We love brand new authors here at The Book Pushers! Fresh new voices in our favorite genres gives us another person to cyber-stalk and glom onto! We figured since there are always new authors getting published through both the big New York publishers, as well as the smaller digital first publishers, we should take the time and hunt them down and introduce them to you!
Today we’ve got Jessica Scott to talk about what it’s like being a brand new author.
Explain to us your journey to publication:
My journey to publication started back in 2007 when I decided that writing The End on my first novel meant I’d written a bestseller and any publisher would eat up a novel about soldiers written by a soldier. It’s okay to laugh, really, because I understand now that the journey between The End and The Call is incredibly long but also that that particular journey has a purpose.
I had a lot to learn about writing and the biggest thing that helped me start piecing together my book into something saleable was beta reading for a friend of mine while I was in Iraq. Learning to be able to tell her why something didn’t work on the page translated being able to look more critically at my own work, a skill that I’d argue, is one of the most important for any writer.
I’d decided to part ways with my first agent at the end of my tour in Iraq because we weren’t making any headway. Unfortunately, while I was certain another agent would pick me up for Shane and Jen’s story, that didn’t happen. So it went under the bed while I worked on a completely different story.
Right after the SEALs killed Bin Laden, Sue Grimshaw wrote a post about wanting a contemporary military romance that was not romantic suspense. One of the things I learned was that in publishing, by and large, military romance translated into romantic suspense and because my book didn’t read like RS, it was getting rejected. A lot. That and there was still more work to be done, but that’s an entirely different post. Sue read it and loved it and the rest, they say, is history.
What’s your first published book about?
My debut novel Because of You is the first in a series that is loosely tied together by characters in a fictional brigade combat team at Fort Hood. I backed up the timing and it’s set during the Surge, which is the years between late 2006 and 2008 but the series will move forward from there. Book 1 takes place as the unit is deploy into Iraq at the outset of the Surge and when the soldiers come home, they all struggle to deal with a particularly violent period in the Iraq war.
Book 1 focuses on Shane Garrison, a sergeant first class, who is sent home when he gets hurt. The problem Shane must overcome is that he’s always been the guy who solves everyone else’s problems and suddenly, he can’t do a damn thing to help his guys. It tears at his soul and nearly crushes him but Jen really refuses to let him give up. She keeps pushing at him until he literally will stand up and help his boys fight against the demons they wrestle with. And in helping them, he learns to help himself and it’s only then that he’s able to really accept Jen’s love.
Do you have anything in the works?
Right now, I’m working on the 3rd book in the series, Until There Was You. It will feature my first active duty female heroine and she’s a tough one to write because I’ve got to balance her external persona of being a ball buster with someone who’s deeply scarred and vulnerable. She’s a challenge, that’s for sure.
What are your overall dreams, goals and expectations for your future as an author?
My overall dream is to eventually retire from the military and write full time. I love writing romance because romance, ultimately, is about relationships and I had a brigade commander tell me that everything is about relationships. When you think about your daily interactions in that perspective, it really has an impact. I’d love to write books that make people sit back and think about things and I hope that I get the opportunity to keep writing.
What’s your writing process like? Has it changed from when you first started writing?
My process has definitely changed. I used to write by the seat of my pants but I’d often have to throw an entire draft out and start over in order to revise. Once I read Alexandra Sokoloff’s Screenwriting Tricks for Writers, it was like the sky opened up and I was able to think through essentially a rough draft by story board and really get into my character’s heads a lot more before I started writing. Knowing where I’m going has made my first drafts a lot smoother but there’s still a ton of revisions that go into them. I’m a huge fan of the revisions process.
When did you start writing? What was your very first story about?
My very first story was a reunion story. Two soldiers dated when they were very young, got pregnant and lost the baby. The loss tore them apart and they went their separate ways. 10 years later, they were thrown back together but more than just time had passed. She’d remarried and lost her husband and he was struggling with his inability to do enough to help his soldiers. I like to think that book will eventually be rewritten and sold but in it’s current form, I highly doubt it.
Who were some of your inspirations for becoming an author?
I started reading romance again with Nora Robert’s Dance Upon Air and the Three Sisters Trilogy. I’ve always been hugely inspired by Laura Kinsale and the fact that her books still resonate with me years after I first read them, speaks to their influence on me. I love her dark and tormented heroes and their ability to heal. If I can write a book that will have the impact Seize the Fire had on me on another reader, that would be awesome.
Give us the story about when you got “The Call”
My call story is really quite different and I’m certain every agent and editor on Twitter hates it. I’d sent my editor a direct message on twitter and pitched her the idea of my book. She told me to send it to her and decided this was the book she wanted for the new Loveswept relaunch. I can’t tell you how awesome it was to get that email that said “can I call you because I’m very interested in this.” I didn’t get a damn thing done for the rest of the day.
Who is the author you would most like to meet living or deceased and why?
I think I’d love to sit down with Huxley, Orwell, and Bradberry. Their books are such a frank look at where they saw our society headed back before the technology even existed that enables their visions to come true. The scary part about Brave New World, 1984 and Fahrenheit 451 are that they are all coming true in various forms and very few people seem to notice or care. It would be great to learn just what they saw that inspired them to essentially write the warnings for our times.
If you are interested in learning more you can visit Jessica at her website here. Her first book Because of You releases November 14th. Check back on the 16th for Jessica’s guest post and a review of Because of You.