Jessica Nelson writes inspirational romance, being a member of both Romance Writers of America® and American Christian Fiction Writers. She considers herself a pantser and doesn’t always follow the “rules.” Her story, The Bridegroom’s Revenge, took 3rd place in the Silicon Valley RWA 2007 Gotcha! contest. In addition, she’s received requests from agents as well as an editor. While awaiting The Call, she moves forward on her current WIP and consoles herself with chocolate when disappointing news arrives.
Jessica Nelson lives in Florida with her awesome fisherman hubby, whom she married just two days after high school. She’s a busy mother of three rowdy, precious little boys and is a self-confessed bookaholic.
I met Jessica here on my site, where she often leaves encouraging comments for other guests. A generous person, she shares sound writing tips on her blog, BookingIt.
Read on to learn more about this fun, friendly writer of heartwarming tales.
•Jessica, when did your writing journey begin, and what led you to focus on the romance genre?
I started reading romances in the fourth grade, so when I attempted my first novel in seventh grade, it rapidly turned into a romantic suspense. Basically, I just love romance. Most movies and books don’t interest me unless there’s some sort of romantic thread, however thin it may be.
•You’ve completed three manuscripts? Are they in the same sub-genre or different ones? Which story stands out as a favorite, and why?
My very first completed manuscript is a historical inspirational romance. I started writing it because I saw on Harlequin’s website that they were opening a new line called Love Inspired Historical. I abandoned the women’s fiction I’d been writing for two years because I thought, I can write a historical romance! No problem. Heh. No more historicals for me. Now I’m writing contemporary inspirational romances. Much easier for my brain. LOL.
As for favorite manuscripts, probably the one I’m writing at the time. After I complete a story, even after revisions, I tend to vacillate on whether it’s any good. The WIP is what I have enthusiasm for, and therefore it’s my favorite!
•You’ve said you’re “all about the alpha male.” What is it about alpha male heroes you most like? What aspects of their characters do you most enjoy writing?
Hmmm, I think I like the alpha male because many times they have a forceful, determined nature that I admire. Also, I’ve never really been attracted to emotional men, so I guess I read what I like.
By the way, I’ve got my own Alpha hero at home. He’s a hoot. I suppose this type of personality both amuses me and makes me feel safe.
Great question, Keli! It’s disconcerting to realize that I don’t really know why I love Alphas. LOL.
•From reading your blog, I see you like a bit of realism in your inspirational fiction in the area of physical attraction. Given the constraints of the market, this can be a challenge for inspirational writers. What are some examples you’ve seen where a published author did a good job balancing the physical relationship and the characters’ faith? How do you handle this aspect in your stories?
Francine Rivers was the first inspirational author I ever read who I felt handled natural attraction in a Godly way. That was in high school. I’ve also enjoyed Kristen Heitzman’s books, and recently, Julie Lessman’s.
Because I’m targeting Love Inspired, a more conservative CBA (Christian Booksellers Association) publisher, I try to tone down the physical attraction and up the emotional. I do like spicy kisses, knees trembling, heart pounding, all that good stuff! But I don’t think I’d ever write anything graphic about sex. Mostly just kissing. 🙂
•You said, “A WIP makes rejection easier.” Having submitted your story to a number of agents as well as contests, you’re no stranger to “thanks, but no thanks” replies or judges’ feedback. How do you deal with the responses? Chocolate? A bubble bath? A few therapeutic tears, perhaps? Or do you plow right back into your story, incorporating the suggestions you received?
I file the agent rejections, though anything that’s not a form rejection gets a thank you card. I only cried once, when my manuscript was rejected by an editor. But then I sucked it up, filed that letter, and kept going.
I wish I could say chocolate comforts me, but it’s actually a daily supplement. LOL. Plowing back into the story is my way. I find the nice comments on contest critiques and cling to those while taking the advice I feel appropriate to my story.
•You write while mothering three small boys, ages four, two and one. Impressive! I’m sure parenting and writing take most of your time, but we’ve heard the importance of mini-vacations. What do you like to do when you have a few rare moments to yourself?
I’m a HUGE bookworm. I don’t think I’m ever without a book. 🙂 I’ll also admit to being addicted to the TV show House.
•Here’s a question just for fun. I saw that you love to learn languages. Suppose a generous benefactor wanted to send you, your hubby, your kids and a top-notch nanny on a trip to a foreign country, giving you an opportunity to speak another tongue and immerse yourself in the other culture. Where would you go, and what would be some of your must-see sights?
Oh, man! That’s exciting to think about. I really don’t know. Can I tour all of Western Europe? What a lovely dream. 🙂
It’s been great having you as my guest, Jessica. And now, in closing, is there a final comment you’d like to make or a question you’d like to ask?
I’m so honored that you thought I’m interesting enough to interview! Thank you for taking the time to do this. You’re awesome!
First, if any family members stop by, just want to give you all a great, big shout-out!
Secondly, my question has to do with dreams. I think God has given us all special talents and unique desires to accomplish practical things. Pursuing our dreams nourishes our souls. What are your dreams for the future?
Learn More About Jessica
Visit her Blog: BookingIt
Friend her on: MySpace: jessicanelson7590
Facebook: Jessica Nelson
Leave a Comment for Your Chance to Win!
I’ll choose a winners from those who leave a comment for Jessica on 2/12 & 13 (and include an email address when prompted, which I don’t share), and will post the winners’ names on 2/14.
Eileen Astels won and will have her choice of:
A set of 16 inspirational note cards
a copy of Kaye Dacus’ debut novel, Stand-in Groom, released in December.
You could also win a First Sale Scrapbook!
If you’d like to have a chance at winning a First Sale Scrapbook created by your blog hostess, Keli Gwyn, leave a comment on any post between now and February 28. Make sure to include your name and email address when prompted if you want to be entered in the drawing. (Your information will not be shared.) Click red link above to see samples of covers and pages.
On March 1, Keli will choose one person who will have her choice of five covers on an 8×8 inch, twenty-page scrapbook in which s/he can document that long-awaited first sale. The pages will cover various milestones including The Call, signing the contract, receiving the first advance payment and holding your “firstborn” in your hands.
(No scrapbooking skills required. You just add your photos and journaling.)