Today I bring you a wonderful interview with author Jessica Ferrera. Jessica's debut novel will be published with Tea With Coffee Media in the coming days, so watch this space. Let's find out more.
Tell me about yourself
Howdy! My name is Jessica Lynn-Nacovsky Ferrara, which is a mouthful, so online, I go by Jess Lynn. I graduated from the College of Saint Rose with my Bachelor’s in Graphic Design in 2013. Then I spent three years tattooing in New York before backpacking through Europe. Now I live in Texas, where I can be found writing and painting. My dark fantasy novel, Stem & Stone, will be released on 19/09/23, and my fabulism novel, Light Step, will be released on 16/01/24. Both are being published by Tea With Coffee Media.
What do you like to read?
I really enjoy magical realism and fabulism, but lately, I’ve been reading a lot of contemporary women’s fiction where the protagonist behaves badly. It’s refreshing.
How long have you been writing?
I’ve always written for fun, but my first serious attempt at writing a novel was in the summer of 2012. I took a seasonal job at a resort that provided room and board, to hold me over until my final year in college. While there, I spent every free minute writing.
Does your art inspire your writing?
The art I consume inspires my writing. More often though, the art I create is inspired by my writing. I have some mock-ups ready, that I’ve been meaning to paint, of scenes and characters from my novels. I should look to my paintings for inspiration though.
Your book titled ‘Stem and Stone’ is due to be published in September. Tell me about it?
Stem & Stone is a YA Dark Fantasy novel, featuring portals and adventure. I started writing it for NaNoWriMo in November of 2018. There was a ton of planning beforehand, with me printing out entire pages of mythical beast descriptions off of Wikipedia.
Here’s the blurb:
“When a mysterious tunnel opens into their bedroom, Icelandic orphans Petra and Emil set out in search of adventure. What they find is a strange underground city where enchanted humans lack free will. Unaware of the present danger, Emil makes a dire mistake. Realising that her little brother is fated to lose his freedom or his life, Petra faces the queen that cursed him, pleading for his release. Unmoved, the queen offers terms, demanding the delivery of three perilously located treasures. Petra agrees at once, embarking on a harrowing journey. If she returns successful, Emil will live free.
What inspired it?
I was reading about Middle Earth from Lord of the Rings. At some point, I learned that J.R.R. Tolkein was inspired to write his own fable after reading the Kalevala, a book of Finnish folklore. While I’m not so ambitious as to create an entire language, creating a contemporary fable sounded like a fun project.
Are you working on anything new?
I’m in the process of revising Soul Walker, an Adult Paranormal Fiction novel. I’ve been tweaking this novel since 2016ish and I’d very much like to see it out in the world one day, but it’s not quite ready.
Here’s the pitch:
“Eva of New Haven Connecticut is possessed by a motivated soul set on living his best life, but his best isn’t hers, and worse—Eva’s seeing spirits she must ignore, for fear of losing what tenuous links to society she has left, when the only means of exorcism is death.”
What do you feel are the most common traps for aspiring writers?
I think too many people look at writing as an opportunity for acquiring vast riches and fame. Writing is about communication on a basic level, and for the narrative-driven, telling a story. There is this attitude that if the story doesn’t have a massive audience and pull in a profit right away, that the whole experience was a waste. That’s short sighted. The only way to improve is to keep writing, and the most likely way to gain that audience is to keep putting out consistent work. And it’s hard, working when there is no guarantee of a monetary reward, but if the drive is there, writers will persist.
Vanity presses take advantage of writers who want to be traditionally published, but are either ignorant of the process, or lack the will to continue querying agents and submitting to publishers. Aspiring writers should keep in touch with their literary peers to stay informed regarding which publishers to avoid. Being part of a writing community is also useful when in need of feedback and for validation, especially after a cascade of rejections.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
It’s okay to suck. Just keep going.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I’m a painter and I love to travel. If I’m not on a trip, I’m saving for and planning the next one. I also take lots of walks with my dogs, Samwise and Sonmi.
Thanks to Jessica for sharing with us. If you would like to check out the book, click on the links below.