IndieView with Jessica M. Simpkiss, author of The Spaewife’s Secret

Not really. Eventually, something good will come out. Peter May goes does something similar in his Lewis Trilogy. Now, I call Virginia Beach home. I go back to that book time and time again. Where do you live now? I finished the first draft of the book in early July and had the final version ready to send out with queries at the beginning of August. We were never inside. Currently, I’m very into obscure memories that I’m reading as research for another project I’m working on.  
Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished? We swam in the lake during the summer and played in the woods all winter. I don’t feel that I have a target reader, other than anyone that loves reading. Other times, I can’t get through a few pages without feeling unenchanted by the words in front of me. I was planning on working on a collection of short stories, retelling and updating some tales from Scottish mythology and folklore. I have found that editing can stifle my creative flow and allows me to get caught up on little things. In retrospect, I wish I’d done both, if anything, just to test the waters. After researching the tale of the kelpie, which plays a pivotal role in The Spaewife’s Secret, I felt there was enough of a premise to develop the idea from a short story into something longer. The Spaewife’s Secret follows in a similar vein, as the chapters alternate between a childhood and adult version of the same character. We lived in a small house on a lake that backed up to woods and farm pastures on the other side. About Writing
Do you have a writing process? Being my first book, I wasn’t very confident with my work or that anyone would want to publish it for me. Do you outline? It was the trip of a lifetime. Get your copy of   The Spaewife’s Secret from Amazon US or Amazon UK. I struggled with outlining in the beginning. I’m also in the beginning stages of research for a third book, tentatively entitled Gypsy Witch. I’m currently in the middle of Gypsy Boy by Mikey Walsh and have The Yellow of the Broom by Betsy Whyte waiting patiently in the wings. I hope to be releasing this book in late spring or early summer 2019. I identify my childhood with Earlysville, Virginia which is just outside Charlottesville and UVA. Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it? I have odd reading habits. Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors? Simpkiss – 12 January 2019
The Back Flap
When the death of his estranged mother calls Lachlan McGinley home to the remote and desolate Isle of Lewis after a twenty-year absence, he is forced to face the ghosts he left behind; some real, some imagined and some straight from Scottish lore. We all know how important it is for writers to read. If so, can you please describe it? I did not set out to write a novel-length work. Lachlan McGinley is forced to leave the Isle of Lewis after being committed when he insists that a creature from Scottish folklore killed his best friend in the hills behind Bosta Beach. I also have a soft spot for authors Peter May and Paula Hawkins and their nontraditional approach to writing. Jessica M. YES!!! Right now, I’m editing my second book, Bone in the Blood, which follows the tangled lives of three different woman who are all affected in different ways by the Catholic Church’s answer to unwed mothers in 1950s Ireland. After I wrote a few chapters, I would readdress my outline and make updates and changes as needed. I learned my lesson and will never start another writing project without a detailed outline and a definite conclusion. This go around, I only submitted to small publishers. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you? It was a fantastic place to grow up. About You
Where did you grow up? They are amalgamations of the characters from books and movies I love. I learned my lesson the hard way on this one. I have a great station I’ve cultivated with everything from classical piano jaunts like Debussy’s Clair de Lune or Opus 37 from Dustin O’Halloran (literally just came into the rotation as I’m writing this) to ethereal, moody tunes from Amber Run, SYML and Lord Huron. Just write something, even if it’s bad, just write. Was it a particular event or a gradual process? Where did you get the idea from? If yes, what gets the fingers tapping? Until I read Girl on a Train, I don’t think I’d ever read another book that flipflopped between characters and chapters. I was fortunate enough to visit the Isle of Lewis in March and spent a week walking through the hillsides and getting to know the landscape that would become my story. It wasn’t something I had ever done before because I assumed it would feel unnatural, but I couldn’t image the story turning out as well as it did, had it been written from a female character’s point of view. I try to get the first draft down in its entirety before going back to edit. But twenty years may not have been long enough for the locals to let go of their suspicions. About the book
What is the book about? When did you start writing the book? What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher? My publisher did the cover for me. For example, Isla’s physical appearance is loosely based on Eleanor Tomlinson’s character Demelza from the Poldark television series. What are you working on now? I was able to select the photo that was used which I feel follows the feel of the book, so I was happy about that. Ironically, writing a character in the opposite gender came exceptionally naturally to me. For the project I’m currently working on, I wrote the last chapter first almost like a short story independent of the book itself, then I worked backward from there, outlining chapter by chapter. Had I outlined properly, I could have written the book faster than I did. It was surreal to be standing in the middle of it all; to hear the waves lapping at Bosta Beach, to feel the crunch of the grass underfoot, to see the loch where Scottish lore says the water horse hides. There is something captivating in the simplistic nature of the story. Were there any parts of the book where you struggled? The chapters alternate between the adult, present-day version of the character and his younger self. As for influences, I would say that after reading Tracey Chevalier’s Girl with the Pearl Earring, I knew I wanted to be a writer. I was about eight chapters in when I landed in Scotland for the second time and had done all my research up to that point through the internet, google maps, etc. The Spaewife’s Secret is part mystery, part thriller, part urban fantasy. I do listen as a write. There’s a lot of good stuff out there right now; it’s hard to break through. I’ve learned a lot already from being on social media and joining different writing and reading groups and networking with other authors. I went back and forth with publishing it myself, but in the end, I wanted to know that someone had enough confidence in the book (other than myself and my mom) to put their name on it. About Publishing
Did you submit your work to Agents? What came easily? I was very nervous about sending my work out into the publishing world, and somehow agents seemed scarier than small publishers. It was more of a gradual process. I’m hoping to hook up with a larger publisher or agency for future projects so that some of the marketing is handled through them. Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know? I had an idea of how I wanted the story to end, but as I got closer to the end, it became less and less clear. Sometimes, I’m reading several different books at one time, stretching myself thin between reading all of them and my own work. It was surreal to be standing in the middle of it all; to hear the waves lapping at Bosta Beach, to feel the crunch of the grass underfoot, to see the loch where Scottish lore says the water horse hides. Did you get your book cover professionally done or did you do it yourself? It’s nothing formal, but most nights, I put my six-year-old to bed at 8 pm and spend the next hour or so writing. If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences? The stories parallel and play off one another as they build toward the same climax; the truth about who or what killed Arden Scott? I started writing the book in February 2018. At its core, it’s a murder mystery/who done it story. End of Interview:
For more from Jessica, visit her website and follow her on Twitter. Write, every day. It’s my go-to book if I feel like reading, but don’t have something I’m overly engrossed in. I spent a lot of my editing time going back and forth, adding little things to make the ending make sense. I pour my heart and soul into my work; hopefully, it shows on the other end. I’m just winging it over here. What would you like readers to know about you? A secreted childhood love affair, an indignant mother, and a seer who seems to know more about Lachlan than he knows about himself all lend a hand in leading him to the reality he thought he believed and then to the truth that lay beyond it. As Lachlan begins to retrace the steps that led to a childhood friend’s death, he finds himself caught in a web of lies and secrets whose roots are intertwined with his own identity. Do you listen to music while you write? The character’s in The Spaewife’s Secret are entirely fictitious. I did loose outlines for The Spaewife’s Secret, and it ended up being a mess at the end, leaving major plot holes I spent almost a month fixing. Sometimes I get some good stuff and sometimes its crap, but I try and write something every night. The Spaewife’s Secret is full of twists and turns, riddles and lies, reality and myth that play pivotal roles in Lachlan’s search for the truth; who, or what killed his best friend, Arden Scott, twenty years ago in the hills behind Bosta Beach. How long did it take you to write it? Do you have a target reader?