Jessica Gober calls the beautiful Pacific Northwest home. She received her Bachelor of Science in Medical Sciences, along with minors in Chemistry, English, and Russian, from Washington State University. Following graduation, she decided to pursue her lifelong passion for writing and published the three novels she had already written. After writing her fourth, which is currently undergoing editing, she returned to school and received a Bachelor of Arts in English from Arizona State University.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I have always loved writing. As I grew up, I just considered it a hobby, but after graduating from Washington State University, writing was the only career path I had any real desire to pursue. Several other options seemed intriguing, but writing was my passion and what I truly wanted to do. So I decided to publish The Rockford Life Trilogy, which I had already written. I had originally pursued the traditional publishing route in 2007 after finishing A New Place in Life without any luck. During my time at WSU, family and friends forwarded me information on self-publishing online, and after graduation, I began to look into that route. I liked the fact that I could maintain control over all aspects of publishing my works and the fact that as soon as I had my books ready, I could publish. So, I went for it. While I have since gone back to school for a second degree and am now pursuing a career in financial services, writing remains something I love, and I intend to continue writing and publishing my novels as an indie author.
What is your writing process?
My writing process is largely character driven. I come up with a historical setting and framework and sketch out my set of characters. I decide where they are at the beginning of the book, create a rough outline of events that will shape them over the course of the book, and decide on where they’ll likely end up. Then I start writing. As I write, the characters become more alive and fleshed out, often changing significantly my plan for them. This was especially true in the first book in The Rockford Life Trilogy. I wanted to write about two families on the Oregon Trail, and I made my family tree, decided who would die, who would marry whom, and started writing. I can still distinctly remember what scenes in the book I was working on when I decided to switch up a couple of the deaths and marriages because they better served who the characters had become. On the other hand, in the case of the latter two books in The Rockford Life Trilogy, I had a number of scenes, including many of the end scenes, basically formed in my head before I started writing, so there was less deviation along the way. This mostly had to do with the fact that the characters and their backstories were informed from the prior novel, so their journeys went more as I anticipated. Of course, my current novel involves a new set of characters and thus experienced several changes in direction as the characters came to life.
I write chronologically, but oftentimes when I'm not able to sit down and write, I'm brainstorming. My brainstorming usually involves the characters at points further down the road. Much of this brainstorming generates new scene ideas, although some of it involves events that occur prior to the beginning of the book or after the book will have ended. This latter brainstorming often give me ideas for back story or events to come in the novel, informing character development. I will typically jot down scene ideas and some dialogue in short hand to remind me, but I don't write the scene until I come to that point in the book as other ideas and events may alter my vision of the scene along the way. Also, I like to write chronologically in order to allow for character growth; by moving chronologically, I have a firm grasp of who the character is at that point of time, how they will behave in the current situation, what effect it will have on them moving forward.
Finally, I write my novels by hand. I know it's old school, but the creative juices flow much better with paper and pen than staring at a screen. Plus, I can cart my much lighter notebook around anywhere without worry about battery life/power and can work outside in the summer without glare. Then when I'm finished, I spend a couple weeks typing up the whole book, which is where I do a significant portion of my revision, ironing out the irrelevant points raised by an altered character trajectory. Then comes the rounds of editing and proofing, aided by family and friends willing to check for typos as well as continuity, character, and other story problems.
The war is finally over. The Rockford family is ready to move on and enjoy their newfound happiness, but several of the young men struggle to adjust to their new lives. And despite the relief brought by war’s end, a series of tragedies strike Dan Rockford’s family, claiming a life in the process.
Jake Rockford returns to Virginia so his children can meet their mother’s family only to be greeted by the War Between the States. The war will touch the lives of everyone he cares about, even his brother’s family back in Oregon.
After spending seven years in the West, not much intimidates Dan Rockford. But guiding a wagon party full of woefully unprepared families on the Oregon Trail proves no easy task. The young guide clashes with the wealthy Southern gentlemen organizing the trip while looking out for his brother’s family and contending with his feelings for his boss’ daughter.