To avoid pre-conceived notions which can sometimes be connected with certain genres, the number of books published and/or an author's appearance, none of that information will be revealed until the bottom of the interview. So pour a cup of coffee, have a seat, and check out this interview - see how much, or how little, you have in common with this published author.
What is your favorite part of being a writer? Getting to create new characters by far. I love the times when a fresh scene with fresh characters pops into my head and I get to explore them and their worlds. For me it's always the most exciting part.
What is your least favorite part? Definitely the editing and proofing. I often leave the first draft alone for a few weeks and then come back to it to go through before handing it to my editor and I always find about 6 weeks after I've written something that I just don't like it anymore. I know I've done a good job, most of the time, but I don't enjoy rereading it. The magic that was there initially no longer exists. The more I read it and edit it the worse it gets, which is a pain because I like to make sure my works well edited and proofed.
Name one obstacle you’ve had to overcome. I find my confidence is quite an obstacle. I always worry that something is good enough the second I've finished it. Thankfully my husband and friends are very encouraging and I've had some amazing reviews of my first book. It's slowly becoming less of an issue.
Is there a specific part of your writing you’re working on to improve? In terms of my writing I really struggle most with my detail. I can often see everything in my head but forget to describe all of it when writing. During the editing stages I often have to go add in description in various places in the book. I'm working to try and remember to write it in the first place.
What part of your writing makes you particularly proud? By far I am most proud of my characters. It's what I get commented on most when I get reviews and it's always what forms first in my head. I see them like my children, who I create, mold and then let out into the world.
What does your favorite main character have in common with you? My favourite main character is Marie Woodell, we both like to just get on with our tasks and what we think will make us happy, as well as both being unafraid to take risks.
Do you do a lot of research for your projects or do you only write about what you already know? I usually do a lot of research about settings and places though I don't always stick exactly to what I find, sometimes artistic license is required.
How do you use the internet for your writing? I usually only use the internet when I collaborate and then google docs is a very useful tool for more than one person working on a document at the same time. It updates in almost real time. Other then that I only use the internet for some research. I do all my writing by pen and paper so the distraction of the internet is as far away as possible.
If you’ve won any awards for your writing, what impact do you think that has had? I've not won any awards
What one marketing tool have you had good success with? The amazon kindle forums are probably the most effective tool I've found for marketing. It's a place to really get connected with readers and talk to them on their level. Anywhere there are readers and it's easy to strike up a conversation. There are so many books out there that actually getting involved in a community works best at getting positive attention. If someone already decides they like the author, they start reading already wanting to like the book. It can't be random spamming though, too many authors just say a really useless comment, add their book link and never show up again.
What good writing habits have you developed that you think would be helpful to someone starting out? Writing a little something each and every day. It's hard to do but it keeps a story going and prevents the project being stopped and forgotten about. It also helps stop a writer moving on to another project before the old one is finished. If it's still what's being concentrated then new ideas can be filled rather than seeming more exciting than the current idea.
Do you have any bad writing habits that you’d advise writers to avoid? Not really, I've had most of my bad habits ironed out of me with the desire to be more productive. I used to fixate on new ideas while writing old ones but I've found as long as I write a rough outline and file it for another day I can stay focused on the current idea and actually finish it. It also means I've got a folder full of ideas I can pick from when it comes time to start the next project.
Do you have any strange writing habits? Nothing really strange except writing by hand. I just can't think as well as type it seems so I go somewhere where there is no computer and sit with pen and paper. I usually type up a day later at the earliest.
When you’re not writing, do you read, and if so, what? I read a lot and whenever I'm not busy with someone else. At the moment I'm actually going through a lot of the old classics I've missed like Wuthering Heights and The Count of Monte Cristo but I'm also re-reading the entire Redwall series for some lighter reading in between.
What are you trying to accomplish with/through your writing? Mostly just tell the stories of the characters in my head. There are so many of them with such varied lives that I can't help but write down what they get up to.
ADVICE TO OTHER WRITERS
What words of wisdom do you have for young writers? Write a little often and join a writers group or something similar. Having a supportive network of other authors who'll both encourage and help improve your work is invaluable.
What advice do you have for someone looking to get published? Research all your options thoroughly. There are many options now and they have different good points for different people. But most importantly don't give up.
Any thoughts on what this author writes? How many books published? Here's a little more information about the author...
How many published books are to your credit? 1
Do you have an agent? No, though it is something I'd consider I am actually quite happy doing my own business and finding my own opportunities. That may change as I get busier.
Are you self-published? Pretty much yes. I run my own publishing company, Red Feather Writing, so it's not far different.
How many different companies have you published with? 1
How long have you been writing? On and off ever since I could write a plot. I still remember the rough idea I had for a story when I was 8 in school and asked to write a story for the first time. I didn't seriously start writing until about 4 years ago when a good friend asked me why I'd stopped. I realised I didn't have a good answer to the question and started writing less than an hour later. I fell in love with telling stories all over again.
Do you write full-time? If not, what is your other job? And how do you balance work/writing? I work part time writing most of the time but there are odd months when I can do it full time. I also jointly run a film company and a clothing company and while for the most part I work on the books I do have to work on other stuff reasonably often. I have a well organised to-do list though and still manage to write as much as I'd like to most days.
So, any thoughts? Here's the full scoop:
About Author Jess Mountifield, in her own words: I live in Bath, Uk with my husband and cat. I write part time as well as run three companies, Flight productions (film), Jnk Clothing and Red Feather Writing (publishing). When I get time off I spend it reading, watching films and playing online multiplayer games with friends.
Jess has authored With Proud Humility – an historical adventure and romance, which is available through Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, and on Smashwords.
What are you working on now? Currently I'm working on the edits of my second book, Chains of Freedom, which is another historical adventure book. I'm also doing prep work for NaNoWriMo where I'm trying my hand at a sci-fi novel called Sherdan's Prophecy. I've also just finished two fantasy shorts as part of a collaboration with another two authors. We're still deciding on a title for the book but it should be published some time in the next 6 months.
Anything else about being a writer that you’d like to share? Thank you for the interview and the chance to chat about my work for a bit, I hope it helps inspire some other writers.
You can learn more about Author Jess Mountified at http://www.jessmountifield.co.uk