Author Interview……..Jess Sturman-Coombs

A Little About You And Your Book

I live in Northamptonshire, a region famous for making shoes and hopefully, one day, also known as the birthplace of a great selling novel called Poker Face! OK so I have a vivid imagination but that’s kind of my job so it’s fine.

Poker Face is my debut novel but it isn’t the first book I’ve written and I can’t wait to get stuck into editing my sci-fi/fantasy series and my romance. I have also written a sizzly novel that may have to go under another name for fear I’ll never be able to show my Poker Face avatar again! I would also like to set up a website devoted to my children’s books and I’d like to have a go at illustrating them too. Watch out stick people, here I come!

As Poker Face is my first literary baby I’d like to take this opportunity to shout a little bit about that if I may. It is currently doing so much better than I had ever realistically hoped for. Of course, unrealistically it hit the best seller’s charts within 24 hours of publishing and production companies were fighting over the film rights, while agents clambered over each other to get to my door but, on a more sensible level, people bought it, loved it and reviewed it. I couldn’t have asked for a better boost for my writing confidence. The fact that it has done so well has meant I have been able to work on releasing the second in the series, The Puppet Master, which is due to be launched on 22nd November 2012!

What Inspired You To Start Writing?

Good question! 😀 I was quite lonely in my early teens and this resulted in me having to spend way too much time with my scary imagination and my memories and fears. It was then that I first put pen to paper and wrote down everything that was bothering me. When I had finished I would destroy the evidence and it always made me feel a little bit better. I did the same just before I had children but this time the words slowly turned into poetry that I felt more inclined to keep rather than burn. I then gingerly ventured into writing poetry for children and children’s books. In the last few years I’ve let the creative floodgates open and this has resulted in huge stories that have turned into novels in a matter of weeks and months. In answer then, I suppose you could say that what really inspired me to write was a desperate need to get whatever was in my head out of my head.

How Has Writing Changed Your Life?

I’ve just looked at this question and been surprised by how apt it is in relation to my answer to the first one! Can you read my mind, Paul? Ha ha! Writing has changed my life in so many ways! From the rehabilitative nature of my very first scribblings to the fact that I now actually earn money out of it, just goes to show how writing is something that has grown with me. It has adapted and evolved over time and it has offered me an outlet when I’ve needed it, a focus when I’ve felt slightly lost and an income when incomes are hard to come by. Things that once burdened my mind and sleep now serve to fuel my most thrilling scenes and the feedback has done the most amazing things for my self esteem and confidence. I only wish I had recognised writing as a talent, and something to be proud of, much sooner in my life.

What Is Your Favourite Book, Ever?

My most favourite book ever has been the topic of many discussions and it is one that literally makes me groan because I just can’t answer it in the way that I’d like to. Ask me my most favourite film ever and I’d tell you Leon, Shawshank and The Fugitive easily, but with books there have been so many! I have been so altered by some that I haven’t been able to pick up another for days afterwards for fear of feeling like I’m cheating on someone or something. I am yet to read some of the major classics and this is my mission for 2013, I really can’t wait! I have fallen in love with many books and many characters but I’m going to be different and tell you my most favourite book ever is a children’s book. It’s the one and only Danny Champion of the World by Roald Dahl. It makes me cry because a man loses his wife but gains a son and a best little friend too. Who couldn’t be moved by that? It was one of the first books I ever read to myself and as an adult it’s the one I have shared most fondly with my children. For all of those reasons I am labelling it ‘My most favourite book ever!’

What Is The Best Piece Of Writing Advice You Could Give, And Why?

Oh my word my best piece of writing advice… thinking… hard… struggling… I think it would have to be: Never forget that you are in control of your writing! Write whatever you want and whenever you can and worry about editing it later. If a scene seems physically impossible then write it and then set about making it possible. I believe too much thinking and not enough doing can stem the flow of some pretty awesome creative juices. I personally have gained so much more out of my work by opening my mind and letting it go wherever it will. You can always come back and tone it down, cut it back, trim it up and polish it, but you need something down on paper to do that with. Write as regularly as you can manage and write what’s on your mind. Let your characters dally and experiment and remember that the drafting stage is a secret; no one else will know what you pointed your red pen at and struck through.

If You Were A Dragon, What Kind Of Dragon Would You Be?

I think I am a dragon! First thing in the morning I am anyway! I don’t know too much about dragons, although I am looking forward to reading your book very soon. I think I would be one of those very colourful ones you see on display in shops with little wings that are just too small for my body, making the journey from A to B more hard work than it really needs to be. Luckily I’d be a determined and stubborn one so I’d get there in the end, I always do! I’d breathe fire (but only when nobody was looking) and I’d rather chat, drink tea and have a laugh than chain myself to towers to keep gallant knights at bay. If I did have to chain myself to a remote tower somewhere I’d be hoping there was internet access and at least a plug for my temperamental laptop charger.

Thanks very much for having me on your very lovely blog, Paul! I so hope that I haven’t rambled too much!

Pokerface is available from

Check out Jess’s great website here.

Your thoughts are much appreciated..........Thanks!