I'm so pleased to welcome Jessica to the Diamond Mine today. I know you will enjoy getting to know her a little more as much as I did.
Suzie: Congratulations on the release of your first debut novel. What one lesson did you learn from your first official release?
Jessica: First, I’d like to thank you for having me, Suzie. This is an honor and a privilege.
Incidentally, the biggest lesson I’ve learned with my first release is to trust. When I first thought of the title The Trust Charm, I’d chosen it as a reflection of the character theme. I had no idea that I would be learning the same message that Liam and Avery was learning. When God opens a door, it’s our job to trust. Even when it looks to us like it won’t work out, He knows better than we do. So when I found myself doubting the talents He gave me, I realized I needed to spend more time trusting Him in His plan rather than questioning Him.
Suzie: In order to become better writers, we’re told to read, read, and read some more. Who are three of your favorite authors?
Jessica: I would say Karen Witemeyer, Karen Witemeyer, and Karen Witemeyer. But that probably wouldn’t be fair. Second to her amazing historical fiction, I pretty much grew up reading Cathy Marie Hake and Deeanne Gist. Ironically, I don’t read a lot of contemporary romance.
Suzie: Avery, your main character in The Trust Charm is headstrong and more than a little stubborn. Do you struggle with the same traits? If not, what do you consider your character flaws or what would you most like to change about yourself?
Jessica: I think my family would agree that Avery and I share those very traits. I’ll admit writing Avery was easy because her snappy comebacks and determined opinions came natural to me. Avery is a little more relaxed where I’m more optimistic, but we are both strong-willed about our beliefs.
Suzie: Did you have people in mind (such as actors or musicians) when you created your characters?
Jessica: For Avery specifically, yes. I’d recently discovered Christian singer, Moriah Peters, in an interview on YouTube where she talked about saving her first kiss for her wedding day (a quality that Moriah and I share) and in this particular video, her image and personality practically created Avery’s character. As for all the other characters I got my inspiration from Pinterest. You can find my bookshelf for The Trust Charm here.
Suzie: How does a Louisiana girl who loves all things Texas become a Green Bay Packers fan?
Jessica: Two words: Aaron Rodgers. ;) But seriously, I think it all began with the books I read as a teen about Texas and the adventures that started there. I think I fell in love with the land. Now, I visit Texas every chance I get. As for being a Packers fan, I got into pro football six years ago and I wanted a team to root for. Aaron Rodgers was doing great at the time, so Green Bay caught my attention and I liked how down-to-earth they seemed. I’ve been a faithful fan ever since, through Superbowl wins to broken collarbones.
Suzie: Tell us a little more about your family farm.
Jessica: It’s just a humble place. We have typical, run-of-the-mill animals: cows, a horse, goats, ducks, cats, dogs, and chickens, including one named Alice. We make the rounds twice a day to make sure everybody is fed and healthy. I didn’t grow up on a farm, but when we moved out here I discovered a love for it that I didn’t know I had. There’s something stunningly refreshing about waking up at sunrise to watch a set of triplet goats being born. And then there’s the man in my life...a black Labrador named Axel. He’s a handful.
Suzie: Where is your favorite place to write? Do you have a favorite beverage or snack while you write?
Jessica: I pretty much write wherever I find myself whether I’m on the couch or on the road. As far as snacks and beverages go, I try not to talk about my Dr. Pepper addiction, but in this case it’s okay. I’m a Dr. Pepper-aholic. They’re my favorite thing when writing, but truth be told…they’re bad for your health.
Suzie: As an author, do you have several stories in various stages or do you prefer to work on one thing at a time?
Jessica: The Trust Charm was my first experience as an Indie, so when I got serious about writing it then I only worked on one project. Now that I know what goes into the business, I’m planning to work on more than one project at a time. However, I’m always outlining and coming up with new ideas, so I have, like, a hundred notes on a flash drive just waiting to be explored.
Suzie: Can you give us a taste of what’s coming next?
Jessica: Of course. The Road to Austin is a sequel to The Trust Charm. It focuses on Austin Brooks, who you might know as the daring, shoot-from-the-hip partner of Liam Reed. We’ll go on a cross country adventure with him and a young woman who happens to be his enemy’s daughter. It’s a dramatic comedy coming this Valentine’s Day!
Suzie: What are your top 5 (or 10) favorite things about Texas?
Jessica: I should start by saying that my publishing company, Bluebonnets and Barbed Wire Publishing House, was inspired by Texas, and therefore each of my books has some degree of Texas charm in it, whether in tone or setting.
My top five favorite things about Texas…
5. Dr. Pepper. I said I wouldn’t talk about this, but I lied. Dr. Pepper originated in Texas, is bottled and stored in Texas, and even has a place called Dr. Pepper, Texas, population 1024. So, what’s not to love about Texas?
4. History. Besides historical fiction being my favorite go-to read, the truth about Texas history still holds strong in the streets today.
3. People. Texans are some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet. I assume it’s because they’re just happy to be a Texan.
2. Pride. Texas pride is almost stronger than their coffee.
1. Beauty. There’s no place on earth more beautiful than the rugged soul of Texas. Whether it’s bluebonnets toiling in the sunshine that spills through the clouds or skyscrapers that can be seen for miles down a wide open, Texas highway, there’s beauty in every aspect. Blue skies and green hills. Sweeping ocean waves and towering canyons. Swamps and sand dunes. Gleaming wintry nights in the panhandle and blistering summer days in the plains. Texas is definitely the home of my heart.
A little more about Jessica:
Jessica Alyse was born a dreamer. She used to tell stories about a bicycle that traveled to the moon and back. Her imagination has always soared beyond the expectations of reality and has brought her to a career in creative fiction. A storyteller, hopeless romantic, and follower of Christ, she encompasses the appropriate traits to create romantic Christian fiction, embellishing every story with southern charm and wholesome love. Her dreams of becoming a professional screenwriter dance through her head each time she sits down to tie together characters and plot.
A Louisiana girl with a heart for Texas, when she's not writing--or reading the latest thing from Karen Witemeyer--you can find her working on the family farm with her black lab, Axel, practicing for her would-be singing career, or in the event of a football game, cheering for the Green Bay Packers.
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Be sure to pick up your copy of The Trust Charm
The Trust Charm is available for $0.99 on Kindle until Thursday, Nov 4. Don't miss out on this one.
Enter to win a digital copy of The Trust Charm here.