Ben Interviews Jess Mountifield


Welcome, Jess. Could you tell us a little about yourself?

I’ve been writing for almost a decade now, and still totally love weaving new stories around my characters. I also love discovering other people’s characters and spend a lot of time reading, binging on TV series on Netflix and playing RPG style board games with friends. I can be very geeky on occasions.

Is this your first book?

The Female Charm is my thirteenth book although it’s my seventeenth if you count the four short stories I have in anthologies with other authors (something I love writing for). It’s also the fourth book in its series.

What is the book about?

The whole series follows Mycroft Holmes, Sherlock’s elder brother. It’s set just over a hundred years after the last story Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote and hints at the two Holmes brothers being immortal, or close enough to. They don’t know exactly why they are and others aren’t but over the series, as Mycroft decides to take on his own disciple, the very bright Amelia Jones, more clues are revealed. This story specifically follows a section in his training of her and how she copes in his murky world.

What inspired you to write this book?

I’ve loved Sherlock for many years and also really enjoy studying characters from other well known authors’ works. A little over two years ago, I was talking with a good friend about Mycroft being an interesting elder brother and before we knew it, we’d decided he’d make a great character in a series of his own. Shortly after, Amelia was born and I have found I can write about little else since.

Where do you write?

Mostly I write at home these days, but there’s a wonderful café in Bath called the Velo Lounge that has been one of my favourite places to write in for many years. It has the perfect blend of atmosphere, and there’s often a lot of other creative types popping in and out throughout the day. I almost always see someone I know in there as well, which means even on a bad writing day when I’m struggling to get the words out, I come away feeling like it was good to be there. Not to mention how good their hot chocolate is.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I always find this question a little tough to answer. I’m a little bit of both, really. I always have some idea of the plot, even if it’s just a bare bones structure of the most important events or character decisions, but I will rarely know exactly what’s going to happen for the whole book, and even on the few occasions where I’ve tried to plot, my characters have gone off and done their own thing anyway.

Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it?

I’ve been using the very talented Elizabeth Mackey for my cover design for a couple of years now at . She’s an extremely gifted young woman and a total breeze to work with. She always seems to know exactly how to capture the feel of the stories I write and seeing a whole series of covers side by side that she’s designed can really look great.

What are you working on now?

At the moment, I’m going through edits for the fifth book in the series and also playing around with the sixth. When I started writing the first one I was only thinking I’d write three or four, but the more of them I write the more ideas I seem to get. So far it looks like there will be at least seven, but more likely nine in total.

What genre do you enjoy writing the most and why?

I find it really hard to stick to one genre, something that can be both a blessing and a curse, but I always have a hint of romance and some kind of action or adventure theme in all my books. The rest hop around Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Mystery. If I write in one genre alone for too long, I always find myself wanting to write something in one of the others. Next up, I think Sci-Fi might grab my interest.

What do you wear while writing?

If I’m at home, pj bottoms and a sweatshirt. I like to be comfortable. If I’ve gone out, usually some comfy jeans and one of my geeky mashup t-shirts like my cat version of Doctor Who characters, or my Groot and Rocket as Hans Solo and Chewy one. I’m working on some steampunk clothing though and might have to work that into my everyday attire.

If you had a supernatural power what would it be?

I’ve always wanted to be able to fly. To go anywhere and see anything would be amazing. And flying, it’s pretty exhilarating.

JessJess Mountifield was born in the quaint village of Woodbridge in the UK, has spent some of her childhood in the States and now resides near the beautiful Roman city of Bath. She lives with her husband, Phil, and her very dapsy cat, Pleaides.

During her still relatively short life Jess has displayed an innate curiosity for learning new things and has therefore studied many subjects, from maths and the sciences, to history and drama. Jess now works full time as a writer, incorporating many of the subjects she has an interest in within her plots and characters.

You can also learn more about Jess on Facebook and Twitter.


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