What’s it like to find out your father is a rock star? Jessie from Paige Toon’s young adult novel The Accidental Life of Jessie Jefferson reveals all.
Hi Jessie, you’ve had quite a lot going on in your life recently, not least finding out who your real dad is, what was your overwhelming feeling when you found out?
I thought my stepdad was lying to me, so my initial reaction was shock and hatred towards him that he could do that. When I realised he was telling the truth, the hatred disappeared, but the shock intensified. After that I felt both surreal and excited in equal measure!
Has finding out about your dad brought you closer to your mum?
My mum was killed six months ago. I wish with all my heart that she’d been here to tell me the truth herself because I still have so many questions. I do feel like I understand her a little bit better, though, but it’s hard to talk about that without getting upset.
What’s the best and worst thing about having a famous dad?
Blimey. I’m still getting to know him so ask me this in a year or two! But I guess it’s pretty damn cool. I can’t wait to be able to tell everyone, but at the same time, I bet there will be major downsides to people knowing. I’m used to living a normal life. Imagine having to have a bodyguard? That would freak me out, big time.
What are you most looking forward to doing with your dad?
I just want to get to know him better. I’ve seen him in the papers and he’s a big celebrity, and I’d love to know him for him and have him know me for me.
You went out to LA to spend time with your dad, what were your impressions of it?
Hot and sunny and slightly freaky. It’s different and the people are different. I felt a bit like I was playing a part in one of my favourite TV shows.
What one thing from back home did you miss when you were in LA?
Bizarrely, Stu, my stepdad. And I never thought I’d say that.
What was the highlight of your trip?
Getting to know my family. My little half-brothers are beyond cute. And also meeting a certain gorgeous bad boy rock-star-in-the-making… I’m sighing just thinking about him.
How does life in LA compare with life back home?
It doesn’t! Back home, I’m ordinary. No one knows who I am and for now, that’s the way I like it.
How do you think your friends back home would fit in with your friends in LA?
Hmm. This is a good question. Libby is quite straight-laced, and Natalie is pretty wild. I think I’d want to get to know the LA crowd a lot better before introducing my other friends into the mix.
How has the whole experience of finding out about your real dad and going to LA changed you, do you think?
I definitely feel like I’ve grown up a lot. I’d like to be able to say that it’s helped me come to terms with my mum’s death, but sadly I’ve still got a long way to go on that front. I’m definitely closer to Stu, and I know Mum would be happy about that.
What’s in store for you next?
Well, for now it’s back to school and continue as normal. I’m looking forward to hanging outwith my friends again and seeing a certain Tom Ryder, but I can’t wait to get back to LA. I think Jack Mitchell and I have unfinished business, too.
And finally your dad knows loads of famous people, but which three celebrities would you most like to meet?
I doubt he knows anyone I want to meet, although he might know The Wombats, who are one of my favourite bands. I also love One Direction and McFly so it would be beyond cool if Johnny took me to an awards ceremony one day and they were there. I’ve just called him Johnny, haven’t I? Force of habit. I still can’t get used to calling him Dad, but I’m sure I will.
Meet Jessie, the teenage daughter rock star Johnny Jefferson never knew he had. Her mother was one of Johnny’s first groupies, but she kept the identity of Jessie’s dad a secret. When her mum is killed in a freak accident on Jessie’s fifteenth birthday, Jessie spirals out of control, believing that she’ll never know the truth about her dad. But she’s wrong, of course, and this ordinary girl is about to embark on an extraordinary adventure…
Paige Toon was born in 1975 and grew up between England, Australia and America. A philosophy graduate, she worked at teen, film and women’s magazines, before ending up at Heat magazine as Reviews Editor. Paige is married, has two small children and lives in Cambridge.