Jessica Lave at My Book and My Coffee blog! Sooooo exciting! :) I was able to interview this author and I’m certainly glad I did - she is AWESOME! You lovelies probably remember, I published a cover reveal for her new book last week. And as scheduled, the book was officially released yesterday - March 28, 2013! Fabulous! :D Big Congratulations to Jessica! :D
So, please check out the interview below. Also, there’s a giveaway at the end of the interview so tune in.
Ara: Good morning, Jessica! I’m so happy to have you here at My Book and My Coffee. Welcome! I know you’re uber busy and I really appreciate you taking the time to do this interview. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Jessica: Good morning, Ara, thanks for having me back! I’m happy to be here.
That’s a heavy question to start with! Let’s see: I grew up in Colorado and have lived here my whole life. I graduated Colorado State University (Go Rams!) a few years ago with a major in philosophy. Though it seems to me that most writers tend to go for the English major, I found that philosophy challenged me much more than any English class ever did. I enjoyed the history, the experience of having my opinions tested, and learning how to approach the world in new ways. Though I didn’t do much creative writing at school, I’ve been writing in my spare time for many years. I have wanted to earn a living with my writing for some time now, but I just started publishing last year.
Ara: I gather that you’ve always wanted to be a writer. How young were you when you started writing stories? Do you plan to continue and publish any of your early works?
Jessica: The earliest memory I have of writing is when I was seven years old: I “re-imagined” a few takes on the fairy tale classic, “The Three Little Pigs”—basically the same story with different animals as the main character. However, the first original story I remember writing was when I was eleven. It was a time-travel tale about a couple of middle school aged kids.
As to the second part of the question, I’m not sure too many of my “earlier” works are worth publishing! A lot of them are very disjointed, immature, and perhaps a little too idealistic. I’ve definitely evolved my writing style and story development over the years. There are probably only a couple of those old stories that have enough plot and enough heart for me to rationalize working on them again with the goal of publishing them.
Ara: I understand. But I bet those stories are precious and they probably make you smile everytime you read them. :) From your bio, you mentioned that you don’t really fit into a particular genre as a writer. Why is that? That must be exciting, right?
Jessica: I think the best explanation for my lack of genre, or genre overlap, is that I have such a wide variety of interests and influences. I do have favorite genres in books and in film, but I don’t like to limit myself to one type of story, whether I’m reading it or writing it. Since I started publishing, I’ve been learning more about genres and how many sub-genres and categories there are these days! I’ve discovered a new genre, “new adult,” and I think most of my stories fit best into this category because of my characters’ ages and stages in life, but the tricky part comes in adding the sub-category to that. I’ve come to realize that my stories are not quite romance genre books, and they are not straight literary fiction, either.
I was very excited to discover the new adult genre, because I’d been struggling for a long time to define my stories, both before and after I got into publishing. When people ask what I write about, I used to have to explain things in much more detail, but now I can simplify it a bit by focusing on the new adult themes and definitions. It’s also kind of exciting as a writer not to fit into a single category. I don’t want to be that writer who only writes books about lawyers or cops or doctors. I love trying new things and pushing my limits as a writer, and not hitching my train, so to speak, to one genre allows me to experiment without hesitation.
Ara: I totally support that. As a writer, I would think that exploring to see where your creativity leads you is a good thing. It’s ‘healthy’. So, let’s talk about your new book! How cool! I totally love that cover - simple and classy. Jessica, please tell us more about this book.
Available now on Amazon (Kindle) - $5.99
Print Copy from CreateSpace - $12.95
Jessica: I’m so pleased you liked the cover! I’m an amateur artist when it comes to graphic design, so I tend to keep it simple, but I’m always glad to get feedback on it, especially when it’s positive!
The new book is a new adult story, and it follows the main character, Rylie Cates, through the first couple years of her life after moving to LA to become a screenwriter. It “officially” is out March 28th in paperback and ebook format (for Kindle), but it might take Amazon a couple additional days to fill out the page entirely.
Some of the major themes have to do with self-discovery and especially maturity, but friendship has one of the biggest roles in the story. It also deals with some other issues like alcoholism and promiscuity, which I feel are a big factor for young people who are around Rylie’s (and my) age, 18-25. With the college culture, and then adjusting to life after college, both of these things, as well as financial responsibility, are definite concerns for newly christened “adults” as they try to figure it all out.
Rylie doesn’t have the financial concerns that most people in this age group do because she was lucky enough to catch her break early on--getting her screenplay into a film festival, and then selling that script for a good amount of money. However, growing up without a lot of privileges, she’s very aware of how far she’s come, and that comes into play as well.
I want to get back to the friendship aspect, because it’s so crucial to the story. A lot of Hollywood, to us outsiders, anyway, seems to live life by the old saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” That idea is the foundation for Rylie’s life in LA. She may not know any real “A-listers”, but she makes some solid friendships throughout the book, and they all contribute to her success both in her career and in her personal life. Before I have you thinking the book is all sunshine and kittens for Rylie, she has plenty of obstacles to overcome, including some relationships and friendships that went awry, and actually end up doing some damage in her life.
Ara: Wow, I didn’t know that you designed it yourself. As I’ve mentioned, it’s simple but really classy. I LOVE IT! Interesting story. As a reader, I would definitely want to know more. So, what did you like most about Rylie Cates’s character?
Jessica: She is so strong! I tend to write my female characters with strong personalities and character traits, and Rylie is awesome in that way. She didn’t just sit around waiting to be “discovered”—she worked hard writing her screenplay, and then she put it out there for the world to look at and judge. She is a little cautious about some things (like me), but she takes chances, and she knows when to trust her instincts and when to pull back. Not to say she isn’t flawed—her addictive personality gives her grief throughout the book, especially in her love life, but she overcomes everything and anything that is put in her path. She’s a survivor, and at the time I wrote the book, I really wanted to see someone not only survive, but kick butt at something!
Ara: Awesome! I definitely like strong female characters. I’ve read somewhere that you’re planning to publish a sci-fi novel in the future. How’s that coming along?
Jessica: I JUST started writing sci-fi for the first time last year. I wrote one story last summer (after I finished A 21st Century Fairy Tale), and then I also wrote another one for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). It was extremely intimidating because I don’t read a lot of science fiction, but I watch a lot of it. I wasn’t sure if I could do the genre justice, but I think both of my stories turned out extremely well for being horrible first drafts! I haven’t even begun to edit either one, and to tell you the truth, I haven’t even decided which one I want to work on first, so the progress on that is at a bit of a standstill for now.
Since I’ve been editing Quiet on the Set for months now, I hadn’t worked on writing anything new until just last week, and I realized how much I missed the creative process of writing. Writing is not only a joy or a passion for me, it’s a compulsion, so putting it on hold for so long while I worked on editing and publishing was kind of painful! I want to get back to writing for a few months—I’ve got about three or four new plots swimming around my subconscious right now—but later this year, I would like to get back to work on one of those science fiction stories for publication.
Ara: Wow, you’ll be super busy for sure. Thank you, Jessica, for being here @ My Book and My Coffee today. I really appreciate it. Before we end the interview, here are some random questions for you. I hope you answer them. It could be fun!
Coffee, sweet tea or hot cocoa?
Jessica: I don’t drink coffee, actually. I love the smell of it, but I’ve never liked the taste, even in candy! I usually choose chai tea or hot cocoa if I want something to warm me up.
Ara: If you have to choose one fiction book as your absolute favorite, which book will it be? It’s a tough question :) But if you had to choose one, which book will it be?
Jessica: Ouch, that is a tough one! These days, I tend to stick with my two tried and true favorites, Stephen King and Elmore Leonard, but if I had to pick an absolute favorite book, I have to go back further. There are many books that I’ve loved over the years, but I might have to go all the way back to about the first or second grade and say The B.F.G. by Roald Dahl. It was one of the first chapter books I read as a kid, and I might be able to credit Roald Dahl’s stories with the initial inspiration to become a writer. Growing up, I went through a few other phases of wanting to do other things like archaeology after seeing Jurassic Park, and wanting to be a lawyer (no idea where that one originated), but eventually I came back to writing, and Dahl, for inspiration. I remember quite clearly one of the first things I did after I decided I wanted to be a writer when I grew up was to look up Dahl’s The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More because it includes a section of Dahl’s tips on writing! (See the section called “Lucky Break” if you’re interested—it mostly applies to children’s books, but as a new writer, it’s important to devour information and figure out what works best for you.)
Ara: I’ll check that one out! :) And you’re right about that – knowledge is useful one way or another. Finally, who is your favorite ‘friend’ from F.R.I.E.N.D.S.?
Jessica: LOVE THIS QUESTION! I’m a hardcore Friends fan and ubernerd, and I love talking about the show! So, while I love something about all the characters, there’s no doubt Chandler Bing is my favorite. Chandler was always the funniest and the most relatable, I felt. All the other characters had their dream jobs, or were working toward them, and Chandler stayed stuck on the corporate ladder for years! I always felt like that was more realistic than most of the other characters actually being as successful and financially well-off as they were—those NYC apartments they had must have been WAY out of their price range! Chandler is the most quotable character, too. Everyone else had their moments, their funny faces, and their hand gestures, but I think Chandler always had the most, and the best, one-liners. He started out as more of a supporting, gimmicky kind of character, but his character evolved over the years and became even more lovable.
Thanks again, Ara, for having me here at My Book and My Coffee! I had a blast chatting with you!
Ara: “Stick a fork in me, I’m done” … Remember that? I love Chandler, too! But as for my favorite, I can never seem to choose one. I love them all! :) Thanks again for the opportunity. This was really fun interview. Thank you for answering all the questions! :D
Want to know more about Jessica Lave? Visit her website, follow her on Twitter and check out her other books on Goodreads.
... as promised. Here's the giveaway:
Important! Please read the guidelines. Thanks!
- There will be one (1) lucky winner
- Giveaway is INTERNATIONAL - just as long as the participant can accept Kindle Books directly from Amazon as a gift from the author.
- Must be 13 years old and above to enter
- Giveaway ends on April 17, 2013. Winner will be selected and announced on April 19.
Enter the giveaway here ~ Rafflecopter
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