If you missed my book review on Wednesday, go back and read it here.
Grab a cup of coffee and settle in. I hope you enjoy my chat with Jessica....
What do you think is the most interesting element about the plot?
Thanks so much for interviewing me! I really appreciate it, Kim!
I've heard quite a bit of feedback regarding the plot and most people are happy with its the gothic overtones and the story twists.
As for myself, I like that the plot is spring-loaded. There's one story happening, but when the novel is finished, a reader can look back and see the fuller picture of the plot. Then as a whole, when the entire series is finished, a reader can look back over the books and see the whole picture again.
Are your characters based on any real people and which character developed first? Also, I think most writers put some aspect or trait of themselves into a character. Which character's trait is modeled after you?
Threads of my personal history and scraps of my personality are definitely woven into the characters. And at the same time, much like I believe Jane Austen did, I also throw personalities that I've encountered or find humorous onto the page.
Julia is the protagonist, and the story is told from her point of view, so I started with her. Through her, I've explored the deep sense of loss I've experienced. Through Edward, Julia's childhood sweetheart, my unrelenting sense of conviction, and lastly through Isaac (who is prominent in book two and three) my longing to see past hurts set aright.
You mentioned that writing this book was many years in the making. What were your biggest obstacles in finishing it?
This question made me laugh, because I finished book about twelve times and have many versions of this story. Deepening my craft as a writer sent me back to the drawing board more than once, as did figuring out which market best suited the series. I heighted certain parts of the novel, depending upon which market or agent I pitched.
The publishing wall is very difficult to scale. The odds of a manuscript being traditionally published are estimated to be about 1%-2%. I say all this to say that breaking into the market was the most difficult part of the journey.
Born of Persuasion is the first book in a trilogy. Did you originally envision your story as a trilogy?
When I finally started writing, it was only to share the story that had been brewing in my mind since my teens. I ended up with a 400K word story (1000 pages). And I still hadn't written the ending.
So I divided the material into two books and worked to bring one down to a 100-130K words (300-400 pages.)This is your first published novel. Did you do any type of writing before you wrote Born of Persuasion?
Nothing that I published. I wrote short stories in high school. Later, during my pursuit of publication, I've written press releases, blog articles and essays.
You also hold a day job – what is your profession?
Right now, I spend my days working on finishing book three, The Price of Privilege, while balancing the demands of being a single-working mom. To maintain the amount of time I need to write, I work as a caregiver to the elderly at night, and occasionally pick up an editing or PR job, when time allows.
Tell us a little about your writing process. Where do you like to write – at a desk or on the sofa? Do you use a laptop or write long hand? Do you prefer to write during the day or late evening?
I was given an amazing executive desk when a dear friend moved out of state. It is my best writing spot. Thankfully, I learned touch-typing, so I write on my laptop and lately I've been using Scrivener software. It's absolutely fabulous!
When I started writing, I would write late into the evening. I switched to 4 a.m. at one point, but I had no idea what I was doing to myself. The muse now thrilled to show up at that hour . . . while the rest of me isn't.
Have you visited England and if so, what is your favorite area?
Visiting England is high on my bucket list! I want to tour London and Gloucestershire, the shire where my book opens.
Did you read a lot as a child?
Yes, once I got started. I was a slow beginner, thankfully worrying my second teacher. She took extra time to ensure my reading level improved. After that, you couldn’t find me without a book in hand.
When you were in school did you enjoy British history?
I had to pause and think about this . . . as I can't remember learning much British history in school unless it touched upon American history, such as the Revolutionary War. I did, however, fall in love with British authors and their style of writing. Because I've primarily chosen British writers to read, I feel a great affinity for the U.K.
You favor British Literature. What’s your all-time favorite book and who are your favorite authors?
I LOVE British Literature! My all time favorite book is Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte. If you haven't read it, I'm so envious! The best reading experience is yet to come!
I'm also a huge fan of Victoria Holt, Margaret Henry (The Autobiography of Henry VIII: With Notes by His Fool, Will Somers), Susanna Clarke (Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell,) the Bronte sisters, Jane Austen. I have not read much of Charles Dickens yet, but he's on my to-read list.
What do you like to do for fun?
When I have free time, I adore cooking, gardening, and thrifting. I've been paying attention to the trend of Urban Homesteading and at some point hope to have my own chickens. Reading is a high pleasure. My daughter and I often play Wii or I teach her to cook.
What’s your favorite indulgent food?
That changes! The more organic I go, the less indulgent foods I find to eat. I just found a company called NatureBox, and love their snacks. Frozen cherries and blueberries also top the list.
Everyone asks “What’s the best piece of advice you would give to aspiring writers?” So instead, I’m going to ask you what is the one thing a writer should not do?
Great angle! It's easier to write a safe character than one that is transparent or unique. It's always a temptation to chop off any characterization that isn't particularly flattering. My advice is not to. Books that are different and have different characters tend to become bestsellers.
When can we expect to see the second novel Mark of Distinction released and can you give us a tidbit on what to expect?
The Price of Privilege trilogy is set in Victorian, England and is narrated by the protagonist, Julia Elliston, who after a lifetime of silence is finally setting the record straight about the scandal that shocked England during her teens.
In Mark of Distinction we find Julia hiding among the elite of London, doing her best to keep out of reach of a man she considers dangerous. Matters escalate quickly when her new identity becomes a newspaper sensation, sweeping her into a life that heightens her danger.
Thanks Jessica. How am I going to wait until the second book is out???