Embrace Book Tour: Interview with Jessica Shirvington

As you all remembered, a few weeks ago I did a book review for the book, Embrace by Jessica Shirvington. Today Just Us Girls is a part of her book tour and I'll be sharing with you our interview we had a chance to do with the author. 

Jessica Shirvington

1. Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that story?

EMBRACE is the story of seventeen-year-old, Violet Eden, who discovers that she is caught up in this ancient battle between exiled angels on earth and angel-human warriors that fight against them called the Grigori. Violet’s destiny is entwined in this eternal battle and she must make her choice – to follow the path that has been set for her, or turn her back on her destiny. It is a story of free will, choice and consequence. And at the heart of it all she is torn between the two men in her life; Lincoln – her long time crush and the one person she thought she could trust until she discovers he has been lying to her for the past two years, and Phoenix – the exiled angel who is supposed to be her enemy but somehow always seems to be there when she needs someone and stirs feelings that she doesn’t fully understand.

The story started with the idea of having a plot based around choice, consequence and sacrifice - asking the questions, do we get a choice? Is our fate determined? And if so, how does the process of choice making then work? I wanted to bring mythology into the story because when you are talking about such base concepts as choice and freewill then it seems sensible to go back to the beginning. This ultimately led to the idea of angels and the story's interpretation of role they play.

2. How did you get interested in writing this particular genre?

Because I read more YA than anything else. It is the genre I love above all others and when I started to write Embrace it wasn't about if the novel would be YA or Adult - it never occurred to me that there was a choice. YA is definitely the most fun to write. :-)

3. What kind of research did you do for this book?

The research was huge. There is just so much out there and sometimes you have to do a lot to get a very small amount that is appropriate for your needs. I spend a lot of time compiling notebooks on different mythology highlighting possible story threads they could offer. I also researched many varying religious stories that involved angels. I find it fascinating that each religion takes its own unique view on angels and the role they play in the universe. 
In the end, I have learned that research isn't so much about what you do find, it is often about what you don't find - the holes in the folklore that leave windows open for new possible interpretations.

4. What's a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?

A typical workday for me is long. I start by loading up on coffee and it usually takes a while to simply catch up on emails etc. Then, depending where I am on different book schedules, it all comes down to prioritizing deadlines. It can get a bit complicated since the books are in international markets and at slightly different stages of release. So, whilst I might be concentrating on a book's marketing campaign in one markets, I might also be mid-edit on a different book in another market. Long story short, I make lists. And they scatter around my desk as I try to keep up! But, when I am in draft stage - developing a new book and storyline and spending time working out my characters - that's when I go into lockdown. The more I let myself get distracted, the less the story flows. The first draft is ALL-important and it comes before most other tasks to me.
I write in my dining room which has now basically turned into my permanent office (no dinner parties for me!).
I don't set a daily writing goal. There is enough pressure to make the story work. Somedays the story isn't flowing and I don't feel good about it. On those days I see no point in forcing something that could influence the entire story. And when things are going well, I can write and write and write - it becomes a race to get the thoughts in my head onto the screen.

5. What is the hardest part of writing for you?

The time between finishing my final draft and handing it in to my publishers. It doesn't matter how many times I do it, or how passionate I am about the story I have written, I always freak out.

6. What’s the best thing about being an author?

When readers enjoy the story. When a scene or a character really affects them and inspires a reaction. There is nothing better than that because, as a writer, that's when you feel like you have done your job.

7. Any advice for aspiring writers out there?

Push on. Writing well requires putting words on paper - without the words, there is nowhere to go. Before you over-analyze everything, give yourself a chance to write a story from start to finish and know that at the end when you go back and reread it is normal to find a lot you don't like - in fact, that is a good thing. Be honest with yourself and write what you feel you really understand - if you can see the holes in your story, then, so will everyone else. Finally, write characters that behave in ways you can connect with, these ones are always the best. 

We'd like to thank Jessica Shirvington for her time and also if you'd like to know more about her series, Embrace, please feel free to check her website and Facebook page out!


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