Name: Jessiqua Wittman
Where are you from? Oklahoma, USA
A little about yourself: (`ie: Your Education, Family life, Ect.)
I’m a child of an amazing, unpredictable yet reliable God. I’m the wife of a strong and wise man. I’m the mother of two adorable and rambunctious children. I’m a high school dropout who made straight A’s on my GED. And I’m an author of gritty fiction novels.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I’m about to publish my second book: A Memoir of Mercy. ( http://tiny.cc/kpc83w ) It’s the sequel to my beloved first book: A Memoir of Love. ( http://tiny.cc/ooc83w ) But it can be easily read on its own as well.
Here is a short summary for A Memoir of Mercy.
“What is A Memoir of Mercy about?
A Memoir of Mercy is about a girl.
She thinks that she’s a good girl, but really she’s not.
Then she thinks that she’s a bad girl, but really she’s not.
Gradually she discovers who she really is, and the answer shocks everybody, especially her parents…
What else is A Memoir of Mercy about?
A Memoir of Mercy is about a nation.
This nation thinks that it’s a sturdy, well-seated nation, but really it’s not.
Then the nation thinks that it’s falling apart, but really it’s not.
Gradually the nation discovers where it really stands, and that through the turmoil, it’s only grown stronger.
And that is a beautiful thing.”
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I first began writing as a teenager. The stories just swelled out of me. I filled entire notebooks with A Memoir of Love’s first draft. It just burned in my heart and fingertips.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When people first started giving me feedback on how much my books had spoken to their lives and hearts.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Life, trying to make sense of things… I wrote a blog post about that actually. You can read it here: http://tiny.cc/m8c83w
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Gritty, inspirational and dramatic. I like to keep it real, but my “real” is very exciting.
Fiona: How did you come up with your book titles?
The titles of my novels so far were chosen for practical reasons. I write stories in “first person”, so the book comes across almost like you’re reading a journal. A Memoir of Love is written by a spunky, married woman named Love. A Memoir of Mercy is written by a bouncy, young woman named Mercy.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
There are several hidden messages in my novels, however, the central theme of each story is tied in the name of the woman that wrote it. A Memoir of Love is about learning what true love is. A Memoir of Mercy is about learning what true mercy is.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
My books are more realistic than most fictional stories. All my characters, even the heroes, screw up on a regular basis. They’re not heroes because they’re perfect or even very good people, they’re heroes because they keep trying to do what they know is right.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I rarely pull from people I know. Sometimes it happens unintentionally. Every character has a bit of me and my experiences infused into them though, yes.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
Good question… hm… the Bible. Calvin Miller’s work. C.S. Lewis’ work. Frank Peretti’s work. Ray Bradbury’s work.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Baruch. (From the Bible.) He wrote down the prophet Jeremiah’s words, but he had his own dreams, too. The Lord knew he had dreams for his writing, but He had greater plans for him, so He dedicated a whole chapter of Scripture to speaking to Baruch. (Jeremiah 45)
My favorite part of that? Baruch had plans, but he was stuck writing down the words of a “crazy old prophet”, he had no idea that the words he was writing down would be read and cherished for THOUSANDS of years after his death.
His own writing would have never lasted that long, never.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m reading 1st Kings in the Bible. And I’m getting ready to start into: How To Blog For Profit (Without Selling Your Soul) by Ruth Soukup
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
It depends on what you call new. I like Robert J.A. Gilbert’s stuff. I wish more people would check him out. Here’s a link to his Goodread’s author profile: http://tiny.cc/6xd83w
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I write and work behind the scenes for www.KindredGrace.com , and I’m working on a big 20-day concept series for my blog, and I’m going over the final draft of A Memoir of Mercy so that I can publish it.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
I have a dear friend that’s like family. She’s the one that encouraged me to start showing A Memoir of Love to the rest of the world. She’s ALWAYS encouraging and supportive. I’m blessed to have her as a friend.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
No, not really. I’m a wife and mother. Those things come first. I see my writing more like a ministry. It doesn’t make me much money, that’s for sure.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I’d figure out page sizes and word counts and paragraph indentation BEFORE the last two rounds of editing…. Big waste of time to edit if you have to do it all over again after changing the page size. Especially when you’re talking about a massive tome like my books. Urg…
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I had a fourth grade reading level at age five. I can’t really remember NOT being able to write. It was always in my blood.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Here’s a piece from A Memoir of Mercy that I went over yesterday. Three friends are spies in a high school. There has been some shady, suspicious activity upstairs in the “abandoned wing”, and they think it’s caused by their political opponents. The problem is, their enemies have hired druggie contractors to protect the school, so getting upstairs has taken them several days.
Mercy, my bouncy young woman, is the one telling the story.
“Did you get the door open?” I asked Ash as he led me down the opposite way we usually were directed to go.
“No, but the fates have finally smiled. Justice saw an unusual key in the principal’s office. He snuck back to go get it while the staff are out to lunch.”
“Do you think this will be dangerous? The upper story is supposed to be abandoned because of the lack of structural integrity, right?”
“That’s what we’ve been told,” he said as we reached the forbidden door. “But I checked out the support structure of the entire building yesterday. There’s nothing wrong with it.”
I nodded and tried to look casual as Justice came and handed Ash a small, gold colored key.
“Did anyone see you take it?” Ash asked as he palmed it and glanced around.
“I don’t think so,” Justice replied. “The room was empty.”
Ash frowned before glancing down the hall again, then he quickly tried the key in the door. It didn’t seem like it was going to work at first, but then he bumped the door as quietly as possible with his shoulder so that it would completely shut before trying again. It worked that time.
After yet another glance down the hall, Ash quickly opened the door and glanced inside, then ushered us in. A narrow, grey, hallway staircase was on the other side, I started up it, then froze when Ash slipped in after us and shut the door. There weren’t any lights. We were now in complete darkness.
“Uh… now what?” I asked in a slightly trembling tone.
The crack of a glow stick sounded. I could hear Ash shaking it as he passed close beside me on the stairs.
“Now we check out what they don’t want us to see up here,” he said.
I glanced back at my slightly unnerved brother before grabbing Ash’s hand and following him.
At the top of the staircase there was a maze of locked doors. Ash didn’t seem intimidated though. He immediately started down a hallway, towards the east wing.
“You act as if you know where you’re going,” I whispered as we trotted along.
“I had a hunch and drove up here on my motorbike last night,” he whispered back. “Lights were shining out of the windows of this side of the building.”
“Could you see what they were doing?”
“No. I almost got caught trying to drive up closer. My bike is too loud.”
“Who almost caught you?” Justice asked.
“I don’t know. He had a helmet on. But I do know he had a motorbike of his own, and a voice that seemed far too deep for his skinny frame.”
We reached an important looking door at the east end. “A Room” was stenciled on the front of it in inky looking letters.
Ash looked it over before turning around and looking over the door on the other side of the hallway. “B Room” was stenciled on the front of it.
“This was the room I saw the most light in,” he said as he studied the lock on the B room. “But this is another one of those thin locks I don’t have a pick for.”
“So now what do we do?” I asked.
He took ahold of the doorknob with a firm grip and shook the entire door to see how strong it was. Then he stepped back and stated, “Now you know why we brought ol’ Justice along on our little date. Have at it, big boy.”
“I might break it,” my brother said as he shook the door like Ash had.
“Look at it like collateral damage of war. Inevitable,” Ash replied.
Justice glanced at me, then shrugged and rammed his shoulder against the flimsy wooden door. I cringed at the loud thumping sound it made and hurriedly glanced down the hallway.
We all silenced for a long moment, listening.
Nobody seemed to have noticed.
“Do you think you can get it next time?” Ash asked.
Justice nodded, then sucked in a deep breath and rammed the door much harder than before. The door splintered at the jamb and crashed open to reveal a large room. Inside was filled with rows of large manufacturing equipment. There were windows with closed blinds on the opposite side of the room that let in a small amount of dismal grey light through.
“What are they making?” I asked nobody in particular as I picked a large piece of pierced leather out of a bin next to the door, then dropped it back in.
“I think a better question to be asking at this point is: why are they making it?” Ash stated as he sat on a barstool that was pulled up to one of the machines and started looking for paperwork around it.
“The brand on the equipment itself says ‘Murr,” Justice stated from a bending down position as he looked at the bottom of one of the machines.
At that moment, a deep voice sounded from a door connected to our room.
“Hey! What are you kids doing up here?!”
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
My books are long. Usually 900-1000 pages. Convincing someone to try to read that big of a book is difficult. Once they get started, they usually love the length though.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
K.A. Brown. A friend of a friend. She also did the beautiful illustrations inside.
I have a page dedicated to her artwork on my blog here: http://tiny.cc/sse83w
And here is her DeviantArt profile: http://justencase.deviantart.com/
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book, and what was it?
I learned so many life lessons it was unbelievable. I don’t learn well from pie-in-the-sky platitudes. A story that gets down in the nitty-gritty speaks more to me than anything. And the stories that God has given me get down in the nitty-gritty like crazy.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Do what you’re called to do. Don’t fear the flak. People will say bad things about you no matter what you do. It isn’t what they call you that matters, it’s what you answer to.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thanks for your loyalty, guys. You all mean so much to me!
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
Changing diapers and playing piano.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Probably become an inspirational storyteller/speaker. I love helping people reach their full potential. Everyone needs all the help they can get, in my opinion.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
My author website is: www.jessiquawittman.com
My blog is: www.jessiquawrites.blogspot.com
My Facebook page is: www.facebook.com/JessiquaWittman