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Interview with Jessica Dall

I recently was asked to read Jessica Dall’s new book Raining Embers (Order and Chaos Book 1) and I absolutely loved it. So of course I totally wanted to interview her and I was so grateful that she was willing to take time out of her clearly busy days to answer my questions.

headshot of Jessica Dall
Courtesy of Jessica Dall

Thank you so much to Jessica Dall and enjoy this fantastic interview. And don’t forget to get the book because it was fantastic!

  1. Why did you start writing? What inspired you to do so?
    My mother can tell you that I’ve always been a bit of a writer. Even before I was actually able to write, i would fill pages with scribbles I would call my stories. There’s just something I’ve always found therapeutic about writing. It continued as a hobby as a child/through high school, and then in college I got an internship at a small press. While there, I realized that writing was really something I wanted to do professionally.

  2. How did you come up with the idea for the Order and Chaos series?
    I was actually at an art lecture years and years ago when the presenter brought up a picture of the Vatican Library. While he was talking about all the lovely art in the room, I got the idea for what is now the first scene of the novel. The characters and plot and everything else has changed quite a bit from that night, but that was certainly the impetus.

  3. Going off the last question, where did you get the idea for personifying Order as well as Chaos?
    I’ve always been very interested in mythology. Rather than sticking to one specific mythology, I thought it would be fun to develop my own creation myth. That led to creating two “old” gods–and who could be better for starting off the universe than Order and Chaos?

  4. What was involved in writing a series like this? Research? Visiting locations? Etc.
    I was very lucky to get the chance to travel to Italy while writing Raining Embers. I have to give my family numerous thanks for allowing me to turn what was mostly a vacation also into a research trip. I have an entire photo file I’m still using while writing the rest of the series when I need references for buildings and everything else like that. Otherwise, fantasy has given me a lot of leeway when it comes to world building, but I have done quite a bit of research on the Renaissance–since it’s what the setting is based around–world mythology, and etymology of all things (I’ve done my very best to keep my terms relatively period appropriate through the manuscript so there aren’t characters suddenly sounding out of place for their world).

  5. Do you know how many books will be in the series? 
    Book 2 is currently in edits with my publisher and should be out late in 2016. Book 3 is currently being written. If there is going to be a Book 4 depends on how far the story gets in Book 3!

  6. How did you create the cover? Such as the ideas behind it?
    The designers my publisher uses, Streetlight Graphics, actually made the cover and did a stunning job as far as I’m concerned! I worked with the marketing department to come up with a few ideas that fit the genre and came up with the idea for a single focus with the fire–since that plays a major role in the story–sort of a less-gritty Game of Thrones meets less sci-fi Hunger Games/Divergent. From there we sent that general idea over to SG, and they came back with something even more stunning than I’d imagined. They certainly knocked it out of the park.

  7. What are some thing you have to do when you write (ex: have a candle, have mints, a special pen, etc.)?
    I’m very lucky in that I’ve always been able to write wherever I am as long as I have a pen and paper/keyboard. I used to write on the train to and from work when I was working a 9-to-5 job, and I’ve been known to pull out a notepad whenever I’m left waiting somewhere for more than a couple of minutes. I do, however, have a favorite pen that I use when I’m home. It’s a fountain pen I actually got as a graduation gift after college. I’m just terrified of losing it, so I don’t tend to carry it with me.

  8. During your average day, what can you be found doing?
    When I’m not writing, I work as an editor and a creative writing teacher, so I can generally be found either with my laptop at home–writing or editing–or in a classroom depending on how many classes I’m teaching any given semester. I can’t say I’m too exciting, but I consider myself very lucky that I get to spend my time around words as the bulk of every day.

  9. What can you currently be found watching on TV?
    Murdoch Mysteries has actually been what my husband and I have been binge watching lately on Netflix (a CBC show we found when we were on our honeymoon in Montreal, actually). We’re getting close to where Netflix leaves off so we’re hoping Season 8 pops up before we get there! Other than that, I’m a big Doctor Who fan and love The Simpsons. I can never seem to remember when things air, however, so my DVR gets a serious work out when I have to catch up on shows.

  10. What’s your favorite movie (or movies if you can’t pick just one)?
    I tend to like character-driven movies, which means a lot of my favorite movies are about people going through personal changes–like Up in the Air and Rachel Getting Married. That said, I can also really get behind big blockbusters and other sillier films, like I loved The Avengers and Pitch Perfect. So, really, my tastes can be all over the place.

  11. What is the weirdest or most exotic food you have ever eaten?
    I’m not a very adventurous eater (and I’m a pescetarian, so that limits things as well) but my last job before I switched to editing and teaching was at a public health marketing firm that did campaigns in developing countries. That meant we did get a lot of interesting things brought back from co-workers trips to Africa/Latin America/Southeast Asia. The one that most sticks out is a candy one woman brought back from Zambia that was chocolate around a type of nut that elephants supposedly will eat to get drunk because they’re minorly alcoholic. That as an interesting one.

  12. If you were stuck on a deserted island and you could have 5 things dropped off to you (not including transportation, and food and shelter was not an issue) what would they be and why?
    First, I’d want my Kindle. I’ve become absolutely addicted to it at this point (and it’s nice to read on something that isn’t a back-lit screen after reading/writing things on my laptop all day. Then my laptop, so I could do all that writing and listen to music. For those, I suppose I’d need some sort of solar charger to run them. For number four, I’d say something crafty I could do while hanging around the island (knitting or crochet, maybe?). For my last thing, I’d either try to cheat and get my husband to come hang out with me (he could use an island vacation too!) or at least get some family pictures so I could feel like I had everyone around.

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Liebster Award

A huge thank you to Bridgett at Writing and Musing for nominating me for the Liebster Award. This is a blogging award for bloggers who have less than 1,000 followers to help promote smaller blogs.

Liebster Award

Rules

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog.
  2. Answer the 11 questions your nominator gave you.
  3. Tag 11 bloggers with less than 1,000 readers.
  4. Think of 11 questions for the bloggers you have nominated.
  5. Let them know you have nominated them through social media or their blog.

Allegra’s Quesions

  1. What music gets you in the mood for writing?
    Usually I listen to some type of epic sound track or just a movie soundtrack. It is pleasant to listen to as well as kind of like a wall paper so I don’t concentrate too much.
  2. In your opinion what is the best thing you’ve written so far?
    The best thing I’ve written so far…hm…well I honestly can’t just pick one thing. I’ve recently been doing short story writing with one of my friends by picking a random topic, like a word or phrase (ex: someones first snowfall) and then you have to write a short story about it, interpreting it however you want. I really think my writing for that has been quite good.
  3. Have you accomplished your goals for 2015?
    Well my goals for this year were increasing views on this blog, as well as followers, and getting good grades in University and so far I’ve done that! Which is awesomeeee!
  4. What is one thing you want to see happen in 2016?
    Well..that’s definitely a hard one. I’d love to see this blog grow more…but if I had to pick one thing it’d probably be more books to movies that are close to the book. I’d love to see more of that.
  5. What is your favorite book you read this year?
    My favorite book that I read this year was Poison Princess by Kresley Cole by far. But I also battle that with Archangel’s Enigma by Nalini Singh. Neither of them compete with one another though because the genres are so different so I have to pick both!
  6. Coffee or tea?
    Tea!!! Big time. Unless I’m studying…then coffee.
  7. Have you visited anywhere exciting in the past year? Where?
    Unfortunately I haven’t been able to visit anywhere exciting in the past year, but I’m hoping to be going back to the UK next year again (sadly couldn’t get there this Christmas). But does University count?
  8. What is your favorite thing about blogging/writing?
    My favorite thing is being able to share my love for books with others and find a community of people who feel the same. Even if I don’t know someone who comments on this blog, and probably will never get to know them, I feel like I know them just a little bit because of their view on a particular book.
  9. What would you do if you won a million dollars?
    I’d continue to go to university and pay for my tuition, but I’d probably get off campus housing, and then I’d also put some money into this blog, buy a car for myself, maybe give a little to my parents (maybe!), donate a little, and then use whatever is left for books and movies!
  10. What book would you like to see made into a movie?
    Gosh….that’s a hard one but I’d love to see Nalini Singh’s books made into a movie. But also Kresley Cole’s book too, just because it’d be cool!
  11. What is your current favorite tv show?
    Currently it is probably either American Horror Story or City Hunters which is a Korean drama.

My Nominees

ALPHA Reader

Death, Books, and Tea

In Bed With Books 

Knight Reader 

The Small Book Blog 

Dana’s YA Bookpile

Building Lifelong Readers 

The Geeky Blogger’s Book Blog

Avid Reader Musing

Fangirl Confessions 

The AP Book Club

My Questions

  1. What’s one habit you have when you read (ex: drink tea, special chair, etc)?
  2. What’s your favorite book of 2015?
  3. Favorite movie of all time?
  4. If you press shuffle on your music device, what’s the first song which comes up?
  5. What got you in love with reading?
  6. Favorite book to movie (if you have one)?
  7. If you could only eat one food forever, what would it be?
  8. If you could meet one book character, who would it be and why?
  9. What book would you want to be transported into?
  10. Pets? If so what are they, if not would you want one?
  11. One book you really want to read in 2016?

 

This has been so much fun, if not a little stressful. Good luck to the nominees!

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An awesome blog I found!!!

So I’ve recently been looking around the great internet to find some new blogs to follow and I stumbled across this awesome blog!

It’s called The Book Zone (For Boys) and essentially it’s a blog that is filled with books that would seriously appeal to boys. As stated on the blog, it doesn’t only pertain to boys, as girls would like the books, but the books that are reviewed on the blog are more masculine in nature and would be more interesting towards guys.

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In addition to having that blog, he also has an adult version of it, Book Zone Big Brother which are books that are for males but for adults.

Book Zone Big Brother logo

 

Honestly, this is an incredible idea! I’ve never really thought about it before how most books are more girl oriented or wouldn’t completely catch the interest of guys as much and so compiling books that guys may like more is a great idea!

Definitely go check out both blogs and have a look around as they’re fantastic!

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Day 2: Audit Your Brand

So the second thing they told us to do was look around the blog and see how we felt about the theme and how it represented what we wanted.

Honestly, I really like the theme this blog has for now. I know that I’ve always jumped around with the theme but it’s hard to choose a good one that you don’t have to pay for (since I am on a student budge and never can afford anything anyway). But finally I found one that I like and think is nice and simple. Yes, it will be changed probably around Halloween (if the Halloween themes are good) and I may change it around Christmas as well, but otherwise this is what I’m keeping.

It’s simple, easy to read, and just seems to fit.

My question to my readers is, do you find on blogs that the theme can color your opinion on the blog? Do you feel that the blogs theme really gives you a serious impression or is it just superfluous ‘information’?

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Day One: Set Goals

Yes…this was due a few hours ago, but better late than never, right?

So today’s assignment was to give your blog 3 goals. Now when I first thought of it I figured that would be hard and it kind of was, but I finally got my 3 goals.

  1. Average 30-50 views a day
  2. Gain 2 new followers every month
  3. Use my blog to help get me future employment or notoriety

Now the last one I would like to clarify. When I say notoriety, I don’t mean being famous or anything like that. I’d just like for my blog to slowly become a little better known among the book blogging world. Yes, it will be hard to do. But I want to try.

Hopefully I’ll get there! ^.^

Now’s also the second when I thank all my followers for staying there through the thick and thin. Hopefully we’ll be solid and this blog will continue to grow.