Today I’m interviewing author Jessica Redland on the blog. Welcome, Jessica.
We are delighted that you could join us to talk about your new release. Could you tell us a little more about it?
My new release is not brand new. It’s actually a refresh/re-edit of my existing ‘Welcome to Whitsborough Bay’ series. It consists of four books, two of which went through the NWS and started my writing journey. I was thrilled to secure a publishing deal with Boldwood Books last year and part of it was to re-release some of my back catalogue.
These uplifting stories of love and friendship are set in the fictional North Yorkshire seaside town of Whitsborough Bay.
Book 1 is a prequel to the series with some connecting characters and books 2-4 feature the same three main characters, each one being one person’s story.
Book 1 – Making Wishes at Bay View (a combined version of novella Raving About Rhys and short novel Callie’s Christmas Wish) – Never give up on a wish for a happy ever after
Book 2 – New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms (formerly Searching for Steven) – Sometimes love can bloom where you least expect it
Book 3 – Finding Hope at Lighthouse Cove (formerly Getting Over Gary) – When it feels like everything is against you, sometimes you just need a little bit of hope
Book 4 – Coming Home to Seashell Cottage (formerly Dreaming About Daran) – You can run from your past, but you can’t always hide from it
How long did the series take to write? How much re-writing do you normally do?
My starting point was what is now book 2 – New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms – and that idea came to me in 2002. I started writing it in 2003 and it took me a whopping decade to finish although I had some significant life events during that time – opening and closing my own shop, getting married, having a baby and moving house several times – so I had huge gaps where I didn’t write at all. The book went through the NWS in 2012 and again the following year as I’d made significant changes.
That book was very much my learning ground. I learned my craft while writing it, I found my voice, and I found a writing approach that works for me. I dread to think how many hours I spent re-writing it. It had about 40 completely different starts and so many plot points or sub plots that no longer exist.
Writing the rest of the series was much quicker (and had far fewer re-writes), taking me about three years to write all three alongside my day job although it’s been an intensive few months recently re-editing them all ready for re-release.
What is your writing day like?
I don’t have a typical writing day. I’m a home-based HR Tutor, marking assignments and answering queries for students studying their HR professional qualification. Because the day job pays the mortgage, it has to be the priority. I therefore mainly write on evenings and weekends although I sometimes have to go several days where it’s all day job instead. I’m always thinking about my characters and developing ideas even if I can’t put fingers to keyboard.
Who were your favourite childhood authors?
Enid Blyton was my absolute number one. I repeatedly read the entire Famous Five, Malory Towers and Faraway Tree series and still found them page-turners even when I knew what was going to happen.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
The ability to develop interesting and believable characters, bring to life fictional or real settings, and write page-turning engaging stories is a gift … so enjoy it. Once you’re published, whether traditionally or independently, it’s so easy to be pulled down by low sales or negative reviews and to constantly compare yourself to others but try not to do that. You’re on your own path. Remember that you once had a goal to write a book – just the one – and you did that. Amazing! Everything else that happens beyond that is baby steps on a long journey so enjoy the view.
If only I could take that advice myself … 😉
Your books sound fascinating, Jessica. 🙂
Jessica was born in Teesside but now lives on the stunning North Yorkshire Coast which inspired the creation of the fictional seaside town of Whitsborough Bay where she sets all her books.
She lives with her husband, teenage daughter and Sprocker Spaniel. She’s a self-confessed stationery addict who loves chocolate (although it doesn’t love her), 80s music, collectible teddy bears and lighthouses.
Her dream is to be able to write full-time one day but, until then, she has a day job as an HR Tutor and tries to balance her time – usually unsuccessfully – between that and writing.
Many thanks for talking to us today, Jessica. You can contact Jessica here:
Jessica was interviewed by Ruby Moone.