Jessica Thompson is a multimedia journalist and author living in West London. Born in Yorkshire in the late eighties, she then lived in France and Kent, before moving to the big city she loves so much. She wrote her first novel in her early teens and stored it on a floppy disc. Her passion for writing continued and she eventually trained to become a reporter with the National Council for the Training of Journalists. “This is a Love Story” is her debut novel and its cover is the prettiest cover of 2012 (well, that’s my opinion).
- Your first book “This is a Love Story” tells the story of Nick and Sienna who fall in love with each other but instead of starting a relationship they become best friends. What inspired you to write this type of story?
I think this kind of situation happens quite regularly and it’s something a lot of people can relate to. From my own observations I have been fascinated by situations like this, and I think there is something really bittersweet about it which lends itself beautifully to romantic fiction. They say the best relationships can come from friendship, but when do you reach the point where you have been friends for too long and fear spoiling that? It’s a very fine balance and the whole story called out to me.
- To the readers of the website, that may not be familiar with you or your writing. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into writing
I am 24, and live in London. I lived in Kent during my teens. I have always been a bit obsessed with writing, probably without even knowing it. When I was very young my mum always took me to the library and I took part in summer reading schemes. My dad was great because he really encouraged me to write and study various subjects and ideas outside school. At the time I thought it was a bit of a drag, but I appreciate it so much now! I knew I wanted to write for my career from a very young age, and decided to train as a journalist while writing creatively in my own spare time. I went travelling in my late teens and felt so inspired to write. I have reams of things I put together during this time.
- What was the first book you ever read?
That’s a tricky question actually! I am struggling to remember, but I was in love with Beatrix Potter books. That’s one of my earliest reading memories as a child. I also adored “The Chronicles of Narnia”.
- If “This is a Love Story” was to be adapted for screen, who do you imagine would play the roles of Nick and Sienna?
I would be over the moon if that happened! I guess in a dream world I would go for someone like Emily Blunt or Zooey Deschanel for Sienna. When I imagine Nick, I see a Jake Gyllenhaal type in my mind.
- Out of the many books that you have read over the years, which one would you have liked to have said “I wrote that”?
It was a pretty recent read. Caitlin Moran’s “How to be a Woman” is painfully funny. I absolutely adore it and I love how truthful and honest it is. Also, “Me Before You” by Jojo Moyes, that is an incredibly moving story.
- What authors do you admire?
I love Jojo Moyes, her writing is incredible and I cannot put her books down. I think Lionel Shriver’s writing in “We Need to Talk About Kevin” was stunning. That book shocked me to the core, and it wasn’t necessarily a pleasant feeling, but the point was that her writing got to me. Some of the descriptions were so simple, but deeply effective. Of course I am a huge fan of David Nicholls, particularly “One Day”, which was a massive inspiration for me. I love Stieg Larsson too.
- Did you read any writers guidebooks during your career? Are there any that you would recommend?
(I didn’t. Sorry I can’t help with this one)
- Was there ever a book that you read, that didn’t live up to the hype that surrounded it and left you disappointed?
There is nothing that really sticks out in my mind as being disappointing… I guess I have probably struggled to get into a couple of books because they didn’t quite reach me. That can happen with anyone’s work though, it is such a subjective thing in the way that one person will love a song, and another will hate it.
- If you were ever stranded on a desert island, which three books would you bring with you to pass the time?
I have a few books that I am desperate to read, but time is a major issue at the moment. I want to finish the “Millennium Trilogy” by Larsson. “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett is sitting on my Kindle calling out to me, and I am really keen to read some more Lionel Shriver.
- Here on the Handwritten Girl website, I would like to be able to offer potential writers like myself advice. Are there any areas you would suggest a budding writer should concentrate on to further their abilities?
Read as much as you can, and make sure you develop your own writing voice in the midst of it all.
I have been so inspired by other books, and I look back on my years of reading as a child and I’m just so glad my parents encouraged me in that way.
Be true to your own writing style, you can’t be someone else.
I love writing poems and short stories too, variety and challenges allow you to get to know more about your own writing. Writing clubs and groups are great. I’ve never been a member myself, but I know people who have and they have got so much encouragement and inspiration from the experience.
- When sitting down to write, what is the one item you need beside you?
- And finally Jessica, do you have any new projects or releases on the horizon which you would like to share with the readers of the blog?
I do! I have finished my second book and I am currently in the editing process. I am really enjoying it, and cannot wait to share it with everyone.
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