Wednesday, August 15, 2012

AAA: Interview with Jessica Shirvington + GIVEAWAY

Gorgeous, gracious, talented -- not to mention Australian -- I'm fairly certain 'Jessica Shirvington' is a synonym for 'AMAZING', and I am so excited she's taken time out of her hectic schedule to join us for AAA today. I've loved her interview, and if you're as excited as me, don't forget to enter our giveaway! Thanks to amazing folks at Date A Book we have 5 sets of Jessica's Violet Eden Chapters up for grabs!

I'm sure it varies from book-to-book, but as a vast generality, how much time do you spend writing a novel? You've had a book out every year since 2010 (two in 2011)! Is it hectic at times?

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!!


Find Jessica on: GoodreadsWebsite | Blog | Facebook

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!


Don't forget to go enter the AAA giveaway! It's open internationally, and there are DOZENS of books to be given away!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. And you said you weren't a good question maker. LIAR. It's all lies... ;D I haven't the Embrace series but Jessica is lovely, and not to mention: AUSTRALIAN. Woot! Fabulous post, lovely! <3

    1. I STRUGGLED. And I took a leaf from Jessica's book: I RESEARCHED. I read reviews, and I read her Bio and blog and FAQs and and and... but seriously, she's AMAZING. Questions are only a fraction of the equation: she's so gracious and gave such thoughtful, wonderful answers! I love! ♥

  2. Fantastic interview with Jessica and a good reminder for me to start this series, I have had book 1 for months but haven't read it yet.

    I like that Jessica respects her research and tries to do it justice when using it in her books :)

    1. "I like that Jessica respects her research and tries to do it justice when using it in her books."

      YES! I LOVE that. I love seeing and reading it, and I LOVE hearing it. I'm SO excited to finally get into the books--I have it too, but I'm so SO excited to finally read it! ♥

  3. i had the first book on my wish list but your review just made me understand all i was missing so i really need to read it

    thank you a lot for the giveaway

  4. I so want to read these books. The interview was awesome as always.

    Wow, 7-8 books to get a whole book done. Seems like a lot of time and so little as well.

    I couldn't imagine trying to write while raising children. I am in awe. :)

  5. Thanks for sharing this fab post with us Sarah! I have to admit I have yet to pick up a book by Jessica yet :( but you post has definitely made me to pick one up soon! :)

  6. This series sounds great and I love the (US?) covers! I can't wait to pick up the first book soon. Jessica sounds like a lovely person. :)

  7. I. NEED. EMBLAZE. Otherwise I will cry. And I don't like crying.

    Other than that, I loved this interview. I love Jessica Shirvington and I am OBSESSED WITH THIS SERIES!!!!!!

  8. I loved Embrace and am so jealous of you Australians who have three of the books in the series available instead of just one like us in the U.S.!

  9. Loving these posts, you're a rockstar Saz!

    You Australians have it all at the moment, Jay, Jessica, Melina, M.J and Marianne... etc... etc...

    not fair.. *stamps foot*.. UK sucks :P

  10. Embrace is a lovely read and I can't wait to read Entice! Australian authors are amazing and all of them seem very nice! It may be the weather or the kangaroo, but all I know is Australian authors produce so many awesometastic books I love! <3

    Amazing interview, ladies! I really enjoyed reading Jessica's answers. <3

  11. Oo Wonderful Q's Miss S, I liked the Mythology and research and respecting it:D Nice!!!

    I have these to read, I keep telling myself to crack them open, sometimes I just need extra couple heads in a week to get me on track:D

    hehe!! We do have some wonderful Aussie authors, we are kinda rockin'!


  12. I SO GET WHAT SHE MEANS. If I don't have a strict deadline and daily schedule drawn out, I just don't do ANYTHING. I procrastinate until the very last minute and then panic because I've left things too late. Structure is something I need, but don't often create.

    Yet another AMAZING interview - seriously, you girls are coming up with really thoughtful and interesting questions, which inspire equally thoughtful and interesting answers. And making me desperately NEED to push this series up on my TBR! I have the first three books, it's just a matter of making TIME!! Everyone loves them, so I'm EXCITED.

  13. Great questions and answers in this interview. This AAA stuff is some of the best author content I've seen. You & Rebecca are rockin' it! :D

    I LOVED hearing about how Jessica handles her research, especially for mythology. I'm writing a book that focuses heavily on mythology, and I'd say that her answer is spot on! I definitely want to do it justice and not change things too much, but I also find that some of my best story ideas come from filling in the blanks of the unknowns of the mythology. :) Thanks girls!

  14. This was an awesome interview! I feel like a lot of writers start off writing at night and bring in extra help once they make it because they want to focus more on their writing since it's officially a job (and, in my opinion, an addictive drug ;) ) cute post! Thank you for sharing!

  15. Haha, I am the EXACT same with pressure! I always mean to get work done but unless it's nearing the deadline or something, I won't be able to force myself to get started. Oh, Internet. So distracting.

    I love the answer to the research question! It would be so easy to just choose a small part of history and run wild but I'm sure sticking to actual fact and pre-established plots is much more difficult. Fantastic interview! :)




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