Jessica Scott: Spotlight on the Author and Soldier
Posted by Sharon Wray
Adding to our wonderful line-up of author interviews, today we are excited to welcome Jessica Scott to Kiss and Thrill.
A career soldier with 16 years in the Army, Jessica is a Company Commander in charge of 130 soldiers, a mom with two young kids who never sit still, and an Army wife, whose husband is back in Iraq. Blogging from Iraq landed her a spot on PBS Point of View, tackling tough issues involving women and war.
Her novels are all pulled from her experiences as an soldier who has lived through both being deployed and being the spouse left at home with the kids.
Her first release, Because of You, is a Loveswept eBook original which has garnered rave reviews from press, peers, and public alike.
Thank you so much Jessica for spending your day with us and answering all our questions. So let’s get started with some fab reviews!
“Edgy and current–and a truly satisfying love story. Put this book, Jessica Scott’s BECAUSE OF YOU, on your “must read” list.” Suzanne Brockmann | New York Times Bestselling Author
“Jessica Scott is an exciting new voice in romantic fiction who bursts upon the scene with an unputdownable debut novel!” Robyn Carr | New York Times Bestselling Author
“BECAUSE OF YOU is powerful, timely and wonderfully executed. Jessica Scott should be on every reader’s list.” Brenda Novak | New York Times Bestselling Author
“Jessica Scott writes with a soldier’s heart. BECAUSE OF YOU is touching, authentic and a fantastic read.” Cindy Gerard | New York Times Bestselling Author
“Crackling with realism, sizzling with sexual tension, and pulsing with emotion, Jessica Scott has penned an unforgettable military romance that delivers heartache and hope on every page.” Roxanne St. Claire | New York Times Bestselling Author
“Watch out Navy SEALS, there’s a new hero in town and he’s wearing Army gray! BECAUSE OF YOU is a beautifully crafted, wonderfully emotional debut.” JoAnn Ross | New York Times Bestselling Author
Sharon: What was it like to get so many amazing reviews from some of the today’s top romance authors?
Jessica: I was really awe struck. I mean we’re talking pillars of the genre and they liked my book. It was kind of awe inspiring and humbling all at once.
Sharon: Is Because of You the first book you’ve ever written?
Jessica: Technically, it’s the second book I ever wrote but it’s the one that I’ve spent the most time with over the years. I kept coming back to it no matter how many times I put it under the bed and tried to move on to the next project.
Sharon: How long did it take you to write Because of You?
Jessica: Which time? I’ve written and rewritten that sucker so many times I lost count. The very first draft I wrote in a week when I was supposed to be paying attention in class and it will never, ever, ever see the light of day, not even in a bloopers reel.
Sharon: How long did it take to sell Because of You?
Jessica: A really, really long time, mostly because I started querying waaay too early and didn’t spend enough time honing my craft. Trust me, just because you wrote The End does not mean it’s time to hit Send on the query.
Sharon: Do you have a favorite holiday book or movie?
Jessica: I don’t generally enjoy holiday films for some reason. I think maybe it’s got something to do with the overwhelming pressure at the holidays to shop shop shop and generally meet everyone else’s expectations when it should be something simpler like creating memories and family.
Sharon: What other genres of fiction do you read?
Jessica: I like a lot of thrillers but if I’m not reading romance, I’m most likely reading non fiction.
Sharon: Can you name one (or more) book(s) that changed your life?
Jessica: There are lots of books that have stuck with me. Anne McCaffrey’s Dragon Riders of Pern have been on my keeper shelf since the 7th grade. Laura Kinsale’s The Shadow and The Star made me want to learn Japanese in high school. The Hunger Games makes me wish I could write a book that caused me such a strong reaction. BlackHawk Down made me want to be able to capture that raw emotion on the page. There are far too many to mention, honestly. My keeper shelf is vast and full.
Sharon: When did you decide to join the army? Did you always know you wanted to make it a career?
Jessica: I joined the Army right out of high school. I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up so I figured I’d join the Army to see what life had to offer. Guess it stuck because it turned out to be the first thing in my life that I was really good at and it became my passion. I love what I do every single day and it’s an honor and a privilege to wear the uniform.
Sharon: What made you decide to make the jump from enlisted to officer?
Jessica: I love my years as an NCO (noncommissioned officer) but eventually, I starting thinking I wanted to be part of the folks making the decisions instead of implementing them. I wanted a stronger ability to impact change on a higher level than what I felt I could attain in the NCO Corps.
Sharon: Will you be deploying overseas again?
Jessica: Probably. The war in Afghanistan is still on going. My turn will come around again at some point.
Sharon: What made you decide to write a novel?
Jessica: Honestly, I don’t remember. I remember starting After the War in Officer Candidate School and I just kind of never stopped writing since.
Sharon: Did you ever consider self-publishing Because of You?
Jessica: I did but when I crunched the numbers, it simply didn’t pan out. I wasn’t able to justify spending 3,000 – 5,000$ putting together a book that might never have left my circle of family members. Mind you, I had somewhat of a web presence, too, from my blogging from Iraq. So while I toyed with the idea, never seriously once the reality of the numbers game stared back at me.
Jessica: In some version and by that I mean, I had an idea which characters each book would be about. But written and ready to submit? Not even close.
Sharon: How important was your blog on your path to publication?
Jessica: Very but then again, remember, I blogged about being a mom, soldier and writer, not just about being a writer. Blogging and tweeting from Iraq were the smartest things I ever did because it enabled me to learn more about the industry and to interact more with the industry professionals like other authors and agents. I blogged about being in Iraq, about being a female soldier, about being a mom away from my babies. All of that was far more traffic generating than my breaking up with my agent or any writing drama I went through.
Sharon: Do the people you work with know that you write romance novels? How do they feel about it?
Jessica: Some do and not a single person has been a jerk about it.
Sharon: What is your preferred source of caffeine? Coffee, tea, soda?
Jessica: Coffee, coffee, coffee, Venom, coffee.
Sharon: Do you have any time management secrets you can share? (I honestly don’t know how you do everything you do)
Jessica: Crack, coffee, coffee, coffee. Kidding. I’m very calendar driven. I just keep knocking down the next thing that’s due. If it’s not on my calendar, it probably won’t get done. That’s why deadlines are my friend because I HATE being late.
Sharon: Thank you so much Jessica for answering all of our questions. And because Jessica is as generous as she is lovely, she’s giving away a copy of Because of You along with a $25 gift card for BN for one lucky commenter. The winner will be announced here at Kiss and Thrill on December 22.
Jessica: Thanks for letting me blog with y’all!