I’m so excited about today’s author interview with Jessica Booth! As you know, she’s one of our contributors and editors! She is also a published author! So without any further delay, let’s welcome Jessica!
Tell us more about A Match Made in Autumn.
When people ask me what my book is about, I usually say, “Think Christmas Hallmark rom-com, but make it an autumn festival and throw in a cold case.” Our leading lady, Amelia, has been put in charge of reviving a small-town fall festival in North Louisiana, but she has a lot of self-doubt. Our main guy, Rhett, is a local newspaper reporter who is trying to get his writing groove back. The two have an embarrassing past but are forced together as their work draws them to the same place. There’s also a crazy old lady trying to sabotage everything and a meddling one-eyed rescue dog.
What are you most excited for readers to read in A Match Made in Autumn?
This is such a hard question! I’m excited for readers to get a taste of life in northern Louisiana (which is very different from New Orleans!), and what having an abysmally hot autumn can be like. But I also hope that readers laugh – and maybe even cry a little – as the story unfolds.
Do you have a favorite character?
Aunt Margie, my FMC’s aunt, is, by far, my favorite. She’s honest to a fault and has so much gusto. I love her.
How long did it take you to craft A Match Made in Autumn?
I’ve always wanted to write a book, and, more specifically, I’ve wanted autumn to have a book like Christmas always gets. My New Year’s resolution was to finally do it! So between outlining, drafting, editing, and producing, it took me about 11 months.
What was the trickiest scene to write?
The spicy scenes! No one told me how difficult those would be to craft. Even though no one was reading as I wrote them, I still got embarrassed. And then, you have to decide what words you’re comfortable with and think about who is going to be reading this. I finally fixed myself a glass of wine and just went for it.
Walk us through a day in your life when writing. Do you have to write at a particular time of day? In a specific spot?
Because I’m a mom of four children and have a full-time job, I wrote whenever I could squeeze in time. A lot of times, I would drop into my home office chair while dinner was cooking or close my office door on my lunch break and sneak in some writing. Long writing days were always on weekends and planned with my husband. He would whisk the kids off for a trip to the ice cream store or even to Walmart to give me a couple of hours of uninterrupted writing time.
Did you always want to be an author?
Always, always. From the time my parents first read Dr. Seuss to when I wrote letters to authors before email really existed…authors have always been my heroes. Being an author was “career goal” for me.
You decided to self-publish. Why is that?
The short version is that I queried a literary agent but only had a response rate of about 30%. Those who responded sent me kind notes but mostly said, “this isn’t what I’m looking for right now.” I even had one agent tell me she was rooting for me.
While I contemplated continuing to query, I went to a book signing for Elena Armas (author of The Spanish Love Deception) and Kerry Rea (author of Lucy on the Wild Side). Both said the first self-published before getting picked up by literary agents for subsequent books. The more I dug into this idea, the more I discovered this to be the case with many romance writers (Sarah Adams and BK Borison are two others off the top of my head). I knew I already had a great social media platform, a fantastic professional editor, and a connection with a local bookstore, so I just decided to go for it!
Was self-publishing hard? What do you think are the pros and cons?
Yes. I had to learn a lot of things very quickly. Fortunately, I have a lot of skill sets from my professional work as an editor, graphic designer, and bookstagrammer that helped put me on the fast track. The main pro to self-publishing is full control. You get to decide what stays in your book and what goes. You get to pick your cover, set your own publishing timeline, etc.
The con is that you literally have to do it all. A few things that I had to learn very quickly included: purchasing ISBN numbers, the best way to distribute my book in print and digital, how to get the word out, and what a reflowable epub file is, just to name a few. Fortunately, I could do my own book layout and cover design, but most also have to search for and hire that out.
Will there be a sequel to A Match Made in Autumn?
Yes! Book two is already in the works and will follow a separate set of characters in the same universe. This one will be set in the summer!
Before I let you go, where can readers find you on social media?
My handle is @readbelievelove everywhere I have social media, which includes: Instagram, Twitter, and Goodreads! I also have an author website: www.jessicaboothauthor.com
Did you enjoy today’s interview? Leave a comment below!