Thursday, 2 February 2012

Interview with Jessica Thompson

I'm so lucky that I've been introduced to a fabulous new author called Jessica Thompson who is launching her debut novel This is a Love Story this month.  The book is just amazing and you can read my review by clicking here.  

I'm delighted that Jess agreed to do an interview with me and our conversation is below.   Hope you enjoy learning more about her, as much as I did, and I'm sure we'll be hearing a lot more about this special lady in the future. 

Hi Jess, Firstly just want to say thanks for letting me interview you and to congratulate you on your fantastic debut novel.  I hope it's a massive success for you. 
It was a wonderful read, even if I did read the last few chapters through that many tears that I could hardly see!

How did you feel when you knew that your book was going to be published? 
It was totally surreal! I still can't quite believe it is all happening. Ever since it was confirmed I have woken up in the morning, and found myself forgetting about it for the first couple of minutes and then I remember. It's like waking up and going into a dream. It's lovely and I am thrilled to bits.  I have always liked Hodder as a publisher too, so I was delighted when they said they would like to publish This is a Love Story.

How long was your journey from your ideas about writing the book, through to publication? 
It was about a year and a half. I came up with the idea quite quickly because it was a theme that sprung to my mind almost immediately. I wrote the book in about six or seven months and then it was presented to Hodder. After that it went through a few weeks of editing and then it was a matter of waiting patiently for it to come out.

As a busy journalist, how on earth did you find time to write a book? 
It is tough to find the time and energy, but it's something I love doing so I make time for it. I spend evenings and weekends writing and editing, but I still find time to see friends and do other things too. It is a challenge, there's no doubt about it, but I love being busy. I feel really inspired when I am writing, so I lose track of time and I look forward to being able to get lost in the world of writing for a few hours at a time.

Where, what and who inspires you to write? Funnily enough, music is a big inspiration to me. For a lot of the scenes I write, there is a connection in my mind with a particular song. Lyrics bring about a lot of visual imagery, so I find just listening to music really helps. When I go to the gym or go out running, it's a really good time to mull over ideas, or work out ways to overcome problems in writing. In terms of plot line inspiration I think all my life experiences have inspired me, even stretching back to when I was a child. This is a Love Story is a culmination of things I have seen and experienced brought together into a fictional world and storyline.  

Can you describe the place where you write? I write at home at the kitchen table, and often in bed with my laptop! It's all a bit chaotic sometimes. The table I am writing on, or any surface nearby usually ends up covered in cups of tea and various notes. I normally write in my pyjamas or some random get-up I found on the floor! I am just being honest here! I live with two kittens and they often try to climb onto the keypad. When they aren't doing that they sometimes just sit and listen to the furious typing coming from my general direction with confused looks on their faces.

Your characters in This Is A Love Story are fabulous.  How did you go about creating them? 
It's strange because I didn't really sit down and write a plan of how I wanted each character to be. They were very clear in my mind from the very first line, so it was a matter of making sure I was communicating them effectively to readers. I felt like I got to know the characters inside and out, I knew everything about them down to the clothes in their fictional wardrobes and how many sugars they take in their tea! It was a lovely basis for writing a book, and they ended up doing their own thing as I wrote too. A lot of the character's looks and quirks have been inspired by people I know too, because it's so nice to call these characteristics into my mind.

The way you describe feelings and emotions is utterly amazing.  How do you do that? 
Thank you, that's really nice feedback! I'm not sure how actually. It just comes out on the page as I write. As I mentioned before, I think I really listen to song lyrics and they are often poetic and metaphorical. I think I have subconsciously adopted this style with my writing, and that makes it possible to describe things with emotion and colour.

Who or what gave you the idea to write about a character who had narcolepsy? 
I know a man who has narcolepsy, and I was struck by how positive and upbeat he is despite the challenges he faces. I had been exposed to narcolepsy before I met him through film and TV, and found it always took quite a mocking view of the condition. But when I met this guy, I was just bowled over by the reality of living with narcolepsy and I was keen to incorporate such a moving thread in my story.

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about writing a book? 
Keep coming up with ideas until you find the one that sets you on fire. If it doesn't, then it's going to be really tough to write when you are 90,000 words in and there's no coffee in the cupboard! Be determined, and never give up, and don't be afraid of feedback and learning new things all the time. 

Are you a reader?  What types of book do you like to read and who are your favourite authors? I am a reader, although I am studying with the Open University at the moment so it can be tricky to find time to read as much as I would like to.  I like a range of different books, from Lionel Shriver's We need to talk about Kevin, to Caitlin Moran's How to be a woman. I love darkness, I love humour, and I love books that make me cry. Jojo Moyes' latest novel Me Before You made me cry! 
What's next for you? Are you writing more (I do hope so!) and if the answer is yes, can you tell us a little more? I have finished my second novel and I am now deep into the editing process. I am really enjoying it, although the book is challenging as it has a lot of threads. It is really fast paced, and covers a lot of ground in a short time. I look forward to developing it further and getting more feedback on it.

Thank you so much for your support, it means a lot. I'm thrilled you like Tials so much and I look forward to reading your review.

Jessica Thompson lives in North London and  is a multimedia journalist working for a series of London newspapers.  In her spare time she loves to run and sing as well as write!   She felt very moved by the work of the charity and would like to continue to help to raise awareness of this hard working charity.

You can buy this book here :

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