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Welcome, Jessica. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
By day, I work in a cubicle tending to an e-commerce website. By night, I blog, I review television shows and films, and occasionally, I settle down long enough to write a novel. I’ve always had a diverse set of interests, which has led me to study everything from ethics to yoga to film, but the one thing that has stayed consistent is my enthusiasm for writing. Writing is my way of bringing all of my interests together—I may not be able to speak six languages, pick the lock on a door, or cook a five-course meal without a recipe, but I can write about a character who can, and that’s the next best thing!
Please tell us about your current release.
Quiet on the Set is a new adult book, in which the heroine, Rylie Cates, follows her passion for writing all the way to Hollywood. She gets a bit of a leg up at the beginning when her screenplay gets accepted at a film festival, but it’s through new friends and her unwavering dedication to her writing that she is able to get the screenplay read, sold, and produced.
At first, she’s in a new town, a new business, and is a little naïve about how things work, but as the story goes on, she makes friends and learns the ins and outs of the film industry in order to make a name for herself and her screenplays. Throughout the book, Rylie’s friendships help her to overcome all the personal and professional obstacles put in her path, and it’s those characters, her friends, who give the story heart, and a bit of comic relief.
What inspired you to write this book?
I had recently graduated college and had been out of work for several months, and I wanted to write a success story. I felt like I was failing at my first time out in “the real world,” and I wanted to tell a story about a girl who got her dream job. Of course, it evolved into much more than just a story about Rylie’s career, but it was very cathartic for me to tell a story in which the main character was able to accomplish so much in her professional life.
A little background: This scene is from “Chapter Six: Bad Habits.” Rylie has recently had her heart broken and has wandered off to be by herself at a friend’s party when she meets Shane. They’ve already been chatting for a couple minutes in this scene:
‘You new here?’ Shane said.
‘I just moved here in May.’
‘And Wes Kern already broke your heart?’
‘Sad, but true,’ Rylie said.
‘You’ll move on. He’s just a kid having fun being famous.’
‘I hope it’s soon. Heartbreak sucks.’
‘Truer words.’ He told her about a girl who broke his heart, and it was such a sad story, she cried. Maybe for him, and maybe for herself. In five weeks, she hadn’t cried over Wes, and maybe she just was overdue. He held her, comforting her without trying to quiet her.
‘I don’t get why your date would leave you. I sure wouldn’t,’ Rylie said, sniffling.
‘I guess I’m too old.’
‘You’re not old.’
‘Too old for her.’
‘What is she, picky? You seem like a catch to me,’ Rylie said.
‘She’s twenty-five. I’m thirty-four.’
‘By that standard, you’d be too old for me, too.’
‘Wow. Am I too old for you?’
‘Age is irrelevant if you like each other.’
‘I like you. Even watching you cry, you’re beautiful.’
‘You better be careful or I might fall for you, too.’
‘Promise?’ he said. He kissed her then, gently, and she kissed him back. She couldn’t have protested if she wanted to, and she didn’t. The kiss only lasted a moment, until a few boisterous party-goers decided to skinny dip. Shane smiled, sensing their mutual embarrassment at being caught. ‘Can I take you home?’ he said.
Rylie nodded. ‘That’d be great. Thanks.’
What exciting story are you working on next?
I am currently working on an international adventure story, as yet untitled, which is a new experience and a completely new type of story for me. I haven’t traveled outside North America, so setting a book in a country I haven’t visited means a lot more research! It’s also a lot darker than many of my previous projects, and it gets into some ugly situations, ugly sides of the world and humanity that we don’t like to talk about. Tapping into that and experiencing the emotions and fear that my characters have in those situations is a real challenge, but it’s a lot of fun. I love trying new things and testing myself as a writer—I feel that challenges and experiments are the only way to learn and improve.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I started writing original stories when I was eleven, but I don’t think I really considered myself a writer until I was about fifteen. I wrote my first “real” novel at that time—real in terms of length and quality—and it felt like the most honest and substantive story I’d written up to that point.
Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I don’t write full-time, but it does take up a lot of my free time! I work part-time three days a week, but as soon as I get home, I’m back on the computer, blogging or working on my next story.
My schedule is sometimes a little erratic on my days off, but I usually take the beginning of the day to do the blogging, marketing, and short, uncomplicated tasks. I’m a night owl, so I’m most productive and most creative in the evening and the wee hours of the morning. I usually save (or put off) my creative writing projects until that time of day, and it usually pays off more in word count than if I were to write when I first woke up.
I technically have plenty of time to write, and when I get going, I can get into a really good grove. But, as so many of us are, I’m addicted to my various technologies, and I have to remind myself to disconnect a little to get back to writing.
What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
I don’t know if other writers do this, but I track my stats when I write. Part of it is to ingrain the memory of when and why I started the story, but part of it is just nerdiness combined with some OCD tendencies. I always make notes of the dates (and often times) when I started writing and when I finished, and I keep track of my word count and chapter count throughout my revisions.
It’s kind of fun to watch the story evolve from the first draft through the editing process, because the word counts and chapters never stay the same. The first draft of Quiet on the Set was nine chapters and about 45,000 words, and it wound up printed as a sixteen-chapter book with over 62,000 words!
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Like a lot of kids, I wanted to be a vet when I was a kid--until I thought about the additional schooling and more unpleasant parts of the job. I went through an archaeologist phase as well—I have Jurassic Park and Indiana Jones to thank for that. I even wanted to be a lawyer for a while because I enjoyed debates and putting together arguments, but I didn’t want to spend my life doing paperwork, even though I probably would have been good at it. I came back to being a writer shortly after that when I realized that being passionate about what you do is all that matters.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Life is too short not to do what you love. It may not make you wealthy, but it makes you rich in a more meaningful way. Take time for yourself and for your passion. Your fifty-years-from-now self will thank you for it.
Visit me on my website: http://www.jessicalave.com/
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Connect with me on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6428146.Jessica_Lave/
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