Jessica Dotta has always been fascinated by the intricacies of society that existed in England from the Regency through the Edwardian era. She writes in a manner that blends past and modern fiction techniques. She lives in the Nashville area and works as a freelance media consultant and publicist. The Price of Privilege trilogy is her debut work.
For more info, visit her website at www.jessicadotta.com.
Savanna: Welcome to The Engrafted Word, Jessica! Congratulations on your newest release, Price of Privilege. It sounds so intriguing! What was your favorite part about writing and growing Julia’s character through this series? Did she surprise you along the way?
Julia! Oh my word! It’s crazy to think I carried her with me for over a decade while I worked on this trilogy. I remember once when my daughter (who was still in kindergarten at the time) demanded, “I keep hearing and hearing about this Julia, but I never I meet her! When am I meeting her?”
I think my favorite part about writing Julia is that she makes people angry. Many people want to shake her and force her to take the actions they’d take, but she has no particular reason to trust others, but at the same time hasn’t yet worked out a mature way of handling her affairs. Julia doesn’t make mistakes in a way that are cute and endearing, either. But isn’t that a teenager at heart? Seeing people’s frustration makes me feel that I wrote her realistically. Just like everybody else, she’s not what people want to be, but she’s herself.
I can’t say she necessarily surprised me along the way, because she was very analytical (though not all of her thoughts made it into the books.) As I wrote, she was usually weighing her options, and even though I’m a seat-of-the-pants writer, I generally had a feel for what she was about to do.
Savanna: She sounds like a character readers won’t soon forget! Well done! 🙂
Your writing style “blends the humor of Jane Austen and the dark drama of a Bronte sister”. Which one of their fictional characters still stands out to you the most today and why?
Jessica: Definitely Jane Eyre. She is still one of my favorite characters in literature, especially as you imagine how obstinate and hard she would have appeared to the Victorian reading audience, during a time when women were to be soft, demure and yielding.
I love Jane’s uncompromising morality. Her fear of moving forward, but how she continually pushes herself to the next step. I adore the way she was written with gravity and yet humor. She is one of the most striking characters I’ve ever read.
Savanna: I love Jane Eyre! 😉
You’re from the Nashville area, right? If you were giving a tour of the city, where would you take your visitors first?
Jessica: Usually I take visitors to the Grand Old Opry Hotel. They have an enclosed courtyard in the center of the hotel, complete with waterfalls and a river. It’s fun to experience. Other than that, I’m likely to take someone to coffee and get to them through conversation. I’m not a good tour guide in that way. I’m much more interested in the people I’m with than where I’m physically at.
Savanna: I think all of that sounds great, especially chatting over coffee. Describe your favorite place to write. What’s your ideal setting for inspiration?
Jessica: Nowadays I only write at my desk. I find that I’m too easily distracted to write elsewhere. I can’t write facing a window or a television because it pulls me out of the world I’m trying to stay submerged in. There’s almost always coffee at hand. I have an extended playlist of songs, to help keep the mood I’m writing.
The one thing I’d add, if I could, would be an in-ground swimming pool off my office, so when I’m stuck, I could just swim for awhile while I worked it out.
Savanna: Sounds like a perfect idea to me. 😉
What is one of your most unforgettable moments from your writing career to date?
Jessica: My first writers conference is still unforgettable to me. I wrote and I worked with critique partners, but I still had doubts that I was really a writer, that I had the talent to succeed. I paid for a professional evaluation of my work and got Deb Raney. I left her feeling affirmed that I was indeed a writer.
Savanna: Definitely can’t forget that important moment! Thanks for sharing with us today, Jessica. It’s been great to have you here. Is there anything else you’d like to add? Any upcoming projects you can share with us?
Jessica: Thank you, Savanna! I am working privately on a YA novel right now, but have some proposals for another adult novel with Tyndale. We’ll have to see what’s next!
Jessica has graciously offered to give away one copy of Born of Persuasion to one lucky winner. Enter below and it could be YOU! 😉
Thanks for entering! Contest is open only in the U.S. and ends July 7, 2015. The winner will be notified by email. Happy Reading, everybody!