Monday, November 7, 2011

Author Jessica Bell Stops By On Her Virtual Book Tour

It’s my pleasure to welcome the multi-talented author Jessica Bell as theJB author pic_sml special guest blogger here today as she makes a stop on her whirlwind virtual blog tour.

Jessica’s fiction debut, STRING BRIDGE, was released Nov. 1. There is also a soundtrack, Melody Hill: On the Other Side, which accompanies the novel.

Jessica has graciously consented to answers some questions for me about her self and her writing.

Mason - If you could have only 5 books in your library, what would they be and why?

Jessica - Housekeeping, by Marilynne Robinson, for her mouth-watering prose. Her writing is a true example of how to make words sing. This is the book that made me want to be an author. 

The Robber Bride, by Margaret Atwood. For the gripping story line and concise yet elaborate descriptions, all while maintaining its literary value. 

The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, by Rebecca Miller. This is women’s fiction without all the frills. Love it. I wish she had more than two books out! 

Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott. This book helped me get a little more perspective on myself as a writer. I’ll dip into this book again and again. 

Any collection of Gwen Harwood’s poetry. She’s an Australian poet, whose poem, ‘The Sea Anemones,’ sparked my initial interest in writing poetry at about fifteen. 

Mason - If you could collaborate with any author (living or dead), who would it be and what genre would you write? 

Jessica - Definitely Marilynne Robinson, and I’d stick with literary fiction. It’s my true love. 

Mason - When your characters come to life, in what order are they created - name, physical description or traits? Is it the same for each character? 

String Bridge final cover_frontJessica - My characters develop as I write them. They start off just being voices, and then I gradually give them bodies. It’s not always the same. It depends whether I’m in a plotting or spontaneous mood. I’m usually spontaneous, though. 

Mason - Which do you find the hardest to create - name, physical description or traits of your characters? 

Jessica - Neither. These things develop as I write. My work is very character-driven, so I think my characters traits automatically generate without me having much say. I’ve never noticed myself paying much attention to them, actually. They must develop sub-consciously. 

Mason - What is the worst advice you have been given about writing? 

Jessica - That I had the perfect voice for commercial women’s fiction. I listened, and spent four years trying to write like someone else, and I was miserable. Everything I wrote sounded so flat and lifeless. But I suppose it was a great learning experience. In the end I discovered who I really was. 

Mason - Given today’s economy and the book market, do you think print books will one day fade away and be completely replaced by eBooks? 

Jessica - Definitely not. As long as we, who love print books, instill the same love in our children, I think they will always be around. Can you imagine a world without print books? The local library would probably become an electronic slot in a wall, like an ATM. Ha! Horrible … 

Mason - What advantages and disadvantages do you see with eBooks over print books? 

Jessica - I have a Kindle and use it quite a lot, especially forMelody Hill_On the Other Side_CD cover reading fellow writers’ manuscripts, but I’m still pro print. All practical matters aside, I love the smell and feel of a print book, and the sound of pages turning. There’s something very romantic about it, don’t you think? 

eBooks, in my opinion, have many great qualities, one in particular being so very convenient for traveling. But even then, they can pose a problem. For example, what if you forget to bring the charger? With a print book, all you need to rely on are your eyes and the book’s existence. No external power necessary. 

Mason - Have you considered making STRING BRIDGE an audio book? If so, who would you like to narrate it? 

Jessica - No, I haven’t considered it. I’d actually like to do it myself as I do voiceovers professionally. If I didn’t do it myself, I’d love Nicole Kidman to do it. J 

Jessica, thanks so much for guest blogging. I’d hate to see our libraries turned into ATM-style facilities. That would be horrible. I could see fellow Australian Nicole Kidman doing the voiceover if you couldn’t. 

Now let me share a bit of background on Jessica and some links where you can find out more about STRING BRIDGE. She is a literary women's fiction author, poet and singer/songwriter who grew up in Melbourne, Australia, to two gothic rock musicians who had successful independent careers during the '80s and early '90s. 

She spent much of her childhood traveling to and from Australia to Europe, experiencing two entirely different worlds, yet feeling equally at home in both environments. She currently lives in Athens, Greece and works as a freelance writer/editor for English Language Teaching publishers worldwide, such as HarperCollins, Pearson Education and Macmillan Education. 

In addition to STRING BRIDGE, Jessica has published a book of poetry called TWISTED VELVET CHAINS. A full list of poems and short stories published in various anthologies and literary magazines can be found under Published Works & Awards, on her website. 

Jessica will be hosting the Homeric Writers' Retreat & Workshop on the Greek island of Ithaca, home of Odysseus, in September 2012. 

For more on Jessica and her writing, visit the STRING BRIDGE website, find her on Goodreads, check out STRING BRIDGE merchandise, find Jessica at her website at, drop by her blog, The Alliterative Allomorph, find her on Facebook, or on Twitter.
STRING BRIDGE can be purchased at the following locations:
Here’s the book trailer of STRING BRIDGE for your viewing pleasure:

To follow Jessica on her amazing tour and find out about her 10 Day Contest, check out her tour schedule

Thanks for stopping by and visiting with Jessica today. What are your thoughts on the questions I asked? 


  1. Wow. Thank you so much, Mason, for having me on your blog! What a wonderful set up you've created. Thanks a million for mentioning the contest and all. Cheers!

  2. Hi Mason and Jess .. it's good to see your pick of 5 books - I don't know them .. so an add to the TBR list. I noted the Marilynne Robinson one before ..

    An ATM for books in place of the library - no thanks ... techie things are alright if you remember the bits and bobs, or don't leave them behind as I did the other day .. sent on - but a week later.

    An audio book sounds like a good idea - podcast and app - do they go together .. well you know what I mean .. and read by you, Jess, that makes sense you can put the emphasis and pauses in the right places ..

    Mason - great interview with Jess - it's been a pleasure being a part of the tour etc .. love reading all the interviews .. cheers and all the very best for the future .. success beckons methinks ... Hilary

  3. Mason - Thanks for hosting Jessica.

    Jessica - What a fascinating idea to integrate a soundtrack with your novel! And I like the way you describe the way your characters develop. Mine are the same way. I wish you much success with String Bridge.

  4. Jessica, thanks so much for stopping by here on your tour. Wishing you much success with all that you do.

    Hilary and Margot, y'all are the best. Thanks so much for stopping by.

  5. Bird by Bird is one of my favorite writing books. I don't know the other books, but I'm certainly going to check them out. Libraries as ATM's. eeeeew. Lovely interview, you two, thanks.

  6. Love your blog, Mason and great interview.
    Jess, I have this image of a giant library ATM machine now. LOL

  7. Love the interview! And I just checked out Jess on another blog. I love the interview there too.

  8. Excellent interview! And if I got the select the reader, an audio version of my book would be cool.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.