Tuesday, 1 November 2011

A Chat with Author Jessica Bell

Jessica Bell, one of my favourite people in blogosphere is launching her book, String Bridge this month!  YaY!  Let's do the happy dance for Jessica!

I have a bit of good news - I have Jessica on my blog today!

If you are a regular visitor to this blog, you will probably notice that some of the questions I asked Jessica were the usual questions I'd ask an author.  I hope that this will not bore you - but the truth is, I really wanted to know her answers to these questions.  Now, my biggest mistake was this:  I did not ask her a single question about her debut novel, String Bridge!!!  Arrrrrghhhh!  Yes, I know, I've hit my head on the wall several times already today.  Looking back, I think that the mistake was because I sent her the interview questions months before I got a copy of String Bridge.  And I wanted to ask questions after reading the book.  Now.  I need to calm myself down.  I am posting my review on String Bridge on 15th November...I'm hoping it is not too late to ask Jessica a couple more questions.  If I get lucky, the answers will be posted with the book review, how's that?

I'm happy now.  Hope you are, too.

Now, friends, let's have Jessica!

Len:  What was your job before you made the decision to become a writer?
Jessica Bell:  An English text book writer/editor for English Language Teaching materials. Still am.

L:  Do you write full time?
JB:  Nope. Whenever I can fit it in!

L:  Who are the authors that influenced your writing?
JB:  Marilynne Robinson
Margaret Atwood
Raymond Carver
Gwen Harwood
Anne Lamott
Rebecca Miller

L:  I am really interested to know this - what are your most favourite books - the ones that you will be happy to read over and over again?
JB:  Housekeeping, by Marilynne Robinson is the only book I have ever read multiple times. I still find new things in it too. It’s an acquired taste, though; not for everyone. You need to read it and savor it. You can’t read this book for the story. You have to read it for the sheer brilliance of language.

L:  What do you look for when reading a book? Do you pick it up because of its cover or do you take friends’ recommendations when choosing one?
JB:  I actually don’t pay much attention to covers, I think it’s the blurb which is the first thing I look at. Mind you, if the cover looks tacky and cut and pasted together in five minutes, you can forget it, unless the book was written by a friend, then there’s no chance. Might be a bit shallow, but there’re only so many hours in a day, right?

L:  (*Laughing*  Because secretly, she agrees...hahahahaha!)

L:  You write poetry and literary fiction (aside from being a Singer and Songwriter), do you have to switch from one to the other - I mean, from being a poet to a novelist and vice versa depending on what you are writing?
JB:  All of my writing begins quite raw, so no, I don’t really have to switch, because the bulk of my creativity comes when I begin to embellish the content that’s already written, and I have the same system for both fiction an poetry. I write, I tweak, I color in.

*Len whispers to blog readers:  Have you heard all about it?  Jessica did not only write a book.  She also wrote and recorded a song for it...no, let me correct that, she recorded an album!  Yes, all for her book, String Bridge!

L:  How do you deal with writer’s block?
JB:  I don’t suffer from it much because I don’t ever force myself to write. I really do think that writing when you want to is the key. The rule, that we must write every day, just doesn’t work for me. If I write every day, my creativity runs dry.

L:  Please can you tell us about the challenges you had to face on the road to publication? I’m sure a lot of our blogger friends would like to know.
JB:  Hmm … challenges … rejections, rejections, tears, tears, conflicting advice, rejections, tears, conflicting advice … need I say more?

L:  Any current projects that you are working on?
JB:  Yes, MUTED, which was inspired by a short story I wrote for an anthology called TINY DANCER. Here’s my current blurb:
It's illegal to wear clothes. In some streets, it's also illegal to sing without accompanying instruments. Concetta, a famous Italian a cappella singer from before “the change,” now living in Arles, France, breaks these laws. As punishment, her vocal chords are brutally slashed and her eardrums surgically perforated. Unable to cope living a life without song, she resolves to drown herself in the river clothed in a dress stained with performance memories. But Concetta's suicide attempt is cut short as someone grabs her by the throat and pulls her to the surface. Is it the busking harpist, who encouraged her to feel music through vibration, acting as savior? Or a street warden on the prowl for another offender to detain?

L:  Thank you very much once again, Jessica. Is there anything you’d like to add or tell your friends and supporters out there?
JB:  Have you crossed the String Bridge yet? Hahahahaha …

L:  Yes I have!  I have!  And I loved it!  Congratulations once again on your debut novel!


How about you, blog friends?  Have you crossed the String Bridge yet?  If you haven't yet, here are the links:

Jessica's links:
String Bridge Website: http://www.stringbridge.com/

Purchase links:


L'Aussie said...

Hi Len! Hi Jessica!

Great interview! Have fun on this long journey Jessica! May your book sales go through the roof at your Amazon rush!


Old Kitty said...

Huge congratulations to Jessica and all the best with her book! I have heard one song she recorded for her book on another blog and it was just lovely!! A very talented amazing writer/artist/poet!!

Thanks for a lovely interview Len, take care

KarenG said...

Fun interview! Here's my favorite answer: Hmm … challenges … rejections, rejections, tears, tears, conflicting advice, rejections, tears, conflicting advice … need I say more?

That really made me smile.

Jessica Bell said...

Aw thank you so much!!! *giggle* Love your little whispers!!! hahahahaaa

Dawn Ius said...

Len - I have indeed crossed String Bridge and came out the other side mesmerized by Jessica's talent. This is a great interview, with some wonderful questions!

Jessica - clearly I need to add Housekeeping to my TBR pile. Seems to be a recurring thread for you. xo

Theresa Milstein said...

I'm doing a happy dance for Jessica.

Great interview, Len.

Jessica, what an ambitious tour. I'm amazed about what you've put together.

Deniz Bevan said...

Wonderful interview. Muted sounds fascinating. And I'm in love with Marilynne Robinson too :-)

Nicole Zoltack said...

Hi Len and Jessica, great interview!

Lydia Kang said...

I really enjoyed this interview. It's always nice to get to know my bloggy friends better. Congrats Jess!

LindyLouMac in Italy said...

Hi Len, back from my travels and trying to catch up with all my favourite bloggers. Jessica Bell is an author I know nothing about and I have never read her work so was very interested to read this interview. She sounds interesting. :)

Ann said...

A wonderfully interesting interview Len. Well done Jessica. I really enjoyed reading it. I look forward to getting my copy of Jessica's book. Congratulations all around ladies!

Michael Offutt said...

Hello Len. Hello Jessica. Thank you for answering the questions so candidly. I love interviews like this.

Lisa Stowe said...

Good interview, Len. And it's reassuring to hear someone else that feels it's okay to write when you want, rather than when you feel like you should. I'd love to strike the 'should' word from a writer's vocabulary. Good luck to you Jessica

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Len and Jess .. great interview - I love your blurb for "Muted" .. sounds a mighty strong story line - where can it go?! Good luck with String Bridge and the album .. which I look forward to reading and buying in due course .. cheers Hilary

Len Lambert said...

Thank you so much! You are all awesome! :) I will see you all in a few days. Jessica answered 3 more interview questions which will be posted on 15 November when I post my book review of String Bridge. Hope to see you all again. Take care dear blog friends! :)

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Jessica is a talented young woman! Her writing is descriptive and full of emotion. String Bridges pulls you into the story from the very beginning.