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Author of the Month > February 2015: Jessica West

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message 1: by Jessica (last edited Feb 02, 2015 03:54PM) (new)

Jessica West (jessica_west) | 60 comments NOTE: All participants are automatically entered to win a free e-book copy of A Strange Alliance. Random winner will be drawn on March 1, 2015. The winner can get a different book of equal or lesser value if they prefer (up to $2.99). Goodreads is in no way responsible for this giveaway. Author Jessica West is entirely responsible for ensuring delivery.

Good luck, and ask away!

Jessica West is a Freelance Writer and Editor, an Independent Author, and Editor-in-Chief at Prose Before Ho Hos, an irreverent humor blog. She maintains a writing blog and her personal site as well.

She lives in Central Louisiana with three daughters still young enough to think she’s cool and a husband who knows better but likes her anyway.

She leaves a trail of blood or pixie dust in her wake, but such is the life of a Horror and Fantasy Writer. Though she prefers those genres, Romance and Erotica are her guilty pleasures.

Many authors – including Stephen King, Clive Barker, Terry Goodkind, and Ayn Rand – have contributed to the delinquency of this intermediate writer, and now she’s just whistling her own version of Dixie.

Red River Rangers


message 2: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Tarn (barbaragtarn) | 1185 comments Hi, Jessica, if you'd like to be featured on my blog, PM me your email and I'll send you my writerly questions - although the interview will go live mid-month! ;)


message 3: by A.L., Stormy Chronicler (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 998 comments Ditto.


message 4: by Jessica (new)

Jessica West (jessica_west) | 60 comments That sounds perfect! My new release comes out on the 19th. Thanks a bunch!

Also, the thunderclap campaign is up and running, the posts set to go live on February 8. Here's the link if you guys want to help boost the signal: https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/2...

Thanks again!


message 5: by Jessica (new)

Jessica West (jessica_west) | 60 comments Oh! I forgot to mention, I usually reciprocate author/book campaigns, so feel free to share your links, too. :)


message 6: by Jessica (new)

Jessica West (jessica_west) | 60 comments Alrighty, people!!! Today is February 1st. Let's do this thing! :D

Two things:

#1- During the month of February, each person who participates in this discussion thread will be automatically entered for a chance to win a free copy of my e-book A Strange Alliance. Winners will be drawn using Random.org, and their free book will be sent via e-mail from Amazon.

#2- During the month of February, each new person who signs up to receive my newsletter will be entered for a chance to win a free book (ANY BOOK) of their choice with a value of up to $5. You can sign up for my newsletter here --> New Release Newsletter

I will try my best to check in daily and answer all questions asked of me. So, ask away!


message 7: by Victoria (new)

Victoria Zigler (toriz) | 1400 comments Hi Jess,

OK, I guess I'll get started by asking the first question...

Did you make a concious choice to write in the genres you do? Or did the genres choose you?


message 8: by Jessica (new)

Jessica West (jessica_west) | 60 comments Victoria wrote: "Hi Jess,

OK, I guess I'll get started by asking the first question...

Did you make a concious choice to write in the genres you do? Or did the genres choose you?"


Thanks, Victoria!

Yes. ;) About two years ago I took an online writing workshop for beginners. I started writing and simply couldn't stop. In the beginning, and for a year or more, I wrote anything and everything that popped into my head. The only time I worried about fitting it into a genre was when it came time to publish or publicize. Having gone through pretty much all genres by now, I realize I'm not at all good with Science Fiction. That makes sense, because I don't read much Sci-Fi, either. I prefer to read Fantasy, Horror, and Romance, and those are the genres I find my stories most comfortably fit into.

I've tried nearly every genre except mystery and suspense. Thrillers have never really been my cup of tea to read, so I just assumed I wouldn't care to write them, either. I do intend to give it a try one day soon, though.

Because I'll try just about anything once, I do (frequently) make a conscious choice to write in specific genres. However, because not all of those genres turn out to be appealing to me, you could say the ones that do chose me.


message 9: by Victoria (new)

Victoria Zigler (toriz) | 1400 comments Fair enough... Thanks for answering! :)


message 10: by John (new)

John Wohlscheid (johnblood) | 49 comments Jessica wrote: "Alrighty, people!!! Today is February 1st. Let's do this thing! :D

Two things:

#1- During the month of February, each person who participates in this discussion thread will be automatically ente..."


You sure know how to do promotions. I see you use MailChimp for your newletter. Why did you pick them over other services?

Also, what authors made the biggest impact on your writing, both content and style?


message 11: by Jessica (new)

Jessica West (jessica_west) | 60 comments John wrote: "Jessica wrote: "Alrighty, people!!! Today is February 1st. Let's do this thing! :D

Two things:

#1- During the month of February, each person who participates in this discussion thread will be au..."


Thanks, John! I like to try new things for promotions as well as writing. If the free book thing does it for folks, I might just keep it up! ;)

I use MailChimp because it was recommended by a friend. I've actually been toying with it for a while now and just got it how I want it. I found there was a bit of a learning curve, but those who've been with me so far have been patient. :)

I think Clive Barker and Richard Matheson made the biggest impact on me. I like the twisted and macabre I get from Mr. Barker, but as a writer that tends to come out in unexpected ways. My writing tends to be very visceral and vibrant only when a specific scene requires it. I like writing that makes an emotional impact, too, and I get that by reading Matheson. As a writer, this is something I look for in my own work, though I don't always find it.

Thanks for the great questions, John!


message 12: by Luke (new)

Luke Marsden (lukefdmarsden) Hi Jessica,

If you had to pick your own favourite passage that you have written, what would it be? Hope this question doesn't put you on the spot too much - it was prompted as I noticed that there are, as yet, none of your own quotes on your author page!


message 13: by Jessica (new)

Jessica West (jessica_west) | 60 comments Luke wrote: "Hi Jessica,

If you had to pick your own favourite passage that you have written, what would it be? Hope this question doesn't put you on the spot too much - it was prompted as I noticed that there..."


That's actually a good question, Luke, one I'll really have to think about. Sometimes I'll write a sentence that really hits home for me, but I think it's more because of the context rather than it being a great sentence. I don't know that there's any one paragraph or even chapter that I remember above all others. I write poetry occasionally, and there is one that I remember, one I can't possibly forget. If it's okay with you, I'll answer with that poem rather than a passage, as I think it's probably the best thing I've ever written and possibly the best thing I ever will write. It's brief, so it almost counts as a passage.

From Him

Mommy, don't be sad for me,
Today, I learned to walk.
And though I died a little one,
In Heaven I can talk.
I see your tears, I understand,
Though little ones never do.
But where I am, I laugh and play,
I'm smiling down on you.
I know you miss me, I hear your prayers,
And I hope you find a way
To feel the hugs I'm sending you
Each and every day.

Thanks for asking, Luke. This is the best thing I've ever written, in my opinion, and my favorite. I have it up at my blog and revisit it often. I find it comforting, in a way.


message 14: by Luke (new)

Luke Marsden (lukefdmarsden) Thanks for answering so sincerely, Jessica. That is a beautiful poem; very heartfelt and moving.


message 15: by Jessica (new)

Jessica West (jessica_west) | 60 comments Luke wrote: "Thanks for answering so sincerely, Jessica. That is a beautiful poem; very heartfelt and moving."

Thank you.


message 16: by Victoria (new)

Victoria Zigler (toriz) | 1400 comments Jessica wrote: "Luke wrote: "Hi Jessica,

If you had to pick your own favourite passage that you have written, what would it be? Hope this question doesn't put you on the spot too much - it was prompted as I notic..."


Beautiful poem, Jess!


message 17: by Jessica (new)

Jessica West (jessica_west) | 60 comments Thank you. :)


message 18: by Victoria (new)

Victoria Zigler (toriz) | 1400 comments How do you come up with the titles of your books? Also, how do you name your characters?

I know I ask everyone something like this at some point, but you'll have to forgive me... I have a bit of an obsession with the origins and meanings of names.


message 19: by Magdel (new)

Magdel Roets (magdelroets) | 7 comments very interesting


message 20: by Jessica (new)

Jessica West (jessica_west) | 60 comments Victoria wrote: "How do you come up with the titles of your books? Also, how do you name your characters?

I know I ask everyone something like this at some point, but you'll have to forgive me... I have a bit of a..."


Good question, Victoria. I've noticed different people go about naming characters, books, and even fictional locations in various ways. It's interesting to see just how different each writer is in their process. I know a few people who can't put the first word down until they have all the main characters named and fully fleshed-out.

Sometimes a story idea will start with a fully-formed character in my mind, a character that usually comes with a name. Even so, sometimes that name needs to be changed to suit the time and place of the story.

For those instances where the characters don't come to me fully-formed, I just make up a name and start writing. I don't agonize over the naming of a character, at all. Once I've finished the first draft I usually have a better idea who the character is and then I can figure out their name.

I'm not a hardcore gamer, but I do play. I've played Everquest, World of Warcraft, Rift, Titan Quest, and other such games. Naming a character is something I've done a lot of, and usually done quickly so I could jump into the game. For games, I almost always have a character named Jozanya, and usually a secondary named Joz or Baezu. Those are names I use often. I even have a couple of stories with those characters. Jozanya is an anthropomorphized, bi-pedal cheetah from my very first gaming experience. I played a Vah Shir (cat person) shaman in Everquest.

My favorite names are those from mythology. My favorite name of all is Galatea.


message 21: by Jessica (new)

Jessica West (jessica_west) | 60 comments Sophia wrote: "very interesting"

Thanks, Sophia!


message 22: by A.L., Stormy Chronicler (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 998 comments What is your favourite book?


message 23: by Jessica (new)

Jessica West (jessica_west) | 60 comments A.L. wrote: "What is your favourite book?"

Ooh, this one's a little harder to answer because it changes. I got a copy of Clive Barker's Books of Blood for Christmas one year (because my mom may not understand my morbid fascinations, but she loves me). I've read that book so many times the cover is tattered and ragged. My favorite story within that book is The Yattering and Jack.

If I were stranded on a desert island and could only bring one book with me, it would probably be Books of Blood.


message 24: by A.L., Stormy Chronicler (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 998 comments :) Fair enough. I used to read a lot of gothic horror, my mum couldn't understand it either.


message 25: by Jessica (new)

Jessica West (jessica_west) | 60 comments A.L. wrote: ":) Fair enough. I used to read a lot of gothic horror, my mum couldn't understand it either."

ha! Yep. My mom and I have a lot in common, except when it comes to books and movies and music. She likes mystery and suspense, medical and legal thrillers, especially those with romance, all that sort of thing. I like horror, fantasy and the like, especially with a bit of romance. That's about the only element we have in common. :D


message 26: by Victoria (new)

Victoria Zigler (toriz) | 1400 comments Jessica wrote: "Victoria wrote: "How do you come up with the titles of your books? Also, how do you name your characters?

I know I ask everyone something like this at some point, but you'll have to forgive me... ..."


Great answer! :)

What about your book titles?


message 27: by Magdel (new)

Magdel Roets (magdelroets) | 7 comments Like Jessica, some of my characters come with a name, for others I have to consult a name book, telephone directory for surnames. But whatever I do, the name has to match the character. The sounds of names have colors. So a brunette can in my mind never be called Veronica. The sound of "Veronica" is honey blond. Alma, or Anita would be just fine.


message 28: by A.L., Stormy Chronicler (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 998 comments Here is Jessica's interview on my blog.
https://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/...


message 29: by Jessica (new)

Jessica West (jessica_west) | 60 comments Victoria wrote: "Jessica wrote: "Victoria wrote: "How do you come up with the titles of your books? Also, how do you name your characters?

I know I ask everyone something like this at some point, but you'll have t..."


Thanks, Victoria! I'm pretty much the same with the titles. Sometimes a whole world filled with characters will slam into me with the title. A Strange Alliance actually started out with the title first. I hadn't decided whether I would write a sequel to Red River Rangers. Then this title came to me along with an idea, and it just went from there. Sometimes I struggle to title a work, and those that I do come up with never fit the story as well as stories written around a title. When I get that title first, it's like magic, the story just unfolds.


message 30: by Jessica (new)

Jessica West (jessica_west) | 60 comments Sophia wrote: "Like Jessica, some of my characters come with a name, for others I have to consult a name book, telephone directory for surnames. But whatever I do, the name has to match the character. The sounds ..."

You're a synesthete!!! Welcome, and thanks for sharing. Once I get to know people really well, I tend to "see" their personalities as specific colors and textures. I've tried to replicate the effect intentionally in my fiction, but it just doesn't work. It's not something that can be forced or controlled. But I imagine your form of syn helps with consistency. You'll never mistakenly refer to a character by the wrong name b/c you'll see that it's off immediately. It's almost like having a superpower. ;)


message 31: by Jessica (new)

Jessica West (jessica_west) | 60 comments A.L. wrote: "Here is Jessica's interview on my blog.
https://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/..."


Thanks again for having me. :)


message 32: by Victoria (new)

Victoria Zigler (toriz) | 1400 comments Jessica wrote: "Victoria wrote: "Jessica wrote: "Victoria wrote: "How do you come up with the titles of your books? Also, how do you name your characters?

I know I ask everyone something like this at some point, ..."


Thanks for answering about the titles; great answer!

Oh, and... Fantastic interview, by the way!


message 33: by Jessica (new)

Jessica West (jessica_west) | 60 comments Victoria wrote: "Jessica wrote: "Victoria wrote: "Jessica wrote: "Victoria wrote: "How do you come up with the titles of your books? Also, how do you name your characters?

I know I ask everyone something like this..."


Thanks so much! Those were some really good questions, really got me going. :)


message 34: by Barbara (new)


message 35: by Victoria (new)

Victoria Zigler (toriz) | 1400 comments Another great interview! :)


message 36: by Jessica (new)

Jessica West (jessica_west) | 60 comments Thank you, thank you!!! :D


message 37: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Gross | 2 comments Somehow I was unaware you're from Louisiana, and there's a significant part of the Tom Rollins series that takes place there. I'm going to have to pick your brain...
(P.S. I've seen the term "smashwords" a million times and have yet to learn anything about it. I'm an awful person.)


message 38: by Jessica (new)

Jessica West (jessica_west) | 60 comments Kevin wrote: "Somehow I was unaware you're from Louisiana, and there's a significant part of the Tom Rollins series that takes place there. I'm going to have to pick your brain...
(P.S. I've seen the term "smash..."


You are most certainly not an awful person. Yeah, I'm originally from the Angola area (yes, the State Penitentiary). Feel free to pick my brain anytime.

I thought the landscape of A Prelude to Nothing seemed familiar, but I've not been outside Louisiana often enough to know if other places would seem the same.

Smashwords is a publishing platform like KDP or NookPress, but they distribute too all kinds of outlets, including libraries, instead of just to Amazon or Barnes & Noble, respectively. They distribute to Kindle and Nook as well, and you can link your print edition to your Smashwords' book page, too. It's pretty nifty.

The biggest pro, in my opinion, is that everyone can offer their books for preorder. That's been an option for a while. The biggest con, in my opinion, is that you can't upload and save a book or project as a draft. You also can't preview it before it's published. That's why I get everything done at KDP and Nook Press first.

It's important to note, too, that Smashwords is made for independent authors and small presses only.


message 39: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Gross | 2 comments Jessica wrote: "Kevin wrote: "Somehow I was unaware you're from Louisiana, and there's a significant part of the Tom Rollins series that takes place there. I'm going to have to pick your brain...
(P.S. I've seen t..."


It is sometimes surprising that other states/towns can feel like they could be a part of your own state. I've been outside New Jersey (where APTN takes place) enough times to see huge similarities and drastic differences. However, I have this crazy idea that Louisiana is an interesting geographical location to explore


message 40: by Jessica (new)

Jessica West (jessica_west) | 60 comments Kevin wrote: "Jessica wrote: "Kevin wrote: "Somehow I was unaware you're from Louisiana, and there's a significant part of the Tom Rollins series that takes place there. I'm going to have to pick your brain...
(..."


Interesting. Ha! Yes, most definitely. Come in February, though, so you can have some boiled crawfish while you're here. And have boudin at least once before you leave. :)


message 41: by Victoria (new)

Victoria Zigler (toriz) | 1400 comments Hi Jess,

Thanks for being author of the month, and answering our questions.

I might have asked more, but I've been busy with moving most of this month, so my mind has been kept busy enough not to come up with too many annoying questions. Consider yourself lucky, LOL!

Anyway, thanks again, and I hope your time as author of the month was satisfying, and that it took you at least a step closer to some new fans/book sales.


message 42: by Jessica (new)

Jessica West (jessica_west) | 60 comments Thanks for having me, guys! I'm doing the drawing today and will announce the winners at my personal blog tomorrow, west1jess dot com. :)


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