Interview: Jessica McHugh

Jessica McHugh is like a lot of writers in that she is constantly thinking about books and stories. I remember working at my previous jobs and jotting down notes and ideas while at work just like she did. I know you’re going to enjoy Jessica’s take on writing, and hope you’ll join me in wishing her a very happy upcoming wedding!

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Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from and how long have you been writing?

I’m a 26 year old Production Associate for a molecular diagnostics firm in Frederick, MD who is trying to finish her current novel while stressing about getting married in…yikes….25 days.

I’ve been writing (terribly) since I was in elementary school, and I got more into it in high school, but I really started focusing on writing when I was about 18 and working in a perfume kiosk in a mall. I worked 11 hours a day with nothing to do, so I wrote. I wrote short stories, poetry, and started working on what would eventually become a 5 book fantasy series called The Tales of Dominhydor.

What type of writing do you do?

I don’t set out to write any genre unless its horror. I have a story idea, and it evolves into a genre; although sometimes, like with “Song of Eidolons“, I really had to think before submitting to publishers: what genre is this anyway? Mostly, I’ve written fantasy and scifi, although I’m really starting to think of myself as a slipstream writer. Nowadays, I also try to focus on writing novels or novellas.

What’s the best thing about writing?

Silencing the voices in my head. Honestly, I don’t think I could choose the “best” thing about writing. I’d say it makes me seem like interesting person when someone first meets me, but then I start yammering on about my books, and the person I’ve just met never wants to see me again. For me, its just something I have to do, and I love every minute of it.

Share some of your writing goals.

Obviously, I’d love to be someone whose books are well known, but as “out there” as my writing might be, I’m a pretty grounded person, so I know that fortune and glory probably aren’t in the cards for me. But knowing that truth would never stop me from writing. I love the idea that one day when I have children, they will look up at our bookshelf and see Mommy’s name over and over. Although, they probably won’t be allowed to read most of the books until they’re in their preteens, at least.

Is there a specific time of day you like to write?

Not really. I write whenever I can, no matter what I’m doing and whether I have the proper implements or not. I’ve been known to use eyeliner and my arm when necessary.

What’s the most interesting book you’ve ever read?

Wow, that’s a difficult one. I’d have to say its a tie between “The Phantom Tollbooth” by Norman Juster and “American Psycho” by Bret Easton Ellis, but for completely different reasons. I wouldn’t recommend “American Psycho” to anyone with a weak stomach though.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

Probably when I read “Matilda” by Roald Dahl. I wanted to be bookish like her, and I wanted to be able to write like him. One out of two isn’t bad.

Favorite authors?

Roald Dahl, Walt Whitman, Bret Easton Ellis, Anne Rice, Stephen King, Peter S. Beagle….oh the list goes on and on….

Book you’re currently reading.

HA! My own! I spend so much time writing and editing my own books, I haven’t been able to read a someone else’s from cover to cover in quite a while; something I lament greatly. The last book I read though was “Battle Royale” by Koushun Takami. It’s quite the entertaining read.

Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, how did you get past it? If not, why not?

There are just times you get stuck. Times you say “Okay….where was I going with this? Is this part even necessary? That’s when I take a step back and usually do an outline of events I want to transpire. Sometimes a timeline is also helpful. Writer’s block doesn’t happen to me often because I suffer from TMIS (Too Many Ideas Syndrome) but when it does, whew, its tough.

What’s the measure of a successful writer?

Writing. Getting it down on paper and, if possible, out into the world. I haven’t made much money at all from writing, but I feel very successful.

Advice for other writers?

If you’re serious about being a writer, tell your friends and family exactly that. Tell them that this is what you want and need to do. I’ve found that they become much more supportive and encouraging when they realize its not just a hobby. Writing is a way of life, and once your friends and family learn that, they’ll understand you so much better.

Where can we learn more about you?

I have a website: http://www.JessicaMcHughBooks.com where you can read my blog, see what I’m currently working on, and see plenty of silly pictures of me. I also have a Facebook fan page. My two books that are currently available (Camelot Lost and A Touch Of Scarlet) are on Amazon.com as well.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I’d just like to thank everyone who has supported me over the years and a special mention to my fiance Dave who has made writing LOVE so much easier and more enjoyable.

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