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Celebrity Travel: Go away with Jessica Jung

By Jae-Ha Kim, Tribune Content Agency on

Before becoming an author and the creator of the fashion line Blanc & Eclare, Jessica Jung was a member of the K-pop group Girls’ Generation. Born in San Francisco, Jung’s young adult novel “Shine” (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, $18.99) tells the story of Rachel, a young girl who dreams of becoming a singing sensation. Jung’s debut book is being released in 17 countries this fall. ACE Entertainment – the team behind the Netflix adaptation of the YA novel “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” – is developing “Shine” for film and television.

Q: Many people may think you're writing about your own experiences. How much is fact versus your imagination?

A: It’s a mix, really. “Shine” is focused on Rachel’s training days, and I took a lot of inspiration from what it was like for me as well. Like me, Rachel doesn’t live in the trainee house, she lives at home. Like me, she is juggling a lot of different pressures from school, home and competitive training. Like me, she has some close friends and some rivals. Unlike me, she gets a whirlwind romance with a successful idol along the way. Obviously, I wanted it to be entertaining and authentic at the same time, so there’s a balance of real details and escapist fictional elements.

Q: If you and Rachel were travel mates...

A: ...We would certainly have to pay significant excess baggage fees! Not sure if that’s a deal-breaker, but it would make traveling a bit cumbersome. Other than that, Rachel would be a superb travel mate.

Q: How much of your book did you write on the road?


A: When I can find time to reread drafts by the hotel pool, or gain inspiration by walking around a new city, it’s great. It’s definitely time consuming, but I’m so used to living my life on the road that the travel aspect didn’t change this much. If anything, the flights give me time to read and write. And reread. And rewrite.

Q: Do you have a sequel in the works?

A: I can’t say too much about it yet, but I’m working on the sequel. Readers will get to see a lot more of Rachel and what her life was like as part of a major girls’ group. It’s very personal to me, actually! But it should also deliver the same wish fulfillment and fun of the first book.

Q: What was the first trip you took as a child?


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