Interview with Jessica Chambers, Author of Dark is the Sky
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.
I’m the author of two women’s fiction novels, Voices on the Waves (published 2010) and Dark is the Sky (published 2011. Currently I live with my family in the English town of Windsor, most famous for its castle and nearby Eton College where Princes William and Harry were educated. I’m a supporter of Liverpool Football Club, obsessive watcher of TV quiz shows and huge dog lover, with a special place in my heart for the crazy Staffordshire bull terrier we rescued from Battersea Dogs’ Home a couple of years ago, and who is now most definitely master of the house!
When did you begin writing?
I’m not sure exactly when I started putting my ideas down on paper, but I’ve been inventing stories for as long as I can remember. As a child, I was content to spend hours at a time amusing myself, spinning ever more dramatic games of kidnap, runaway orphans and wicked stepmothers. When I wasn’t playing, I could usually be found reading, becoming lost in the tales woven by others. One day, I vowed, I would be an author myself.
Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?
Oh, I’m a real morning person where my creativity is concerned. I have the most energy when I first wake up, and consequently get the majority of my writing done before lunch. From then on, my brain becomes increasingly sluggish, and by the time evening comes around, it’s as much as I can do to slump in front of Coronation Street!
What is this book about?
I think of it as women’s fiction with an edge, as it blends emotion, complex relationships and mystery. Twelve years after tragedy tore their family apart, the Camerons are reuniting for the first time since that fateful day. They hope that they will at last be able to put the past behind them and lay their ghosts to rest, but of course, nothing is ever that simple! Some wounds run too deep to heal, and some secrets are too destructive to remain hidden. As the web of hostility and deceit begins to unravel, and the truth about what really happened on that long ago summer’s afternoon finally emerges, family ties are tested to the limit.
What inspired you to write it?
Like many of my ideas, this novel began with a single character, this time with a vivid picture of a handsome, dark-haired young man. Immediately, I knew several things about him. I knew he was dangerously sexy, a magnet for women and more than a bit of a rogue. I also knew he was dead. This raised a number of questions. How did he die? Was it suicide, or murder, or merely a tragic accident? What part did his family play in his death? And as I unraveled the answers to these questions, the story gradually emerged.
Are you a member of a critique group?
I am. A few years ago I joined The Next Big Writer, a wonderful online community of both published and aspiring authors. Definitely one of the best things I’ve ever done. Not only have I made some lifelong friends who have supported me on my publishing journey, the feedback I’ve received on my work has been invaluable in helping me become the writer I am today.
Who is your favorite author?
Oh, I’m a total book addict. I’ll read any genre from women’s fiction to crime, paranormal to historical. As far as adult authors go, my favorites would have to be Penny Vincenzie, Jilly Cooper and Philippa Gregory. For young adult, I love Cassandra Clare, Suzanne Collins and Jennifer Donnelly. Where can readers purchase a copy of your book? Dark is the Sky is available from Amazon in paperback or on Kindle, as well as from Barnes and Noble for your Nook.
Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?
Yes, it’s at: http://www.jessicachambers.co.uk/ My blog can be found there, as well as more about me and my books.
There’s nothing I love more than discussing books with fellow addicts, so feel free to connect with me on:
What is the best investment you have made in promoting your book?
Oh, without a doubt, it would have to be my book trailer. I only uploaded it to YouTube recently, but already it has received some great comments and impacted on my sales. I just think video is such a creative way of introducing readers to your books.
What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?
Write for yourself and from the heart. Chances are, if it’s the kind of novel you would want to read, others will enjoy it too.
What is up next for you?
I’m currently straying into the unknown and attempting my first young adult crime novel, a story of friendship, sexual identity and abuse in its many forms. Think the grittiness of Melvin Burgess meets the powerful emotion of Jennifer Donnelly. With dark secrets, a twisted love triangle and a mystery to solve, it’s proving enormous fun, if harrowing in places.
Is there anything you would like to add?
Only to say thank you so much for having me here today, and also to everyone who has been kind enough to buy Dark is the Sky. Your support means the world to me, and I only hope you have as much fun reading it as I did during the writing process.