Let’s give a warm welcome to today’s guest, Jessica Tomese! Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us.
Devon Ellington: You used your father’s family as inspiration for the book — how did you find the characters evolving away from their original inspirations? Did you ever struggle with that?
Jessica Tomese: I guess I always kept their personalities in mind, but no one character is a specific person. I took strengths and stories I remember hearing about certain relatives and incorporated them into the story. My main goal was to take the real, genuine way of life my father’s family lived and keep it alive for myself and any others that read the books. My father’s family was poor in money but rich in values and character. I tried to keep that the focus in my character development. I also never wanted an aunt or uncle to read the book and think, “Oh, no! Is that me she’s talking about?” I took the best of what I admired of people and combined them into all my characters.
DE: As someone who was born in the 1960’s, I shudder to think of it as an historical period, which of course, it was! 😉 Can you see yourself exploring other historical eras? To which are you particularly drawn?
JT: In my sequel, Lost Through Time, I go back to the early 1900’s, to a time in Baudette’s history when an epic fire wiped out 300,000+ acres. The courage to rebuild and start over in such a harsh environment really spoke to me. People hid in tiny streams and cellars while fire blazed all around. Some survived…some didn’t. But I love history in general. I think my generation is very spoiled when it comes to luxuries, free time, and choice. I am drawn to know the courageous ancestors before us that had to fight tooth and nail just to make it each day. Specific time periods that fascinate me are during the time of Henry VIII, the French Revolution, Colonial America, and stories from the Old Testament.
DE: How much outlining do you do? Or do you research, and then just sit down and write?
JT: I do a quick chapter outline, basically making sure I know what I want to include in each chapter. But, my main style is to sit down and start writing- walk away for a few days- then edit.
DE: What is your favorite marketing tool? The hardest part about marketing?
JT: I am horrible at marketing. I am trying to reach out to fellow bloggers and authors to help support each other. I use a lot of giveaways and hope for notice on goodreads.com. I can’t sell myself- even though I believe in my books, it’s not my personality. However, I have received such great feedback from my books, it inspired me to make the first into a trilogy. When a random stranger says they love my book, or character, it’s the greatest feeling in the world!
DE: Have you thought about what you want to write beyond the trilogy? Can you share that with us?
JT: I do want to wrap up the trilogy and get back to my initial book series, which is a children’s chapter book series that I am self- publishing. I have visited a few schools and the kids love my first adventure book, so I want to keep that up. (M&M Twins, Lost in Browser Cave). And I have ideas for two more YA books- a futuristic one, and a more coming of age style one. I am excited to keep the creative outlets open.
Jessica was recently voted Solstice Publishing’s 2012 Author of the Year!
Jessica Tornese’s debut novel, Linked Through Time, was inspired by her home town Baudette, MN. She graduated from high school there and continued her education at Minnesota State University – Moorhead where she earned a degree in education. She spent several years coaching in the Junior Olympic volleyball program in Minnesota as well as the junior varsity team for Lake of the Woods High School in 2010.
Her favorite hobbies include reading, scrapbooking, playing volleyball, and extreme outdoor sports like caving, ziplining, and white water rafting. Jessica is also active in her church and has run several Vacation Bible School programs and Sunday school programs. She enjoys working with kids of all ages!
She hopes to finish her Linked trilogy soon, and continue writing. Recently, she self-published her first juvenile fiction book for kids online. (see M&M Twins)
Jessica is married and has three children. Her family recently relocated to a small town in south Florida.
Linked Through Time-
Fifteen year old Kate Christenson is pretty sure she’s about to experience the worst possible summer at her grandparent’s farm in rural Baudette, Minnesota. Without cable, cell phones, or computers, Kate is headed for total isolation and six tedious weeks of boredom. Until the storm.
A freak lightning accident has Kate waking up in 1960. But she is not herself. She is the aunt she never met, but has eerily resembled her entire life. Thrust into living a dirt poor, rural farm life, Kate struggles to make sense of her situation- a boyfriend with a dark side, a “townie” who steals her heart, and the knowledge that 1960 is the very summer her aunt drowns in the local river.
Even with every precaution, Kate cannot stop fate, and an unexpected twist adds to her dilemma. To her horror, Kate finds out firsthand her aunt’s death was not an accident or a suicide, but something much, much worse.
EXCERPT FROM -LINKED THROUGH TIME
Steering carefully into the gravel drive of the Rapid River parking lot, I swore under my breath as the bike’s rear wheel slid on loose gravel. Trying to right the bike too quickly, I ended up swerving sharply to the left and crashing into the brush at the side of the gravel lot. Flying over the handlebars, I landed in a patch of overgrown weeds, my knee striking a rock hidden in the ground. Pain radiated from my knee, paralyzing me for a moment. I lay sprawled face first in the grass, breathing in the smell of earth and dry grass, cursing myself and everything on the planet.
Emotions overwhelmed my frazzled, fragile mind and I let loose with a string of profanities that would have definitely earned me a whipping. Rubbing my throbbing knee, I groaned.
Lightning flashed and the breeze picked up as if on cue, sending the cattails above my head into an agitated dance.
With great effort, I stood and flexed my leg. I could feel the slightest trickle of blood dripping a warm path down my shin. Perfect, I grimaced. Can anything else possibly go wrong tonight?
My vision had adjusted slightly to the moonless night, but I still had to partly feel my way to the place Travis and I spent the evening. Pushing through the brush, I couldn’t help but sense that uneasy, creepy feeling that comes from wandering in the dark, as though eyes watched you and monster hands waited to grab at your feet. My heart pounded loudly in my ears, the tingling creep of fear working its way from my head down through my limbs. I forced myself to keep my eyes forward, ignoring the nagging feeling that someone or something watched me from the shadows of the rocky shore.
Limbs of the interlocking pines poked and prodded my bare arms as I threaded my way through the trees. The pounding of the rapids had increased with the coming of the storm; the wind tossed the water upon the rocks, sending spray high into the air.
When I broke through the tree line, I stood mesmerized by the awesome power of the roaring water. It looked as if the rapids were fighting to break free of their rocky channel, its watery fingers washing over the rocks, reaching far down the wall, only to withdraw and try again.
Above the churning waters, a simple two-lane bridge hung defiantly in the air, its thick concrete arches planted firmly around the dangerous rocks. Suddenly, a semi loaded with logs thundered across the bridge overhead; its headlights lighting up the darkness for a matter of seconds. I used the momentary help to break my gaze from the water and search the outer banks for my sweater.
A flicker of movement amidst the trees caught my line of sight, and I focused in on a ring of pines to my right; the very place Travis and I had been a few hours earlier.
“Travis?” I called out hopefully, thinking he had remembered to retrieve my sweater.