Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Jessica Brockmole

Jessica Brockmole's new novel is Letters from Skye.

From her Q & A with Sarah Johnson at Historical Novel Society:

SJ: When I first read about the premise for Letters from Skye, about an American college student who sends a fan letter to a Scottish poet in 1912, I made the assumption that the student was female and the author male – and was actually very pleased to be wrong. How did you come up with the character of Elspeth, this young, reclusive poet who loves geology and the wild, pagan land around her?

JB: In my mind, the poet character was always female. Perhaps it’s because I am, but I could only imagine a woman having the easy connection to nature that my poet has. Her other character traits—the love of geology, the fear of water, the overfondness for jam—were not planned and surprised me in the writing. In retrospect, they were interesting traits to give to Elspeth. Her preference for the rocks beneath her feet rather than the ocean beyond hint that she is more grounded than her dreamy nature suggests.

SJ: What did you enjoy most about your time living in Scotland, and what made you decide you absolutely had to set a novel there?

JB: The history. Walking the streets of Edinburgh, I would lay my hand on the stones of a building and swear that I could feel history beneath the surface. Growing up in the Midwestern U.S. I never felt that to the same degree. I was fascinated by all of the years that the city had seen and wanted to find a set of them to write about.

SJ: In novels written in the form of letters, creating a distinct, authentic voice for each character is so important, and it was obvious the amount of care you’d taken in doing this. How did your academic training in linguistics help you? What other resources did you use?

JB: In studying linguistics, I had...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Jessica Brockmole's website, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

The Page 69 Test: Letters from Skye.

Writers Read: Jessica Brockmole.

--Marshal Zeringue