Thursday, July 2, 2015 | By: The Write Way Cafe

An Interview with Jessica James

The Write Way Café welcomes award-winning author Jessica James, who is open to writing whatever story the Universe sends her way.

Where did the idea for your story come from? 
The idea for this book hit like a lightning strike from out of the clear blue sky—so I’m not sure where exactly it came from. I have always been an author of historical fiction and had no intention of writing a contemporary romance—but this storyline just wouldn’t let go.

Why did you pick the setting you did?
The opening setting of Ocean City, Md., was a natural since that’s where the book was born. I was there for a weekend getaway putting finishing touches on one of my historical fiction novels when this book started pushing its way into my mind. Lots of beach-goers have generations of memories in Ocean City, so in addition to setting it there, I tried to include as many recognizable landmarks as possible.

What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world; about soldiers, special ops, and Afghanistan?
I already knew about the courage, honor, and commitment to duty of our military, but reading first-hand accounts of those who have served in Afghanistan made it so much more important for me to convey those traits and principles to readers. I also learned a lot about the training, the equipment, and the tactics of war, as well as the geography, culture and languages of Afghanistan. I never dreamed that writing a contemporary novel would take almost as much research as writing one that takes place 150 years ago.

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you.
I write in a comfortable recliner with a laptop. In my field of vision, through a sliding glass door, is a hummingbird feeder, a bird feeder, and a butterfly bush. There is always something to see when I look up, which helps keep the creative juices flowing.

What are some of your favorite books and why? 
I read a lot of non-fiction to do research, but when I think of the books I’ve read more than once, they are some of the classics, like “The Count of Monte Cristo,” “The Scarlet Pimpernel” and “Joan of Arc” by Mark Twain. I love the English language, and enjoy the rhythm and flow of words in the older works.

What are you working on now?
I’ve started working on my next book, which is actually the first book I ever started writing. It’s tentatively called DEADLINE, and features a homicide detective and reporter. It’s turning into a romantic political thriller.

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre?  Which one and why?
I never had any desire to write anything but historical fiction, but here I am with a published romantic military suspense novel and now have a political thriller in progress. Apparently the Universe has other intentions, so I will write what it tells me to.

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be?
I always envy people who know what they want to do at a young age, and continue to have a passion for it even after they’ve been doing it for years. I have a degree in veterinary technology because of my love for animals, but I found that work very depressing. After working at a horse hospital for two years, I went back to school and got a degree in journalism. After doing that for eighteen years, I grew bored, and tried my hand at writing fiction. This is my dream job because I can write about anything I want… a Confederate cavalry officer one day and a special ops soldier the next. It’s the perfect dream job!

What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble?
As far as the actual writing process, I don’t outline or have any idea where my story is going, so I end up writing scenes here and there, which I then have to piece together. It’s a very time-consuming way of writing, but I enjoy the seat-of-the-pants method of writing over outlining and knowing everything ahead of time.

Who is your favorite hero/heroine?
When I see the word “hero,” the only thing that comes into my mind is a member of our military. There is no greater gift and no bigger hero than a person who will willingly sacrifice their lives for their country and fellow man.

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About Jessica:
     Jessica James is an award-winning au­thor of historical fiction and romantic military suspense ranging from the Revolutionary War to modern day.
     She is the only two-time winner of the John Esten Cooke Award for Southern Fiction, and was featured in the book 50 Authors You Should Be Reading, pub­lished in 2010.
     James resides in Gettysburg, Pa., and keeps from becoming rooted to her writing chair by working part-time as a stagehand at a local performing arts theater.


HiDee said...

Love the cover of this book! Thanks for being with us today and sharing your story!

Jessica James said...

Thanks so much for having me, HiDee. Have a great Fourth of July!