Learn more about WriteOut, a writing camp for teens founded by Ally.

breathless reads 2012: jessica spotswood takes us to washington, d.c.

For an explanation of the Breathless Reads tour and these guest posts, click here.

Also, previous winners of the Breathless Reads giveaways are announced on the original posts (they’ve been updated). So make sure to see if you’ve won!

***UPDATE: Becky Wallace, you are the winner of BORN WICKED and the tour poster! Please email me your mailing address, and congrats!***

Ally: Jessica, so far we’ve been to Pasadena, California, and to Cleveland County, North Carolina. Where are you taking us?

Jessica: My town – Washington, DC!

A: Why is this place important to you?

J: I grew up in a little one-stoplight town surrounded by apple orchards and farms. I never, ever thought I’d want to live in a city. But now I do – and I have for the last three years – and I love it. I love the diversity, the cultural opportunities, and all the restaurants! I feel like most people think of DC in terms of white marble monuments and power suits, but there’s actually a thriving arts community as well.

A: Wonderful! Where do we begin?

J: Eastern Market! Let’s pretend it’s the weekend. We’ll get a cup of tea from Peregrine and stroll down 7th Street SE, which is filled with vendors selling art, jewelry, handmade clothing, and all sorts of crafts. We can stop at the amber jeweler, where I’ve bought rings to celebrate various writing milestones, and sift through bins of cards, and try on fun hats. Then we’ll visit the indoor food market, where the cheese vendor will offer us delicious samples of New York cheddar and chive cheddar, and we can buy homemade ravioli for later (the butternut squash and goat cheese is my favorite, but my best friend swears by the mushroom).

After walking through the market, you’ll totally be hungry! We’ll head back to my neighborhood and go to Sticky Rice. They have the best brunch: fantastic sushi, mock chicken and waffles, tater tot hash, black bean avocado chili. Plus the décor is really hipster fun (red walls with tattoo art).

A: This all sounds delicious! Where do we waddle to next?

J: Woolly Mammoth for a matinee! My favorite major DC theatre specializes in premieres of new work. Right now they’re doing a new play by Jason Grote called Civilization (All You Can Eat), which is being billed as a “vaudevillian romp about consumption, corruption, and enterprise” featuring an all-star DC cast.

A: This sounds amazing. And, once we finish the matinee, it’s (somewhat ironically) time for more consumption. Where will you take us for dinner?

J: Oyamel! It’s DC chef José Andrés’s Mexican restaurant. I love the guacamole and the fish tacos with cilantro, but if you’re more adventurous you can try grasshopper tacos or cactus paddles.

A: In one of my books, the characters eat cactus, so I think I definitely need to give this a try myself. What’s the last stop on our mini-itinerary?

J: The National Portrait Gallery. You didn’t think I’d let you get away from DC without at least one museum, did you?

A: I was beginning to wonder…;) Actually, I’ve been to DC a few times, and never been to the National Portrait Gallery, so I’m very excited about this.

And here are a few more Q & A with Jessica…

A: Where is the best place to write/read here?

J: Sova. It’s a coffee shop that turns into a great wine bar at 5pm. My husband and I sometimes have Friday afternoon writing dates that turn into happy hours. I wrote parts of BORN WICKED there, and it’s where I’m having my launch party. It has really fun décor, too: red walls, chandeliers, gorgeous local art, and shabby-chic couches and tables.

A: The best place to buy a book?

J: The Fairy Godmother. It’s my tiny local indie children’s bookstore, right down the street from Eastern Market. Roberta, the proprietor, is always ready to offer a recommendation.

A: Is there anyone I just have to meet in this town before I leave?

J: My cat, Monkey! He’s adorable.

A: What song always makes you think about this place?

J: “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight” by the Postal Service.

A: Love this song, and the Postal Service. Many thanks for stopping by, Jessica!!

To win a hardcover copy of Jessica’s book, BORN WICKED, and a Breathless Reads Spring 2012 poster, leave a comment on this post by midnight (MST) February 22nd. The contest is open to US/Canada. You may only comment once. Good luck, and thanks again to Penguin Teen for providing the books and posters for the giveaways!

+ comments (42)
  • Ali
    February 21, 2012

    What fun interviews. It’s interesting to learn about other places and authors.

  • Jessica ( frellathon )
    February 21, 2012

    I need a Fairy Godmother near me.

  • 17187010834101692449
    February 21, 2012

    Ohhh, I want to go to Sova! Sounds fabulous! Thanks for the tour. Looks like I need to take a little vacay.

  • Bwyatt
    February 21, 2012

    Not sure why it posted my comment under that big long number. But I guess you can disregard that one. 🙂

    Ohhh, I want to go to Sova! Sounds fabulous! Thanks for the tour. Looks like I need to take a little vacay.

  • elena
    February 21, 2012

    DC sounds amazing! I’ve only been there once but this interview makes me want to go there again.

  • Jessica
    February 21, 2012

    I had no idea DC had such an interesting art community! I want to go shopping there now 🙂

  • Jasmine Stairs
    February 21, 2012

    I admit, I’d never thought of DC as a place where rookie actually lived– but that’s chafed now! Thanks for the interview! 😀

    • Jasmine Stairs
      February 21, 2012

      Seriously, autocorrect? “Rookie?” “Chafed?” Serioisly?

      I have got to stop entering these on my phone.

  • Crystal Martinez
    February 21, 2012

    Such an awesome tour! This makes me want to visit and check out all those awesome places. I wonder how they prepare the cactus at that Mexican resturant…my family prepares it as a breakfast dish. We chop it up and throw it in with some scrambled eggs 😉 Thanks for the awesome giveaway

    Twitter: @MadiganHeart

  • Sallie
    February 21, 2012

    I never thought of D.C. as anything but marble like she said, but now I want to check it out just because of the indie bookstore she mentioned!

  • Vivien
    February 21, 2012

    DC looks fantastic!! I’ve always wanted to visit 🙂

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  • BookisbBabe
    February 21, 2012

    Thank you for hosting the tour here. I’m loving the exposure to new places and authors

  • Gabi
    February 21, 2012

    I can’t wait to read it!

  • Julie B.
    February 21, 2012

    Looks great. Thanks for the giveaway!!

  • alicia marie
    February 21, 2012

    i didn’t see anything like that when i visited dc. i’ll have to go back now that i know about it : ) thanks for the fun interview!

  • Becky Wallace
    February 21, 2012

    DC is a great place to live. I love it here! (Although I’m in the burbs). Jessica’s book is beautiful! I’d love to win a hard copy!

  • Liz Brown
    February 21, 2012

    I love DC! The Eastern Market sounds really cool! Will have to check that out on our next trip.

  • Alyssa
    February 21, 2012

    Great giveaway! Would love the book!

  • Jpetroroy
    February 21, 2012

    I went to DC 2 years ago and loved it!

  • Darren
    February 21, 2012

    Thanks for the giveaway! Sova sounds like an awesome place to write 🙂

  • Melissa Garcia
    February 21, 2012

    Looking forward to reading the book!

  • Ally Sooklal
    February 21, 2012

    I’m so jealous, you get to talk to all of my favorite authors! And D.C. is my closest stop, but unfortunately I’m sick and couldn’t go. But I’m sure that’s a lot of fun 🙂
    Born Wicked looks like an amazing debut novel to me, I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy! Thanks for this!!!

  • Karlinda
    February 21, 2012

    I love these author interviews! It’s to hear about the people who write these great books.

  • Michelle
    February 21, 2012

    I love DC! I go there every couple of years when I visit family in Virginia. I will definitely have to check out Oyamel and The Fairy Godmother the next time I am there. 🙂

  • Julianne D.
    February 21, 2012

    I lived just down the street from Eastern Market! It’s a wonderful city and I’m sure a great place to live as a writer. Thanks for the tour!

  • Jenny
    February 21, 2012

    These posts are amazing as well as provide a great break while writing… I’ve been wanting to read Born Wicked for a while now, so hopefully this is my chance!

  • Olivia
    February 21, 2012

    Sounds like a great book!

  • 09585039530576373397
    February 21, 2012

    I went to DC as a teenager but would love to go back there with my husband!

  • Jasmine Rose
    February 21, 2012

    Born Wicked is absolutely fantastic! I adored the ARC and am dying for a finished copy. Thanks for the fun interview too :]

  • Leah
    February 21, 2012

    I got the sample on my Kindle and am actually pining for the whole book!

  • Ashley R.
    February 21, 2012

    This is so exciting! Born Wicked looks really good, and I would love to win a copy. Thanks Ally!

  • Stephanie
    February 21, 2012

    I love DC!

  • Tia G.
    February 21, 2012

    It’s awesome learning about these authors! Can’t wait to read this book!

  • Jessi
    February 21, 2012

    Thanks for sharing these author interviews! Can’t wait to read all the books on the Breathless Reads tour!

  • Jessica Longwisch
    February 21, 2012

    Born Wicked is on my “to-read” list….can’t wait!

  • dbstevens
    February 21, 2012

    *sigh* I know why we’re doing the Breathless Reads Tours, I know. But I miss your stories, Ally. I’m late, I know that too, but congrats 🙂

  • Jenn
    February 22, 2012

    I used to be stationed near DC way back when I was in the military. Unfortunately I missed most of the places you mentioned. Love the Korean War Memorial, there’s something chilling about those soldiers frozen in time with that statement in marble reminding visitors that Freedom is Not Free. I don’t think anyone could go there and not be affected. Of course when I was stationed there at 19 so many years ago my favorite place was a little bar ironically called Bar which hopefully by now has been shut down since they didn’t card anyone which is why a 19 year old Marine and all her peers adored the place.

  • Txtingmrdarcy
    February 22, 2012

    Thank you for the insider tour of DC! Gotta love the little independence bookstores! Born Wicked looks like it’s going to be a great read. 🙂

  • Caitlin
    February 22, 2012

    Sounds awesome!

  • Monica G Lopez
    February 22, 2012

    I wish I can win! I have entered every giveaway I can for this book! I want it so badly! 🙂

  • Katrina
    February 22, 2012

    Would love to win! 🙂

  • Laura Kay
    March 1, 2012

    I’ve been trying to win Born Wicked it really looks amazing! Thanks for the interview and giveaway!

    Laura Kay

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