Saturday, February 21, 2015

Author Interview: IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS with Author Jess Russell

Jess Russell

(Lynda) My guest today is author Jess Russell. Jess, it's a pleasure to welcome you to my blog. I'm anxious to get into the interview so why don't we get started...

(Jess) Lynda, thank you so much for having me on Between the Pages. I am delighted to be visiting today. The Dressmaker’s Duke is my Best-selling d├ębut Regency Romance. The book has won many awards including Best of the Best in the Golden Rose Contest and was touted as a “Hot new Release” on Amazon. Jess is a New York City gal who escapes to the Catskill Mountains to hike, act, garden and write. The Dressmaker’s Duke is on sale now for just .99cents through March 3rd!

  (Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Why did I start writing?
  • When I turned a certain age—OK, no sense being coy, 50—I wanted a new challenge. I had never written anything before. I had a scene brewing in my head for a while. I decided why not? I faced that scary white page and wrote it down. That was three years ago.
(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Would I have made a Million $ on my first book?
  • Oh boy, No millions. Yet. But I did feel a bit like Cinderella when I made PAN about 10 days after The Dressmaker’s Duke released. That was a victory for me. I felt like a million bucks!
(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Would I get excited over seeing my book cover for the first time?
  • Oh, YES! When I got the Amazon package in the mail, opened it, held my book in my hands, smelled it, and flipped through the pages and saw my name on the cover~Bliss.
(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, What character was the most difficult to write, and why?
  • Not so much characters. I am an actress, so I love to delve into how and why people do what they do. My challenge is story. I am not sure if it’s because I am dyslexic but I find it difficult to hone the story. I keep wanting to go off on tangents.
  • (Lynda) I so understand tangents...and I'm not dyslexic, just easily distracted by all the possibilities that keep presenting themselves in my head.
(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Would I also read a lot, if so, how do I fit that into my schedule and why is it important to me?
  • I do love to read. I read a lot in my genre and I get really excited when I find a new author to love. I consider this reading a guilty kind of “research”. :o) I am a slow reader though (I am dyslexic) Right now I have my “RITA Reads” to get through. Nine of them! I better get busy!  
 (Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Would I also have other hobbies, if so, what kind?
  • OH boy, do you have an hour or so? I love to make things. I love the notion of creating something out of nothing, or at least things that other folks might think of as worthless. I am always dragging things off the street of New York City where I live now, and "re-purposing" them. My secret indulgence; power tools. I knew my husband really knew me when he got me a chain saw for my birthday! Like you, I love textile arts. I am an award winning  Batik artist. 
  • (Lynda) I also love creating, designing, and re-purposing. And I adore batiks. I use them a lot in my fiber art projects.
(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Would I have a website or blog? If so, where can they be found? Do I offer promo features for other writers on my blog?
  • I do have a website/blog Right now I am doing a feature called, “Trash to Treasure”. I take a thrift store find and transform it into something new and fabulous! It is sort of a take-off on my Dressmaker theme. I also made my own hand-sewn Regency gown. 
 (Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Would I have preferred to live and write in a different era than the present?
  • I love writing Historicals. They have all these parameters that one must try to write within. The world of a Regency woman is narrow, but she still has all the feelings that a modern day woman has, she just must express them in more subtle ways. I see this as a challenge; a kind of mental tightrope. I think the best historical writers embrace these strictures and learn to move gracefully and creatively between the confines of their chosen world. These characters are not just witty cardboard cutouts from 200 years ago, they are thinking, feeling folk with problems just like you and me. However, I am very happy to be living in 2015. Women have come a long way. I could not go back to being essentially the property of my husband.
  (Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, What would most characterize my writing?
  • Being an actress, my writing is very character driven. I also love to write in a very deep POV.
(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, When did I first consider myself a writer, and was there a special moment connected to this realization?
  • There was nothing like getting my book in the mail, taking out of the package and feeling that glossy cover, flipping the pages, smelling, seeing my name on the cover…heaven! (see cover photo)
(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, What's the best/worse comments I've received from a fan or critic? 
  • It makes my day to hear that my book has touched a reader. A favorite: Long and Short reviews: “Just – Wow! I am in awe of this wonderful book. It’s hard to believe that this is a first book, it’s that good. This will be in my top ten books for this year.” The negative review that hurt the most; a reader thought there was cruelty in the book. Yes, there is some cruelty: A beloved horse has to be put down, and the villain is cruel. I don’t apologize for that, villains are cruel. My books are a bit darker than a typical Regency romance, but that makes the Happily Ever After all the sweeter!


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