Saturday, May 2, 2020

Inside the Mind: Jessica Berg

Welcome to Inside the Mind where we here at The Faerie Review interview authors and creators.
Our guest today is Jessica Berg, the author behind Amber Waves of Grace.

Lily:  Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview Jessica I really enjoyed reading Amber Waves of Grace. What was the spark that made you decide to write this book?
Jessica:  As a farm girl, I always wanted to share the world in which I grew up. The men and women of the prairie, especially the Dakotas, are often overlooked. I wanted to change that.
Lily:  I think you definitely succeeded in bringing the feel of the farm home. Was Corrie inspired by anyone?

Jessica:  Corrie was inspired by all the strong women I know who work on farms. Their work ethic and strength, especially when times get rough, should be considered a super power.
Lily:  That's wonderful inspiration! The book can get a bit emotional at times, was it hard to write any of the scenes?
Jessica:  Yes! I cried as I wrote some of them, but I wanted to keep my book real and display raw human emotion because that’s real life. I want people to be able to relate to my characters and that is only possible if my characters are as real as possible. 
Lily:  I must admit I cried a little when reading this, so I'd call that a success. I felt like I could meet any one of your characters on the street in a farm town. Did the book end like you thought it would when you first started writing it? 
Jessica:  In a big-picture kind of way, yes. I always knew which characters would get together, but I had no clue how I’m a “pantser,” so therefore, I often don’t know what’s happening until it happens!
Lily:  I'm glad they ended up where you expected! Now we’d like to talk about you as a writer. Where is your favorite place to write?
Jessica:  My favorite place to write is on my parents’ porch on their farm in North Dakota. I live in a city in South Dakota, and as the prairie is my FAVORITE place in the whole world, whenever I get a chance to sit on my parents’ porch, listen to the birds and frogs, soak up the sunshine, and write, I relish it!
Lily:  It sounds like a really peaceful place to write. How do you deal with writer’s block?
Jessica: I drink, and then cry, and drink some more. Just kidding…kind of. I usually walk away from my manuscript for a while or I’ll dabble on a different story idea. Most of my ideas come to me when I’m not even at my computer, so sometimes I’ll go for a walk, or, if it’s summertime, I’ll go weed my flower garden.
Lily:  Sometimes stepping away from a creative block is the best thing you can do. When did you start writing?
Jessica:    I started writing when I was in the 8th grade. I’m sure I can dig out a couple of horribly written stories from those early teen years! But, that’s the writer’s journey. When I reached my mid-twenties, I wrote my first novel…which will NEVER see the light of day. I looked at it just a couple of weeks ago, and I laughed and cried at what I had thought was amazing work No one will ever see it!
Lily:  I think anyone who's written probably cringes a little at their early work. Let’s finish up with some fun questions and get inside your mind. What hobbies do you have?
Jessica:  I love to read. I am an English teacher After that, writing, exercising (right now I’m on a yoga kick), working in my flower garden (zinnias are my favorite flower; I actually have a tattoo of one on my ankle), spending time with my family (who inspires most of my characters), and crafting (I enjoy upscaling old jars).
Lily:  I can't wait to have a garden next year, and obviously reading is one of my favorite hobbies (I guess the blog is kind of a giveaway). What’s the cutest animal in the world?
Jessica:  Baby elephants! When my husband and I went to Kenya two years ago on a mission trip, we went to an elephant orphanage. It was the coolest moment of my life! A close second though, are meerkats! 
Lily:  That sounds like a great trip, and they're definitely both cute. If you could go back in time as an observer, no one could see you, and you couldn’t interact with anything, when would you want to go back to?
Jessica:  As I am a Jane Austen fan girl and I love all her books, except for Mansfield Park, I would go back to the Regency Period.
Lily:  I'd love to see all the fashions from then outside reproductions or a museum. Would you rather be a reverse centaur or a reverse mermaid?
Jessica:  When someone offers an opportunity to be a mermaid, even a reversed one, always choose mermaid!
Lily:  Both would definitely be interesting, but being able to go underwater would be a nice change. Where are five places you really want to visit before you die?
Jessica:  Ireland, Alaska, Bora Bora, Australia, New Zealand
Lily:  A few of those are on my bucket list too. What’s your favorite holiday?
Jessica:  Christmas!
Lily:  I love the Christmas traditions we celebrate with my family. Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
Jessica:  I think you covered everything nicely.
Lily:  Thank you again for coming to chat! How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Jessica:  I keep my website up to date, I have a newsletter that I send out occasionally (I never spam people), and I am active on my author’s Facebook page and Instagram. On a side note: I love interacting with my readers. In fact, I want to celebrate readers because without them, there are no authors, no books! Readers need to understand and embrace the power they have Readers are the reason writers write at all!

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