Friday, May 6, 2011

Interview with Author Jessica Chambers

Voices On The Waves

Please tell me 5 things about you.
When I was five years -old, I was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a degenerative disease of the retina that has left me almost totally blind. I have two dogs, a four-year-old Staffy and a twelve-week-old Staffy/bull dog cross, who I love to bits. I’m also an avid supporter of Liverpool Football Club, am severely claustrophobic and love trying new and interesting cuisine.

What are 3 unique aspects about Voices on the Waves?
Bar a couple of scenes, the novel takes place exclusively in a single location, a beautiful old farmhouse in the heart of the Cornish countryside. It is also far more than a story of romance and developing relationships; it’s a tale of acceptance and overcoming, where the past is as important as the present. Thirdly, although it deals with several serious issues such as loss, childhood trauma and prejudice, the style remains light throughout.

Name 1 thing you wish you’d known about publishing before being published.
Back in the days of carefree oblivion, I thought all that was required of me as an author was to write a novel people would want to read. I didn’t realize I would have to develop a whole new skill, that of the self-promoter. Yet, even the big publishing houses now expect their authors to take on a certain amount of responsibility for the marketing of their books. For those of us with smaller companies and limited budgets, the challenge is all the more daunting. I’ve learned so much in the months since Voices on the Waves was published, and enjoyed every minute of it, but I wish I’d known beforehand how much time I’d have to put into promotion. Forewarned is fore-armed, as they say!

What are your top 5 favorite books?
Gosh, there are so many books I love that I think I’m going to have to cheat and give you my favorite series. Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling, Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare, Wideacre by Philippa Gregory, Dark Visions by L. J. Smith, and Jilly Cooper’s Rupert Campbell-Black novels.

If you could invite 5 authors on a cruise who would they be?
I’d love to bring Jane Austin back from the dead. She sounds like she was such great fun! Then Artemis Fowl author Eoin Colfer would definitely have to be on the guest list, as his stand up shows are absolutely hilarious, and I’d also love to get Philip Pullman and C. S. Lewis together. Their opposing views on religion would make for some lively dinner table discussions! Lastly, I’d have to invite J. K. Rowling, as her books have given me so much enjoyment over the years.

Name 3 things that help you gain inspiration for writing.
Listening to radio phone-in shows (people always have fascinating stories to tell), watching TV dramas and of course reading as many different books as possible. Sometimes I’ll put down a novel I particularly enjoyed and ask myself, okay, but what if things had turned out differently? So many of my ideas start like that.

What is the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has happened to you as an author?
Admittedly, since much of my life as an author so far has involved me typing away on my computer, there hasn’t been an awful lot of room for humorous or embarrassing moments as yet. I did turn in a very early draft of Voices on the Waves with the most blatant mistake in it though. In one scene I had a character leaving the farmhouse by car, and in the next, he somehow managed to arrive home by train. It makes me chuckle now, but I almost died at the time!

If you were stranded on an island and could magically transport 2 people, 3 things and 1 book to have with you, who/what would they be?
I’d definitely want my dad with me, as he’s the most capable person I know to have around in a crisis, and a seasoned explorer like Ranulph Fiennes would be pretty handy too! Then I’d want my bed, (pathetic, I know, but I always miss it whenever I’m away from home), my laptop so that I could keep in touch with the outside world, and a mini fridge complete with a supply of gin and tonic! As for just one book, being stranded on a desert island would be the perfect opportunity to finally get around to reading one of those massively long novels, like War and Peace or A Suitable Boy.

Do you have another title in the works?
My second novel is with a publisher as we speak. It’s called Dark is the Sky, and as the title suggests, it has a darker tone than VOTW. In a nutshell, it follows the Cameron family who are still coming to terms with the tragedy that tore them apart twelve years before. It’s a tangled web of lies, love and family secrets and I’m hoping it will be released later this year.

What is your favorite season?
Has to be summer. Not the disappointing, rainy summers we so often have in the UK, but the kind of summers I remember from my childhood where you wake up every day for weeks on end knowing it’s going to be yet another gorgeous day.

Your dream vacation would be?
Much as I love relaxing with a good book, I’m not the sort of person who can lie on a beach all day every day. So, one that combines relaxation with visiting sights of historic interest and soaking up the local culture would be ideal.

Best childhood memory?
During my early teenage years, I had this crush on a boy in the form above me at school, although I never imagined he would be interested in a shy girl like myself. Then, when I was thirteen and he fourteen, we made up part of a small group of Students chosen to attend The Last Night of the Proms at The Royal Albert Hall. Well, I admit I can’t recall a single thing about the concert now. All I remember is that we spent the whole evening together, talking about nothing in particular but laughing a great deal, and for the first time I realized I might have a chance with him after all. The memory still makes me smile.

If you were given the chance to do any one thing over again, what would it be?
Instead of shunning the idea of going to university (what’s the point unless you have a particular profession in mind?) I’d go to St. Andrews along with Prince William. Then, perhaps it would have been me marrying a prince at West Minster Abbey rather than Kate. Well, a girl can dream, can’t she?

If you could re-live any one moment, what would it be?
It would have to be either my last term at school when we put on a production of the musical Grease and I started dating my first serious boyfriend, or the summer of ’99 when I went on a caravanning holiday to Devon with my family and best friend. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much!

What are you most looking forward to this summer?
Besides long, hot days and barbecues? Well, I’ve actually signed up to be a judge for this year’s EPIC ebook awards which open on June 1st. I’ve never done anything like this before, so I’m really excited.

Check back on Monday for my review of this title!

1 comment:

  1. Great interview. That new book sounds like a great read. Will have to try to review it. lol


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