Love, Magic, and Novel-Jumping

Hi! My name is Jess and I write books.  There’s usually kissing in them.  There also tends to be magic.  Occasionally they have Star Wars references.

Why yes, there is a Star Wars reference in this book...and you know, love, magic, and kissing and stuff.

Why yes, there is a Star Wars reference in this book…and you know, love, magic, and kissing and stuff.

I have previously self-published two novels, a Young Adult fantasy/fairy tale retelling called Awake: A Fairytale and Attempting Elizabeth which is a chick lit/romance/fantasy mash-up centered around Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.  I also have self-published a collection of short story fairy tale retellings entitled Views from the Tower.  Atone: A Fairytale, which is the second book in my YA series, comes out this summer.

Jessica GreyA life-long Californian, I now live in Montana with my husband and two children where I spend my time writing, driving my kids around in a mini van christened “the silver dinosaur,” and drinking way too much caffeine.

I’m a huge Jane Austen fan.  I eat, sleep, and breathe Angels baseball.  Fact: baseball pants are the greatest invention of the modern age.

Thank you so much to all of the lovely authors here at Tea Time Romance for inviting me to be a part of this blog.

The Big Six Questions:

Why do you write romance?

Um…cause I like it?  Obviously, I’m off to a stellar start with these questions.  I don’t know that I originally set out to write “romance” so much as I wanted to write good stories.  There’s a reason that so many classic stories have romance in them.  Love is a universal language, it is powerful. It’s the closest thing to magic we’ve got.
This Rough Magic

What was the first romance novel you ever read?

I’d read quite a few books that could qualify as classic romance novels very young (I read Wuthering Heights at like age ten. I have never recovered.), but I didn’t get “into” romance until my grandfather (or Fafa as we called him) handed me his copy of This Rough Magic by Mary Stewart when I was twelve. Absolutely life changing.  Which is why the dedication for my first book Awake: A Fairytale reads – For my FaFa, Charles Richard Grey, who told me to ignore the suggested reading list and gave me his favorite Mary Stewart novel instead.

Your house is on fire. Which five romance novels do you grab on your way out?

1.  My Fafa’s copy of This Rough Magic.
2.  Pride & Prejudice (and/or The Complete Jane Austen)
2a.  My Kindle…ahem.
3.  Rilla of Ingleside/Anne of the Island…*I CANNOT PICK.*  *I BURN TO DEATH.*
4.  Scarlet by Marissa Meyer, maybe not a traditional “romance” but the romance in it is so well done.
5.  Beauty by Robin McKinley.  Basically, this book is on every one of my lists…favorite YA, favorite fairy tale, favorite romance. Just…Beauty.

What is your secret passion?

I have no secrets. Why? Because I have the biggest mouth on the planet.  I do, however, have a lot of passions.  I do not half-love anything. It’s all or nothing, baby.
Things that I am scary passionate about:
My Kids.
Baseball. Mostly the Angels.
All Things Disney.  Especially Disneyland.
Jane Austen.
Indie / Self-publishing.
Fairy Tales.
Infertility Awareness.
Good Action Movies and Good Superhero Movies.
Kicking Butt. Taking Names.

Is there anything in your book that comes from personal experience?

Tons and tons of stuff.  I cannot name characters to save my ever-loving life, so I name them after friends and family.  I have now run out of friends and am having other authors name characters for me.  Most of my books are set in the Los Angeles area which is where I grew up, so I like to throw in fun stuff about freeways and my favorite fast food (which I miss so, so badly…both the freeways and the fast food, actually).  Occasionally entire conversations I’ve had with my friends end up in my books.  Usually I ask first.

What is your favorite kind of tea, and how do you drink it?

My favorite kind of tea is coffee.  Oh. My. Gawd. Sacrilege…how can I even???  No.
In lieu of coffee it’s Earl Grey. Black.

And because it’s always nice to bring a hostess gift when you go somewhere new (I say as if I have actual manners, snort…right now everyone who has had me over to their house is like…”what? I didn’t get a gift!”) I’ve brought a super shiny ebook copy of my latest book Attempting Elizabeth as a giveaway.


Kelsey Edmundson is a geek and proud of it. She makes no secret of her love for TV, movies, and, most especially, books. After a bad breakup, she retreats into her favorite novel, Pride and Prejudice, wishing she had some of the wit and spirit of Elizabeth Bennett.

One night at a party Kelsey meets handsome Australian bartender Mark Barnes. From then on, she always seems to run into him when she least expects it. No matter how Kelsey tries, she always seems to say the wrong thing.

After a particularly gaffe-filled evening around Mark, Kelsey is in desperate need of inspiration from Jane Austen. She falls asleep reading Darcy’s letter to Lizzy and awakens to find herself in an unfamiliar place that looks and sounds suspiciously like her favorite book. Has she somehow been transported into Pride and Prejudice, or is it just a dream?

As Kelsey tries to discover what’s happening to her, she must also discover her own heart. Is Mark Barnes destined to be her Mr. Darcy? In the end, she must decide whether attempting to become Elizabeth is worth the risk or if being Kelsey Edmundson is enough.

Would you like to win a copy? Just tell me in the comments which novel you’d jump into if you discovered you had the magical ability to inhabit fictional characters?

This giveaway is now closed, but please feel free to comment!


23 thoughts on “Love, Magic, and Novel-Jumping

  1. Oh my goodness I had completely forgotten about McKinley’s “Beauty.” I *loved* that book and I completely agree with you about it deserving a place on every list of books that are wonderful. And how could I have missed This Rough Magic? I must read this book soon. It’s so good to have you with us at Teatime, my friend. (Shh. Don’t tell the other ladies, but the coffee is in the corner, hidden behind the potted fern.)

    • I KNOW ME TOO!! (Am I shouting? I’m shouting. Sorry.) I loved ‘Beauty’ too, that is.

      And if you haven’t read McKinley’s ‘Sunshine’, boy do I recommend it! A vastly under-rated book in the fantasy/vampire genre imho.

      And I recently discovered Mary Stewart too, through Susanna Kearsley! I have to get stuck into the one I have…

  2. Welcome Jess!! It’s so lovely to have you join the crew here at Teatime.

    That is so cool and awesome that your grandfather gave you your first romance novel. 🙂

    And OMG, I love Anne Shirley and the Anne books! I firmly believe every little girl should get to know Anne and gift AoGG whenever possible. Yeah, kids? If I need to get you a bday or holiday present, you’re getting books, not toys.

    Attempting Elizabeth sounds great. Wish I were eligible for the giveaway, lol. I discovered Jane/ P&P back in high school and haven’t looked back since. Have you seen The Lizzie Bennet Diaries on Youtube? What did you think of it?

    • Thanks, Lisa!
      I agree about the Anne books. I tend to give books as gits too.
      I LOVE The Lizzie Bennet Diaries! A pic of Lizzie and Darcy is my iPhone wallpaper right now 😉

  3. Lisa, Jess was the one who convinced ME to start watching the Lizzie Bennet Diaries! She got me hooked 🙂

    I am adding your list of books (the ones I haven’t read) to my TBR pile. Welcome Jess!

    • Sandy, those would be super fun books to jump into. Amazon has them listed on the “time travel romance” list – I know this because Attempting Elizabeth is on that genre list too, lol!

  4. Hmmmm… Thats a tough one!! My all time favorite book is The Hobbit. That would be amazing but I think I would do much better around the Bennett table in Pride and Prejudice!

  5. One book? Ugh, such a hard choice!! But I think I’d pick The Silmarillion because 1) I am one of those people who gasps in dismay when people say they can’t get into it (I’m a sucker for the First Age.) and 2) Lots of Elves!! And there’s so much we don’t understand about Beleriand, since it basically fell into the sea at the Changing of the World, and yes I realize I’m a freak for talking about it as if it was real. *jumps into the book*

    • I really enjoyed Outlander (the American title of Cross Stitch) – the benefit of jumping into a time travel novel is you get to try out 1945 and 1743 😉

  6. Such a tough question! My best and most honest answer is “whatever I am reading at the moment.” But if I had to pick… I think ultimately I would have to visit Narnia.

    • Great choice, Liz! I’m a true Narnian and that would actually be my pick too – now the question is – which book! I’d have to say The Horse and His Boy because I’d like to visit Narnia during the reign of Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy 😉

  7. Pingback: How To Write a Novel: Part II (Characters) | THE PRINCE IN THE TOWER: A Modern Gothic Romance

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