Jessica Shirvington is a busy mum of two, married to Aussie athlete and media personality Matt. Jessica has had quite a diverse career to date and is now a full time mum and author.
We tracked down the author of Embrace, Enticed and the forthcoming Emblaze, the first three books in The Violet Eden Chapters, and asked her to answer some questions for us so we could learn a little more about her.
You are living in Sydney with the family at the moment but you ran a coffee distribution company in London previously. Where is the most exciting place you have lived?
Living in London was incredible. It was a different time in my life. I was newly married and very driven so life was all about work and socialising with friends. London is an amazing city once you break through the outer shell and really start living there. To be honest, I never imagined I would leave … then I had my first daughter and everything changed. Suddenly I couldn’t sell my house and company fast enough and book flights back home. Sydney is where all of my and my husband’s family are and after having Sienna (our daughter) all the things we thought were important didn’t matter nearly as much. Since moving back to Sydney, we haven’t looked back though we don’t rule out the possibility of living in other countries for periods of time. We love to travel and want our kids to see the world, but Sydney will always be home.
How did you get started on your writing career?
By reading. And reading. And reading.
I’ve always been quite an emotional person and found value in being able to articulate the honesty of emotions. But really, writing took me as much by surprise as anyone. If you had told me a year before I started writing EMBRACE that it would become a novel and would lead to a series … I would’ve laughed. Now, I can’t imagine my life any other way.
What inspired you to write the Violet Eden Chapters?
Reading heaps of fantastic books and then reading quite a lot of books that didn’t hit the mark for me. I used to spend night after night thinking about how I always just wanted things to go a little bit differently in a lot of books. In the end, I stopped thinking about it and started writing.
Can you tell us a bit about the Violet Eden Chapters?
I won’t give away heaps, just because I don’t want to ruin the later books for people who haven’t read EMBRACE yet. But…
EMBRACE is the story of Violet Eden, who, after her 17th birthday discovers she carries the essence of an angel within.
Violet must now choose if she is going to give up her life as she knows it, endure the trials, and commit to a world of power and great responsibility to become an angel-human warrior – a Grigori. Having had her heart broken by long time crush, Lincoln, and left feeling betrayed, Violet is hesitant to make this huge commitment. But then, Phoenix enters her life. He is an exiled angel – the very thing Violet is destined to destroy – but there is something about him that is different and she finds herself trusting in him when it seems there is no one else. Violet is thrust into this world of Angels, exiles and Grigori and even though her future seems to be pre-determined, the choice must be hers.
In the following book, ENTICED, Violet is dealing with the consequences of the choices she made in EMBRACE.
Now, more than ever, she must question who she can trust. There are a lot of new and exciting characters that arrive in from the Academy in New York and more secrets that will be unveiled. Lincoln and Violet struggle against their feelings for one another and are finally given some answers about why their connection is so undeniable. In a desperate race to get to the Scripture before their enemies, Violet and Lincoln journey to the deserts of Jordan where the enormity of Violet’s power become apparent and they uncover the answers to long forgotten questions. They now know, their battle has only just begun.
In book 3, EMBLAZE, out in October (hooray!) the whole crew are back, the stakes have been raised and things are about to get very, very hot!
Tensions reach breaking point for Lincoln and Violet and despite their efforts – keeping a distance from one another is clearly not working as their connection only grows stronger. Phoenix appears to be unstoppable and when he does the unthinkable and takes someone from Violet – she knows the games are over. He will do whatever it takes to get what he wants. Feeling responsible, Violet considers making a horrible sacrifice for the ones she loves. Violet and the Grigori meet up with Josephine, the Vice of the Academy, and travel to the islands of Greece where, once again, Phoenix, Lincoln and Violet are drawn together in ways they never imagined possible. One thing is very certain by the end of EMBLAZE, nothing can ever be the same for any of them.
Book 4, ENDLESS, is on the way …
Emblaze is due out in October 2011 and the 4 book in 2012. Are there plans for the series to extend past 4 instalments?
Yes. I am so excited to share EMBLAZE with everyone. For me, it was such a thrill to write and so satisfying to see the characters all developing. Book 4, ENDLESS, will be out in 2012 and I am writing it at the moment. It has always been really important to me to finish the series at the right time. I want to give readers the full story, but also, I don’t want it to be predictable and as I’m writing the books I’m discovering exactly how I want them to pan out – so, short answer is yes, I do believe there could be up to six books in the series.
Is there room for anyone else in your imagination at the moment or will all other stories have to wait until Violet’s story plays out?
There is always room for more, the question is more one of time. Violet’s story has taken over my world in many ways for the past 2 years and I imagine it will continue to dominate but I am certainly playing with another couple of ideas. It is also important, in my view, to get away from Violet’s world every now and then for sanity’s sake and write about something else – Violet has an intense life!
Where is the most exciting place that your writing has taken you?
Mostly, my dining room!
Seriously, it’s limitless. I am writing books about angels – the places that takes me in my own imagination can be mind-blowing at times. Some of the mythology that I have had the opportunity to research and work into the books has been a highlight for me. In EMBLAZE the characters travel to the beautiful Cyclades Islands of Greece but my husband didn’t quite get on board when I suggested a research trip! But I did go to New York a couple of months ago to research for ENDLESS (hint, hint!) and I absolutely love NYC!
The restaurants you managed in Sydney all seem to have car related names, is there significance to that?
Yes there is. My family own car dealerships. At the time the restaurants were opened, we combined the idea of fine food and fine cars. The main restaurant which was Australia’s No.1 Restaurant in 2000 & 2001 and was awarded 3 chefs Hats in Good Food Guide was MG Garage. It was a stunning restaurant and down one side we had 3 MG’s. Next door was Fuel – which was a bistro with a food providore down one side and Lamborghini’s down the other. Conde Nast Magazine voted MG Garage one of the Hottest 50 Restaurants in the World. They were a lot of fun!
What do you do to relax and unwind?
Hang out with my two beautiful daughters and husband. Also, Matt (my husband) and I try to get out at least once a fortnight just the two of us for a date so I always look forward to that. And, of course, I read!
With such a busy schedule I can’t imagine you get too much time to read but if you do, what are you reading right now?
I usually try to read at least two books a week even when I am busy. It’s important to keep reading and seeing what other writers are doing and also to stay in touch with the market. I do, however, avoid books that deal with the same themes as I find it can mess with my head a bit.
Recently, I really enjoyed – DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth. I think it lived up to the hype.
I also thought – WHERE SHE WENT by Gayle Forman was a stunning read.
I am just about to start reading VOTIVE by Karen Brooks, the sequel to TALLOW.
What does being a woman mean to you?
Best thing about being a woman for me, is that I have two little girls that call me ‘Mum’. Next best … wider wardrobe variety, of course!
Thank you very much for taking some time out of your hectic schedule to speak to us Jessica, I look forward to Emblaze.
You are very welcome. I hope you love EMBLAZE!