The Romance Chicks are super excited to welcome historical romance author Jessica Cale today! Her new book, Broken Things, came out earlier this month and is racking up the 5-star reviews. We wanted to get to know her better so we asked her some writerly questions and some not-so-writerly ones. Welcome, Jessica!
What did you want to be when you grew up when you were a kid?
I wanted to be a writer. I always knew I wanted to write and I was incredibly focused at a very early age. When I was thirteen I became a cheerleader for a year not because I wanted to be one, but because I wanted to have the experience so I could write about it from an informed perspective at a later date. I knew if I waited until I was older, I’d have to try out and actually be good at it (I was terrible). I wrote horror every day during Study Hall in the library, and started a magazine at fifteen because there weren’t any I wanted to read. Before that it was poetry, surreal fictitious travel memoirs, and some early romantic suspense.
Favorite book boyfriend?
It’s cheating, but my favorite book boyfriends are mine – Jake Cohen from Broken Things is basically human perfection, and I am still in love with Mark Virtue. Otherwise, I have always liked Heathcliff (Wuthering Heights), Severin (Venus in Furs), the Punisher, and Anael, The Spirit of Past and Future History from Judith Merkle Riley’s The Master of All Desires. Not sure what that says about me psychologically, but if any therapists would like to get in touch, there’s a contact form on my website…
Favorite pizza topping?
Anchovies, artichokes, olives, and capers. Swear to God.
What do you do in your free time?
I don’t have much, mostly I just fill it with more work. That’s not very fun, is it? When I’m not working, I tend to fill my time with fidgety obsessions until I learn a new skill and abruptly move on. I spent two years perfecting my macarons and now I can make them from memory, but I’m sick of the taste. I like sewing, knitting, beading on a loom – anything as long as I’m not looking at a screen. Right now I have a legion of origami cranes covering my coffee table. I never get bored of music, photography, or strength training.
What’s your favorite color of crayon?
What advice do you have for someone who wants to become an author?
Don’t be afraid, and don’t settle. There are so many paths to becoming a writer now (traditional publishers, small publishers, self-publishing) and one of them is going to be right for you. If you are offered an opportunity that doesn’t feel right, don’t feel like you have to compromise your vision or settle for an iffy contract because it’s your *one shot* at getting published: it’s not! Everyone else thinks they’re an expert, but the only person you have to please is yourself. Work hard at perfecting your craft and write books you want to read, and the rest will follow. Trust your instincts and make the best decisions you can for yourself and your books. Make friends with other authors and learn from their mistakes. The romance community is very friendly and most authors are more than happy to share their experiences with new writers.
What’s one skill you have that no one knows about?
I’m a decent blues drummer, and now I’m learning to play the bodhrán.
By Jessica Cale
Rival. Sister. Barmaid. Whore.
Meg Henshawe has been a lot of things in her life, and few of them good. As proprietress of The Rose and Crown in Restoration Southwark, she has squandered her life catering to the comfort of workmen and thieves. Famous for her beauty as much as her reputation for rage, Meg has been coveted, abused, and discarded more than once. She is resigned to fighting alone until a passing boxer offers a helping hand.
Jake Cohen needs a job. When an injury forces him out of the ring for good, all he’s left with is a pair of smashed hands and a bad leg. Keeping the peace at The Rose is easy, especially with a boss as beautiful—and wickedly funny—as Meg Henshawe. In her way, she’s as much of an outcast as Jake, and she offers him three things he thought he’d never see again: a home, family, and love.
After Meg’s estranged cousin turns up and seizes the inn, Meg and Jake must work together to protect their jobs and keep The Rose running. The future is uncertain at best, and their pasts won’t stay buried. Faced with one setback after another, they must decide if what they have is worth the fight to keep it. Can broken things ever really be fixed?
Jessica Cale is a historical romance author and journalist based in North Carolina. Originally from Minnesota, she lived in Wales for several years where she earned a BA in History and an MFA in Creative Writing while climbing castles and photographing mines for history magazines. She kidnapped (“married”) her very own British prince (close enough) and is enjoying her happily ever after with him in a place where no one understands his accent. She is the editor of Dirty, Sexy History and you can visit her at dirtysexyhistory.com.