Today, guest author for All Things Romantic Suspense is Jess Anastasi who wrote Dead Reality available at Noble.
So, Jess, let’s get started. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Jess: I think I always knew I was a writer. From a very early age I enjoyed making up stories and projects at school where we got to do creative writing. But it wasn’t until the year after I left high school that I decided to attempt to make a career out of it.
Jerri: It took me much, much longer to realize I wanted to be one. You’re way ahead of the game. How long does it take you to write a book?
Jess: It depends on a lot of outside factor. Last year I wrote a 95,000 word book in 7 weeks. Over December/January I wrote a 60,000 word book in about 4-5 weeks. At the moment, I’m working on another 60,000 word book and I’ve been at it for months because I have a lot of other stuff going on in my life. This WIP is really giving me grief, so I’ve just decided to take a break from it to write a novella in a completely different genre. Hopefully once I get back to it, I’ll be able to get it finished in a matter of weeks.
Jerri: Haven’t we all had those difficult to write books. I certainly have. How did you come up with the title of this book?
Jess: Dead Reality just hit me out of nowhere one day. After I’d spent months and months stressing over the ‘right’ title for it. I’d tried and disregarded so many. I wasn’t even thinking about the book at the time, and just like a light bulb moment, Dead Reality came to me and I knew it was the perfect title for Ella and Bryce’s story.
Jerri: That is a great title. So, is there a messages in your novel/s that you want readers to grasp?
Jess: Not really, I just want them to be entertained. I want readers to connect with my characters and care about what happens to them.
Jerri: I think that is the goal for most writers. I know it is for me. What does your family think of your writing?
Jess: When I was wandering around the unpublished wilderness for all those years, getting rejection after rejection, I think they wondered why on earth I would want to torture myself like that over and over and over. They asked me more than once why didn’t I just give up and go do something else (like maybe work a normal 9 to 5 job?), but I just couldn’t not write. Now that I’m published, I think they get more excited over it than I do. My mum rang me in the supermarket the other day to tell me she’d been browsing the Borders books website for something to buy and came across my book there. I think moments like that make it ‘real’ for them and they are all very proud. My husband keeps telling me he expects me to eventually make enough so he can quit his job… He might be waiting a while!
Jerri: Your experience sounds a lot like mine. Those rejection were starting to wear on me, heck, they still do, but writing is my life. My husband keeps saying he’s going to quit his job soon. I hope he doesn’t yet. How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
Jess: I’ve written more than I can count. It’s a lot. Only 3 of them are published. My favorite is a sci-fi romance called Atrophy. That’s the one I wrote in 7 weeks last year. I’m trying very hard to sell it to an agent or big publishing house.
Jerri: Sounds intriguing. Best of luck with that. Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence your writing?
Jess: I do read all my reviews, so far I’ve only gotten good ones (thank god). It’s good to get the feedback, though I try not to think about them or let that influence my work. If I did, I might get stage fright, especially since one of my books recently got a very fabulous 5 star review. Talk about performance anxiety! In the back of my mind, I’m praying that my coming books will live up to those wonderful comments.
Jerri: Congrats on the great review. Can you give us a look at what you are working on now?
Jess: As I said, I have a WIP that is making my life hard. It’s a rom sus about an ex-FBI agent who goes back to his hometown of Cedar Falls to help his family and finds his ex-partner married and living there with her new husband. But of course, not everything is as it seems in Cedar Falls…. (que dramatic music, LOL). I’m also working on a sci-fi/fantasy romance novella. But since it’s a bit experimental, I’m keeping quiet about that one for the time being.
Thanks so much for having me, Jerri, it’s been a blast!
Thank you so much for sitting down with me and sharing your work, Jess. You can find information about Jess and her books on her website at http://www.jessanastasi.com/