Readers, here's new author to this blog. Welcome, Jessica. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
Well, like all writers, threads of my personal history and scraps of my personality are intentionally woven into the characters and plot. Yet at the same time, much like I believe Jane Austen did, I also throw personalities that I've encountered onto the page.
In The Price of Privilege trilogy the three characters most like me are Julia, Edward, and Isaac. Through Julia, my protagonist, I've explored the deep sense of loss I've experienced, through Edward my unrelenting sense of conviction, and lastly through Isaac (who is prominent in book two and three) my deep longing for family and the strong desire to see the past amended.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I've done a lot of quirky things! The one most people talk about was the time I wrapped my apartment, the ceiling and walls, in tinfoil in order to turn it into a spaceship for a themed dinner with friends.
That sounds like fun. When did you first discover that you were a writer?
In third grade, after a writing assignment, my teacher announced to the class that there were two outstanding stories. To my shock, mine was one of them. I remember being so stunned that she had singled me out.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I love historical fiction and am always on the lookout for a thick, long book that I can curl up with. My second favorite genre is YA and Sci-Fi. I love the deep imaginative flights they'll take.
I especially love British authors. Tolkien and Lewis, and their predecessors George MacDonald and
have inspired more people than they probably ever guessed they would.
Liz Curtis Higgs, Gina Holmes, and Francine Rivers are also among my top favorite writers.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
It's not easy is it? I dream of owning a hobby farm where I rise at dawn, gather eggs, and take cuttings from my herbs garden before settling into writing.
In the meantime, I try to savor the hours I spend with my daughter. I always take time for tea, coffee, and reading. Lately, I've been reminding myself of Jesus's instructions that apart from Him I can do nothing. I'm trying to give myself permission to worry less and trust more.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
Most of my characters have rather old-fashioned names that suit the era, like: Jane, Elizabeth, Charles, and Henry.
I spend a lot of time on the surnames, as those are the ones I feel like I have to live with. The era was so formal that I see those names more than I see the first names.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
I've written a series of essays that I've called The Jessica Years on Inspire-a-Fire. The idea was to chronicle the three years after my recent divorce—both the healing and raw pain. My goal was to become fully authentic. It's easy to feel pressured to project an image, and so hard to admit that we're in desperate need of grace and mercy.
The essays are so honest that there are days I consider removing them from the web, and yet I never do because they keep me from being able to hide.
At the same time, I have stopped making The Jessica Years public.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I've tried really hard to come up with an animal, but nothing seems quite right. Can I pick a plant? I would be most like rosemary—distinctive yet hardy.
That’s fine with me. What is your favorite food?
Oh, how can anyone choose between their survival tools of coffee and chocolate?
May I pick both?
Yes. I seldom get an author who only mentions one food. What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Originally, it was very difficult for me to share my work, which is vital if you're going to grow as a writer. I spent months lurking in a critique group not feeling knowledgeable enough to participate.
Eventually I finally shared my work and tried my hand at critiquing someone. If you know anything about the first time a writer receives a critique, you can imagine how mortified I felt. I shed private tears, then sent thank you notes.
Once I broke the ice it grew easier to participate. I can't express how much I grew in my writing from it.
Tell us about the featured book.
Set in 1838, Born of Persuasion follows the story of a seventeen-year-old who distrusts her anonymous guardian after the death of both parents. She's determined to free herself from her circumstances, yet she continues to find mysterious clues about her family that leave her uncertain whom to trust.
I'm really excited to be able to share my writing. A lot of people have told me it either reminds them of an Austen or a Bronte novel.
Please give us the first page of the book.
Later, when I allowed myself to confront the memories, to dwell on the particulars, I realized my arrival at Am Meer marked the beginning.
Not the mysterious letters that drained the life from Mama.
Not her suicide.
And not the two men arriving at dusk, stomping mud from their boots in the foyer, bearing ill tidings.
Nay—not even the disconcerting news that I had a guardian, one who intended to keep me sequestered.
For those happenings were not my story. I was sinless there. They were the end results of events set in motion long before I arrived at the cottage. I could no more have stopped their unfolding than I could have prevented my own birth.
Those of you who were alive that year might well remember the early frost of 1838. My arrival coincided with the hardship faced by the farmers that August. Thought harvest hadn’t quite begun, an overcast sky stretched over the rolling farmlands bringing a reminder of winter’s cruel bite.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
I so hope you visit www.jessicadotta.com. Please do stop by! I'm also working to put together a free quarterly magazine that will appeal to those who love the Regency, Victorian,and Edwardian era. While you're there, sign up for its first issue.
Thank you, Jessica, for sharing with us today.
Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.Born of Persuasion - Christianbook.com
Born of Persuasion (Price of Privilege) - Amazon.com
Born of Persuasion: 1 (Price of Privilege) - Kindle
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