Interview with Jessica Leake
About the Author
Jessica Leake is author of Arcana, a historical fantasy with a heavy dose of romance, and The Order of the Eternal Sun, the next book in the series to be released summer of 2016. She writes every chance she gets, which is basically just during bedtime or whenever the kids are in preschool since she's a stay-at-home mom to three beautiful children under the age of 4 (with another on the way!). She loves blending different genres in her books, but almost everything she writes has to have an element of fantasy and romance. What's life without love? She's represented by Brianne Johnson of Writers House, and she lives with her husband, 3 children, and 2 dogs in Greenville, SC. She invites you to visit her online at jessicaleake.com.
1. How did you get started as an author? What or whom inspired you?
I’ve been writing since I was in elementary school, and it was actually a series by Bruce Coville called The Unicorn Chronicles. It was one of those stories that appealed to every aspect of my child self: unicorns, fantasy land, strong heroine. I actually just bought copies to replace the ones I lost! But of course I’ve had many more inspirations since then: Robin McKinley, JK Rowling, Cassandra Clare, Jane Austen, Phillipa Gregory, Julia Quinn…even my own cousin who’s a fellow writer. It’s in our blood.
As to how I got started as an author, it’s thanks to how helpful the writing community is online. When I started out, I knew nothing about how to get a book published. All I knew was that I loved writing—enough that I knew I wanted to make a career out of it. So I started learning about the basics—how important a critique group was to learn editing skills and hone your writing craft; how to find a literary agent; how to write a query letter; how to prepare a manuscript for querying. And then I got to work! It took 3 querying tries (and many, many rejections) before I finally landed on the manuscript that landed me an agent--Arcana. J
2. What writing project are you currently working on? What can you tell us about these projects?
I’m currently working on the edits for The Order of the Eternal Sun, the next in the Sylvani series, which focuses on the sister of the main character in Arcana. I’m also working on a YA set in medieval Russia, but I probably shouldn’t say much more than that!
3. How long does it typically take you to write a book?
2-3 months when I’m drafting and really on the ball, and maybe another 2 months for editing—again, when I’m on a tight deadline (self-imposed or otherwise!).
4. What authors inspire your writing?
Anyone I’m reading can inspire me; reading eclectically and widely is a good way to hone your own writing craft because it’s always so fascinating to see how other writers do things—unique formatting, interesting plot twists, complex characterization. All of it can help make your own skills stronger.
5. What period of history interests you the most? Does this influence your writing?
I think anywhere from the Regency Era to the Edwardian Era interests me the most in history—I just love the beauty and romance inherent in those elegant eras.
6. What inspired the idea for Arcana?
I was watching Pride & Prejudice (with Colin Firth!) and I started thinking…what would happen if you added a fantastical character who wielded magic to a time period like the Regency Era? What about the Edwardian Era like in Downton Abbey? Ultimately I picked the Edwardian time period since I find it especially fascinating to have some modern advances—electricity, trains, cars, photography—but still with those rigid social mores.
7. What other hobbies do you enjoy when you are not writing?
I’d like to say I have more hobbies, but the truth is, writing and reading are time-consuming enough when you factor in taking care of 3 little ones 4 and under :).
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