I’m excited to welcome new author Jessica Slater to Behind Closed Doors for our Saturday Spotlight. She’s published a young adult novel called Bellvara, and now takes a turn at a more adult crowd in Life Shifted. So let’s get on with the interview and learn more about her new book and a bit more about herself as an author.
What inspired you to write Life Shifted?
I was inspired mainly by my past for Life Shifted. The past that my partner, Luke and I endured was a very hectic one but it inspired me to write about our history together.
Were you a plotter or panster when it came to writing this novel?
With Life Shifted I planned every detail of it. What the chapters were going to be called and a little summary of what they would entail. It definitely made writing it easier.
Did you find that this book was more character or plot driven?
Most definitely character driven. The characters Kelly and Ben are based on both me and my boyfriend and most of the other characters were randomly put in the book. (some were actual people in our lives but I want to keep that a secret).
What are the recurring core issues? Why do you think you are drawn to these types of characters/plots again and again?
I definitely tend to write a lot about a stronger female stance. I guess I’m trying to portray what I want to be in my books. I don’t always see myself as a strong person, but I write my female characters as very independent and the heroes of the story. That is kind of what I want to be in real life. I am studying to be a teacher, so I guess I just want to help people, be someone to look up too.
What do you want readers to know about Life Shifted?
The main thing I want readers to know before they delve into Life Shifted is that I drew a lot of it from my past with my boyfriend. So if anything sounds out of place, trust me, it isn’t. There were some things added into the book for extra dramatic effect but most of the things were our actual experiences. I hope people can take something away from my book.
There are many people who inspire me all the time. My mum is a big inspiration to me with all her fantastic writing. Kim Faulks is also inspirational as she helped me get my book out there and helped me self-publish it. Richelle Mead, Lauren Kate and Cate Tiernan are all a big inspiration to me. I read their books and want my work to be considered just as good. Another person who is a big inspiration is my modern history teacher from last year. She always knew I had it in me to succeed and she kept pushing me. I also find my little sister, Katy Slater to be an inspiration as she helps me get my books ready to go out into the world. The biggest inspiration of all though is definitely my boyfriend, Luke Fuller, without him I would never have finished ‘Bellvara’ and I never would have written Life Shifted.
In one or two sentences, give the core premise behind your story.
Life Shifted is definitely a dramatic type of book with a lot of love and romance involved. It delves into a life of tragedy and horrific events.
When and where does your book take place?
Life Shifted takes place in the present time. I never really state where it is set because I wanted to leave that open but basically just a small type of town like Warwick, QLD or Stanthorpe, QLD… something like that.
What obstacles will your heroine Kelly encounter in this story?
This story is definitely tragic for Kelly. Her best friend is in love with her but she doesn’t feel the same way so she goes through a lot of drama and obstacles to try and stabilize her friendship with Ben but nothing seems to go right for her. She just gets thrown one thing after another.
What about her will make readers sympathetic to her?
There is a really emotional stage in the book where her grandmother, whom she was really close to, dies and I drew that experience from when my pa died which was very upsetting for me because I was extremely close with him and I never got to see him before he went or go to his funeral.
What obstacles will Ben encounter in this story?
Ben goes through just as much as Kelly in this story. He experiences his first girlfriend and finds it doesn’t go to well for him. The only one he really wants is Kelly but she won’t have it. Everything keeps going wrong for him and he is forced to think about whether Kelly is worth it or not.
What about Ben will make readers sympathetic towards him?
I think the biggest thing that will make readers sympathetic towards Ben is the fact that he loves Kelly more than anything and he defends her all the time but nobody what he does he still isn’t good enough for her and it tears him up.
Is there a villain?
There are actually many villains in Life Shifted; around four or five. They each have different motives to hurt Kelly and Ben but I can’t give too much away.
What is the theme at the heart of your story?
The theme of my story is love and finding out what it means; giving it a chance to blossom from something you never thought possible.
What message do you hope readers take away from this story?
The main message I want readers to take away from Life Shifted is that love and romance is such an important thing. It may not be top priority but it is important to have it in your life. I also want people to learn not to be so shallow or not to look past what might be. Life Shifted is mostly based on my past and I regret the fact that I didn’t realize my feelings for my partner sooner. I guess I’m saying give something a chance instead of blowing it off completely. The results may surprise you.
What are you working on now?
I am working on the second book in the Bellvara series at the moment and also a completely separate book. It is set in Roman times and it is called ‘Last Touch’.
What’s coming soon?
‘Last Touch’ will probably come out next year some time because I want to do more research on the topic and get it as close to fantastic as I can and the second book to Bellvara called ‘Snake of the Elves’ will probably be out at the end of this year. That is what I am aiming for.
Do you have a question you’d like to ask the readers to generate comments?
My question to the readers is:
What were/are your experiences in love? Do you have an epic tale to tell?
Where to find Jessica and her work