My blog guest today, all the way from the USA, is the lovely Jess B Moore.
Welcome, Jess. Please tell us about your new book Fierce Grace. What was the inspiration for this book?
Fierce Grace came from a place of fear – of a young woman who had lived a life of pain and sworn off opening herself up to more pain. A young man swamped with family responsibility, loyal to a fault, and with a poor view of himself as a respectable partner. These were themes I could relate to, and felt others could as well. Annabelle is a music teacher, which ties perfectly with my musical life, as well as the music culture in Fox River (the small North Carolina town setting of both my books). Asher is a steel worker, motorcycle rider, and the mostly “manly” character I’ve written. It was fun to show how he’s more than his image. For me it’s about the characters, and I write people who I want to know, or I have know, or I could be.
What does a typical writing day involve for you?
I write when I can, between homeschooling two children, as well as helping manage their gigging band. I’ve never had a set time or place, instead fitting in a few minutes here and there. Now that I’m published and have specific deadlines, I have carved out more time for writing, but it’s still something that shifts day to day.
How do you decide on the names for your characters?
Names are one of my favorite parts! I have a running list of names I like/love/loathe to choose from, but also rely on “Name Berry” (baby name website) quite a bit. For my first book, I wanted the names to feel southern, which meant names like Magnolia and Cotton. With my new book, though it’s set in the same small southern town, I wanted her name to be timeless and his to be more modern, and went with Annabelle and Asher.
Do you plot your novels in advance, or allow them to develop as you write?
I usually start out with the characters, and follow their story as I write. I’ll have waypoints along the way, and a general idea of where the story is going, but for the most part it happens while I’m writing.
Which writers have influenced your own writing?
My favorite romance authors are Penny Reid, Susannah Nix, and Sally Thorne. They’ve played a big part in inspiration. I’m also a huge Maggie Stiefvater fan, and love her way with words, and her incomparable connections between her characters. John Green as well serves to remind me that it’s okay to write nerdy smart quirky people.
What has been the best part of the writing process…and the worst?
I love crafting stories. Love seeing where the characters take their stories and watching them grow. I enjoy the process of writing. What I don’t love, now that I’m a published author, is the “work” side of it all. Marketing, promotion, website, social media – it’s all been an uphill learning experience for me. After about 11 months, I finally feel as if I’m getting into my stride with it all, and continue to learn along the way. My favorites so far are my newsletter and Instagram.