jessicasGet to know Jessica…

Jessica Lee Anderson is the author of TRUDY, BORDER CROSSING, as well as the forthcoming young adult novel, CALLI (2011). She’s published two nonfiction readers, as well as fiction and nonfiction for a variety of magazines including Highlights for Children.. Jessica graduated from Hollins University with a Master of Arts in Children’s Literature, and instructed at the Institute of Children’s Literature for five years. She is a member of The Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels and hopes to be more sweetheart than scoundrel. She lives near Austin, Texas with her husband and two crazy dogs. For more info, visit her website.

When did you fall in love with writing?

My love affair with writing began when I was a reader. One book in particular sparked the desire for me to become an author—Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. My mom read the book aloud to me when I was little, and I became captivated by the March family, especially Jo and her desire to write. While reading was natural for me, writing wasn’t. I tanked school writing assignments and still struggle with writing aspects to this day. Even though some technical aspects have been a challenge for me over the years, the joy of creating stories has kept the passion for writing alive. For more info, visit her website.

Let the conversation begin!

Has writing gotten harder or easier?

Writing has gotten easier in some ways and harder in others. My writing toolbox has definitely increased—I’ve read more books, attended more conferences/writing classes, and spent more time networking and gleaning info from the pros. That said, the longer I’ve been at this, the more I’ve had to battle disenchantment and doubt given the ups and downs, daunting statistics, budget cuts, layoffs, etc. My writing group has helped me through these tougher times, though, and I’m fortunate to have such incredible support, encouragement, and helpful opinions.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received regarding writing?

Laurie Halse Anderson spoke to the Austin SCBWI chapter members at BookPeople and shared her writing expertise and how she manages to stay productive. She watches little to no television. Knowing how easy it is to lose track of time, I’ve reduced the amount of television I watch each week and need to apply this same technique to Internet usage so I don’t waste away precious writing time.

What has been your favorite novel to write? 

Writing my first novel, Trudy, helped me deal with slowly losing my grandmother to Alzheimer’s. Out of all of the novels I’ve written, it is the most personal—so many pieces of me and my family are woven through each vignette.