Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Interview with Author Jessica Dotta - Day 1

About Jessica Dotta:

Born in the wrong century‚ except for the fact that she really likes epidurals and washing machines‚ Jessica Dotta writes British Historicals with the humor like an Austen, yet the drama of a Bronte.

She resides lives in the greater Nashville area‚where she imagines her small Southern town into the foggy streets of 19th century London. She oversees her daughter to school, which they pretend is an English boarding school, and then she goes home to write or work on PR. Jessica has tried to cast her dachshund as their butler‚ but the dog insists it's a Time Lord and their home a Tardis. Miss Marple, her cat, says its no mystery to her as to why the dog won't cooperate. When asked about it, Jessica sighs and says that you can't win them all, and at least her dog has picked something British to emulate.
Jessica is giving away a copy of her newest novel, Mark of Distinction. To enter this giveaway, leave a comment.

Welcome to PASTimes. Tell us a little about what you write.

Thank you so much for featuring my debut here! I really appreciate the opportunity.

I write British Historicals in a style the blends elements of the gothic and literary genres. The Price of Privilege Trilogy follows the story of a young lady who becomes trapped by the strict conventions and beliefs of the Victorian era as her history becomes entangled in the secrets of her mother's past.

Are you a full-time writer or do you hold a day job? What is the biggest challenge/obstacle you face in protecting your writing time?

Such a good question! I work a full time and a part time job, plus I'm a single mother, making me solely responsible for the running of a household. If I were to translate that into image, it's like running a marathon in the middle of a week long fast. There just simply isn't enough energy to complete the task—and yet press on you must.

My biggest obstacle is making certain my daughter has her fair share of time. It's not as easy at it seems. Logically I can look at the picture and think ah well, let the housework slide. I used to be able to do that, but with everything always spinning at a fast pace, it piles up too quickly. Right now the best solution I've found is cutting into my sleeping time. During this last deadline, I would sleep from 9pm to 1am, and then write until 7 a.m. in the morning. I'd take an hour nap after the school routine was finished, and then pick up again with the next job.

Your gothic romances set in British history have received rave reviews. Many are confused about the different historical periods. What historical time periods of British history do you write about? Why does that period interest you and how have you immersed yourself in that time period?

Technically the time period of these novels would be Victorian (or The Romantic Era), which is different than Regency. My middle-age characters are from the Regency era and still carry some of their trends. (The same way our grandmother's still have 1940's hairstyles.) These are the first books I've written, but I do plan to write in the Regency, Edwardian, and likely the Middle Ages as well.

The past fascinates me. I think there's a temptation to believe that just because we've embraced modern thinking that we've become enlightened. But I think that every era has right and wrong mixed up in some degrees. Writing historically is an amazing way to delve into mindsets other than our own.

Are there any other time periods that interest you? Are you planning any novels in any other time periods in the future?

Yes, I do plan on continuing in history, but I also hope to write some children's books that are set in this century.

Tell us a little about your novel series?

The Price of Privilege trilogy is set in Victorian England and is narrated by the protagonist Julia Elliston, who after a lifetime of silence has decided to set the record straight about the great scandal she caused in her teens.

Born of Persuasion begins the account with seventeen-year-old Julia. She’s recently orphaned and living on the charity of an anonymous guardian who intends to establish her as a servant in far-off Scotland. She has two months to devise a better plan.

Her first choice, to marry her childhood sweetheart, is denied when she discovers he’s made a change of faith. But when a titled dowager offers to introduce Julia into society, a realm of possibilities opens. Treachery and deception, however, are as much a part of Victorian society as titles and decorum, and Julia quickly discovers her present is deeply entangled with her mother’s mysterious past. With no laws to protect her, she must unravel the secrets on her own.

Introduce us briefly to the main characters in your most recent book.
I think it's far more interesting to share what others are saying. My protagonist is Julia Elliston. She's seventeen years old, raised in an abusive home and about to be thrown into life having no idea there's a mystery surrounding her.

Apparently she'll either endear you repel you.

Sampling of reviews on the main character Julia:

"I'm not sure I've ever read a main character like Dotta's Julia. This first-person protagonist is fairly self-centered and quite unlikable at times, but I cannot help but empathize and root for her. . . " Serena Chase, USATODAY

"She is a very sympathetic character and I felt like giving her a hug." Fresh Fiction

"I found Julia to be an annoying narrator. I was never sure if she was naïve and innocent, or simply stupid (it would be useful to know if she’s writing from the near or distant future. If she’s writing only a couple of years in her own future, I’d be inclined to see her as naïve. As it is, she comes across as inconsistent, unreliable and unlikeable, so I’m more inclined to go with stupid)." – Iola

"And the main character is so insipid and is not the slightest bit likable. Could not even get halfway through this book." – Amazon Reviewer

"Readers will find themselves adoring Julia while simultaneously being frustrated with her. . . . She is an unforgettable character in Christian fiction who deserves the entirety of this trilogy devoted to telling her story." FamilyFiction

What is your recent book about?

In Born of Persuasion, Julia becomes caught up the intrigue surrounding her mother's past and the mysterious  event unfolding around her. Though she'd spent much of her life hoping to marry her childhood sweetheart circumstances force her to look elsewhere. For the first time in her life, she desires wealth and position.

In Mark of Distinction, we see her ushered into untold fortune and status. We go to the heart of Victorian London and behind the closed doors of its elite. Having already learned the hard lesson that some treasures, once tossed aside, are irretrievable, Julia fears making more costly mistakes as she's pressured into a new life. She must determine when one should let go and accept the blessings at hand, or when one should fight harder and refuse to give in.

Thanks for joining us here on Favorite PASTimes. Any final words for readers or writers?

Keep reading to the next generation!

Thank you, Jessica. Tomorrow read day 2 of Jessica Dotta's Interview. Don't forget to leave a comment for a chance to win Jessica's new novel, Mark of Distinction.


traveler said...

British Historicals have always been enthralling and captivating novels which I appreciate greatly. Your books sound unforgettable and Julia sounds fascinating. Best wishes for much happiness and success. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

petite said...

Your post was informative and interesting. What a delight to be introduced to your books and writing which is so appealing for the era and the locale. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

Pat Jeanne Davis said...

Jessica, enjoyed this interview and the chance to get to know you here. I deeply admire your commitment to the writing life in spite of the obstacles you face daily. You're an inspiration to other writers. All the best with the novels in the Price of Privilege trilogy.

Lis K said...

I enjoyed Born of Persuasion so much, it was unlike anything I'd read recently in the Christian fiction market. I'm sure the second book is just as great!
garfsgirl [at] hotmail [dot] com

Anonymous said...

First off, I don't exactly understand what the Gothic part of a book is. I enjoyed your post and the books sound good to me. I really like both book covers. Thanks for a chance to win this book. Maxie

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