Friday, 15 October 2010

Author Interview: Jessica Shirvington

Jessica Shirvington is the debut author of Embrace, the first in an heart-racing new series centered around the dangerous life of Violet Eden as she discovers that she is a guardian angel, locked in an ancient battle between light and dark forces.

Today, Jessica has kindly agreed to do an author interview with me for Book Couture. So please give her a warm welcome, grab a mug of hot drinky goodness and get to know Jessica. She's an absolutely gorgeous and amazing person!

Take a peek at my review to read my thoughts on Embrace.
For more information, visit Hachette's website:

Tina: Could you tell us a little bit about yourself? What were you doing before you became an author?

Jessica: I am Sydney based. My husband and I married almost 10 years ago and we lived in London for about 6 years where I had a fine foods import and distribution company. While we were there we had our eldest daughter, Sienna. Once she was born we realised that we wanted to raise our family in Sydney so I sold the business and we moved back. Since then, we have added to the family with another beautiful girl, Winter (Winnie), who is now 2yrs. I have enjoyed a couple of years as a full time Mum and it was exactly what I needed. It gave me a chance to have precious time with my girls and make decisions based on what I actually wanted to do. It was after having Winnie and that I started seriously writing.

Tina: What inspired you to become an author, and how long have you been writing?

Jessica: Reading inspired me to become an author. Like you, I love nothing more than to curl up with a good book. I love the escape, imagining characters in my own way, there is something secretly delicious in reading. One day, instead of starting to read a new book - I started to write one.
I have been writing my whole life. Through school and since I have always loved the art of writing and expression, but in terms of tackling a novel - Embrace is my first attempt. 

Tina: And what a wonderful book your first novel has come to be! In your opinion, what is the greatest joy of being an author?

Jessica: Not having to hold back. I think in life, we are always thinking about everything we are doing. Being careful not to say the wrong things or expose ourselves too much. Writing is an absolute liberation!

Tina: How did you come up with the concept of Embrace? And the unique twist on angel mythology?

Jessica: The first element of Embrace started with the name Violet. I have always loved the name and it just came naturally. From there, I researched. As explained in the book, Violet is the inner most colour of the rainbow. I thought that was beautiful - so then I researched the rainbow and came across different beliefs that describe the rainbow as the link between heaven and earth. I thought that was pretty beautiful too. Then my father-in-law gave me an article of angelology and ... I was gone. The research was huge and so incredibly interesting that the twists just seemed to present themselves.

Tina: I loved the beautiful writing in Embrace - the way every word had a purpose, and your careful selection of them to subtly hint to the reader what was really happening between Violet and Pheonix. Does your wonderful writing come naturally, or does perfection come through many revisions?

Jessica: Thank you. I think the answer to that question is, both. Some chapters are very similar to how they were in my original draft - others have been re-written several times to get them right.

Tina: What was the writing and publishing process like for you?

Jessica: Exciting. The entire process was amazing, mostly because I had no expectations. I started writing this story one page at a time. I didn't put massive expectations on myself - I had no need to. In fact, when I started I wasn't even sure I'd be able the complete a chapter, but 6 weeks later, I'd written a story that I had a feeling might actually be good. After redrafts and lots of deliberation I sent the manuscript to my agent, Selwa Anthony and from there it went to Hachette. It all happened quickly and I had a great team of people around me that made it all happen.

Tina: Embrace has just recently been released. How are you feeling about this?

Jessica: Relieved, nervous, excited. When something means so much to you, of course you want other people to see it in a similar light.

Tina: Has your husband's career impacted upon your own new career as an author?

Jessica: Not really, other than that people look at the name and think - where do I know that name from?
Matt is a huge support. The day I told him I thought this thing I was writing might actually become a book, he didn't look at me like I was crazy, he just said, 'That's great honey - you'd write a wicked book.' I'm very lucky. 

Tina: Is there anything you hope readers can gain from reading Embrace?

Jessica: A great escape.

Tina: If you could have three wishes, what would they be?

1. That my children are always safe and well.
2. That my life and love with my family and husband continues just as it is.
And really - those two will do it for me, but if you insist ...
3. That there was a magical book that when you opened it - the story you most want to read at that moment magically appears on the pages. (It would save a lot of poor selections!)

Tina: And finally, can you tell us anything about the highly-awaited sequels to Embrace?

Jessica: There will be 4 books in the series. The second book, Enticed, will be out in the first half of 2011.
The hunt is on for the Scripture. More tough choices, more folklore, new characters, unlikely allies, lots of surprises - and of course, Lincoln and Phoenix are right in the middle of it.

Tina:Thank you, Jessica, for your wonderful answers! It was great to hear about your family, inspirations, writing and hopes. I wish you every bit of success in the future, and look forward to reading more of The Violet Eden Chapters.
And to all audiences, I hope you enjoyed reading Jessica Shirvington's interview, and above all, enjoy reading Embrace.

Embrace Official Website | Goodreads | Hachette AU website | Book Couture's Review

Places to Buy:
Australia: Borders | Angus & Robertson | The Nile
International: The Book Depository