Then there was the massive excitement when she email-chatted me about catching the eye of Janice of Lucky Press--now her publisher. There was even a bit of interaction between myself and Janice about my novel, which I credit to Jess's speedy help in preparing a query letter.
I consider her a dear friend.
Please give a warm, Alleyway welcome to her main character, Melody.
Hi Melody! It's a pleasure to have you here. Where did your love for music come from?
Well, originally, before being influenced by my parents’ love of music, and Joni Mitchell, it was my grandmother, (my mother’s mother) who encouraged me to sing when I was as young as three or four. My grandmother, Bertha Shea, who was born in
greatly influenced by Mildred
Bailey, a popular American jazz singer during the 1930s. My grandmother would
sing her hit Rockin’
Chair with me so many times. She died when I was ten in a freak road
accident. And don’t remember much more than the cosy nights by the piano. I
never spoke about her in this story because it would have created tangents to
completely different aspects of my life that just weren’t relevant. Not to
mention, Betty’s (my mother) childhood too, and the influence my grandmother
had on her being an American married to an Australian, etc. The story would
have just gone out of control. I guess you can say there’s a history of
marrying into different cultures! Washington,
Oh. I'm so sorry for your loss, but I think the relationship you and your grandmother shared is beautiful.
Many times, as Jessica told your story, I felt you sink into your past, your music. How hard was that for you? How deep did the regret of giving up your music for a time go?
I’m not sure I can explain that any better than how I do in the book. Your followers will just have to read it. J
There were parts of your childhood that you obviously wanted to forget, parts of your relationship with your mum. How do you think that inner struggle to forgive, to forget, to not be like your mum, yet still love her, affected the choices you made?
I think I analysed everything too much and forgot to live the moment. My choices were therefore made for the wrong reasons; they were made based on what I romanticized my life to be, rather than looking at what it already was square in the face and doing the math.
Throughout your story, you question yourself--self examine yourself, your marriage, motherhood... Did you find any answers?
Yes. But not by examining myself. I found answers by chance. To be honest, I think they were already there, but I wasn’t looking in the right direction.
I think that's a common thread in life.
Do you believe in fate?
Totally and utterly. Everything happens for a reason.
Without giving away your whole story, what life-advice would you like to share with my readers?
- Firstly, don’t mistake depression with unhappiness. They are completely different things. Depression makes you feel unhappy without reason, don’t try to find excuses for the feeling, they are just excuses, they are not real. Unhappiness is brought on yourself and you can change it. It doesn’t come in waves like depression. It is constant. Try to determine which one you are suffering from before trying to treat it.
- Don’t over-analyse yourself or those around you. Life is more often than not, simple and uncomplicated.
- Don’t take your friends and family for granted.
- Acknowledge your regrets, and then move forward before you waste your life living in your past.
- Take a moment out of every day to savour and enjoy. Otherwise it’s just another date to tick off your calendar.
Thank you, Melody, for being a part of our day, and thank you, Jessica, for sharing Melody's story with us. Looking forward to releasing my book review tomorrow!!
Jessica can be found on her Blog, Website, Facebook, & Twitter. STRING BRIDGE can be found in e-book form at Amazon, Amazon (UK); Paperback - Barnes and Noble, Amazon (US), Amazon (UK), Goodreads. A soundtrack is also being released with the book. How cool is that!! It's available at Amazon, Amazon UK, & iTunes.
Jessica Bell is a literary women's fiction author, poet and singer/songwriter who grew up in Melbourne, Australia, to two gothic rock musicians who had successful independent careers during the '80s and early '90s.
She spent much of her childhood travelling to and from Australia to Europe, experiencing two entirely different worlds, yet feeling equally at home in both environments. She currently lives in Athens, Greece and works as a freelance writer/editor for English Language Teaching publishers worldwide, such as HarperCollins, Pearson Education and Macmillan Education.
In addition to String Bridge, Jessica has published a book of poetry called Twisted Velvet Chains. A full list of poems and short stories published in various anthologies and literary magazines can be found under Published Works & Awards, on her website.
From September 2012 Jessica will be hosting the Homeric Writers' Retreat & Workshop on the Greek island of Ithaca, home of Odysseus.