Jessica Chambers has been inventing stories even before she was old enough to hold a pen. She has a passion for writing contemporary novels packed with emotion, complex relationships and often a touch of mystery.
Visually impaired from birth, Jessica currently lives with her family and Staffordshire bull terrier in the English town of Windsor. In addition to devouring fiction of all genres, she loves watching TV quiz shows and admits to being extremely competitive when it comes to a game of Trivial Pursuit.
Her latest book is Dark is the Sky.
You can visit her website at www.jessicachambers.co.uk.
About Dark is the Sky
Twelve years earlier, Olivia and Joel Cameron invited the family to spend the weekend at their new country home. Olivia hoped to provide them all with a much-needed escape from their anxiety over the recession crippling the nation; instead, the visit ended in tragedy when Scott, Joel’s wild and outrageously sexy youngest brother, was found dead. The repercussions tore the family apart.
Now, Olivia’s sister Violet has persuaded her to host a reunion. She claims it’s time they finally put the past behind them and laid their ghosts to rest. However, some wounds run too deep to heal, and some secrets are too destructive to remain hidden. Still grieving for the man she loved, Violet is determined to uncover the truth behind his death—a truth she believes lies within her own family.
As the web of deceit and hostility begins to unravel, family ties are tested to the limit, and no one will emerge unscathed.
Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Jessica. Can you start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or multi-published?
I suppose you might say somewhere between the two. Dark is the Sky is actually my second novel. My debut, Voices on the Waves, came out as an ebook in September 2010, although those who still prefer the feel of physical books will be glad to know it’s recently been released in paperback!
Q: When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?
Like many authors, I began by contacting agents, seeking that six-figure publishing deal. After a ton of rejections, a handful of manuscript requests and no contract, I set my sights slightly lower and looked for a small press publisher. If that hadn’t worked out, I may well have decided to go down the self-publishing route, especially now it’s possible to do this for free on Kindle. As it happened though, it didn’t come to that. The day Voices on the Waves was picked up was one of the proudest moments of my life! Not that I’ve abandoned my dream of landing the agent and big publisher. It’s just taking me a bit longer to get there than I originally anticipated.
Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?
Around nine months for Voices on the Waves, and six for Dark is the Sky.
Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?
You know, my feelings were a lot more mixed than I expected. Yes, it was amazing, one of the biggest highs I’ll probably ever experience, and I was only too ready to crack open the champagne to celebrate with my family. What I hadn’t been prepared for was how incredibly daunting it was, knowing that my book was out there in the big bad world. What if no one liked it, or worse still, I didn’t sell a single copy? Needless to say, my fears proved groundless, but at the time, it was a real emotional rollercoaster!
Q: What was the first thing you did as promotion when you were published for the first time?
I’m still nowhere near being a marketing expert, but when Voices on the Waves was released, I knew almost nothing. I certainly had no idea of the amount of work that goes into promoting a book. The one thing I was aware of even then, however, was the virtual book tour, so that’s what I did. In the month following my release, I stopped at around thirty blogs to talk about my book, and it certainly helped spread the word.
Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?
Well, It’s still very early days. I’m at the beginning of what I hope will be a long writing career and I have so much more to learn. I think perhaps I have more confidence in my own style now than I did before getting published, and am less concerned that my novels don’t fit neatly into any particular genre.
Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?
Just how much of the responsibility for promoting a book lies with the author. Of course, in the case of small press publishers who have a limited budget, this is only to be expected. Yet, faced with today’s economic climate and competitive market, even the larger publishing houses have shifted some of the burden onto their authors. When I first began writing, it never occurred to me that I would one day have to learn to be a marketing guru as well as a story-teller!
Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?
Having readers write to you to tell you how much they enjoyed your book, or reading positive reviews. Knowing that there are people out there who appreciate what you’ve written really makes all the hard work worth while!
Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?
Never give up on your dream. The journey may be longer than you hoped, and you’ll probably find yourself taking a few wrong turns and unexpected paths along the way, but hard work and determination will get you there in the end.