Hi, Jessica! Thanks for joining me! What are your ambitions for your writing career? What would your career look like in an ideal world?
I used to be a teacher, and I recently quit so that I could stay home with my son and work on writing. I never thought it would be possible, but I’m doing it! I’m really enjoying being a work-at-home mom (my son is almost a year old) — spending time with him is the most important thing to me right now. So, I’ll stay home and keep writing as long as it works for us! I’m so lucky that I get to do what I love, and I love what I do!
That sounds amazing! What’s your guilty pleasure TV show?
I’m a Netflix binge-er. I don’t watch a lot of TV during the day so at night (or even in the bathtub!) I’ll watch a Netflix series. I loved Fuller House, Chelsea Does…, and am currently watching The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. I’m still waiting for my husband to have time to watch House of Cards seasons 3 and 4. And I can’t wait for the new season of Orange is the New Black!
I was ridiculously afraid to be behind the wheel of a car and didn’t get my driver’s license until I was 32!
Wow, very interesting! Which writers inspire you?
It is impossible to name just one. Plus I’m all over the place when I read: chick lit, fictionalized biographies, thrillers… I love a good, creepy thriller, but I wouldn’t know how to come up with ideas for one, so I’m always amazed when a crazy, unthinkable plot line unfolds! Whether it’s a prolific writer or someone brand new who pops onto the scene with an amazing first novel, writers work tirelessly to get their ideas out into the world. It’s not easy, especially when you think about how long the whole writing/editing/publishing process can take, on top of a career, a family, and other responsibilities.
I’m currently doing a lot of writing for parenting sites like Baby Gaga and Scary Mommy. I’d love to keep doing that, and I also have ideas for making Clarissa Jean and the ladies in Palmetto Park into a series. And I’d also like to write a funny parenting book. Parenting is life-changing in so many ways. And so exhausting, frustrating, rewarding, and happy, and messy! But I’m really enjoying it, and I’d love to share that.
You definitely sound like you stay busy. Why do you write?
I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I get ideas in my head and, honestly, can’t get them out if I don’t write. It’s like I’ll lay in bed at night and instead of falling asleep, I’ll imagine what’s happening in my story, and if I don’t write that scene the next day, I’ll lay in bed thinking about it again the next night and adding to it. The feeling goes away for awhile when I finish a book, but once another idea comes along and I’m not sleeping, I know it’s time to start writing again. Plus, whether it’s a book or a blog post, it’s always nice to hear that someone enjoyed or felt like they related to what I wrote!
Do you have any advice for someone wanting to publish their own book?
Write a little bit every day, even if you don’t feel like it or don’t feel like you have the time. Even if it’s just taking notes and getting scraps of ideas out. When the time comes, use a professional editor. Put yourself out there on social media, but don’t use it as an infomercial for your books. Be a real person online, not just a sales person. Make sure that you take the time to upload a variety of different posts, as well as engaging with the followers that you do have, as this will put you in good stead when the time comes for you to promote your book. You may also want to consider having a look for an instagram growth service if you really wanted to get yourself ahead of others. The more followers that you have, the more people that will be aware of your book. It’s little things like this that can make a big difference. And of course, don’t give up!
That is really great advice! What book/s are you currently reading?
The Wonder Weeks by Hetty van de Rijt, The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr, and Turn Around Bright Eyes by Rob Sheffield.
I’ll have to add those to my to-read list. What is your favorite quote?
“Words have weight.” It’s from Stephen King’s book On Writing. I have it tattooed on my rib cage!
Awesome! How can readers discover more about you and you work?