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Monday, September 1, 2014

Have a Seat: Jessica Ferguson!


Jessica Ferguson is a freelance writer/author and co-owner/co-editor of Swamp Lily Review, A Journal of Louisiana Literature & Arts. She is a staff writer for Southern Writers Magazine, specializing in author interviews. Jess is the author of The Last Daughter (2013), The Groom Wore Blue Suede Shoes (1996) and has a couple of short stories in Christmas anthologies. She has taught nonfiction classes through Leisure Learning and Continuing Education Departments at universities in Louisiana and Texas. Helping others find their passion, get published, complete a novel, sell a short story or just solve a writing problem – according to Jess, that's the thrill of being in this business.


    What inspired you to become a writer?

    As a kid, and as a young adult, I put writers up on a pedestal—they were the greatest of all people. I didn’t see myself ever being a writer—never even considered it, because that just wasn’t something a normal person did. I’ve always been an introvert, preferring to get lost in a book. I grew up with Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, and Grace Livingston Hill, so I think all the reading I did probably set me on the path to becoming a writer.
    Which one of your books do you consider your “pride and joy”. Why?
I don’t have that many books published, one novel, one novella and some short stories. More nonfiction. My novella, The Last Daughter, is probably my favorite because it deals with abuse and forgiveness. It’s darker, so I think I delved a little deeper than I did in my romantic comedy, The Groom Wore Blue Suede Shoes.

    Do you have any preparation rituals before you begin to write?

    My only ritual is that I procrastinate under the pretense of “thinking” as long as I can before I sit down to write. Honestly, I have to get to a certain point in my head, visualize the hook, the characters, certain scenes. But then again, each book or short story starts in a different way. Some I may plot extensively, while other stories need me to fly by the seat of my pants so these affect my preparation ritual.

    If you had to come up with a book title to describe your life, what would it be?

    That’s easy. It would definitely have to be The Loosey Goosey Writer. I’m amazed that I’ve accomplished anything with my writing considering just how loosey-goosey I am. I’ve outlined a how-to book called The Loosey Goosey Writer, showing new writers how to build their publishing resume without sacrificing family and friends. I’m so loosey-goosey, I have nothing more than the outline.
We all have family, work and other obligations ... how do you
maintain balance while in the middle of a writing project?

There is no balance in my life. We recently moved from Oklahoma back to Louisiana and husband recently retired. That alone has set ‘balance’ on edge. Add to that extensive home renovation and planning our daughter’s wedding. My life is total chaos—no balance. I just have to set a goal, prioritize and get it done. I’m an experienced, long time list-maker so that helps.
    What is the one piece of advice you received about writing
    that helped you the most?

    All the traditional clich├ęs are true and have helped me: writers write, write what you know, just get the story down on paper, etc, etc. I suppose what has really helped me is to just get the story down on paper. Get it finished and then we have something to work with.

    Where can we purchase your books and how can we keep up with you?

    I would love for your readers to check out my novella, The Last Daughter, at Amazon. Here’s the link: http://www.amazon.com/Last-Daughter-Tales-Scrimshaw-Doll-ebook/dp/B00ES5DVI6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1397318557&sr=8-1&keywords=jessica+ferguson

    If it sounds like it’s too heavy or dark, I have a couple of romantic comedies in Christmas anthologies.

    I’m on Facebook as Jessica Ferguson, Jessica Roach Ferguson and on twitter as Jessy Ferguson. I absolutely love new blog followers so check me out at http://jessyferguson.blogspot.com
    Last, but not least.....What and when is your next release? Provide a brief synopsis.

    Because of our move, major renovation and planning daughter’s wedding, I haven’t written any fiction other than a short story that I plan to send out next week. For the next few months, I’m devoting time to my nonfiction assignments (I write for Southern Writers Magazine) and a few writing projects that don’t take my total focus. I hope your readers will take a look at my Amazon page to see if anything interests them, and follow my blog. And they should always remember, time waits for no one, so don’t waste a minute of it. Write something!

7 comments:

  1. I must admit, I popped over here because I thought there might be some good fantasy football tips since I am a grandmother and I love football. But I love what Jessica has to say. It sounds like she knows what she is talking about. One of the comments she made is writer's gold in my book. Her life is chaos, there is no balance so she has to choose to work within that life by not making excuses, but choosing to make goals, prioritizing, and getting it done. This advice energizes me. Now off to work on my book. Thanks Jessica for the helpful hints. (Oh and I might also submit my football line-up for the first week of fantasy football.)

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  2. Carole, thanks for popping in and sorry we don't have any football tips for you. To show you what kind of fan I am, I gave up on our LSU Tigers the other night and went to bed. When I got up the next morning, hubby said, "We WON!" I still don't know how that happened since we were so behind. Daughter is married now so I need to put Loosey Goosey aside and work on my half-finished projects! :)

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  3. Great interview. Thanks for the tips, Jess. From one Loosey Goosey Writer to another-- thanks for giving me hope. If I tell myself to make my list, prioritize, and just get it done, do you have any tips on how I can get myself to mind me? For the record, I have read your work. I love the The Last Daughter, The Groom Wore Blue Suede Shoes, as well as your short stories, especially the Christmas story, A Child Was Born. Janie T.

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  4. Janie, excellent question! Take a tip from Nike and Just Do It. Today offers so much opportunity for all of us. If we don't accomplish some of our writing goals, it's our own fault. And I'm speaking to myself here too. Force yourself to finish that book... work on it every day, or three days a week or two, but don't let a week go by that you don't write something on that manuscript. I started yesterday: race you to the end of the year! :)

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  5. Hello Gridiron Granny! I stopped by to read your interview of by blog/writer friend, Jess. All great questions and answers. I'm not just a "procrastinator," I'm such an awful one that I think a new name needs to be created for those of us who are REALLY BAD procrastinators! I seem to have no control over giving myself orders! LOL. I love what Janie T. said in her above comment, too: "...how I can get myself to mind me?" That's a good one!! But on a more serious note, I love something that Jess said in her comment above to Janie: "If we don't accomplish some of our writing goals, it's our own fault." Bam! You said it, Jess, and I definitely needed to hear that today! I can honestly say that the sequel to my memoir that I'm working on, will NOT take the 12 years it took for the original one! :D

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  6. Becky, we both need to get busy! Thanks for popping in.

    Patti, thanks so much for having me in your chair! It was fun!

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