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Monday, October 11, 2010
Welcome Author Jessica Chambers...
JC: I’ve moved around a bit over the years, but I’m currently living with my family and crazy Staffordshire bull terrier in Windsor, a riverside town in the English county of Berkshire. Most people probably know it for the castle and nearby Eton College, and it’s this sense of history that I love most about my home town. I love shopping in the high street in the shadow of the castle, and walking in Windsor Great Park where generations of royals have hunted and played polo. Wherever I might end up in the future, it will have to be somewhere with this same mingling of past and present.
YGR: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? How has that childhood dream affected your current career?
JC: Clichéd as it sounds, I’ve harboured an ambition to be a writer ever since I was old enough to think about my future. Even when I was seven-years-old and wrote my first novel, a 30-page piece Entitled The Mystery Of The Strange Telephone Calls, I knew that was how I wanted to earn my living. So, ever since completing my education, I’ve been working towards making my dream a reality.
YGR: How has your environment/ upbringing colored your writing?
JC: Ooh, that’s a tough one. I suppose if it’s one thing my parents have taught me, it’s a tolerant outlook on life and not to judge people. I hope this comes across in my writing.
YGR: Tell us about your debut release.
JC: Voices On The Waves is a sweet women’s fiction novel set against the stunning backdrop of rural Cornwall. The idea for the book came from my fascination with people and the ways in which they interact. What would happen, I asked myself, if you forced a group of strangers together in one place for a set length of time, and then left them to their own devices?
Well, this is precisely what happens in Voices On The Waves, where nine individuals from all walks of life win a two-week holiday in a beautiful farmhouse retreat. Having gathered such diverse personalities under one roof, all I had to do was let my imagination flow and the sparks fly! With newfound love, illicit affairs and the sharing of long-buried secrets, Voices on the Waves really does have it all.
YGR: How much of your work is real? How much is fantasy?
JC: My novels are pure fiction. One of the things I love most about writing is creating larger than life characters and then figuring out how they’ll react in a given situation. A story in the news or in a radio phone-in show might spark my imagination, but I never base my novels on real life events or my characters on people I know.
YGR: Is there anything you find particularly challenging about writing?
JC: Hahaha! The whole writing process is a challenge. I always write my novels from multiple viewpoints, so in my first draft I have to make sure all the various subplots connect in a coherent way. Then, when I reach the editing stage, it’s a matter of ensuring my writing is as polished as it can be. In short, I’m a perfectionist.
YGR: Do you ever suffer from writer's block? If so, what do you do about it?
JC: Believe me, writer’s block is the bane of my life. In the early days, this used to terrify me. What if I woke up one morning and could never write again? Now, though, I accept it as a natural part of my writing process. All I have to do is take a break, go for a walk or read another author’s novel, and I’m able to return fresh to my computer the following morning.
YGR: What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
JC: Study your craft. Most of us, unless we happen to be a literary genius, won’t become a best-selling writer overnight. Read every book you can lay your hands on about creating believable, unforgettable characters and how to weave page-turning plots. Join a writing critique group, whether online or face-to-face, to get feedback on your progress that will help you improve. Most of all, write the sort of novels you would enjoy reading.
YGR: How did you deal with rejection letters?
JC: Hmmm, depended on my mood. Sometimes I was philosophical (“Ah well, it’s just one person’s opinion”) while at others I would have a mini tantrum (“Why the hell am I bothering, since I’m obviously no good at writing anyway?”). Now, I would be more inclined to look at my novel and ask myself why it was rejected and then make the steps to put it right. Aaaah, the benefit of hindsight.
YGR: What do you do for fun?
JC: Oh, I’m a total book addict. If I’m not writing them, I’m reading them. I’ll read anything from Maeve Binchy and James Patterson, to Philippa Gregory and Charlaine Harris. So long as it has a page-turning plot and memorable characters, I’m there!
YGR: Who is your favourite author and why?
JC: That’s so difficult. There are so many authors I love and in so many different genres. If I had to pick one, it would probably be J. K. Rowling. I’ve never waited with such excitement for the next instalment in a series and I doubt I ever will again. It’s not so much her style of writing I love, but the way she has of combining so many different elements from magic and danger, to friendship and romance.
YGR: What’s up next for your writing?
JC: I’ve just started work on a novella, which will be written as part of a series with a group of my fellow authors at Red Rose. The idea is that we each write a book based on a reality TV show, and I’m taking the inspiration for mine from talent shows such as American Idol and The X Factor. It’s shaping up to be really great fun!
I’m also in the throes of editing a novel called painting The Summer. More of a mystery than Voices On The Waves, it centers around a wealthy English family whose lives are torn apart when they invite a handsome young artist into their home to paint their portraits. All going well, I’m hoping both novels will be published some time in 2011.
YGR: Where can we find out more about you and your novel?
JC: By visiting my website
There, you can read an excerpt of Voices On The Waves, read my blog and keep up to date with my latest news and contests.
You can also buy Voices ON The Waves now from Red Rose Publishing
Thank you so much for inviting me here today, and to all of you for stopping by. Anyone kind enough to leave a comment here, or at any point during my blog tour, will automatically be entered into the draw to win a $15 gift voucher for either Amazon or Barnes & Noble, so don’t forget to provide an email address in case I need to contact you. I’ll be announcing the five winners at the end of my tour on October 31st over at my blog
so good luck!
Tomorrow, the Voices On The Waves Blog Tour continues over at the home of Megan Rose, where I’ll be answering more questions. Hope to see you there!