About author, Jessica Gordon: Jessica Gordon is a Johns Hopkins University alumna for both her undergraduate and graduate degrees. She received her bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from the Writing Seminars program and her master’s degree in communications.
After working in the corporate world for several years, Jessica decided to return to her first love: creative writing. Jessica takes her readers to the prominent Washington, D.C. area where her characters navigate through the complex world of family, in-laws, and love.
Describe your writing style in five sentences: Characters that are relatable. Stories that move at a fast pace. Clear, concise writing to convey a story. Dialogue that is engaging. Intriguing plots with vivid scenes and characters.
How did you come up with the idea for writing “Becoming Mrs. Walsh”? At the heart of Becoming Mrs. Walsh is a tale about love, life, and family. I am fascinated by how these topics are related and I love looking at the dynamics within family and extended family. Seeing the story through Shoshana, a young, newly engaged girl, was intriguing to me. When you are engaged and enter into a new family you are introduced and exposed to a whole new world. This notion was in the back of my mind. My husband is the youngest of three boys so I have older brothers and sisters-in-law. When I first met them I was really taken with what it meant to join a family and have older siblings. To be introduced to so many people at once and to enter a family where they have already been together for many years is kind of like starting a movie halfway through. That learning curve combined with my love of exploring relationship dynamics led me to start thinking about a few things. Where do your loyalties lie when there is conflict: to your soon-to-be new family, or to your current family? I also think people have different takes on in-laws. I know some people that are closer with their in-laws than with their own family and I hear stories of extended family not getting along. You get to see all different dynamics play out in Becoming Mrs. Walsh. I wanted to take relatable, everyday feelings but put my characters in the most extraordinary of situations.
Have you always wanted to be a writer? Yes, definitely! I love to write, all of the time. Many scenes from Becoming Mrs. Walsh were originally written on napkins when I was sitting in a coffeeshop. It is cheesy but when you love something enough and are passionate about it, you never want to do anything else. I’ve gone back and reread very detailed diary entries from my past and they read like small stories. I went to school specifically for the writing program. I was very fortunate to graduate from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University. I will always be writing simply because I love it. 🙂
What is your writing/editing/publishing process like? My writing process can be unpredictable, but I generally know where I want to go with a story. From there I am constantly thinking of ideas and writing out scenes as soon as I can get my hands on a piece of paper or laptop. I take a general pass at editing and then I leave it in the hands of my trusted editor. The e-book publishing process is one that can be relatively easy once you’ve gone through it. Since I published Becoming Mrs. Walsh, I’ve enjoyed watching its growth and progression. Once your e-book is online and available for the world to see it is both a very exciting and overwhelming feeling. Overall, while my writing process is very creative and can take many twists and turns, the publishing part is much more straight forward and process driven.
At what time of day do you find the most productive to write? This is a good question. It is hard to say. Sometimes I am most productive simply when inspiration strikes. There is a scene early in the book that takes place on the Metro (readers that have read the book, will know exactly which one I mean). The entire scene came to me in the middle of the night. I completely jumped out of bed at three in the morning grabbed the nearest pad and wrote out the entire scene. In general, I usually keep a small pad in my bag because you never know when you will be waiting in line and have a minute to write down a thought. I would say overall throughout the day I am generally jotting down ideas and thoughts, but most of the sitting and really working tends to be in the evenings.
How did you celebrate your first book being published? I was very happy to have it published, but I think the first official celebration was when I received my first fan letter. It was the most amazing feeling to know that I wrote something that really touched someone enough to compel them to reach out to me. I read the fan letter out loud to myself and then smiled really big, the smile pretty much continued hours after the fact. A simple celebration, but a very meaningful one. Of course, anyone who reads the book and reviews it or writes to me directly, I always celebrate. I also love the very intimate experience authors have with their readers. Even though there are many readers that I’ve never had contact with, we all know the story of Becoming Mrs. Walsh, and we are bonded through our enjoyment of the book. Knowing someone may have been up late reading my book somewhere in the world is an extraordinary feeling and one I am grateful for each day.
At the end of “Becoming Mrs. Walsh,” you left us with quite a bit of a cliffhanger, was that planned? I’ve been asked about the ending a lot. For me the ending organically made sense. I didn’t want anything to feel forced; it had to be something that felt authentic to each character. Often times when I write I basically know where I am going, but sometimes I take a different path than I had originally planned. I strived to make the characters in Becoming Mrs. Walsh well drawn because creating interesting characters is so important to me. I think an ending needs to feel right for the characters more than the story sequence if that makes sense. In Becoming Mrs. Walsh the actions each character takes feels like what the character would have done in that moment based on what you glean from them throughout the book. I love hearing from readers and I have received a lot of feedback about the end. If you are reading this now and want to talk more about it, please e-mail me. I’m happy to discuss more! Just don’t want to give anything away. 🙂
If “Becoming Mrs. Walsh” were turned into a movie, who would you like to play the leading roles? This is a great question and one I’ve gotten before. I generally don’t like to assign actors because I love when readers have their own vision of who each character is. I think certain actors and actresses evoke specific emotions and reactions from people. But, it is a good question and I love hearing readers’ thoughts on that. I’ve had lots of readers tell me who they saw in a movie version, and let’s just say there has not been one suggestion yet that I’ve disagreed with! People really seem to get exactly where I was going with these characters.
What is your favorite word? Belly because it conveys so many different emotions. It could mean a warm, full belly after a delicious meal. Laughing a real belly laugh, you are so hysterical and tickled with glee. Belly dancing is very sexy and interesting. A pregnant belly makes one thinks of life and the beauty of the belly.
Can you tell us about any of your upcoming projects? I am working on a sequel to Becoming Mrs.Walsh. 🙂 I haven’t officially announced a date yet or anything like that because I really want to make sure the sequel is the best course of action for the characters. Whenever people ask about the sequel I have been saying TBD, but I would like to publish one. And when I know more, my readers and favorite bloggers like yourself will certainly know!
Five Tips on Writing Chick Lit
1) Chick lit by definition can be light, breezy, and fun. However, in order to be light, breezy, and fun you need to make sure you don’t bog readers down in overly ornate prose and uninteresting details. If you are going to write Chick Lit you must deliver on a premise that it will read quickly and entertain. You can not be boring when you write Chick Lit!
2) Tell a great story. At the heart of every good book is an even better story. Be an amazing story teller. Is this a tale you would want to chat about with friends over drinks or coffee? You want readers to fall in love with your story because it is captivating. It is the type of story that is at the tip of your tongue. You want to tell anyone and everyone how juicy this plot is and what happens. You want readers to still be thinking about the characters long after they have put the book down. I had a reader tell me that it was almost painful to stop reading Becoming Mrs. Walsh. That meant so much to me because I knew the book meant as much to her as it did to me. Entertain readers and be passionate about your story, the point of chick lit is to entertain. So make sure you set out to entertain and deliver on it.
3) Create well drawn characters. While Chick Lit is breezy as I mentioned in point 1, do not fall into the trap of overly light and fluffy. You can have a “beach read” with great characters and engaging plots. The “beach read” part is that it is entertaining and satisfying like candy. You can devour it and love the sweetness of it, but it is not meant to be a heavy meal. You need to have a book that does not take itself too seriously, but just seriously enough.
4) Love what you are writing about. If you, as the author, are not compelled to write or think about the story every single day, go back to the drawing board. Chick lit needs to draw you in and encompass you, you want to crave more of it and have characters that keep you turning pages. They are meant to be super engaging quick reads. If you want to write heavier prose or topics that deal with very serious situations that may not be a mood lifter or take a reader out of his/her world, you may want to re-consider genre. Even women’s fiction can have more of a serious tone. Chick lit can have topics beyond high heels and martinis but it is not meant to be depressing or dark, just interesting and entertaining.
5) Love what you do. If you love writing chick lit do it, but really love it. Love creating characters in interesting situations with vivid scenes, love letting your imagination run wild, and really allow yourself to create something different. If you truly love reading it and writing it then it is the right genre for you. If you feel mediocre about it, it is going to be hard to do. Don’t write a chick lit book because you are a good writer and you think it will be ‘easy,’ that type of forced writing will be apparent.
**”Becoming Mrs. Walsh” by Jessica Gordon:
Shoshana Thompson is 26 years old, miles from home, and engaged to Andrew Walsh, the last single Walsh brother of one of Washington, D.C.’s wealthiest families. Throughout her engagement she becomes enamored with the Walsh lifestyle.
Life in the fast lane comes to a screeching halt when Shoshana develops feelings for another man. When she discovers the feelings may not be one-sided, things are about to get a lot more complicated. This man is not only part of her fancy new world, he is also completely off-limits.
**Click HERE to buy “Becoming Mrs. Walsh” on Amazon!
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