Welcome to another week!
It's Monday, and that means I have some great authors lined up for you.
First up is Jessica Thompson. If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know that she's a returning author - which means she must have something new for us!
When Jessica discovered mystery novels with recipes, she knew she had found her niche.
Now Jessica is the author of the Amazon best-selling “Caterer’s Guide to Crime” culinary cozy mystery series and the classic mystery, “Shoot Shovel and Shut Up.” Her first book was a finalist in the Wishing Shelf Awards and her other books were Whitney Award nominees in the mystery category. She has also curated two anthologies and been included in many others. She is active in her local writing community and volunteers as the Finance Chair of the Storymakers Guild.
As an avid home chef and food science geek, Jessica has won cooking competitions and been featured in the online Taste of Home recipe collection. She also tends to be the go-to source for recipes, taste-testing, and food advice among her peers.
Jessica lives outside Austin, Texas with her husband and two children. When she’s not writing or cooking, she likes getting her boots dirty with the family at her parents' nearby Longhorn cattle ranch.
Star Trek or Star Wars? I like both BUUUUT Star Wars. My husband and I frequently have conversations that wander off into deep Star Wars lore.
A book that pleasantly surprised you? Starship Troopers. We all know it was the worst book-to-movie adaptation, but even if you set that aside, I thought it was for teenage boys. Once I finally gave Heinlein a chance … Oh my goodness! So good!
Coffee, tea, or cacao? Cacao. I’m a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, so we don’t drink coffee or tea.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer? I have some lovely in-person friends, like Heidi O’Barr who is the author of The Cupcake Company Baker’s Manual, but my cozy mystery friends are J.R. Lancaster and Shannon Symonds. I learn so much from them and am even working with J.R. on a new book!
Who shot first, Han or Greedo? Han. I feel like that’s super obvious. Does anyone actually say Greedo? It’s a key element in Han’s characterization! Character arc!!!
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be? Get on Kindle Vella earlier! With all the bonuses they offer, it’s turning down easy money if you aren’t putting your writing up there first!
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer? I’ve recently been converted to Kindle Vella and the Vella promotion FB groups. Apparently I could get canceled if I talk about it in public, so email me if you want more information for yourself.
What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel? I love Josi Kilpack’s cozy mysteries! She stopped writing them, so I assume they weren’t doing well? But I love them! They are my favorite cozies!
Do you write novels, novellas, short stories, episodic fiction, poems, screenplays, or something else? What is your preferred format? I started writing novels, then forced myself to write short stories so I could take advantage of the marketing and community of anthologies. Now I looove short stories! I get the same dopamine hit from finishing them, but can finish them much faster.
Are you traditionally or self published? Or both? Do you feel there are advantages to one over the other? I started with a publisher but have since gone indie. It was wonderful to start trad because I had someone behind me that believed in me, could hold my hand, and would take all the risk. Now that I’m trying to be profitable and make writing my job, it’s nice to be indie since I can make more money!
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have? I think I’m up to three now. I wrote one novella that was WAY off-brand so it will never see the light of day, I started a new cozy mystery that kinda fizzled, and I’m halfway through writing a book as a collaboration project with J.R. Lancaster.
What does literary success look like to you? My new long-term goal is to actually make a living as an author. It’s a looooong game, but someday!
What’s the best way to market your books? Virtual Book Tours! I was already arranging them for myself and it was going well, so I thought I could help other authors by planning for them too! Now I work as Bittersweet Book Tours planning virtual book tours. I offer packages of different sizes, so I can fit any author's needs and budget.
What do you have coming next? On Jan 11th, 2024, the third book in my Caterer’s Guide to Crime culinary cozy mystery series came out! A CATERER’S GUIDE TO VALENTINES AND VIOLENCE is the third in the series, but chronologically it’s the first story in our characters’ lives. A prequel, but it was always in the plans, so it’s pretty good, if I do say so myself.