Name  Jessie Clever

Age 33

Where are you from The great state of New Hampshire!

A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc  

I began writing in 2nd grade about a duck and a lost ring.  Two harrowing pages of notebook paper later, the ring was found, and I’ve been writing ever since.

Taking my history degree dangerously, I tell the stories of courageous heroines, the men who dared to love them, and the world that tried to defeat them.

A transplant from snowy Western New York, I live in the amazing state of New Hampshire with my husband and two very opinionated basset hounds.  Affectionately nicknamed Lady Barks-a-lot and Captain Licky, I share their adventures as my writing partners on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

I’m so excited to share that my Christmas Regency romance, To Be a Spy, is now available on audio!  It’s a great mini audiobook to celebrate the season.


Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I began writing because the job of Indiana Jones was already taken, and I thought this was the next best option.


Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

It took me a long time to accept the word writer.  I was thrust into it unexpectedly when my first published books saw more success than I had planned.  People don’t understand what it means to be a writer, and I still find that most don’t take it seriously.  So for a long time, I pushed back at the notion that this was actually my job.  Now I’m proud to say it, because I can see the success of my hard work.  Writing is a truly productive, inspiring occupation.

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

It was a rainy day in Glasgow, and I was studying at the university there.  I shared a flat with two other women studying abroad, and we were all just loafing as the rain came down.  Suddenly a new character appeared in my head from nowhere, and I thought, this lady has a story to tell.  So I sat down and told it.


Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

Yes, I’m often told my stories sound very modern for the time period in which I write, and I do this on purpose.  I like the idea of viewing the history through the lens of the future.  It gives a fresh nuance to historical fiction.


Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

In my Christmas Regency romance, the main character is faced with a dilemma.  His family has a legacy as spies, but signs suggest his future may hold something else for him.  He must choose whether of not he will be a spy.


Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

The theme of family has always resonated with me, and this story puts that theme directly in the spotlight.  Family members may not always do what we expect or wish them to, but in the end they are still our family.  Something our hero’s mother must learn.


Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

My Spy Series books are completely fictional.  The Black family has taken on a life of its own so much so that I can’t put touches of real life in it.  It just wouldn’t fit.


Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?

I read Outlander at an inappropriately young age.  (I was maybe 13 or 14?)  I had never before experienced history in such a way.  It jumped off the page at me.  And I knew I had to write a historical adventure just like that.

Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who  is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

I just discovered Deanna Raybourn, and I love her strong female characters.  She takes historical fiction to a whole new level by defying some of the formulas set out by the classics.  I also very much admire David Morrell’s recent trilogy of Victorian crime in the Thomas DeQuincy series.


Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

My high school English teacher, Mr. Cusimano.  I knew from a very young age that I was going to be a writer, and I was ridiculed a lot.  So many people laughed at me when I said I was going to be a writer, but Mr. Cusimano never did.  He read my work beyond classroom assignments and told me I could live my dreams.  The best thing a young person can hear is that they can do what they only hope to do.


Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

YES!!!  I am emphatic about this one, because in high school, I had to do a project on my future career as an assignment in economics class.  I was told writing wasn’t a career, and I had to pick something else I wasn’t even interested in.  I make my living as a writer now, and it is very much a career.  I take every opportunity I can to encourage young writers and tell them not to listen to the naysayers.  Writing is what I do every day, and it’s how I pay the bills.  How can that not be a career?


Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

I wouldn’t change anything, and I know that’s hard to believe because writers are our own worst editors.  But I wouldn’t.  The story has moved off the page now, and in my mind, it’s complete.


Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

Absolutely!  I grew up in the twigs (that’s the place when you get past the sticks), and any sort of civilization was a good 45-minute drive.  As the youngest of a big family, I was often dragged into the car to run errands when I couldn’t be left alone at home.  We didn’t have a minivan with a DVD player or iPads or iPhones.  It was just me and my dad in the front seat of his plow truck, and my dad would always give me two options.  He was always trying to teach me to sing in harmony with him, and much later, we would find out I’m tone deaf.  (God bless my father for trying that one so many times!)  But more often my dad would say to me, “Tell me a story, Jessie Clever.”  And I would.

Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?

London, 1822

 

It happened on Marlborough Street a little past two o’clock two days before Christmas.

Samuel had just returned from Eton the day before as his Greek studies had compelled him to stay longer than the rest of the students.  It all sounded rather dull, but honestly, it was quite thrilling as one of his tutors believed he had stumbled upon an undiscovered Biblical text.  The ramifications could be enormous, and so when asked to assist him in analyzing the text, Samuel had stayed on, of course.  It wasn’t as if he would miss the opportunity.

And thus two days before Christmas, he found himself on Marlborough trying desperately to find a present for Jane and Elizabeth.  He wondered briefly if any other man of ten and eighteen was stricken with not just one headstrong sister but two for whom to shop, and if those sisters were raised by an equally headstrong mother.  All three of them would not settle for the customary ribbons or baubles or fabrics that other ladies would surely drool over.  If it were anything less than divine, the Black women would not find it at all appealing.

Samuel stared in one window after another hoping inspiration would strike.  It was while waiting for inspiration that the crime was committed.

He was standing innocently enough outside of Rugbottom’s Books admiring a particularly ornate illustration of Shakespeare’s sonnets when the commotion began behind him.  Having been raised in less than ordinary circumstances, the time that lapsed between when the commotion began and when Samuel noticed it was rather exaggerated.  But commotions were quite common in the Black family, and he thought nothing of it.

Until Lady Delia Witherspoon screamed.

“He’s stolen my reticule!”


Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

I’m a history nerd, and in my research, I find so much I want to share with my readers.  It’s hard picking out just a few choice things to make a story shine and not overloading the story until it becomes a history textbook.


Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

I do.  I believe travel is essential when writing for an author to really grasp what a setting is like.  Settings are often overlooked, but at times, they can become an important secondary character to the whole story.


Fiona: Who designed the covers?

The amazing and talented Kimberly Killion designs all of the covers for my books.  She’s currently working on updating the original four novels of the Spy Series, and I can’t wait to release the new editions soon.


Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Letting the characters go.  By the end of a novel, I’ve invested so much in my characters personally that it’s hard to watch the screen fade on their story.  But only when it’s finished can I let it go to the readers who will truly complete the story.  So while it’s the hardest part, it’s also the greatest.


Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I realized I was a lot stronger than I had thought.  Writing a book is tough, and it takes commitment, courage, and determination.  Six novels, two novellas, and four short stories later, I’m still going.  That’s all right by me.

Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead

Harrison Ford was a very big inspiration for me as a kid.  Like I said, I only became a writer because Indiana Jones was taken.  If my Spy Series were adapted into film, I hope he would be on board for the project.


Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Keep writing.  I know that is said over and over again, but it’s true.  Writing takes practice, and like anything that takes practice, it gets easier and better over time.


Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Susan Elizabeth Phillips always says life is too short to read depressing books.  That’s what I want readers to remember about my stories.  It’s all about the adventure.

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

Right now I’m reading Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn.  Fantastic!

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

Yes!  Dick Tracy in Hot Water.  It was a picture book released by Golden Books right after the Warren Beatty movie came out, and I was just learning to read.  I spent hours on that book until I could read every word from cover to cover.

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

My dogs make me both laugh and cry.  Hound dogs will do that to you.  I enjoy the sound of my littlest niece laughing, and memories of my father always make me cry.

Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?

Audrey Hepburn.  She lived through so much with such grace.

Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?

She was loved.  It’s the most important thing you can achieve in your life.

Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?

Wiping dog drool off of walls and vacuuming up copious amounts of dog fur.  Does that not count as a hobby?  Then I would say binge watching British TV.

Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?

I believe there is some brilliant writing on television these days, and I whole-heartedly encourage people to explore.  My favorites are the BBC’s Sherlock (magnificent writing), and reruns of the show Frasier (stunning comedic writing).  I also enjoy the classics like Sunset Boulevard and suspense films like the original Cape Fear.  They just don’t make them like they used to.

Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music

I have a weird love of rice.  I know.  It’s weird.  But when you’re a poor college student, rice is amazing.  My favorite color is purple, and I love, love, love to sing Disney songs in the shower.

Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?

 Stay at home dog mom.  (My Basset hounds are very disappointed that I am not.)

Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?

You can find me at http://jessieclever.com/ where I share updates on my writing, new historical fiction discoveries, exclusive looks into my writing, and the ongoing adventures of Lady Barks-a-lot and Captain Licky.

 

Title:

 To Be a Spy: A Christmas Spy Series Short Story by Jessie Clever

 

Blurb:

Samuel Black must make a decision: to be a spy like his father or follow his heart.

 

Either is likely to give his mother chest pains.

 

For Samuel is no longer a lad with the ambitious and noble wish of being a lamplighter to keep the seedy streets of London safe.  About to embark on university, his mind stirs with the thoughts of creating a policing force in London to safeguard its citizens.  Held back by his family’s legacy as spies, Samuel does not make his ideas known.

 

But when he stops a would-be purse-snatcher, his path unexpectedly veers into that of one Miss Penelope Paiget, and suddenly, Samuel must make a choice.

 

The short stories in the Spy Series:

  1. To Be a Spy
  2. To Be a Duke
  3. To Be a Lady
  4. To Be a Debutante

 

The Spy Series short stories take place after the conclusion of the Spy Series.

 

Goodreads Link:

http://bit.ly/1Ez5cQz

 

Purchase links:

 

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1Xo4cXb

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1bOGy3O

Nook: http://bit.ly/1bzduwB

iBooks: http://apple.co/1b9o4JZ

Google Play: http://bit.ly/1Fxl3QC

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1PRkiVu

All Romance eBooks: http://bit.ly/1EG1vc2

 

About the Author:

 

In the second grade, Jessie began a story about a duck and a lost ring.  Two harrowing pages of wide ruled notebook paper later, the ring was found.  And Jessie has been writing ever since.

 

Armed with the firm belief that women in the Regency era could be truly awesome heroines, Jessie began telling their stories in her Spy Series, a thrilling ride in historical espionage that showcases human faults and triumphs and most importantly, love.

 

Jessie makes her home in the great state of New Hampshire where she lives with her husband and two very opinionated Basset Hounds.  For more, visit her website at jessieclever.com.

 

Connect with Jessie…

 

Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1foelMH

Twitter: http://bit.ly/1IM6UPJ

Google+: http://bit.ly/1rpRvsU

Pinterest: http://bit.ly/KZQ4TQ

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1fge8x9

 

Excerpt:

London, 1822

 

It happened on Marlborough Street a little past two o’clock two days before Christmas.

Samuel had just returned from Eton the day before as his Greek studies had compelled him to stay longer than the rest of the students.  It all sounded rather dull, but honestly, it was quite thrilling as one of his tutors believed he had stumbled upon an undiscovered Biblical text.  The ramifications could be enormous, and so when asked to assist him in analyzing the text, Samuel had stayed on, of course.  It wasn’t as if he would miss the opportunity.

And thus two days before Christmas, he found himself on Marlborough trying desperately to find a present for Jane and Elizabeth.  He wondered briefly if any other man of ten and eighteen was stricken with not just one headstrong sister but two for whom to shop, and if those sisters were raised by an equally headstrong mother.  All three of them would not settle for the customary ribbons or baubles or fabrics that other ladies would surely drool over.  If it were anything less than divine, the Black women would not find it at all appealing.

Samuel stared in one window after another hoping inspiration would strike.  It was while waiting for inspiration that the crime was committed.

He was standing innocently enough outside of Rugbottom’s Books admiring a particularly ornate illustration of Shakespeare’s sonnets when the commotion began behind him.  Having been raised in less than ordinary circumstances, the time that lapsed between when the commotion began and when Samuel noticed it was rather exaggerated.  But commotions were quite common in the Black family, and he thought nothing of it.

Until Lady Delia Witherspoon screamed.

“He’s stolen my reticule!”

Samuel turned at this in time to see Lady Witherspoon pointing at a fleeing figure clutching the offended reticule under his arm.

And then Lady Witherspoon screamed again.

“That man!  He’s stolen my reticule!”

The fleeing man charged at Samuel directly, as it was previously noted, Samuel merely stood in the middle of the pavement staring into a window.  He was obviously ripe for any interaction with a passerby on the pavement, even should that passerby be a thief.

As he watched the thief approach, Samuel’s mind took that opportunity to think on matters.  He wondered briefly if other gentlemen stepped out of the way of fleeing criminals or if they advanced.  He wondered if they cowered at the thought of getting their waistcoat ruined.  And then he wondered what the wives of said gentlemen would think if their noble husbands did not act to avenge the slight against a lady.

Samuel thought none of that likely as the gentlemen of the ton that he had had the pleasure of meeting were all sopping idiots.  The apprehension of criminals was not something that suited such personalities.

And then Samuel sighed.

He sighed because he quite liked his waistcoat.  It was a fine cranberry color that went well with his breeches, and if he had learned anything from his Uncle Alec, it was that a man who showed care for his dress showed care in every aspect of his life.  And that was why Samuel was rather despondent to put his cranberry waistcoat in danger.

 

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