is not afraid to write about raw subjects. Her books are pure awesome-sauce!!

Through out this series, there has been once characters that has intrigued me to no end. I always wanted more of him and can’t wait to hear his story. But for now, Ms. Kessler has given us the pleasure of Death interviewing Billy.
DEATH:
Hey there, living people. Welcome to Post Mortem, the fake online talk-radio show where fictional characters talk to me about their books, their Authors, and basically anything they want. I’m your host, Death.

Today’s guest is the protagonist of LOSS, book three of the Riders of the Apocalypse, by Jackie Morse Kessler.

[GLANCES AT CUE CARD] School Library Journal says, “Kessler blends fantasy, history, humor, and hard reality into a gripping tale.” Booklist says, “Kessler’s third book in the Riders of the Apocalypse series stays true to the initial premise of exposing a teen affliction—this time bullying—by providing an allegorical analysis of its effects and offering hope to its sufferers.” And New York Times bestselling author Sophie Jordan calls LOSS “Gritty and raw with powerful truths. An addictive read.”

Living people, give a warm welcome to Billy Ballard!

[APPLAUSE]

Hey, Billy!

BILLY:

Yeah. Um. Hey. [LOOKS AROUND] Where are the others?

DEATH:

Others?

 Death by Artist Ryan Robbins


BILLY:

You know. War. Famine. The other Riders of the Apocalypse.

DEATH:

They’re riding. Sort of in the job description.

BILLY:

[BLINKS] You told me we were getting together for a game of Bridge.

DEATH:

I might have lied.

BILLY:

[SIGHS]

DEATH:

If I’d invited you to be interviewed about being the hero of LOSS, would you have accepted?

BILLY:

Wait, let me think about it. No.

DEATH:

So I lied. And here you are.

BILLY:

Terrific. Anyone ever tell you what a role model you are? No? Wonder why that is…

DEATH:

A dead man once said that the ends justified the means.

BILLY:

[SIGHS, SINKS INTO CHAIR] All right. Let’s do this. You said you’re interviewing me about LOSS? That’s…

DEATH:

Rather meta.

BILLY:
Well. Yeah.

DEATH:

In your own words, what is LOSS about?

BILLY:

I’d been bullied pretty much all my life, but it wasn’t until I became Pestilence, the White Rider of the Apocalypse, that I learned how to fight back.

DEATH:

What was worse for you: being bullied, or being Pestilence?

BILLY:

Being bullied.

DEATH:
‘Splain, please.

BILLY:

Before LOSS, I can’t tell you the last time when I could walk down a block or down a hallway at school and not hope to God no one was waiting to trip me, or push me, or worse. I was constantly tense, always expecting the worst, because nine times out of ten, the worst happened. The laughter. The shove from behind. The nasty names. It sucked. I made myself sick from worry.

DEATH:

Literally or figuratively?

BILLY:

Both. My mom made me see doctor after doctor because I was constantly sick. Stomachaches, mostly. And even when I wasn’t sick, I tried to fake it. If I had to go to school, I’d spend hours planning what routes to take, when to run down the hall, how to avoid Joey Glass and his bruiser buddies. I’d dress to be invisible.

DEATH:

Even when you stayed home, you weren’t exactly in a safe haven, were you?

BILLY:

I wish. My grandfather’s suffering from Alzheimer’s, and we can’t afford to have him be in a home where people can take care of him properly all the time. So he lives with us. My dad left us way before Gramps got sick, so it’s just me and Mom. She’s stuck working two jobs just to keep up with the bills, so I have to be Gramps’s caregiver. And that’s a nightmare.

DEATH:

Why?

BILLY:

When he’s lucid, it’s not so bad. Then he’s just like a little kid, you know? I have to feed him and clean up after him and make sure he doesn’t hurt himself. I draw the line at changing his adult diaper, though.

DEATH:
Understandable.

BILLY:

But when Gramps isn’t in his right mind, he’s dangerous. He’s hit me. He’s bitten me. He’s accidentally started fires. He’s walked out of the house, and we’d have no idea where he’d gone. This one time, he almost got hit by a car.

DEATH:
Almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

BILLY:
Yeah? Next time, you be the one who saves him from getting run over.

DEATH:
I’m not really in the market to save people from dying. So compared with your normal life, being Pestilence wasn’t so bad.

BILLY:

Whoa, I never said that!

DEATH:
That’s what it sounds like. Normal life meant getting bullied and babysitting your grandfather. And lusting after your best friend Marianne, who you were too nervous to ask out.

BILLY:

Hey! That’s private!

DEATH:
Sorry. Mind-reading thing. Your normal life wasn’t fun.

BILLY:
But being the White Rider was worse.

DEATH:

How so?

BILLY:

You were there. You saw what I did when I had the Bow in my hands that first time. You saw what happened because of it, what I did to… [SHAKES HEAD] No, I’m not going to talk about it.

DEATH:

There is such a thing as a learning curve, you know.

BILLY:

Not when people get sick and maybe die if I mess up!

DEATH:

Consider it incentive not to mess up.

BILLY:
[GRUMBLES] I really hate your point of view.

DEATH:

It comes from being around for thousands and thousands of years. Did anything good come out of what happens to you in LOSS?

BILLY:

Well…yeah. Lots of things. [SMILES] Amazing things. I learned something important about myself, something that made me stop feeling like a victim. And then there’s the last chapter.

DEATH:

What about it?

BILLY:

[GRINS] It’s my favorite chapter. Wow, this is really meta, isn’t it?

DEATH:

Told you so. Speaking of which, were there any parts of LOSS where you were like, Jackie Morse Kessler, what on earth are you making me do? Or were you and your Author in sync the entire time?

BILLY:

I don’t like violence. But if I ever meet Jackie, I’m going to get seriously violent with her.

DEATH:

[CHUCKLES] You sound more like War than Pestilence.

BILLY:

Seriously, Jackie is vicious. She hurts her characters. A lot.

DEATH:
I think that makes her a sadist. Or, you know, an Author. If you could change any part of LOSS, what would it be?

BILLY:

Everything. [TICS OFF POINTS ON FINGERS] I wouldn’t have been bullied from the time I was a little kid, my grandfather wouldn’t have gotten Alzheimer’s, I would have had the courage to tell my best friend Marianne that I liked her more than just as a friend…

DEATH:
For the record, this time you’re the one bringing up Marianne.

BILLY:

[CONTINUING]…and I never would have gone with you when you came knocking at my door!

DEATH:

You didn’t have to help me, you know.

BILLY:

You sort of didn’t give me a choice.

DEATH:

It’s not like I held a scythe to your throat…

BILLY:

Dude. You’re Death. Capital D. I wasn’t about to talk back to you, or slam the door in your face.

DEATH:

[LAUGHS] Yeah, that was in War’s book, not yours.

BILLY:

What? War slammed the door in your face?

DEATH:

Sort of.

BILLY:

[GRINS] Awesome.

DEATH:

If you say so. If LOSS were to go the way of Hollywood, who would play you?

BILLY:

Someone who looks like me, not too tall, not too short, not too anything. You know, someone who looks real, not like a celebrity. I don’t really have an actor in mind.

DEATH:

What about me?

BILLY:

You’re a dead ringer for Kurt Cobain. So someone who looks like Kurt Cobain.

DEATH:
If there’s one piece of advice you can give to your fans, what would it be?

BILLY:

You’re stronger than you know. Believe it.

DEATH:

Words to live by. Finally, who’s your favorite Rider of the Apocalypse?

BILLY:

What, you mean between you, War, and Famine? You.

DEATH:

[SMILES] I sense flattery…

BILLY:

Dude. You could kill me with a thought. Until that changes, you’re my favorite Rider. Period.

DEATH:

Heh. Got to love self-preservation.

Living people, give another warm round of applause to the protagonist of Jackie Morse Kessler’s novel LOSS…Billy Ballard!

[APPLAUSE]

You can buy LOSS at the Book Depository, your favorite local indie, Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

Thanks for tuning in to Post Mortem. Until next time, go thee out unto the world. Rock on!

OMG! Loved this interview. Thank you so much Ms. Kessler.
Giveaway:
Giveaway:
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Good Luck and Happy Reading!

3 comments

  1. Fiktshun says:

    I love this interview. And I love how it’s set up as if it’s a radio show. So awesome! Thank you so much for being a part of the tour and hosting this amazing author!

    And I totally agree, her books are awesomesauce!

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