Interview with Jessica Chambers, author of 'Dark Is the Sky'

Jessica Chambers has been inventing stories even before she was old enough to hold a pen. She has a passion for writing contemporary novels packed with emotion, complex relationships and often a touch of mystery.

Visually impaired from birth, Jessica currently lives with her family and Staffordshire bull terrier in the English town of Windsor. In addition to devouring fiction of all genres, she loves watching TV quiz shows and admits to being extremely competitive when it comes to a game of Trivial Pursuit.

Her latest book is Dark is the Sky.

You can visit her website at www.jessicachambers.co.uk.

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About Dark is the Sky

Twelve years earlier, Olivia and Joel Cameron invited the family to spend the weekend at their new country home. Olivia hoped to provide them all with a much-needed escape from their anxiety over the recession crippling the nation; instead, the visit ended in tragedy when Scott, Joel’s wild and outrageously sexy youngest brother, was found dead. The repercussions tore the family apart.

Now, Olivia’s sister Violet has persuaded her to host a reunion. She claims it’s time they finally put the past behind them and laid their ghosts to rest. However, some wounds run too deep to heal, and some secrets are too destructive to remain hidden. Still grieving for the man she loved, Violet is determined to uncover the truth behind his death—a truth she believes lies within her own family.

As the web of deceit and hostility begins to unravel, family ties are tested to the limit, and no one will emerge unscathed.

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Jessica. Can you tell us how long you’ve been writing and how your journey led to writing your latest book, Dark is the Sky?

Hard to say exactly when I started putting my ideas down on paper, but I’ve been inventing stories for as long as I can remember. Still, I didn’t write my first full length novel until leaving school. Naturally, at eighteen, I believed I knew everything there was to know. All I had to do was write a book, any book, then send it off to an agent, who would instantly fall in love with it and land me a six figure contract. Needless to say, that isn’t how things turned out! It’s been a long and often frustrating journey of rejection letters and rewrites, tears and renewed determination, but eventually, in September 2010, my debut novel, Voices on the Waves, was published. I’ve learned so much since then, both about myself and my writing, and even with a second published novel under my belt, I’m learning all the time!

Q: I love your title! Can you tell us why you chose it?

I knew I wanted a title that captured both the darkness and the poignancy of the novel. I should probably mention here that I’m a massive Beatles fan. My dad used to play me their albums in the car every Sunday evening when he drove me to my weekly boarding school, but that’s another story! Suffice to say, I was listening to the Hard Day’s Night album while working on this novel, when these particular lyrics struck a chord with me: “Bright are the stars that shine, dark is the sky” and bingo! I had my title.

Q: Why did you believe your book should be published?

Hmmm. I’m not sure it was so much that I thought my book should be published, although I of course prayed a publisher would love it enough to take it on. No, it was more to do with the fact that, because I enjoyed writing it so much, I hoped readers would enjoy it too. Reading has always been such an important part of my life. If I can bring others just a little of the pleasure books have given me, well, that’s a wonderful thing.

Q: We all know that publishers can’t do all of the publicity and that some lies on the author. What has your publisher done so far to publicize the book and what have you done?

My publisher, All Things That Matter Press, has been incredibly supportive in so far as providing me with plenty of ideas and advice for marketing my book. However, it’s still a relatively small publisher with a limited budget, and no one made any secret of the fact that I would be responsible for the majority of the marketing. So far I’ve been working on obtaining reviews, creating book trailers and meet the author videos, and of course spreading the word through social media. I’d be the first to admit that I’m a long way from being a marketing expert, but I’m learning more every day!

Q: What book on the market can it compare to? How is it different? What makes your book special?

Honestly, I’m not sure it compares directly to any book I’ve read as it crosses over into two distinct genres. It tackles many of the issues dealt with in women’s fiction novels—family, heartbreak, romance—whilst giving readers a mystery to solve. In short, it combines the things I so love in a book.

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

I’m currently straying into the unknown and attempting my first young adult novel. Think the grittiness of Melvin Burgess meets the powerful relationships characterized by Cassandra Clare. With dark secrets, a complex love triangle and rampaging hormones, it’s proving enormous fun!

Q: Thank you for your interview, Jessica. Do you have any final words?

Only to say thank you so much for having me here today, and also to everyone who has been kind enough to buy my book. Your support means the world to me, and I only hope you have as much fun reading it as I did during the writing process.

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