We have a winner! Liz, please contact Booktalk with Eileen on Facebook by message. Congratulations!
She has just released An Amorous Dance, book two in The Rabourn Theater Series. Watch for my review in a couple of days.
Thank you, Jessica for joining Booktalk with Eileen. I hope my questions help readers and fans get to know the mindset behind your talent.
Jessica, what is your preferred genre to write? What sparks that interest?
I’ve often said, “I’m not a writer, I’m a romantic.” The truth is that while I’ve got “writer,” written across my forehead and running through my veins I have been drawn to the romance genre since I was little, and that has never changed.
For me personally, a story must contain a strong romantic element in order for a happily ever after to be achieved. That isn’t to say that there isn’t a lot of wonderful fiction out there that doesn’t contain any romance at all—there is. But romance is where my passion lies. These stories full of eloquent wordage and beautiful imagery give me encouragement as I scour the world for my own true love, sometimes reminding me (in a world where love, too often, is not at the center of our lives) of what encountering the right person feels like, and how wonderful things can be when two people come together by a chance happening that changes everything as they know it.
Love is our greatest expression and our greatest phenomenon. The drama, mayhem and intrigue that often accompany it are elements I thrive on as a romantic suspense author—they are the excitement and the challenge that get me up in the morning and drive me forward on this crazy journey that we call life!
Do you ever think of writing in another genre?
I enjoy reading romances of all sub-genres—historic, contemporary, paranormal, suspense—and I’ve sometimes considered what might come with tackling another piece of the pie. But my imagination always takes me back to the present day, to the dangers of life in the modern world (aka the exciting, suspenseful parts) and the love that blossoms in its midst.
Since I was 6 years old, watching Days of Our Lives with my mother and becoming engaged in a storyline the writers called “The Cruise of Deception,” romance, and suspense, have been at the forefront of my creative mind. My love of suspense and danger has occasionally drawn me to mystery and suspense thrillers, like the works of the very talented James Patterson, for example. But more often than not, if I select a title and quickly determine that romance plays no element, I’m disappointed. I doubt my own writing would ever take me in a direction that didn’t involve any romance at all, but I never say never. I’ve got many years ahead of me in this business, so we shall see!
When you begin a story, the seed of the story if you will, does it grow from a character’s personality, certain outside forces or a time and place?
No two stories are ever the same for me, though I would have to say, in spite of my meticulous plotting habits, that my initial inspiration, and ideas, have generally derived from the characters’ personalities, more specifically from the personalities of the couple I envision as the hero and heroine.
I have to fall in love with a couple to want to tell their story and it is typically my love for their envisioned chemistry that drives the rest of the story for me, plot included. I’ve heard fellow authors suggest that the best way to write a romance that makes the cut where conflict is concerned is to have your hero/heroine fall for the worst possible person that they can fall for. If I do this, (though I do suppose it is safe to say that I do) I do it subconsciously. I don’t think about it. Romantic couples are my life. They, and I, speak the same language.
Are you methodical in your writing, certain hours of the day, certain rituals you may perform before you sit down? Or are you one of those writers who binge write when the mood is upon you?
It’s rare that the mood is not upon me when it comes to writing, so generally this is not a concern. If for any reason I’m stuck on my manuscript, I’ll give myself a break and take the opportunity to outline a future story, which I also love to do. Writing is so easy when I’m in the early stages and can simply let my imagination go, without worrying about editing and the strive for nearly-perfect prose.
The time of day that I write changes with regard to my life’s current circumstance but now that I’m self-employed I find myself doing it in the afternoon, which I’ve found to be the time when I’m the most energized and focused. As I consider the actual writing to be the most important aspect of my work, (versus, say, marketing) I want to do it during the best time of day, when I can be at my personal best. Classical music to drown out any background noise, can be a great help too!
Are you comfortable weaving any of your personal experiences into a story? Is there one story you’ve written which is emotionally closer to your heart than others?
I’m quite comfortable writing about personal experiences, as long as the mood has struck me. As they say, “Write what you know.” I’ve taken that advice to heart!
While writing Dangerous Proposal (the first story I ever wrote, but actually my second release), I was wearing many hats—I was a recent college graduate, working as a Pre-School Teacher at a busy day care center, just starting out in the initial stages of my writing career while all the while dreaming of meeting the love of my life.
May I interject here, Jessica? I happen to have read that book and did a review. For those readers interested in learning more about why I enjoyed the book, you can link to my review here: http://wp.me/p40XtX-71
Please continue Jessica.
[smiling] I drew on all of these experiences as I wrote Dangerous Proposal, particularly with regard to the events and happenings had by heroine, Lena Benson, who is on the run from the fiancé she’s recently discovered is a criminal and hides out in the mountainous town of North Conway, NH, a place I’ve spent a lot of time in with my family and which is very dear to my heart.
I crafted hero Alec Westwood to be rather like the man I dreamed of meeting myself, and I greatly enjoyed working with him as I learned the finer points of creating a swoon-worthy hero you can’t help but turn the pages to read about.
What is important to you when creating characters? Is your story more plot driven or character driven?
My stories initially start as character-driven as I mentioned earlier, but they quickly become plot-driven once I begin to outline them. My aim is, essentially, to create a strong mix with the two elements. As I have a strong fascination with plots, I tend to develop them early-on in the drafting process and develop the actual ins and outs of my characters later, as I’m writing. As a series author, I am fascinated by the way that stories can connect and an entire world is built, through the element of plot and character. I don’t favor one over the other. I cherish them both equally!
Thank you for sharing and answering these questions.
You’re welcome. It is a pleasure.
Jessica has written The Pinnacles of Power series, a five-book series.
Here are some links to connect with the author:
Newsletter Sign-Up: eepurl.com/ck5-O9
Jessica, additionally, is kind enough to offer a giveaway of A Passionate Play, in the digital format of your choice. It’s book one in The Rabourn Theater series.
All you need to do is say you would like a copy for a chance to win.
Giveaway will be open for 10 days. Good luck and thanks for dropping by today!