Interview with Jess Rhodes

What are your five favorite books, and why?
Tough one! In no particular order, they are as follows:

1) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte - great female protagonist, great plot, and a really easy read.
2) Caterpillar by Ashlyn Forge - first sci-fi book I've ever read, and whilst the original is a short story, it's an excellent read.
3) Mort by Terry Pratchett - OK, in reality I love the entire Discworld series, but Mort captured my attention and made me giggle.
4) The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory - again, I love all the books she's written, but this one caught my eye because of how strong and steadfast Katherine of Aragon was.
5) Lirael by Garth Nix - another trilogy that I love, simply because of the wonderful mix of magic and modern day technology that makes up the books, as well as the friendship and strength that permeates each book.
What do you read for pleasure?
Oh god ... anything! I've been known to read Le Monde simply to improve my French, or the news ... it depends on my mood really. I will read just about anything that comes my way.
When did you first start writing?
Well, like all children I started physically writing at about 4 or 5 years of age. My first piece of actual "writing" didn't make an appearance until I was 16 and doing my GCSEs, when I was asked to write a piece of fiction as part of my GCSE English Language. I wrote a short story about human grief, which got me an A*, and I was rather proud of it.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up on the South East coast, which didn't really influence my writing per se. I tend to get more inspiration after a walk on the beach, but other than that my writing isn't really influenced that much by my location.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first story I ever read was Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. What I loved about it the most was that finally I could see a female protagonist who didn't necessarily need a man to make her happy. Whilst Jane loves Mr Rochester, when she discovers he has a wife she leaves and explains that she can't be a bigamist, nor will she. I also love that Jane sticks to her principles when it comes to marriage, her future and her life, making decisions that will only benefit her and that enrich her life, rather than depleting it.
Describe your desk
My desk is pretty much wherever I plonk my laptop. I've been known to write in bed, on the bus, in Costa, at the dining room table ... it really depends on where I am. The best one was when I got inspiration for a chapter in McDonald's, so promptly whipped out my laptop. Cue some rather strange stares from other customers.
How do you approach cover design?
I will Google images and create a mood board of images that interest me, and then make a shortlist from there. My favourite app to use is Wattpad Cover Creator, because they always have great themes and images, as well as allowing you to add the title, additional text and your author name so that you have an idea of what the cover will look like. I also love Pinterest, as there are thousands of images on there that you can pin to different mood boards, and it provides a great outlet for book inspiration as well as cover inspiration.
What inspires you to get out of bed every day?
Corny as it sounds, it's my volunteering. I currently volunteer for East Kent Mencap on a Tuesday morning, and am looking at volunteering for Victim Support as part of my local police force. Knowing that I'm making a difference in other people's lives is, for me, the greatest joy I can have. And when I'm not doing that, there's always my three kittens and my son - they never fail to kick me up the bum when I need it.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy of writing has to be telling the story. It can start with a single line, or a small idea, or even a full-blown character wandering into my head, but telling that story and seeing it come to life makes everything worthwhile.
What do your fans mean to you?
My fans mean the absolute world to me. Knowing that my scribbling makes a difference to someone is just incredible - even if someone hates it, they've read it and taken the time to form an opinion on it. It means a heck of a lot to be able to say "I'm an author, and I have a fanbase".
Published 2015-05-08.
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