Please tell us a little about yourself....
I’m a 27 year old author of speculative fiction with 4 published novels, 6 due out over the next year, 2 ready to submit to publishers, and 1 in the works. I live and work in Maryland with my absolutely amazing husband Dave and a meatball of a cat named Tyler.
When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
I never had an epiphany or anything. I just started writing out of boredom one day at work and I never stopped. I was instantly addicted to the freedom of writing and the ability to transport myself to different, more exciting worlds.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Anywhere and everywhere.
Where do you get your ideas from?
I ask myself “what if” questions and see if the answers intrigue me. If they do, I write a story! I’ve also written several stories that were based on dreams.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Having to stop. I wish I could write all day every day, and at this point in my life, I can’t. It’s very frustrating sometimes because writing is such a huge part of who I am and I hate having to stop or focus on my full-time job instead. I do love my job, but I’d much rather be writing.
Do you have a favorite of your books?
I love the premise of “Song of Eidolons” so much, but I think my favorite book is one that hasn’t been published yet. It’s called “Rabbits in the Garden” and it’s set in the 50s-60s on Martha’s Vineyard and in Taunton State Lunatic Asylum. It was an absolutely pleasure to write because there were so many characters that were unlike ones I’d written before. Plus, it was fun to write the quirks of Taunton’s juvenile patients…not that it took too much to be committed in those days. Research was also really cool because my mom’s family grew up on Martha’s Vineyard, so I got to hear a lot of interesting stories about being an Island kid in the 50s-60s.
If you could invite one of your characters to dinner, which one would it be?
Captain Jack Racine from “The Sky: The World”, no doubt about it. He’s the kind of guy you want to slap and kiss in the same night, the kind of guy that girls think they can reform.
Do you relate to any of your characters?
Kat Barlough from “The Sky: The World” reminds me a lot of me in my teens and early 20s, especially in the line, “She was a cute girl who could never ascend to the ranks of sexy”. I used to feel that way a lot, particularly when compared to a lot of my gorgeous friends. Honestly though, I think there are pieces of every character I’ve written that I can relate to, even the super evil ones. I’m not evil at all, but I definitely understand what its like to feel jealous or afraid or anything else that drove those particular characters to doing evil.
Who's your favorite author?
Roald Dahl. From his children’s books to his macabre short stories to his autobiographies, I love it all. I also love Stephen King and Bret Easton Ellis.
Do you have a favorite novel?
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norman Juster. I can’t even begin to guess how many dozens of times I’ve read it, but it still entertains me to no end. It’s cute and clever, but it has a lot of great life lessons too.
What would you do if you couldn't be a writer?
Probably go crazy. I’d definitely have to find some other creative outlet because I have too many wacky thoughts bouncing around in my brain to ignore.
If one of your novels were to be made into a movie, who do you see as casting actors?
If “Song of Eidolons” was a movie, I could see Scarlett Johannson or Keira Knightley as Delaney, Liam Neeson as Dags, and Jude Law as Robeson.
Is there an underlying message in your books, if so, what is it?
Definitely, but they’re up for interpretation by the reader. I don’t necessarily need the reader to get the same thing out of the story that I did. I like to nudge people toward certain conclusions, but I love it when someone interprets something completely different than what I intended.
What is the one thing you hope your readers take away from your books?
Hopefully, entertainment and a story they’ll want to read over and over.
What dreams have been realized as a result of writing your novels?
Being published was such a huge dream that I never thought would come true, so I’m still reeling from that one! The other huge dream I still have is to be able to write full time, and I’m working really hard to try to make that one come true. Please O Please O Please…..
What advice can you give to new and aspiring authors?
If you love to write, write. Don’t let anybody tell you you’re wasting your time; if it makes you happy, it could never be a waste. Also, write as much as humanly possible. It’s the only way you’ll get better.
Are you currently working on any projects?
The novel I’m currently working on is a pretty big departure from my other books. I call it a glitter and gore extravaganza and it’s set in a strip club/bowling alley called PINS…which is also the title of the novel. I’m only into the 3rd chapter, but I’m having a blast writing it.
Any upcoming events you'd like to share?
For anybody in the Maryland area, I will be exhibiting my inky wares at the Baltimore Book Festival on September 25th. I’m going to have books for sale, lots of free merch to take home, as well as bookmarks featuring a few of my novels.
The Sky: The World is also going to be released by Reliquary Press in September, so keep an eye out for it. It’s steampunky adventure goodness!! J
Where can your books be purchased?
All of my books can be purchased on Amazon.com as well as www.ReliquaryPress.com, www.eTreasuresPublishing.com, www.EternalPress.biz, and www.PublishAmerica.com. If that’s all too much to process, you can hit up my website at www.JessicaMcHughBooks.com where there are direct links to each site.
Where can your readers connect with you?
I’m on Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jessica-McHugh/95113167381 (Go ahead and “like” me. You know you want to!) I update pretty frequently with story selections and upcoming events. I’m also on Twitter @thejessmchugh and on Goodreads at http://apps.facebook.com/good_reads/book/author/3055292.Jessica_McHugh.
Any parting comments?
Thank you so much for having me!!! As always, it was an absolute delight!!!
Thank you so much for stopping in. It has been a pleasure. Please be sure to stop on in to her site, she has a lot of great information with some awesome excerpts from her book.