Thank you for stopping by Worlds of Wonderment Jessica.
Thanks for having me!
Your debut novel, Wombstone has been released. Can you tell us about it?
Wombstone is the story of a teenage girl, Mia Blake, who is kidnapped as she walks to her car one night. She awakens in a small cell with another girl, who tells her about the vampires who are holding them captive. Mia is skeptical at first but soon sees first-hand the horrors of a world she never knew existed. When she attempts to escape, and injures herself gravely, there is only one thing that can save her – but is it worth an eternity of suffering?
Is Wombstone part of a series? If so, what do you foresee for the series?
Wombstone is the first book in the Vampireland series. There are 5/6 books planned in the series. I am so excited and am already working on Vampireland #2, which I hope to release in time for Christmas.
How does it feel to know that people are going to be reading your book?
Terrifying and exhilarating! It’s quite confronting to put a piece of myself out there to be judged. Will people like it? Will they hate it? What will my parents say?! :)
How does your book differ from other vampire stories? Did you have to do a lot of world building?
My book differs in that my main character, Mia, is a reluctant vampire. She is terrified of spending an eternity without her loved ones, and would prefer to die than face that possibility. There is also not so much of an emphasis on romance in this book (the series contains several romantic relationships but the focus is always more on the action). Mia is trying to find the right way for herself, instead of latching onto a strong male character and allowing him to make all of her decisions. She is very headstrong and stubborn.
I really enjoyed Mia’s character, even though she is put through a lot she still manages to be snarky. Was her character always like that?
She was always sarcastic, but she was lighter and happier before. There is a flashback scene where she notices Jared for the first time as a hunk and a potential boyfriend instead of an immature kid who used to take great delight in tormenting her and her friends. But since her father died, and her mother checked out emotionally, she’s had to create this tough exterior to protect herself. She was in a good place before the vampires took her.
How did you come up with the premise for Wombstone?
It came to me! I honestly have no idea. Usually ideas smash into my brain while I’m driving, and I have to pull over and scribble them down before things start going too fast and I don’t know what to capture first. Driving with the music blaring is a great way for me to invite my muse to visit.
Have any authors influenced your writing?
Oh, sure. Lots! I find so many writers inspiring. I really admire Stephen King and his journey from a broke schoolteacher who couldn’t even afford his kid’s medicine to best-selling author. In “On Writing” there is a part that makes me cry every time I read it, when he tells his wife he has sold Carrie, his first novel, for 400 thousand dollars and he buys her a hairdryer to celebrate.
In terms of actual influence, I grew up reading Christopher Pike novels. That dude is amazing. He writes about teenagers but they are so well rounded as people (and, in some cases, pretty crazy). He is the epitome of an author who can tap into his inner teen! I’m 28 now, married and with a baby so I find I really need to work to keep that younger voice alive and authentic.
Paullina Simons is another amazing author whose influence I prize greatly – Tully has got to be one of the most heart-wrenching books I have ever read. Red Leaves is a close second. She breaks my heart! I went to a signing of her books once, and I was so nervous all I could say was, “your books make me cry every time!” And she took it as a great compliment because that’s what you want to do as a writer, to move your reader to tears (or laughter, or any other emotion you’re trying to convey).
Other writers who inspire me: Frankie Rose, Kim Harrison, Richelle Mead, and Lili St Crow. The Strange Angels series is one of my favourite series.
Why did you decide to go down the self-publishing route?
Uhh… impatience? But seriously, my goal is to be operating a fully-fledged, independent publishing house in the next few years. I have learnt so much over the past few years about the radically changing publishing industry, and I feel my work is better off being controlled by me instead of ending up lost in the crowd. Nobody is going to market my book more genuinely than me. And this way, I get to keep complete control! I am so passionate about good writing and if I can help writers get their stuff into the world, I’d be so pleased.
Name five things you can’t live without?
My daughter, my husband, my writing, Rum & Raisin Tim Tams, and Tea. Oh, and my favourite TV shows. That’s 6 :)
Favourite ice cream flavour?
Baskin Robbins Love Potion 31 :)
When I was living in New Jersey there was an amazing ice cream place there, too. Can’t remember the name of it, but it was just a little stall on the side of the highway that sold pure heaven in an ice cream cone.
What’s the last movie you saw at the cinema?
Life of Pi. It was good visually but I found it to be about an hour too long. I’m all for getting to the point! Plus the ending was way too ambiguous for me. I like my loose ends tied up.
Writes Urban Fantasy / horror. Lives in Australia. Loves expensive wine, gourmet coffee and all kinds of food. Currently gearing up to release Wombstone on March 1st. Grew up devouring Christopher Pike novels. Reads things by awesome people like Richelle Mead, Lilith St. Crow and Kim Harrison .
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Mia Blake is stolen in the night, taken from everything she knows.
She wakes up three days later, bruised, bloodied… and the newest chew-toy for a bunch of bloodthirsty vampires.
Mia didn’t know about The Real World, but It knew about her. She was taken for a reason, and she needs to figure out what that reason is – before it’s too late.