Jessica Morrison's real name is Jessica Raya. She was born in Montreal, raised in Vancouver and received her Master's in literature from Simon Fraser University. Her first novel The Buenos Aires Broken Hearts Club (Warner/5 Spot $16.50) was published in 2007, in four languages.

She reverted to her given name, Jessica Raya, for her second novel, Please Proceed to the Nearest Exit (M&S / Penguin Random House 2017). It's a whimsical novel set in California during the 1970s in which a long-time insurance salesman suddenly becomes the disaster in his own family by disappearing.


Please Proceed to the Nearest Exit (M&S / Penguin Random House 2017) $24.95 978-0-7710-7320-5

The Buenos Aires Broken Hearts Club (Warner/5 Spot, 2007) $16.50

[BCBW 2017]

The most important bits about Jessica Morrison's life so far:

I was born in 1971 in Quebec, becoming the only originally Canadian person in my family as far as we know. I am also the only blonde. I come from a short line of brown-haired Americans. These two discrepancies made my older sister's claim that they'd found me in a garbage can disturbingly easy to believe.

I was painfully shy until I was 17, though no one knew it.

In my first years at college, you couldn't pay me to take an English class, but I couldn't graduate without one, as the administration continually reminded me. So I took a creative writing course. That was the beginning of an inkling of knowing what I was to be when I grew up. Of course, I later found out that creative writing didn't count toward the requirement. (I've never been very detail-oriented.) Eventually, I gave in and took a literature class, where I discovered that English majors didn't have to read textbooks. I ended up graduating with a BA in English Literature.

After graduation, I immediately sent in my application for the Masters program because I had also discovered that I loved reading, and because I would do anything to prolong entry into the real world and, thus, my growing up. Sadly the real world is very patient and was waiting for me when I finally finished my studies at 27. Luckily, the creative writing bug is very patient too. Five years after that, I sat down and began writing my first novel, The Buenos Aires Broken Hearts Club.

I got married at 22 and divorced at 28, the only true casualty being my parents' hope that I will ever settle down. Why is it called that anyway? "Settle down" is what you say to loud, rowdy four-year olds to get them to stop having fun. Oh, please, sign me up for a lifetime of that.

Like the main character in The Buenos Aires Broken Hearts Club, I spent several, shall I say enlightening, months in Buenos Aires. This was back in 2003 so please don't contact me to tell me that something I wrote about isn't there anymore. One thing that won't change: It is an amazing place. It had me, in this exact order, terrified, content, bored, charmed, captivated and desperately sad to leave. You should go. Soon. Seriously, book your ticket now.

I have had a great love, the kind of love that makes every cell in your body wake up and say "Oooh, now I get it!"

I have changed my hair color more times than Sarah Jessica Parker. There should be a Pulitzer prize for that.

-- from Hachette Book Group publishers website