WATCH OUT: Jessica Chambers
I want to welcome you to another episode of Watch Out. I’m so glad you could join me this week. I have another fantastic guest lined up for you for today’s episode. Please welcome author Jessica Chambers.
Jessica, welcome to Watch Out. It is a pleasure to have you here today.
For the readers out there who might not know about you or your work, can you please tell them a little about yourself.
Well, I’m a UK born author currently living with my family and crazy Staffordshire bull terrier in the English town of Windsor, most famous for its castle and nearby Eton College. At the age of five, I was diagnosed with Retinitis Pitmentosa, a degenerative eye condition that has left me almost totally blind. Not that I’ve ever allowed that to get in the way of my ambition to become a published author.
Cliched as it sounds, I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. As a shy person, I love being able to escape into another world, and the sense of power that comes with controlling everything that goes on in that world. I especially love writing women’s fiction centered around memorable characters that leap off the page, and my debut novel, a sweet holiday read called Voices On The Waves, is now available from Red Rose Publishing.
I read in your bio that your journey to get published was not easy. Like many authors you faced rejection and rewrites, and you were even let down by a publisher weeks before the expected release date. What drove you to continue the battle and push forward to keep writing?
Actually, I don’t think there was ever really a choice for me—at least, not a conscious one. Writing isn’t just what I do, it’s who I am, how I define myself. This is something I’ve wanted to do ever since I was old enough to think about my future, and without the ambition to make a success of my career as an author, I honestly can’t say what else would give meaningful purpose to my life.
Can you tell us a little about your first book Voices on the Waves?
It’s 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.??
The publishing industry is constantly changing. Do you think that eBooks will one day make paperback books nonexistent?
Hmmm, that’s a tough one. Of course, there are a number of advantages to ebooks. They’re cheaper, for one thing, and you can also fit thousands of titles on one e-reader, which is ideal if you travel around a lot. Yet, there’s still something special about holding a book in your hands, the smell and texture of the paper as you turn the pages, so I don’t think physical books will ever be replaced entirely.????
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Anywhere and everywhere. The slightest things can set my imagination whirring—a snatch of conversation, a newspaper headline, or simply a question that pops into my head. What would happen in a given situation? How might different people react? Once an idea forms in my mind, the characters start to take shape and an outline for a novel emerges. Really, the whole process is terrifyingly random.??
Where do you see yourself as an author in the next five years?
All going well, I hope to have another few books under my belt by then. Most of all, though, my aim is to have found an agent to represent me and help advance my career. Fingers crossed!
People say that you should write about what you know. Do you follow that path with your writing?
I’ve often heard people say that, but one of the things I love most about writing is putting my characters in situations that are completely unfamiliar to me. My writing deals more with the emotional side of life, so it’s mostly a case of figuring out how any one of my characters might react in certain circumstances. If I do need to read up about something I have no experience of, there’s always the library and the internet.
If you had the chance to spend a day with one author dead or alive who would you pick, and why?
Gosh, there are so many authors I have questions for concerning their books, why they chose this particular ending or what would have happened if…? I’d especially like to meet Jane Austin, though, I think. Her sardonic sense of humor shines through her novels, and I have the feeling she would have been great company.
Your favorite part of being an author?
Getting paid to do what I love most in the world. There aren’t too many people who are fortunate enough to earn a living doing something they enjoy, and I know I’m incredibly lucky.?
What do you think sets your stories apart from other authors?
I’ve often been told that creating memorable, larger than life characters is my strong point, along with my ability to weave several different story lines into one novel. I love telling a story from multiple viewpoints and working out how the various sub-plots fit together, so I’m hoping my readers will enjoy that element of my books too.????
Is there anything you are currently working on that you can give us a taste of?
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. I’m hoping both novels will be published some time in 2011.
What advice do you have for new writers out there?
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.
Where can readers find out more about you and your work?
They can visit my website at:
Where they will be able to read an excerpt from Voices ON The Waves, follow my blog and keep up to date with my latest news and contests.
Voices ON The Waves is also available to purchase now as an ebook from Red Rose Publishing
Thank you so much, Savannah, 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 when I’ll be answering yet more questions over at The Book Boost. Hope to see you there!