1. Tell us something about your latest book. Is it your debut? What genre does it belong to?
It is my debut! A Shadow Bright and Burning is a young adult historical fantasy set in the early Victorian era in England. Essentially, it’s about a young girl who joins an all-male group of sorcerers to fight a war against monsters.
2. Is your book part of a series or can it be read as a stand-alone?
It is definitely a series. Books two and three will be coming out in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
3. When does your book release?
Right now, the date is August 30, 2016. It’s not absolutely set in stone, but it’s looking more and more certain.
4. Which character of your book was the hardest to write?
It’s sort of a tie. There’s the protagonist, Henrietta, who was difficult because I have to see everything that happens through her eyes. Finding her natural reaction to things could be challenging. The other hard character was Rook, Henrietta’s childhood best friend. He changes substantially from beginning to end, so keeping up with those shifts was tricky.
5. If you’re not writing, what do you love to do?
I love to hike. Los Angeles is lousy with good spots, so I’m lucky. Also, I’m a huge movie buff.
6. Did anyone inspire you to start writing or did you always knew you just had to write?
I’ve always written, ever since I can remember. Making up stories was a day-to-day part of my life growing up. But I didn’t start thinking about pursuing it professionally until a few years ago.
7. Any advice/tips for newbies?
Very simply, don’t give up! Also, try to be smart about your choices. For example, the first book I tried to sell was an adult urban fantasy, back when the market was oversaturated. The book failed. I decided to try another genre, one that wasn’t as overcrowded, and it worked. So be as savvy as you can.
8. Are you already writing a new book? Can you tell us a little bit about it?
I am! I’m working on the sequel to A Shadow Bright and Burning. I can’t say anything right now, but I’m excited about it.
9. A word that you use way too often? (Mine are “quite” and “probably”)
Just. I just use it in just about everything. Just like this.
10. Last but not least: What’s your favourite type of candy, if you don’t mind me asking?
Cotton candy flavored jellybeans. I’ve loved them since I was little. I can’t get enough.
Jessica Cluess is a writer and general ne’er-do-well. A graduate of Northwestern University, she now lives and works in Los Angeles, where she has served coffee to the rich and famous.