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Jessie Stephens is a Sydney-based writer and podcaster. She is assistant head of content at Mamamia and host of their Book Club podcast, among many others. Heartsick is Jessie’s first book and is not the self-help book that teaches you how to get over an ex that it may seem. It is a gripping, raw, and incredibly well-written book of narrative non-fiction exploring 3 stories that just happen to be true. Sprinkled through the Q&A you will find a chapter sampler and a Spotify playlist curated by Jessie.

What did you enjoy most about the writing process?

JS: This is such a good question because I think I focus a lot on what I liked the LEAST about the writing process haha. I liked when I’d finished the interviews and I had a scene to write, and I got to completely immerse myself in that. I loved the creativity of playing with the true stories I had but writing in the style of fiction. It was such a pleasure to make these people’s experiences come alive on a page.

Jessie-Stephens_Photography-by-Luke-Latty_BLOG.jpg Jessie Stephens

Do you think it is possible to protect yourself from heartbreak?

JS: Absolutely not. It is the price we pay for love. And if there’s one thing this book really reminded me, it’s that there is no heartbreak without a love story. And we forget that love story so quickly. Just because it ended, doesn’t mean you don’t get to always treasure that love story. Heartbreak means you allowed yourself to be vulnerable and took a risk. Also, all the best people have been heartbroken. It makes you more… well rounded. And funnier.


Did you learn anything about yourself whilst writing this book that surprised you?

JS: I learned that I’m not a… weirdo. I mean I’m sure I am, but my experience with heartbreak, which has led to identity crises and crying on bathroom floors and ruining entire holidays, doesn’t make me unique. It makes me human. That was really gratifying. I learned I’m part of a tribe of people who have been through the same romantic trauma, who might differ in terms of sexuality or gender or race, but who are very much united in knowing how potent the grief of heartbreak is.


What do you hope readers gain from having read Heartsick?

JS: I hope they feel less alone. And I hope this gives people a language and a vocabulary to think about and talk about heartbreak. Language really doesn’t seem to do the experience justice.


What are you currently reading for pleasure?

JS: I have an early copy of Debra Oswald’s new book The Family Doctor and have just started it! I love novels with a super compelling plot and I’m confident this will deliver!


Listen to a playlist curated for the heartbroken and inspired by Heartsick.

Heartsick is available in store and online now.

Jessie Stephens

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