I am pleased to participate in the Book Blitz hosted by Xpresso Book Tours for Jessica Bell's The Book.
If Jessica Bell could choose only one creative mentor, she'd give the role to Euterpe, the Greek muse of music and lyrics. This is not only because she currently resides in Athens, Greece, but because of her life as a thirty-something Australian-native contemporary fiction author, poet and singer/songwriter/guitarist, whose literary inspiration often stems from songs she's written. Jessica is the Co-Publishing Editor of Vine Leaves Literary Journal and annually runs the Homeric Writers' Retreat & Workshop on the Greek island of Ithaca.
CONNECT ONLINE WITH JESSICA:
Welcome to Darlene's Book Nook, Jessica! When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing poetry first. I must have been about eleven, sitting on a rock by the sea in a little place in Greece called Monemvasia. I was so inspired by my surroundings that I needed a way to express it. Not long after, I started writing songs. My mother had decided to sell her twelve-string acoustic guitar to get a bit of extra cash. I saw it sitting by the front door. I think someone was coming over to take a look at it. I remember opening the case and thinking that it just looked so beautiful, and why would Mum want to get rid of it? I think she was in the music room at the time and I interrupted one of her recording sessions to ask about the guitar. When she told me she was selling it, I asked her whether I could have it. She said that I could if I learnt to play. From that day I had that guitar in my hands every single day until I moved to Greece in 2002. I taught myself how to play. The first song I ever wrote was played on one string and sung in a very high-pitched awful voice. I hope that cassette never gets dug up!
What genre are you most comfortable writing?
Contemporary fiction. Realistic. Not into fantasy or paranormal at all.
What made you want to be a writer?
I just realized one day that I couldn't live without it. And figured, if I'm going to be writing all the time, I might as well try to get published.
Do you intend to make writing a career?
Absolutely. But I try to be realistic about it. I do it because I can't not do it. Not to make money.
Have you developed a specific writing style?
Yes. My writing is quite literary in nature, but I also think it has a decent amount of commercial appeal; a balance of both.
What is your greatest strength as a writer?
I have a real knack for cinematic writing. I'd probably beat you in a "show-off". ;-)
Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
Absolutely. I usually take it as a sign that I'm burned out and give myself a break. It works.
What are your goals as a writer?
To have my books linger in the minds of readers long after they've turned the last page. With regards to my non-fiction, to help aspiring writers realize that writing doesn't have to be as overwhelming as it seems. Learn the craft in bite-sized pieces, and eventually everything will come together.
What books have most influenced your life?
Housekeeping, by Marilynne Robinson
Cold Blood, by Truman Capote
The Robber Bride, by Margaret Atwood
The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood
The Boy in The Striped Pajamas, by John Boyne
The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, by Rebecca Miller
The Stone Gods, by Jeanette Winterson
Just Kids, by Patti Smith
Short Cuts, by Raymond Carver
Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott
The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, by Milan Kundera
All poetry by the following poets: Gwen Harwood, Sharon Olds, Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath
Have you ever considered anyone as a mentor?
Oh gosh, if I could ever be mentored by Margaret Atwood, I think my life would be complete!
Who is your favorite author and why?
That's impossible to answer. But I can list my favorite authors. I love these authors because even though some of their work might be considered commercial successes, they are not just entertainers. They truly have something to say:
Marilynne Robinson, Margaret Atwood, Truman Capote, John Boyne, Rebecca Miller, Jeanette Winterson, Patti Smith, Raymond Carver, Anne Lamott, Milan Kundera, Gwen Harwood, Sharon Olds, Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath
Thanks so much for joining us today, Jessica! It was a lot of fun getting to know you better!
TITLE: The Book
AUTHOR: Jessica Bell
PUBLISHER: Vine Leaves Press
PUBLICATION DATE: January 18, 2013
PUBLICATION DATE: January 18, 2013
FORMAT: E-book, 154 pages
GENRE: Adult Contemporary Novella
This book is not The Book. The Book is in this book. And The Book in this book is both the goodie and the baddie.
Bonnie is five. She wants to bury The Book because it is a demon that should go to hell. Penny, Bonnie’s mother, does bury The Book, but every day she digs it up and writes in it. John, Bonnie’s father, doesn’t live with them anymore. But he still likes to write in it from time to time. Ted, Bonnie’s stepfather, would like to write in The Book, but Penny won’t allow it.
To Bonnie, The Book is sadness.
To Penny, The Book is liberation.
To John, The Book is forgiveness.
To Ted, The Book is envy.
But The Book in this book isn’t what it seems at all.
If there was one thing in this world you wished you could hold in your hand, what would it be? The world bets it would be The Book.
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This giveaway is open worldwide until 12:00 AM CST on July 12, 2013.