Interview with Jessica Chambers

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I lived in rural Cornwall, in the Southwest of England until I was eleven, but in 2006 we sold our house, bought a campervan and made the move to France with no idea what to expect on the other side. My sister and I were home-educated at this time for about 6 months, which mainly meant that we visited loads of museums and National Trust buildings.
While we were moving, things could get stressful, life was pretty unpredictable at times, plus we had to go to school in a whole new language. I liked to escape reality. I started off with doodles and cartoons about a time-traveller called Lisa from the year 5012, then I made another about my childhood toys called "Bacchus and Zulu".
My dad, (being a little bit of a nerd...) introduced me to the wonderful genres of science-fiction and fantasy. One of my favourite authors was and remains Douglas Adams.
I don't think my childhood has had much of an influence on what I write, but it gave me the chance to develop my imagination. The stories I write usually have very little to do with my life as it is lived, bar a few minor details that are usually unimportant to the story line: the easiest person to imagine in a story is usually yourself.
When did you first start writing?
I only started writing seriously when I was 17 (2012), but before then I was (and still am) an avid cartoonist.
What's the story behind your latest book?
This is my first book, and is the story of a girl called Freyja who falls in love with a boy in her class, Donar, who is very shy. She later discovers that he is Thor, the Norse God of thunder, sent to school as a punishment.
He takes her to Valhalla, but she can't leave and must die. Upon dying, she discovers that she is in fact the reincarnation of the goddess of love, Freyja.
She and Thor then have many adventures in the various realms of the Norse myths...
To find out more, I suggest buying the book...
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Nanowrimo. I didn't see it as writing a book, I saw it as getting one of my many stories out of my head and onto paper, with a healthy element of competition mixed in.
Of course, it was complicated fitting it around my studies, but it was worth it!
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has helped me get my book out there. It seemed there was an offer on when my book was published, which meant people could get my book for free...
This annoyed me a little, but at least it meant people were reading it. People might even be recommending it; and word of mouth is often the best form of advertising.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
That has to be sharing my stories with others. Normally they stay trapped inside my head, and I can't just tell them to people because they're often too long and complicated. People are more interested if something is written down, and they can read it at their own leisure.
I'll admit, at first I felt like I was selling a piece of my soul on the free market, but now I've had feedback, and I realise people are actually enjoying what I've written, I feel like I've contributed to something big.
What do your fans mean to you?
My fans are very important to me. I'm thrilled to know that someone I don't know has read my book, and even more thrilled if they liked it!
What are you working on next?
So many things...
But I have a big year of studies this year, so don't expect anything too soon.
I'm currently working on several comic books, but I also hope to start the sequel of "If I Had A Hammer" as I left it on a cliffhanger.
Who are your favorite authors?
So hard to choose, but here are the top ones:
- Douglas Adams
- Lewis Carroll
- George Orwell
- L.M. Montogomery
- Edgar Allan Poe
- Isaac Asimov
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Mainly coffee.
Also, I'm at boarding school, so I'm often motivated by the fact that if I don't leave my bed now, my hopes of using the bathroom before breakfast will diminish rapidly.
Or if I've forgotten to do some homework.
I don't pretend to be one of those authors who is motivated "to change the world each day" or something like that. If I change the world, that's a bonus. Otherwise, I'm just your average engineering student, trying to stay awake for the necessary 8 hours a day whilst not failing too many tests.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
First, at school, then doing my homework.
Third, cartooning and/or animating
Fourth, learning Icelandic (in an effort to read the sagas in their original state and to one day accomplish my dream of going to Iceland)
Fifth, sleeping.
I would like to do much more of the last three and writing; school just seems to get in the way.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Usually, by looking for whatever's free. Until recently, I was unable to buy things online, so I've developed a keen nose for free ebooks (project gutenberg is a personal favourite).
Otherwise, I find an author I like and see if they've written anything as an ebook as they are usually cheaper than solid books, or I take in recommendations from my friends.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. I must have been about 8; I was old enough to use the computer and Microsoft Paint.
It was about girls in a boarding school whose beds could take them anywhere during the night...
Unfortunately, I can't remember how it ended.
What is your writing process?
I get an idea on my head, I sit down to my computer or with a notebook or something, put some good music on, and do my best to describe the scene that's taking place in my head. I keep going until I run out of ideas or fall asleep.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I think one of the first stories I ever read (partly by myself partly read to me) was "The Hobbit" by JRR Tolkien when I was 5. Looking back, I think that may have sparked my interest in Norse Mythology, elves and dwarves and such.
How do you approach cover design?
I do it myself.
Drawing is a bigger hobby to me than my writing, I often draw scenes of my stories before I write them.
I just pick a scene or something symbolic of my story, and draw that.
And I know that if I do it, I won't be able to fault it!
What are your five favorite books, and why?
1. "The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul", Douglas Adams: I love Douglas Adams' style of writing, and his use of the Norse Gods in a modern AU.
2. "The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy", Douglas Adams: this book is a sci-fi classic that no self-respecting nerd/geek hasn't read. It's written with his charm and wit, and is a completely crazy story.
3. "Through the Looking-glass", Lewis Carroll: this is a VASTLY underrated book, and has never been made into a decent movie, like "Alice in Wonderland". Not only is it a wonderland-esque story with strange creatures and healthy doses of poetry, but the whole story is in fact a chess-game.
4. "Anne of Green Gables", LM Montgomery: this is just a nice, friendly-but-with-a-plot story that I have read and re-read ever since I was little. It has more sentimental value to me than anything.
5. "1984", George Orwell: I'm so cynical about various governments, that this book really appeals to me, as it makes you question the society we're currently living in.
What do you read for pleasure?
Science-fiction, "Simpsons" comics, and whatever happens to be lying around.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Kindle. I got one for my 16th birthday, which I am reliably addicted to. Without it, I would not have read half as many books as I have.
I recommend it to everyone and anyone.
Describe your desk
Bass speakers (great for listening to Sigur Ros!)
Archery trophies
Pencils, pencils everywhere; I have about four pencil-pots and a pencil-case.
Paintbrushes, water-pot, crayons, rulers...
Box of memory cards
Impossible knot of various, useful cables
Wooden mannequin
Photo tree with "Doctor Who" Postcards
"Doctor Who" Calendar
Pile of Maths/Physics/Engineering books (and a copy of "Horrible Histories: The Vicious Vikings" for reference purposes)
Drawing tablet
Somehow, in the heart of it all, my trusty little laptop.
In many ways this desk reflects my mind: to the innocent bystander, it looks like a bombsite, but to me, it is perfectly oraganised and I know where to find everything.
Published 2013-08-30.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Ragnarok n'Roll (sample)
Series: The Hammer Collection, Book 2. Price: Free! Words: 8,090. Language: British English. Published: February 22, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Romance » Action/adventure
As the end of the world approaches because Loki got dumped, Asgard must prepare itself for the very worst. (The book is as yet unfinished, this is a teaser)
If I Had A Hammer
Series: The Hammer Collection, Book 1. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 54,310. Language: English. Published: July 21, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary
Freyja, a seventeen-year-old with danish heritage starts a new school, where she meets the socially awkward and reclusive Donar; another student of Scandinavian origin. The two become good friends, and end up falling in love. However, Donar has a secret which will lead both of them to find out more about themselves.