To say I’m a fan of Jessica Dotta would be the understatement of 2015. Her series, Price of Privilege, concluded earlier this year with the third book in the series. Y’all, I’m still recovering because it was that good. (You can see my gushing here or here). Anyway, I’m SOOOOOOO excited to have the lovely Jessica Dotta on the blog for 4 Questions (plus a few because I couldn’t help myself)! Enjoy and be sure to check out the giveaway at the end!
Born in the wrong century‚ except for the fact that she really likes epidurals and washing machines‚ Jessica Dotta writes British Historicals with the humor like an Austen, yet the drama of a Bronte.
She resides lives in the greater Nashville area‚where she imagines her small Southern town into the foggy streets of 19th century London. She oversees her daughter to school, which they pretend is an English boarding school, and then she goes home to write or work on PR. Jessica has tried to cast her dachshund as their butler‚ but the dog insists it’s a Time Lord and their home a Tardis. Miss Marple, her cat, says its no mystery to her as to why the dog won’t cooperate. When asked about it, Jessica sighs and says that you can’t win them all, and at least her dog has picked something British to emulate.
1. What inspired you to write this amazingly/incredible/I-never-wanted-it-to-end series?
It started with a single scene I penned in my teens. I had just finished Jane Eyre and felt wild with enthusiasm at its singular style and storyline. It was the first novel where I couldn’t predict the ending and therefore I felt unsafe. I lost two night’s sleep, turning pages, wondering what would happen. I had no idea stories could be that wild and free. That scene I wrote is the opening to Chapter Ten—Julia’s arrival at Eastbourne.
From there, the story just plain haunted me. The scene raised interesting questions, and I wanted to know why the characters were acting the way they were. They were awful. It also revealed a lot about my protagonist’s past, and I wanted answers to those questions, as well.
Starting the story was different from ending the story. I knew “the” ending, but I couldn’t have imagined the lessons God would teach along the way about the worth of every soul and the difference between his view of us and man’s.
2. Do you have a favorite character? (I’m Team Isaac for life)
Isn’t Isaac wonderful? I can’t even count how many times I finished writing, walked away from my computer, looked at the nearest person and said, “I love Isaac. I really, really love Isaac.”
But, I don’t know that I actually have a favorite. I even like Forrester- the man that is nearly paranoid with mistrust and blunders everything. He is absolutely awful to Julia, but if you don’t allow him to anger you, you can see he has a snarky sense of humor.
3. What’s next for you in the writing world? (There are many of us eagerly awaiting any news!)
I’m waiting to find that out myself. I have two stories, night and day opposites, that I’ll be pitching to my publisher very soon. They both are stories I’ve already started writing scenes for and plotting years ago. I love both of them for very different reasons, so we’ll see.
Now onto 4 Questions!
1. What is something about your life right now that you would have never imagined 5 years ago?
Wow! That question is startling and so much bigger than I can answer. I wish I had one of those cute, pithy answers that are so lovable. But when I look at the testimony God has given me, especially over the last five years, I dare not utter anything except that. He deserves the glory.
Exactly five years ago, I found myself in a landscape of devastation.
The short version is I lost every remnant of my old life except my daughter and my dog. The shaking was complete. My marriage was gone, my church was gone, my house, my community, everything I’d tried so desperately to hold together was gone, and in a way that forced me to battle that lie that my worth was at question. The evidence seemed so clear that there was something completely and utterly wrong with me.
Yet at the same time, I had the distinct voice of God promising me He was ultimately in control and not my circumstances, that He was freeing me and not punishing me. He gave me no choice but to confront every fear, removing shackles that I wasn’t even aware of.
I’d lived years, trying to prevent the complete loss of my old life, and it ended up being the best thing that could happen.
2. What is one thing that you would go back and do differently if you could?
There’s another tough question. I’m probably being too philosophical here, but it’s hard to pick something. Each painful experience has taught me something or changed me in a way I wouldn’t want to take back.
3. What is one of the happiest moments of your life?
My mother used to work as a caregiver for the elderly and occasionally she’d take me on assignment with her. One of jobs was to bathe two elderly sisters in the nineties. They hadn’t seen each other in a long time as they were in two hospital beds separated by a partition. There was an upright piano that was in right in the middle. Since I took piano lessons, my mom thought they might enjoy hearing me play.
Ha! I’m not sure what they thought of my playing. First of all, I have no musical gifting whatsoever. Second, the piano was out of tune, missing keys and each note banged out sounded tinny and awful. Nevertheless, I pulled out my books and played.
When I finished, one of the sisters called me to her bedside and told me to go out back and follow the path away from the house. She wouldn’t tell me why, but she just winked and motioned for me to go.
There was a clear trail leading into the woods, which I took. It led me to the most amazing haven. The awe of this moment still stands out strong in my memory. I entered a grove where soft moss covered every stone and tree and rock. I stood at the bottom of a waterfall gushing and its roar was peaceful and wonderful. A mist hung in the air, but it didn’t chill, it was refreshing. Sun fell through the leaves, adding wavering dapples of light. It was so beautiful. The peace of that moment was so heavy that I imagine heaven must feel similar. That small, hidden spot of earth gave me the same awe that the ocean or a starry sky does.
4. What is one thing you want the next generation to know?
Read! Not just the books that are popular today but learn how to unlock those from previous generations. Books have allowed an ongoing discussion that crosses over centuries and over different cultures. Others have wrestled with the same thoughts, fears and hopes. They’ve left us their legacy of thoughts by sharing their wisdom.
Thank you so so much Jessica! I loved reading your answers and I can’t wait for what is next!
As soon as the third book came out I bought it, you know, so my collection would be beautifully complete. That means I’m giving away the ARC of Price of Privilege! Trust me, you want to read this series.