In interview fashion, I posed thirty plus questions to Jes, allowing her to pick and choose which questions interested her. I find her a fascinating author and hope you will as well.
Q: Does writing energize or exhaust you?
A: Writing definitely energizes me… most of the time. When I’m into the story, I could go on forever. When I’m well aware it still has a few drafts to go through to be any good, though, it is a bit wearying. Thankfully, I never had that problem with the Summers of Yesteryear series.
Q: Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?
A: If someone doesn’t feel emotions strongly, I think writing would actually help them. I have put myself in so many different shoes to write my novels, and I have felt things I wouldn’t normally feel because I have experienced things I haven’t experienced. Writing is only partly what you bring to the table- the rest is what your characters bring.
Q: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
A: I would probably tell her to have started off by buying two thumb drives, because I lost one in an accident about a year or two into my writing career, and it really set me back.
Q: What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
A: My covers are definitely worth every penny, and I’m glad to have found such a talented cover designer in Victoria Cooper.
Q: What authors did you dislike at first but grew into?
A: I think most classic authors like Dickens and Tolkein were a bit hard to read for younger me, but as I kept reading and kept growing, I grew to appreciate and love them.
Q: How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
A: I don’t even know anymore. At least a dozen, but there are some I randomly remember from time-to-time and wonder when I’ll be able to have time for them.
Q: What does literary success look like to you?
A: I want a movie or a tv show that I get to have all the final say on.
Q: What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
A: Writing characters of the opposite gender actually isn’t that hard for me, because I studied the male mind before moving on from my female-protagonist-only stage. The biggest difficulty, I think, is staying true to the character in a scene where I’d prefer to have a feminine reaction because it makes more sense to me, but not for the character.
Q: How many hours a day do you write?
A: That is entirely variable. I don’t have a set schedule; I just write when I can.
Q: What period of your life do you find you write about most often? (child, teenager, young adult)
A: I write the period of life I’m in. When I was a teenager, I wrote about teenagers (but most of those books haven’t been published yet, so there are still plenty of those to come), and now as a young adult, I write about young adults.
Q: How do you select the names of your characters?
A: Sometimes the names come to me naturally. Other times, I do more research for a name that fits their ethnicity and culture. And sometimes I forget the original name and give them a new one unwittingly and have to change it throughout the manuscript when editing.
Q: Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
A: I do read book reviews. Good ones make my days, and bad ones make me sad, but I don’t really deal with them one way or another.
Q: Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
A: I’ve been writing easter eggs since my first book to foreshadow the third book, and once I knew I would be writing multiple series, I started dropping hints toward the other books in each novel. And sometimes characters even run into each other.
Q: Does your family support your career as a writer?
A: They support me as a writer, but we’re all pragmatic about writing since it’s a hard career to actually make a living on.
Q: Do you like audiobooks, physical books, or e-books better? Why?
A: I like owning physical books, because they’re something special, but I prefer reading e-books for the ease.
Q: What is your favorite genre to read, and why?
A: I like romantic comedies, because it’s the great genre I can’t seem to figure out how to write myself.
Q: What is the funniest typo you’ve ever written?
A: Every now and then, characters gender-swap, and it makes me laugh every time. Or I’ll insert one character into a scene when I mean another, and it leads to a big fight off-screen. But I’ve had lots of embarrassing typos that I wish my editor didn’t have to see, or me either for that matter.
Q: How many drafts do your books generally to through before publication?
A: My minimum is four, but it can be way, way more.
Q: Do you have a writing blog?
Q: What was the hardest part of writing your author bio?
A: Not writing anything that can help anyone tracking me down if I have to go on the run or something.
Q: What is your favorite time to write, and why?
A: I like to write in the evening, mostly because that’s about the only time I can write.
End of Interview
Thank you so much, Jes Drew, for participating in my “Author of the Month” feature!
“When I’m dead, I wanna leave a body of work, like authors or great painters do.”
– Paul Weller