Today I am happy to have Jessica Ward on The Scary Reviews for an interview. Jessica was born in Lincolnshire, however she moved to Cheshire at the age of five. Jessica spent the majority of her childhood residing in Bramhall. She now lives in a lovely little apartment in Wilmslow, the area that inspired her first novel. Jessica works full-time as an Administration Manager for an aquatic science consultancy firm. In her spare time she enjoys traveling, shopping, going out with friends and tending to her adorable yet mischievous house bunny named Honey. Jessica Ward is the author of E-Virus: The Diary of a Modern Day Girl series. Thank you kindly for chatting with me today, Jessica. I really enjoyed our conversation and I hope my readers enjoy it as much as I did.
The Scary Reviews: Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself, where are you from? What propelled you to start writing?
Jessica Ward: Strangely enough, I had never really thought of myself as a writer. I literally woke up one day and thought, I know! I’m going to write a book. So I did.
I work full time as a HR Manager for a fast growing recruitment company in Manchester City Centre, I live in Wilmslow which is a small town south of Manchester in Cheshire. In my spare time I like to catch up with friends and go out for cocktails and the odd dinner where I can. I also love my bed so the ideal Sunday for me is having a bed day with lots of junk food and binge watching a good series.
TSR: Most writers love to read, who do you enjoy reading when you not writing?
JW: I wish I had more time to read, however on the rare occasion I have a little time to myself I’d like to think my bookshelf is a little varied. I like books that make me think, the likes of Sherlock Holmes and Dan Brown are real favourites of mine.
TSR: Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
JW: I am very spontaneous when it comes to writing. I never really have much of an outline, when I start writing a book I generally have no idea on where it’s going to go. I tend to come out with the characters, I have a really good think about their personality and characteristics and hope for the best!
TSR: What inspires your writing, Music? Other books? Real life events? Just an incredible imagination?
JW: I think it’s a mixture of all of the above, although the music for me tends to come after.
The E-Virus is based on a mutated strain of the Ebola Virus. I noticed a few news stories a few years ago, before Ebola hit the headlines and as I learned more about the virus the story just came to me. As I was writing E-Virus, all I kept asking myself was, what would I do in this situation? How would I feel? How would I react? The story just spanned from there.
TSR: If you were not an author, what would your ideal career be?
JW: For me, being an author is not yet my career, however I do wish it was. I guess my dream is to be able to write full time, so in fact my ideal career would be an author.
Had I not become an author or in the field I am in now, I guess I wouldn’t mind being a chef. I love to cook and I love to host having all the family and friends over. Although saying that, I also wouldn’t mind being paid to be a food blogger. I would love to be able to travel the world and sample all different kinds of cuisines. Can you tell it’s nearly lunchtime?
TSR: What advice would you give to your younger self?
JW: I don’t think I would give my younger self any advice. My favourite saying which I always tell my parents is “At least I turned out okay.” I was a complete nightmare growing up, I was the definition of a rebellious teenager. However, I do believe that you learn from your mistakes, and I feel like I have certainly learned from mine. There is a part of me that thinks, perhaps I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I didn’t take the paths I chose at the time.
TSR: The artwork for the book is great. You must be happy with the way it has turned out? Is there any significance to the shoe on the cover?
JW: Well what most people don’t know is that you can in fact purchase the shoes on my front cover! They are handmade by a very talented designer named Nixxi Rose. She is based in Southampton in the UK. I came across her designs on Google when I was researching images and designs for my front cover. I knew what I had in mind, and as soon as I saw the shoes and how striking they were I just had to use them. I contacted Nixxi and she very graciously said yes to a partnership and handed me her images. All my book covers now feature a Nixxi Rose design, and I have a feeling my future books will too.
TSR: E Virus: The Diary of a Modern Day Girl falls in the genre I love the most. What drew you to apocalyptic adventures?
JW: I have been interested in the horror genre since I was a child. Growing up with my two older cousins, we would always spend our nights together watching scary movies. I loved being scared. I guess that has always just kinda stuck with me.
The idea of living a life without relying on technology and modern day comforts does intrigue me. I guess there are a lot of people out there who have had that conversation with friends, what would you do in a zombie apocalypse? I think I just took it a little further and wrote books about it.
TSR: If you could write anywhere in the world – in a fictional or nonfiction place – where would you write?
JW: Paris is my all-time favourite place. I love everything about it. The culture, the people, the architecture. I went with a few friends last year and I absolutely fell in love with it. I can actually remember, thinking to myself whilst I was there, what would happen in a Zombie Apocalypse? Maybe it could be the start of another E-Virus spin off.
TSR: Looking into 2017, what else does Jessica Ward have planned from a writing perspective?
I would like to get a few more books written next year. I have been working on a stand-alone spin off to E-Virus which is called Emily’s Journey. This is more of a short story which I hope will be ready for release this boxing day. I’d like to do a few more of these, each with completely different main characters in completely different locations.