Book # 1
By- Jessica E. Paige
Genre- YA Fairy Tale/Folklore
Orphaned at a young age, 15-year old Anouk’s punishment for being too outspoken is an arranged marriage worse than any she could imagine. Fleeing on horseback, yet without a sense of where to turn, she stumbles upon an idyllic village where she finds safe haven. Could this be home?
Ultimately, it will lead her to confront the very face of death, yet amidst the danger and darkness, she meets a handsome woodsman and finds a glowing blue flower with power beyond her wildest dreams.
Inspired by Russian fairy tales and steeped in ancient folklore, Paige’s novel is ripe with fantasy, love, and courage.
What inspired you to write this book?
I’ve always loved mythology and have been especially inspired by the work of Joseph Campbell. As I started to read more Russian and Baltic folklore, I knew I wanted to write a story that included some of the characters from those tales. I also wanted to write something with a young woman as the hero.
Can you give us an interesting fact about your book that isn't in the blurb?
Anouk’s horse, Lucya, is based on the horse I had when I was younger.
How did you choose your title?
Lots of brainstorming with people on my book publishing team! We went through a bunch of keywords and tried to come up with something that gave a feel for the book.
Tell us about the cover and how it came to be.
When I was young, I used to ride my horse in the woods and there was a spot where the trees and shrubs made a sort of tunnel of green. I used to ride through there and hope that I might come out into another world, different than my own. I wanted the cover to convey a woodsy feel and the transition into a world with magic and adventure.
Did you self publish or publish traditionally and why?
I published with Booktrope, which is kind of a unique publishing model. I liked the fact that you could choose your own team and that you retained a lot of creative control throughout the process.
What do you consider the most important part of a good story?
I really want to like at least one of the characters, ideally the protagonist.
What is your writing process?
I usually write in the mornings, on the days I’m not working. I like to have my breakfast and a cup of tea and then go upstairs to the room where I write. A lot of times I’ll listen to some music, then read some Joseph Campbell or folktales for inspiration.
How long have you been writing?
As long as I can remember. I remember writing a story in second grade that just went on and on :)
How did you get started writing?
I did a lot of writing in my work and just a little creative writing on the side. I didn’t get serious about writing a book until about ten years ago.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I’m a combination of the two. Some of the writing just takes me where the story wants to go, but sometimes I have to do a little outlining when I get stuck.
What part of the writing process is the hardest for you?
Figuring out when to stop editing.
What tips can you give on how to get through writers block?
I think keeping to a ritual helps--just showing up and writing at the same time every day until you start to feel it again. I also find reading mythology provides good inspiration since the characters, themes and struggles are so timeless and universal.
What kind of music do you like to listen to while you write?
Before I start writing, I like to listen to music that’s a little whimsical like Regina Spektor, Yael Naïm, Gregory Alan Isakov or Natalie Merchant. Then when I start writing, I have to turn the music off because I get too distracted.
Who is your favorite author?
Depends on the day :) I really like Richard Adams, Karen Joy Fowler, Joanne Harris, James Herriot and Rebecca Wells, but it would be hard to pick a favorite.
Who is your favorite character from a book?
That’s a tough one. Maybe Merlyn from The Once and Future King. I also love Hazel and Fiver from Watership Down.
What is your favorite book?
Another tough one. I’d have to go with Watership Down since it was one of my first favorites.
Read anything good lately?
I’m actually re-reading The Once and Future King right now.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
If I’m not working or writing, I’m usually walking the dogs in the woods, digging in the garden, making herbal concoctions, or watching some Netflix with my husband.
What advice would you give an author just starting out?
Try to keep it fun and joyful. And write with your heart.
Have you had anything else published?
Some non-fiction manuals on environmentally friendly horsekeeping.
What's your next project?
I’d like to finish the sequel for Chasing Ravens!
Jessica Paige hails from the Seattle area where she lives with her husband and two dogs. Though she was raised in the Pacific Northwest, Jessica has long been intrigued by the ancient folklore of her Slavic and Lithuanian roots. Her love of horses and the outdoors led her to a career in environmental outreach, and her studies in herbalism. When she’s not working or writing, you’ll find her digging in the garden, creating herbal remedies, or walking in the woods with her dogs. You can visit her at www. jessicaepaige.com.