Tell us about your journey to publication.
Like for so many writers, it’s been a long and frustrating road fraught with knee-high piles of rejection letters, endless rewrites and one crushing disappointment after another. In 2007, a newly established publisher in the UK took me on, only to drop me a year later when they decided they no longer wished to publish my genre of novel. That, perhaps, was the lowest point of my journey. Still, I refused to give up, and six months later found a home for Voices on the Waves with Red Rose. It was so amazing to be given this second chance, I can’t tell you! Yet, for me, the journey is far from over. I still harbor an ambition to find an agent to help me advance my writing career, and I’m determined to continue working towards that goal.
You write a variety of women’s fiction, ranging from light-hearted romances to dark mysteries. What prompts you to write two such different types of novel?
I don’t know if it’s the same for other authors, but in my case, it has taken me a while to discover what type of novel I particularly enjoy writing. I mean, I’ve always known I wanted to write about strong, believable characters and their complex relationships, which is how Voices on the Waves was born. Yet, it was only when I started work on my second novel Painting The Summer, which centers around a devastating family secret, that I realized I also loved writing slowly unfolding mysteries. Now it’s my aim to combine both these elements in my writing.
It’s one of my sweeter novels, a light-hearted holiday read set against the stunning backdrop of rural Cornwall. Faye Wakefield, my generous but rather lonely heroine, runs a competition offering nine lucky winners a two-week stay at her beautiful farmhouse retreat. She hopes the contest will help her find an answer to her troubles, but it ends up achieving far more than she ever imagined. The prize-winners come from all walks of life, so once I’d assembled my cast of highly diverse characters under one roof, all I had to do was let my imagination flow and the sparks fly!
With newfound love, illicit affairs and the sharing of long-buried secrets, Voices on the Waves really does have it all, and it’s now available to purchase as an ebook from Red Rose Publishing:
What are you working on now and when can we expect to see it?
I’ve just started work on a novella, which will be written as part of a series with a group of my fellow authors at Red Rose. The idea is that we each write a book based on a reality TV show, and I’m taking the inspiration for mine from talent shows such as American Idol and The X Factor. It’s shaping up to be really great fun!
I’m also in the throes of editing painting The Summer, an emotion-driven mystery surrounding a wealthy English family whose lives are torn apart when they invite a handsome young artist into their home to paint their portraits. All going well, I’m hoping both novels will be published some time in 2011.
Do you have any tips or suggestions for other new authors?
Study your craft. Most of us, unless we happen to be a literary genius, won’t become a best-selling writer overnight. Read every book you can lay your hands on about creating believable, unforgettable characters and how to weave page-turning plots. Join a writing critique group, whether online or face-to-face, to get feedback on your progress that will help you improve. Most of all, write the sort of novels you would enjoy reading.
I know from your bio that you have a severe visual impairment. How does this affect your writing?
The hardest part is being unable simply to visit a place and get a picture of it in my mind. For instance, if I want to set a novel in London, I can’t just wander around the city at leisure, memorizing the landmarks and distinctive features. I have to rely on other people to be my eyes and describe things to me, which isn’t ideal. Having discovered this stumbling block while writing VOTW, I’ve now created a fictional English county called Denninshire where I intend to set all my future novels. This gives me the freedom to describe the towns and landscape from my own imagination, and makes the whole process so much easier.
What are the addresses of your website, blog, and other online presences?
Readers can visit my website at:
Http://www.jessicachambers.co.uk Where they can read an excerpt from Voices on the Waves, follow my blog and keep up to date with my latest news and contests.
I can also be found on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1442572504
Thanks so much, Linda, for interviewing me on The Author Exchange today, and for all of you for stopping by. Anyone kind enough to leave me a comment here, or at any point during my blog tour, will automatically be entered into the draw to win a $15 gift voucher for either Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Winners choice! Just don’t forget to provide an email address in case I need to contact you. The five winners will be announced on October 31st over at my blog: http://www.jessicachambers.co.uk/blog - so, good luck!