Author Jessica Redland Answers all our Questions
- What’s yoour latest book called?
Callie’s Christmas Wish
- First of all – Can you give us the ‘elevator pitch’ version of your latest book.
A heartwarming Christmas story of finding new love, and the courage to revisit a love that was lost long ago. It’s never too late to let love in again. Or is it?
- Tell us something about yourself that we likely don’t know! The more obscure the better!
I was a contestant on ITV’s The Chase in 2017. I made it to the final chase with 1 other contestant and we were dire! Only made it to 10 including the 2 bonus steps. Oops! So, no money won but an amazing day.
- Do you write in silence, or with music? If you write to music, give us the top three songs on your writers’ playlist this week.
Mainly with music and always the same 6 or 7 artists. It has to be fairly easy listening and I need to know the album exceptionally well so that it can fade into the background. Favourite artist choices (rather than tracks) are: Delta Goodrem, Leona Lewis and Coldplay.
- Are you a Plotter or Pantser?
Pantser! I tried detailed plotting once and my characters changed everything when I started writing.
- Well, that makes our next question fairly easy to answer – Have your characters ever ‘gone off script’ – hijacked your story and taken it in a direction you didn’t expect?
Ha ha – see previous answer! Yes. They’re cheeky little tykes. When I was writing my debut novel, Searching for Steven, one character turned into a stalker. Most unexpected and not appropriate for the story so I had to write him out. In another story, I intended a character to be the “baddie” but they weren’t impressed and turned out to be a very lovely person instead.
- If you could spend time with any character from any of your books, who would it be and what would you do?
Would it be wrong to say all my heroes? I tend to fall a little in love with each of them! My absolute favourite is a toss-up between Nick from Searching for Steven and Sam from Bear With Me. All my heroes are beta males and they’re lush. I also feel like all my female protagonists could be my best friends. I try to write about very real women with the types of insecurities and baggage we all have.
- Which of your characters can you say you would least get along with in real life?
Darren in Charlee and the Chocolate Shop. He’s the pits. Also, I can’t stand Rhy’s dad (who features in Callie’s Christmas Wish). He’s very materialistic and extremely opinionated (with his opinion always being the right one); both traits I don’t like seeing in people.
- Do you read your reviews?
Yes. I can’t help it. I’m drawn to them like a moth to a flame.
- What has been the toughest criticism you have been given since becoming a published author?
Nothing given to me in person, but there’s a reader who has given low ratings to each of the books in my trilogy and, on her review of the final part, ‘Dreaming About Daran,’ opens with “I don’t know what it is about these books by Redland, but I never enjoy them”. Ouch! So why read all three? She then goes on about all the great things in the book before moaning about the Irish vernacular which she finds “offensive”. The book was actually edited by someone Irish who took pains to make it realistic and avoid clichés. The reviewer also states, “I think it’s fair to say that maybe I don’t like Redland’s voice, or her characters, but I still feel the emotion of her story…” What really made me laugh is that another reviewer commented, “This has to be the most bizarre and conflicting review I’ve ever read!” Couldn’t have put it better myself.
- What is the best compliment you have received?
I have been compared in several reviews to Jill Mansell and Lisa Jewell. I adore their writing so this is quite an astonishing comparison.
- Do you have a day job when you are not writing? If so, what do you do?
Yes. I’ve always worked in Human Resources, specialising in recruitment or training & development. For the last few years, I’ve been a home-based HR Tutor. I mark assignments and answer queries from students studying their HR professional qualification. It’s a full-time role so it’s massively challenging to fit writing around it.
- Can you name three authors who have inspired your writing?
Jill Mansell, Virginia Andrews, Lisa Jewell.
- What was your favourite book as a child?
I couldn’t name just one but I can name an author: Enid Blyton. I particularly loved the Faraway Tree series, Malory Towers and The Famous Five.
- What scene in your latest book was the hardest scene to write (without giving away too many spoilers!)
That’s so hard without spoilers. I actually loved writing all the scenes but the one that probably provided the most challenge was when Callie discovers the story of Ruby’s lost love. There was potential for it to be one long speech so I needed to carefully break it up with reactions from Callie, comments on the surroundings, the weather and so on. But I needed to do this without interrupting the flow of the story.
- Do you have any other author friends? If so, can you name a few and have any of them given you a piece of advice you would consider invaluable on your publishing journey?
I am very close to a Hull-based writer called Sharon Booth. Like me, she writes books set in Yorkshire and they’re exceptional. She’s just released her thirteenth. We see each other regularly and she’s been brilliant at getting me to think about my brand and my audience, which has really helped gain focus on who I’m trying to reach. I’m also very close to Jo Bartlett and Jackie Ladbury who both write romance, and Helen Phifer who writes horror/crime. I love all their books.
For Bonus Brownie Reader Points – Answer our five fabulous frivolous questions:
- What is your biggest fear?
This is a grim one. I have a phobia of other people vomiting. It’s called emetophobia (although I had to Google that because I can never remember the name)
- If you could have any superhero power, what would it be?
Right now, I’m very saddened about the state of our oceans so my superpower would be to turn all the plastic and pollution into coral and other sea-life
- If you could write one line to be etched into your tombstone, what would it read?
I said I wanted to be cremated so which numpty buried me?
- If you could give your younger self ONE piece of advice, what would it be?
You’re not fat, no matter what the bullies say. Because, back then, I wasn’t but the damage was done and I’ve had a battle with obesity ever since.
- Finally – Who are your latest Cover Crushes?
Every single Christmas book out there. The covers are sooooo pretty!
You can purchase Jessica’s latest book:Callie’s Christmas Wish: Still Raving About Rhys here on Amazon