Interview with Jessica Jefferson
What genre do you write and why?
I write historical romance, primarily Regency-era. Those were some of the first real books I ever read – Judith McNaught, Kathleen Woodiwiss. When I decided to write a book, I thought – why not write something I love to read.
Tell us about your latest book.
Chasing the Other Tisdale is the third in my Regency Blooms series, but pre-dates the rest of them, so it easily stands alone.
What advice do you have for other writers?
I think authors need to be humble. Find a critique partner and listen to them. Take advice from others, and look to your readers for guidance and direction. I’ve received a couple bad reviews, and rather than ignore them, I think I really used them to develop and grow. It’s difficult to take criticism, but if you don’t then you can’t get better.
What's your favourite quote about writing/for writers?
I wish I could remember the exact quote, but I can’t, so I’ll have to paraphrase. I can’t even tell you who said it, so please don’t think it was me. But the phrase goes something like, if you wake up in the morning and all you can think about is writing, then you’re a writer. I think that’s such a powerful statement and it really is something that inspired me to take this on as a career.
What's the best thing about being a writer?
My uniform. I get to wear sweat pants and an old Purdue tee to work. I don’t even have to wear shoes!
Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
I have a personal website where I occasionally blog, but I also write for the multi-author blog site, Embracing Romance. I think blogging can be therapeutic, but then again, I’m an oversharer.
How long did it take you to write your book?
I find it very difficult to write on demand. However, with two kids and one foot still in the continuous improvement field part time, I have to schedule my writing time or it won’t get done. So, this year I’ve been much more rigorous with my process and I’ve gotten the book writing down to about three months from start to “the end”.
I think every author needs to find what works for them and their situation. I was fortunate that my first book was published by an independent press. I love having the structure that having deadlines from the publishing house provides me. That keeps me motivated. I think self-publishing is great for self-starters and those who are great at finding their own resources. I like the convenience that a publisher provides – I give them a manuscript, they edit, format, find a cover, and publish it for me. The great part is how much input I have in the process. Some of my friends at the larger houses don’t always get that creative authority. I think self-publishing had provided a means to get those more unique stories out to the public. It’s a great avenue for writers to get their voices out there, especially those alternative voices that may not fit in the mold of what’s selling at the moment. We’ve seen some great authors self-pub – Christi Caldwell, Courtney Milan. These are stellar writers and they put out a quality product. It’s all about having choices, and I’m glad that choice is out there.
Does your family support you in your writing career? How?
My husband is very supportive now that he understands the business better. When I first told him that I had received a contract he was all “You wrote a book?” I never really told him what I was doing, I just wrote in my spare time or late at night after the kids went to bed. I think after I received my first royalty check he started to understand that this is a real job, but even then he thought I could just sit down and whip out a book in a couple weeks. I took him with me to the RT convention in 2014 and that was a real eye opener for him. Now, he’s really great about giving me time to write when the muse hits and he will assume total responsibility for the kids and house while I’m in my zone.
When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
My family loves to travel and be outdoors. We are campers. I especially love to hike. So, when I’m not writing and I have the opportunity, I love to pack up the RV and leave for the weekend. It doesn’t happen as much as I’d like it to, but I’m working on it.