"My name is Jess Sturman-Coombs and I love to write novels that capture the imagination. My stories seek to take you on a journey that thrills and excites.
I love to read and write and I've written many novels aimed at the YA and crossover market. My debut novel, Poker Face, is currently doing very well as an e-book and paperback available through Amazon, Waterstones and my website."
What was your first job?
When I was eleven I started working on the market, a ladies lingerie stall apparently. Basically we sold anything from pop socks to massive satin girdles, as well as knickers with the most important bits missing (I know!) and nurse outfits. I was eleven! It was a bleak and often very cold job. With 5am starts and vans to unload and display all before school and then having to do it all again after school, it was actually quite tiring. Also I couldn’t do the job in my school skirt so I had to get changed before 9am. Unfortunately, the attendants in the public toilets cottoned on to my ‘changing’ habits and they wouldn’t allow me to use their facilities (mean or what). I ended up having to find a way of making the shopping centre lifts jam between floors so I could get my jeans off and my uniform on. There is a knack and I’ve mastered it. Oh what fun I had!
When did you begin writing?
I wrote at school and often received commendations in English literature. I hadn’t a clue how to punctuate or spell but I loved to write stories and poems. They were always full of meaning and were often quite deep and depressing but, I suppose, they reflected my feelings at that time. I wasn’t happy at school, in fact, I wasn’t happy full stop and my writing definitely showed it. I didn’t realise back then that, if I nailed the English language side of things, I could actually use the skills I had to earn some money. Instead I embarked on a crazy mish mash of jobs that finally resulted in me being accepted into a law firm. From there my future and prospects got much brighter. I owe that firm BIG time!
Where do you get your inspiration for your stories from?
Much of my inspiration comes from dreams and fantasies as well as experience. I have a very vivid imagination that has always liked to roam and wander. At one time it was a means of escape and I would live out whole scenarios in my head that could last for hours. In my head everything could go the way I wanted it to and I had all the control. The imagination is like a muscle and if you exercise it regularly it grows and develops. Mine has ended up like a freakishly massive bicep that’s actually too big for my head!
Do you have a favourite place to write?
I like to be at home, it’s where I feel safest and most comfortable and it’s where I can truly be myself. That makes it the perfect place to write. I often imagine having somewhere by the sea and how it would feel to open up the laptop there but, in reality, I’d probably have to travel to get there and travelling scares the living daylights out of me! At the breakfast bar or on the back of the sofa where the sun shines brightest is the ideal writing place for me.
Tell us a bit about your novel Poker Face
Poker Face is about a young girl who leaves school with nothing. She faces a future so painful and bleak that just the thought of it forces her to walk into the first law firm she comes across, and lie her way into a job. The senior partner watches her little performance and likes what he sees and, just like that, she secures herself an office junior position. However, not everyone is quite what they seem and she finds herself risking her life to protect an appeal file with incriminating evidence on it. Poker Face is a legal thriller series aimed at the young adult market but it is being enjoyed equally by adults. It is gritty and real and the characters are full of life and personality. The book is about finding security in the most unlikely of places and the importance of true love, respect and loyalty.
You have some great reviews for Poker Face on Amazon. How does that make you feel?
Yeah I’ve been very lucky and people have been so kind. The reviews are important for a couple of reasons. One, they give others an idea of what they might be letting themselves in for. I really appreciate the role my readers play whenever they choose to leave a review. Two, the reviews give me inspiration and motivation when my insecurities are pestering me for my dinner money, and generally being the biggest meanest bullies ever to walk the face of the earth. I regularly go back to my reviews and read each and every one because they boost my writing confidence. I’m not a person who can pretend that what others think and feel doesn’t matter. It has always mattered to me.
If you could have any career (other than writing) what would you like to do?
Errrrm...hmmm...I would like to be an actress please! Ha ha! I always wanted to act when I was younger, from as young as I can remember in fact. Apart from the ‘C’ in English Literature the only other qualification I left school with was my very proud and quite shocking ‘A’ in drama. I like nothing more than the idea of playing at being someone else now and again. I get awkward around people and nervous when I’m out and about. When you act you lose those inhibitions and you become that other individual for a while. That character might handle things worse than you (which is a bit of a break from being yourself) or they might handle things better (which is nice to experience now and again). Pretending to be confident comes much easier to me than actually being confident.
When is the sequel to Poker Face coming out?
19th December 2012! Whoop whoop! It’s sooooooo exciting! As I write this it is the evening of the 9th and I am supposed to be editing my proof copy of The Puppet Master. I need to send it off to be printed! Don’t tell anyone but I am SO last minute!
Are you having a big launch event?
Oh yes! I’ve hired a theatre, The Deco Theatre in Northampton, and it’s a fantastic building. I can project my trailer and book covers onto the walls and decorate the venue in the black and white Poker Face theme. I’ll be offering a gift wrap service and both books will be there...as well as lots of children (to include mine!) The people who work there have been awesome and they offered to bring round ice creams in the interval! How cool is that! I have to say the ice creams were a deal breaker as far as my children were concerned!
Where can people find out more about you?
jesssturman.wix.com/jess-sturman-coombs/apps/blog for my blog.
http://jesssturman.wix.com/jess-sturman-coombs for my website.
Jess - Thanks for dropping by and telling us all about yourself and Good Luck with the launch.
Thank you so much for having me, Marie, and for being so incredibly patient over the time it has taken me to get these answers together! I know I can be a bit last minute but I’m not usually this bad! November and December have been ganging up on me...I blame them!