Jessica: Hectic is definitely a word that fits. My first book came out in Oct, 2010 and my third book was released in October 2011, so it was a crazy year! But that is exactly how I like it. I'm one of those people who need to feel under pressure. I need tight deadlines and high expectations to rise to. If everything is too comfortable and I have plenty of time to procrastinate about everything, well ... I find way too many things to procrastinate about and never get anything done! For each novel, I give myself about 3 months of pure writing time to get the story out and work through the big problems and redraft. Then editing begins and sometimes we have as little as three months to get this completed and to print, other times we have more. The timing for editing is dictated by print schedule. Usually when I am editing I am also sketching out the guidelines of whatever story will follow. So I guess you could say I give each book around 7-8 months whilst sometimes overlapping with other projects. And some of them are in my mind in the lead up for a lot longer!
The Violet Eden Chapters draw from religion, folklore and mythology, and you talk about research being a key part of your writing process on your website. Writing isn't always as simple as sitting in front of a keyboard and churning out your next masterpiece. How much time do you spend on research before sitting down to write?
Jessica: Heaps of time goes into research, especially for books like the Violet Eden Chapters. When you used ancient mythology, you have to respect it and not just use one general idea and completely run in the wrong direction. Fiction is fiction, yes, but the closer it stays to the stories we already know, or out history, whilst still being unique and original, is what makes great fiction. I also find some of my best story threads come from research. It isn't necessarily in the things I find but more in the things I don't find. When you read old mythology, there are always so many unexplained things. Characters that seem to appear from nowhere and yet play a significant role. Where did they come from? How did they get there? and why? who are they behind the myth? These are the questions that help me write stories. That said, with other books, one of which I am currently working on, the research load is very different. It isn't based on mythology and whilst there are elements that need to be research, there are other parts that I have had to rely solely on my imagination for. Every book is different, but I usually find the more research I do, the better equipped I am to write believable characters and stories.
How do you balance raising a young family with writing? Is it hard to find time to write?
Jessica: With my first book, I wrote mostly at night. I wasn't published so I didn't really know if I ever would be. But once I signed my first three book deal, I hired a nanny to help me out for a couple of days a week. She is amazing with the kids and we are so lucky to have her and those two days a week make all the difference. After that, my husband and I juggle the rest. Some days are harder than others, but the girls always come first, and luckily I'm not averse to working late at night. ;)
What's been your most exciting moment writing so far?
Jessica: I think each time I find out I'm getting published is a huge high. Especially my original deal in Australia and my first deal in the US! To be honest, a lot of it is exciting.
While it is a sometimes solitary profession, a published novel is the work of a small army of people. Is there anyone you 'appreciate' in particular throughout your writing career?
Jessica: So many people, starting with my husband and family who made it possible for me to follow this path. I have an awesome agent and fantastic publishers around the world. I'll always be so grateful to my original publisher at Hachette, Tegan, who took on the books at the beginning, and also to Vanessa who took me on for the later books (as well as my Aussie editor, Kate). I've been so lucky to have such great people working on the books in Australia. And likewise, in the US, I have the most awesome publishers led by an unreal editor, Leah, and publicist, Derry, who pretty much perform miracles on a daily basis! As you can see, I am part of a rockin' team!!
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How amazing is Jessica? I love hearing from talented Aussie authors, and she's so sweet and gracious. Thanks so much for her time today, and guys, if you're still waiting to read her amazing books, enter the giveaway! We have FIVE SETS of the Violet Eden Chapters up for the grabs!
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