I am delighted to announce that Jessica Wolf — author of The Shipmaster’s Daughter — is with us today. Before we get to the actual interview, let’s take a look at her novel’s description.
America—it’s not just a word for Luciana Renaldi. It’s hope. After leaving her beloved Italy behind for good, Luciana knows there are good things on the horizon for her family. There has to be. But to her horror that hope is shattered when her ship and her family are sunken at sea. She washes up on the shores of an unknown land, barely breathing, and is taken in by a strange man with strange ways. As her feelings for the man begin to grow, her newfound dreams begin to clash. Should she stay? Or should she pursue her dream of making her own way?
Widower Reed Hargrave doesn’t care for much. Not his appearance, not his reputation, not even his dilapidated house. All he cares for is his daughter and his solitude. So when a young woman is found on the shore near his house, he is hard-pressed to let her stay for longer than necessary. Why, then, does he continuously create new ways to keep her around every time he opens his mouth?
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born in Dallas, Texas in the middle of a heat wave. (My dad tells a story about how he drove my mother to the hospital in a car without air conditioning with trash bags covering the seats because he was worried about the mess. Typical dad stuff.) I spend a lot of my free time writing and reading, but I also enjoy taking long walks and road trips.
2. When did you start writing?
I have been writing all of my life. There has never really been a time I wasn’t writing (except for a brief period in middle school). In ninth grade I really made the decision to actually write with the intention to publish.
3. Do you recall the moment you first conceived the idea for your novel? On a related note, how different is the final product (the book) from your original vision?
The Shipmaster’s Daughter is two years in the making, so no, I don’t remember the moment I came up with the story idea. Really, I think it’s a blend of stories I’d tried to write in the past that didn’t pan out. For example, the main house Yellow Brook comes from an idea about a woman trying to find lost treasure in a house of the same name. And, as for the final product compared to the original version, I’d say for the most part it’s the same. A few things were tweeked here and there, but the body of the story and the flow of the story is the same.
4. Of the characters you’ve created, which one is your favorite?
I have a very soft spot in my heart for Sam. He’s a minor character and not in the novel a whole lot, but I really, really enjoyed writing him. There’s just something about his sweet nature and love for Luciana that makes me smile.
5. Using five words or less, describe the protagonist in The Shipmaster’s Daughter.
Spirited, independent, brave, determined.
6. What does a typical writing session look like for you?
I prefer to write in the evening, alone, in my room, or wherever my laptop may be plugged in. In the past I used to write at least 2,000 words a day. It was a good, easy goal I could reach within a short period of time. Right now, with my job and freshman year of college starting up, I try to write 1,000 words a day.
7. How do you feel about outlines? Are you for or against them?
Oy! What a question! I like outlines—but only to an extent. I want to know the general idea of where the story is going—who everyone is, what the many problem is—then let the plot and characters take care of the rest. I don’t need every paragraph outlined.
8. Let’s talk about your favorite book genres.
- Which do you prefer to read in?
I love thriller/mysteries, but I love historical fiction as well.
- Which do you prefer to write in?
9. What are you currently reading?
I am currently reading “Love on the Line” by Deeanne Gist.
10. What is your favorite book?
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. When I first read it I fell in love! I’m a big sucker for the classics, (Jane Eyre ftw!) so TPoDG had me hooked instantly. I love the way Wilde took a genius spin on moral “Beauty isn’t everything.”
11. Any project in the works?
I’m currently writing A Blinding Love, a Regency novel about a blind woman.
12. How long does it usually take you to write a book?
A long time.
13. In your opinion, what makes a story ‘good’?
14. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Go for it! Whatever is holding you back, just forget it. Put pen to paper and write.
And now for a game of “Which Do/Would You Prefer?”
1. Books or movies?
2. Summer or winter?
3. Ebook or physical book?
Physcial (but I love ebooks too!)
4. Nights out or nights in?
5. Living in the city or living in the country?
Living in the city.
6. Being able to travel to the past or being able to travel to the future?
Travel to the past!
7. Travelling by car or travelling by airplane?
8. Losing all of your money or losing every picture you’ve ever taken and every picture that has ever been taken of you?
Losing all my money.
9. To find true love or to win the lottery?
Find true love.
10. Reading or writing?
11. To speak using ONLY rap lyrics (from songs released in the 21st century) or to speak using ONLY quotes from Austen’s books?
Only quotes from Austen’s books! (Imagine hearing that at Chick-Fil-A. haha)
12. Bungee jumping or going on the slingshot ride?
13. Being able to speak and understand every language known to humankind or being able to speak and understand every language known to animals?
THE LANGUAGE ANIMALS!
14. Drinking a glass of expired, curdled milk or eating a bowl of cold, slimy worms? (Note: the worms would be dead, though not cooked.)
Worms, definitely worms because How to Eat Fried Worms has always made me wonder what they taste like.
15. Spending half a day locked in a coffin (there would be a hole for air, of course) or spending two days trapped at the bottom of a well?
Bottom of a well.
16. Have every day be Saturday or have every day be Fourth of July?
Every day be Saturday.(As long as the Fourth still happens.)