Interview with Jessa Callaver

How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has been seminal. I honestly cannot say that enough. I came here as a new writer who had never formally published anything, on- or offline, seeking authorship and with no idea as to how to begin. Within weeks, I'd learned how to format, proof, select and upload cover images, and as on my way to having my work distributed to well-known and respected e-bookstores. For those of us starting out without agents and publishing houses behind us, that's just a huge accomplishment in and of itself. And thanks to SW offering a wealth instructions, accessible and available support contacts, style guides and just all-around assistance to help navigate through not just the site but through self-publishing, it's not impossible. That was what I found when I came here and what keeps me coming back. Smashwords helps keep you informed and updated as a writer, author, reader, self-publisher, and part of the indie e-community. Even when I didn't know what the heck I was doing, SW and the resources it provides, made me feel as if I could still do it, on my own and be successful. And it remains a good resource. However 'paid advertisement' it might sound, I'm truly grateful to have stumbled across this site and to have had it as my launching pad.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Just being able to let go while, ideally, touching other readers with what has touched you. To have an idea that percolated in your head come to full form, often not knowing where it will lead or where and how the story will end is a true gift. As stressful as it can be, writing is also a release. It gives my conscious and subconscious mind a voice, for better of for worse lol And to be able to share tiny pieces of myself, my mind, my creativity, my heart with other readers and book lovers, hearing people connect with and find entertainment in what I've written, that's where the true joy lies - in the mutual 'you too?', that moment of a shared escape enjoyed by us both. Nothing like it.
What do your fans mean to you?
The fans are my sounding board. They're really the life blood of my writing. It's them I look to reach out to, to entertain, to take on a dramatic and worthwhile ride, to draw with me into the escape, and to ideally, gratify with a good book.
What are you working on next?
Oh man...lots lol I've just released the second short, "Dara's Decision" in my "The Very Thought of Him" series. It's available here on Smashwords, should be on Kindle by the end the weekend (March 1 / March 2) and will be released in other e-outlets very soon. I'm working on the third installment to that series - haven't quite decided if three will be enough but three is definitely the starting point at present.

I have two novels, one a romance with a paranormal twist, the other currently at 150 pages, that I've had on the backburner for longer than I like to admit. I have a flash fiction short I hope to complete and release this spring. I'm in the final edits stage of a novella dealing with one woman's struggle with body image that I hope to have formally published and will be preparing my very first query letters for this month. Really excited about that. I'm working on a sequel to that novella right now and hope to develop it into a series.

Other than that, I have notes on a story I'd like to develop...once the daily hour allotment has been extended to 30. One can hope.
Who are your favorite authors?
It really varies. I've always loved both fiction and non-fiction, and read everything from self-help, sci-fi, women's lit, political and economic literature, and of course romance. So it's hard to pick. I guess I'd start with, Henry Miller, Paul Krugman, Danelle Harmon, James Baldwin, Selena Kitt, Wayne Dyer, James Loewen, Henry James, John Lindqvist, Steven King, *Anne Rice*, Bram Stoker, John Updike, Tobias Wolff, Dodie Smith, Dostoyevsky, Barbara Ehrenreich, Alicia Erian and Pierre Choderlos de Laclos.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Probably a tie between word of mouth and Goodreads, Smashwords, and Amazon-surfing.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. It's a novelette entitled, "Family Care." Probably the most inspired, the most fluidly written piece I've created to date. Though technically, not my most 'refined' releases, that one I have such a soft spot in my heart for. It really was just a release, that one. It just gushed forth in perhaps a matter of a month. I have to say that, I don't think my writing had emerged to the level where I could tell the tale as proficiently as I wanted to tell it. But for what I was able to create, I made certain *that* story, without considerations of controversy or taboos, went down on the page exactly as I saw it in my mind, unfettered and unrestrained. It was at its core, a creation born of passion and fantasy. My first offering, and I'll always hold it high for that alone. Definitely my naughty little stream of consciousness baby. :-)
What do you read for pleasure?
I just read, honestly. My mood determines the genre most often, but it really varies. I've been known to read informational brochures on indie publishing for enjoyment as I have a Nicky Charles or J.R.R. Tolkein book (two favorite authors that I may not have already mentioned).
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I still enjoy physical books but also use Kindle for PC.
Describe your desk
Varies between my bed, a cubby or mini-desk at my public library, and a moveable TV dinner tray I bought especially to sit my laptop lol
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book is the second in a series entitled "The Very Thought of Him," also the title of the first release. This installment, "Dara's Decision" brings us back to St. Charles and our overworked protagonist, Dara Troyer. We find her in the aftermath of her decision regarding Kelly and trying to get her life on track while her best friend's own love life has gone astray. In the midst of all of this, another man enters the picture. Due to recent experiences however, she's forced to question whether she can trust this new love interest. The third and possibly final book will bring about some resolution to the trials we see Dara facing here and in Book I (The Very Thought of Him) while others...well, you'll just have to wait and see. ;-)
What are your five favorite books, and why?
I'd have to isolate my five favorite *fiction* reads here, since my visceral response to them runs the deepest since I began penning my own tales of fiction:

Dangerous Liaisons (Pierre Ambroise Francois Choderlos de Laclos

Queen of the Damned (Anne Rice) : Luscious.

I Capture the Castle (Dodie Smith)

The Baumgartners Plus One (Selena Kitt)

Delta of Venus (Anais Nin)
What would you ideally like others to say about your books / your writing?
I'm so new to writing fiction; feel as I am learning, changing and improving as I go in in so many ways. So it's hard to say what I'd want my lasting impression to be as a writer. In this this point in my career, I really just hope to entertain people. For them to be enjoyed, and to ideally, entice and engross my readers. Very modest. :-)
Published 2014-03-01.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Dara's Decision (2nd ed.)
Series: The Very Thought of Him, Book 2. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 31,300. Language: English. Published: February 28, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary, Fiction » Women's fiction » General
His body, his face...the torturous tease. He invaded her days and filled her thoughts at all hours. Could he be real? Could reality fulfill her desire? Now, Dara has another choice to make. One that yet again will lead her into uncharted territory and find her questioning chasing fantasy is ever worth the outcome. (Part II of III)
In Gods' Hands
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 10,430. Language: English. Published: February 23, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Adult
(4.08 from 12 reviews)
Masks, mischief, all-night partying. It's Carnival in Italy...for everyone but Cassandra Tracy. The girl who's never met a low-life she didn't like. Turned out onto the streets in the wake of her cheating boyfriend's latest indiscretion, she goes looking to drown her sorrows. And encounters...a most divine intervention.
The Very Thought of Him
Series: The Very Thought of Him, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 7,670. Language: English. Published: December 2, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Erotica » Contemporary, Fiction » Romance » Short stories
(4.45 from 11 reviews)
Dara's in a slump. Her smalltown workaday life is beginning to wear her thin. Bored one night, she encounters Kelly's ad online, and something is ignited in her. She flirts and he responds. The only question is, can she muster the courage to step away from what's safe? (Part I of III)
The Goat and the Heathen, 2nd ed.
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 11,190. Language: English. Published: July 12, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Adult, Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
(4.00 from 12 reviews)
College roommates Aja and Olivia couldn't be more different. Olivia, the outgoing hot girl on campus, has arranged a little excitement for her stubborn and subdued friend. Will Aja be prepared for what her friend has planned? Moreover, for what the night might reveal?
Family Care, 4th ed.
Price: Free! Words: 54,870. Language: English. Published: April 20, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
(4.29 from 7 reviews)
NEW EDITION! When 18-year-old Josie agreed to sacrifice her last high school spring break babysitting for the new family in town she could have never foreseen the result. The Sharps are young, attractive, successful with a gorgeous home and a hidden secret. What's the most that could happen?