Jessica Ruston is the highly acclaimed author of the recent ‘To Touch The Stars’ (which I read and loved).
Her debut novel ‘Luxury’ was published in 2009 to wide acclaim and we asked Jessica to take some time out and share a little bit about herself with us.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always written in one way or another, and I started writing seriously when I was about 20, although that was screenplays rather than novels.
What made you decide to pursue writing as a career?
I fell into it, really. It wasn’t a conscious career choice – I think that’s the case for lots of writers. As I say, I had been writing screenplays, then non-fiction and some journalism before I started writing fiction, so there was no clear decision for me – it was more of an organic process.
How difficult was it, and how long did it take, to get your first novel published?
I was lucky, it didn’t take me a long time at all. I signed up with my agent, Simon Trewin, on the basis of the first 25,000 words or so of my first novel, Luxury, and then it went out on submission to various publishers.
Headline were one of the first to express an interest in it and they were the ones who ended up buying it. Luxury was the first novel I’d tried to write, so I was very fortunate that it got published!
What inspires you and where do you get the ideas for your books?
I get inspiration from all sorts of places – from things I read, see, hear, from friends, conversations, and from I don’t know where!
Ideas are one of the most difficult things to pin down but one of the most exciting things about writing.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
Try and pay some attention to my husband. Faff around on the internet and on Twitter in particular – I’m addicted! (I’m @jessruston if anyone’s on there – say hello!) I cook quite alot.
Read – I don’t read that much when I’m in the middle of a book as I find it hard to concentrate on fiction when a novel is taking up space in my head, so when I’m not working on a book I try and catch up. I’ve just bought a new house so I’m spending lots of time reading design mags and obsessing over paint colours…
Looking at all of the aspects that go along with the actual writing, what is your favourite part of being a writer?
It sounds silly, but all of it, really. I’m so lucky to have a job that I really love. But if I had to pick, the ideas stage is probably my favourite. That spark of excitement when you’re developing new characters and situations…. Nothing beats it. And finishing!
Where is the best place your writing has taken you?
Into other people’s heads and lives. I love the fact that writing allows you to step into so many different pairs of shoes.
What made you decide to run an online Writers workshop?
I’ve been doing manuscript reports for the Writers’ Workshop for a while now, and they asked me to run a six week online novel writing course. I love interacting with other writers and it seemed like a great opportunity, so I said yes straight away.
The next one is starting on 4th June, and you can read more details and book here – www.writersworkshop.co.uk/howtowrite_6.asp . You can take the course from anywhere in the world, so sign up!
What’s next for Jessica Ruston?
I’m writing my third novel at the moment, so I need to finish that, I’m moving house soon as I said, and I’m hoping to do some writing for radio and TV. Lots of projects.
Is there one ultimate piece of advice you would give to aspiring authors?
Write. Read and write.
What does being a woman mean to you?
Trying to do lots of things at once! And friendship – female friends are the best.