Welcome, Jess Mountifield, to A Million Miles from Anywhere.
Please tell us a little about yourself.
I am a quirky person who lives in the gorgeous Roman City of Bath, UK. I'm married with a very dapsy cat and spend most of my time (if not writing) watching films, exploring the countryside and doing anything a little crazy with my friends.
Why did you start writing?
I wrote a lot as a kid, for therapy, especially when I had nightmares. After writing them down they never seemed so bad, but I stopped when I was seventeen. Several years later a good friend mentioned he was writing something. When I told him I used to write he asked why I'd stopped and I realised I didn't have a good answer.
When I went away and thought about it more I had an idea pop into my head and then I was set. That idea led to my first novel, With Proud Humility and I've not really looked back since.
Which of your books are you most proud of and why?
Probably Sherdan's Prophecy. It's a Sci-fi book that sort of also classifies as Christian. I really stepped out of my comfort zone with this one, dealing with characters being tortured and all sorts of other challenging subjects like science vs faith. So far all the feedback has been really good, from people who have some kind of faith and people who don't, which has made the hard work seem all worthwhile.
Please give a little information about your writing process.
I'm pretty much halfway between a plotter and a pantser. I get an idea and add it to my notebook, then let it bounce around the back of my brain for a while until I feel like I know the characters well enough to write about them, then I'll write a 500-1,000 words long outline, of what I think happens to them in their story, not really enough to be called a plotter and more than the fly by the seat of my pants approach.
Usually after that I try and write about 1,500-2,000 words every week day until the books finished in first draft. Once I'm happy everything's written down I leave it for a few weeks and then go through the massive editing process. I do a second draft, send it off to me editor, then after all that's sorted it goes off to my two proofreaders and then finally I look over it once more. Only then do I dare to declare a book done. Since there always seem to be mistakes missed even after all that I usually find I do one more go through, adding a few corrections that are pointed out.
Are you traditionally or indie published? What do you think about the “other” way of publishing?
I'm an indie all the way. For me personally it's never been a tough decision. I like getting to sit down with my own cover designer and plan out what I'd like. I also like being able to write what I want. If I'd been trying to go the traditional way I'd never have Sherdan's Prophecy out there. It's too gritty to be picked up by a Christian imprint and God is mentioned a few too many times to get a standard Sci-fi publisher to pick it up.
Please give a little information about your most recent book.
My most recent book is a fantasy short called Wandering to Belong and I'm running it's official ebook launch on 16th March here. It's set in my fantasy world, Ethanar and features a young human girl, Aneira, as she wanders the wilderness, trying to look for her people. She finds something she really didn't expect instead.
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What do you think sets your book apart from other books in the same genre?
A lot of books in the fantasy genre, have epic plot-lines where the main character has to save the entire world and risk their lives in the process. With my short fantasy books I usually write about more everyday characters, people we can relate to, as they go about their daily lives and encounter a dose of the unexpected. I'd like to think all of them have something a bit more normal about their journeys and stories.
Why would you suggest someone read your book over all the other books out there?
This is a tough question to answer, there are a lot of awesome books out there, but I'd like to think I offer good easy to relate to characters who tackle adversity well, even if they make a few mistakes.
What do you hope people will gain from reading your book?
I would hope people would always feel a little better after reading my books, a little stronger maybe or a little braver, with a bit more hope that life really is what you make of it.
If there was one thing you would change about your life, what would it be?
I think I'd make myself better at living in the now and getting excited about what's happening right now rather than always looking to the future and the next big thing. I'm a determined person who strives for great things most of the time. Sometimes I need to remember the now should be appreciated for being awesome too.
If there was one thing you could change about the world, what would it be?
I'm torn between intolerance and injustice, although I think to some degree they go hand in hand. So many people think their way of life is the right way and try to enforce their ideas on other people and so many people put their own needs above those of the people around them to the detriment of society as a whole. I think we'd all benefit from having more respect about what people belief and feel and have as basic rights.
Any last comments ...
Thanks for having me on your blog and asking some very interesting questions and thank you everybody who read this! If anyone wants to find out even more about me or check out my books, my website is full of all that sort of stuff - www.jessmountifield.co.uk
Thank you Jess, for coming on to the blog today. Good luck with your writing and for anyone looking to find out more about Jess's work you can use the contact links below -