Jessica Grace Coleman was born in Stafford, England and raised in the nearby village of Little Haywood, a quaint English location that would later be remodelled into Beth Powers’ home village in the Little Forest novels.
She studied Film Studies and American Studies at the University of Sussex in Brighton, and attended the University of Colorado at Boulder for a year as part of her course. A big fan of travelling, she has road tripped around North America and backpacked across China, South East Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.
Jessica also runs monthly short story, poetry and flash fiction competitions at Darker Times Fiction (www.darkertimes.co.uk), which focuses on finding new and exciting horror writers. Compilations of these works are now available as the Darker Times Anthology Volumes One, Two and Three and Darker Times Collection Volume One in ebooks and paperbacks, with more Anthologies and Collections planned for the upcoming months.
When not writing about ghouls and ghosts, Jessica edits Rock Pulse (www.rockpulse.co.uk), an online UK music zine, and has had the pleasure of interviewing many bands and artists in the past including The Darkness, InMe, Simple Plan, Bowling for Soup, HIM, Sugarcult, Less Than Jake, Yellowcard, Taking Back Sunday and Funeral for a Friend.
Jessica has so far self-published four books in the Little Forest series: ‘The Former World’, ‘Memento Mori’, ‘The Exalted’ and ‘Carnival Masquerade’. She has also released her first short story collection, ‘Grown By The Wicked Moon’, featuring 14 weird and wonderful tales. ‘The Gloaming’, the fifth installment of the Little Forest series, will be available soon.
You can find out more about Jessica, her available books, and her works in progress at her website: www.jessicagracecoleman.com.
What inspires you to write?
I find inspiration in all kinds of day to day things, from a sentence spoken on television to a song lyric to a particularly interesting image I find on the internet. In general, I just love reading and always have; I really admire authors who can evoke such strong emotions simply through their words, and I wanted to give it a go and see if I could do the same thing. I’m also a huge fan of movies, and would love to one day write a screenplay (possibly as an adaptation of one of my own books). I always want to try and get that cinematic feel into my novels, somehow, and I always pay attention to the dialogue in films to see how I can improve the dialogue in my books.
Tell us about your writing process.
If I’m writing a short story, I generally take just a simple idea, and start writing. I like to see how the story changes as I’m typing, and it often ends up in a completely different place to how I expected it to finish. In terms of my novels, however, it’s a totally different story. I’m writing a mystery series at the moment (the Little Forest series), and have so far written four out of eight books, so not only do I have to meticulously plan each one, but I also have to try and keep track of all the overarching story lines for the whole series. It’s not an easy task, but with in-depth planning, I can just about keep on top of everything. I don’t use a specific program to plan my work, I just open a word document and start typing out outlines for each scene, generally getting to around 20,000 words before my entire plan is complete. I also absolutely cannot write without copious amounts of tea!
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I wouldn’t say I talk to them, but they definitely seem to do their own thing sometimes! As mad as this sounds, I’m sure a lot of authors find that they start a scene with one intention, and then – due to how your characters react or something they say – it ends up going in a completely different direction. It’s strange but you get used to it!
What advice would you give other writers?
This is by no means original advice, but: write, write, write. And when you’re not writing, read! Read everything you can, in all kinds of genres, by all kinds of authors. Read the highly acclaimed and the ones who’ve had rubbish reviews – you can learn various things from all different types of books, whether it be dialogue, sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, etc etc. When writing, try different styles, try different genres, try different points of view and ending a story in several different ways. Get feedback as much as you can, but whatever you do, just keep writing.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I always thought I’d go down the traditional route and send my manuscript off to as many publishers as I could, but after doing a lot (and I mean, a LOT) of research, I decided to self-publish using the internet (Amazon and Createspace). The main reason is that I could get my work out now (without having to wait years potentially), and I could also keep full creative control over what I do. No one would ask me to change the title, or change the cover, or change the content of the book itself. Yes, it’s a lot of hard work, but it’s really gratifying when you start to see results, because you know you’ve done it all yourself. Getting positive feedback from readers you’ve never met is a great feeling! In terms of advising new authors, I’m still pretty new myself, but just do as much research as you can before you decide which route is best for you.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think self-publishing is really gaining in popularity thanks to websites such as Amazon which make it incredibly easy to get your work out there, and with no upfront fees. Obviously, traditional publishing will always be present, but I think ebooks and print on demand services are inspiring more and more people to pick up their pens, and that’s great.
What genres do you write?
horror, mystery, paranormal, fantasy, thriller, crime, whodunit
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print