The Scottish Duke is out tomorrow! Jessica was kind enough to answer some questions for us.
You can get your copy of this exciting historical romance HERE!
Did you always know you wanted to be an author? What is the first story you remember writing? How did you get from there to where you are today?
Did I always want to be an author? Yes. Ever since my siblings and I wrote our first scripts for plays that we would enact in our living room. The first story that mattered was a short story I wrote the day I got my divorce decree, thirteen years ago; it would later become the first book I self-published. I had a friend challenge me to do National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). After that, stories just started coming out. Well, not as quickly as that implies but I made it work. I am a single mom who works full time and tries to put full time writing (and reading!) in there too. Sometimes that doesn’t work and I wasn’t ready to push myself into writing more than one book a year.
Which comes first for you: the plot or the characters?
It depends on the book. For instance, for the Of Valor and Honor Series, the plots came to me first and then the names came. For another series I got a name first and then plot came together. Some books just speak to me and then others the characters want their say first.
Does your writing process include any kind of ritual? Story specific playlists, tea, or candles, for example?
I guess you could say that I have a ritual of composing theme songs for my books. Strangely enough, it helps with the ebb and flow of the book. It keeps me on track. I do have one for The Scottish duke and will be posting it in my author takeover of the Dragonblade Reader Group. I also have the theme songs for my self-published books on my personal Facebook profile.
Did you have a favorite book or series when you were growing up?
I didn’t have just a favorite book or series; I had favorite authors. Clive Cussler’s Dirk Pitt novels and Tom Clancy books were the top of my reading game when I was eleven years old. Red Storm Rising is still my favorite book and would recommend it to anyone. Now, if you want to have a jaw dropping plot twist, any of Clive Cussler’s Dirk Pitt novels have the best plot twists at the end. I strive to write a good plot twist like Cussler did!
From all your books, who is your favorite hero and why?
That’s a hard one because I love them all. Ioan, the Duke of Rathdrum, is in the top ten. I had a fun time writing his character. He was so sarcastic. In the first couple chapters of the book, I couldn’t help but laugh hysterically, as a re-read it. I hope that the readers love it too. In a close second, is James from my next book in the Of Valor and Honor Series. I am not going to go into detail like I did the Ioan because I don’t want to give anything (ha ha ha).
How much research do you do into the time period and places you write about?
I read a lot! We are talking one to three books a day (even with writing, work, being a single mom, etc), don’t ask me how I do it because I can’t tell you. Through those books I take away a lot of information. I look at pictures of the area where I want to write about, pick out a manor house or two to model one of my houses on, and I (sometimes) consult the google gods with their scholarly sources to resolve any historical quandary. If I write a book that’s based here in the states, I go to that place and take tons of pictures. My son, the Little Pirate Lord, and I go to battlefields, forts, historical towns and cities, and monuments. He helps me take pictures. We take the trolley tours or walking tours of the cities and ask questions. Savannah GA is one of our favorite places to go. There wasn’t a Civil War battle there (because the people of Savannah surrendered before the Union could burn the city) but there was a Revolutionary War battle there. I have a ton of videos about Savannah and the Chickamauga/Chattanooga Battlefield on my Jessica’s Lords and Ladies Reader Group.