I am pleased to be able to introduce Amercian novelist Jessica Lancaster to the blog today. Her new book, Someone's Always Watching, is out now and she took time out of her busy schedule to talk to me about it and her writing schedule. Thank you for your time today, Jessica.
What inspired you to write Someone's Always Watching?
I am a huge fan of Agatha Christie, cliché I know, and I started reading her works at a young age. I was always intrigued with the way she could write so I would never guess the ending. And I decided that one day I would do it. The funny thing is my characters and inspiration came out of the blue. I just woke up one day ready to tell their story.
Who is your favourite character in Someone's Always Watching and why?
Basil, my protagonist, I found him to be the perfect blend of my late grandfathers. One has a deep love of plants and the other of his family, but both spent significant time alone growing up. I even peppered in personality traits from them both as a tribute to their memories.
What was the first story you had published?
It was called The Dark Side of St. Nick and was published through my newsletter. I wrote when I was taking my MFA program and intend to rerelease it through my anthology of short stories later. But it is very dark and would be considered part of the horror, sci-fi genre.
Do you have another story planned or in progress? When can we expect to see that?
I do! It’s also a far different genre actually as it is a YA retelling of Peter Pan. The protagonist, however, is Tinker Belle. It will hopefully be released in winter of this year. That’s the plan anyway.
Who is your favourite author?
That feels like an impossible question but I would have to say J.K. Rowling. She ignited a spark in me to write and was a crucial part of cherished memories I have with my grandfather up until he died. Her writing became a part of me growing up.
What do you like to do when you’re not planning or writing your next book?
Procrastinate. Ha ha! I save the important stuff to the very last minute of my self-imposed deadlines and love to work under pressure. For whatever reason, I am more productive that way. So, in the meantime, I make lists of things I want to include, ideas I have and potential plot possibilities. Then I work through them when I am ready.
When did you know you wanted to write novels?
I knew as soon as I read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Up until that point, I had never been transported anywhere other than my rural Midwest town and it was the most magical experience I could ever have imagined. After that, I tried other novels, one after another, to do it again. I couldn’t get enough of that high so I decided I wanted to make someone else feel it too.
Do you write novels in other genres?
I do! Horror, thriller, YA and short story. I know its usually recommended to stick with one thing and perfect it but I enjoy going where my imagination takes me. So, I’m going to keep doing me and hope that readers will find the version of me they enjoy getting to know.
What do you like most about being an author?
The freedom to do whatever I want and live in someone else’s shoes for a little while. It’s a trip being able to travel wherever you want to and be whoever you want to for the duration of that novel.
Do you have a specific routine for writing? Is there a special place or particular tool you use?
I don’t have a routine at all but I am finding simpler is better so I spent way too much money on programs that I thought would help me be more efficient only to find that Google Docs and the notes app on my phone is the best for me.
What advice do you have for other writers?
Find another author who matches your energy and become critique partners. Mine has been instrumental in me staying motivated, getting the job done and working through major plot holes. But it can’t be just anyone. Your excitement, drive and passion must line up. It doesn’t work when you aren’t on the same playing field.
If your book were to be made into an Audiobook, who would you choose to read it?
Jude Law! I could listen to him for hours.
If your book were to be made into a movie, who would you like to play main character?
Can I say Jude Law again? I just think he could bring the most to Basil through his acting as well as his voice. It would be magical!
Basil Billingsly has dedicated more than ten years to flying under the radar of everyone in Badger's Hollow.
He employs Mrs. Greene to do his bidding while he sets to work with clients far from prying eyes in the Village. He answers to no one and there isn't a soul alive that relies on him either. Everything was perfect, until it wasn't.
Now, a decade later, the killer has struck again, and Basil is forced to revisit the unsolved murder of his mother. Torn between love and lies, Basil must sort out his feelings before it’s too late. Old habits die hard, will he break them to save his friends, or will solitude call him home?
J.R. Lancaster is a published journalist, Editor and CEO of Musings & Company Creative Agency. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and children. Jessica is a graduate of Southern New Hampshire University and possesses an MFA in Creative Writing and Teaching Degree in English. She has a passion for writing that is only rivaled by her love of reading. In her spare time, you can find her outside with her family or behind the pages of a book.