It stands to reason why Born of Persuasion was a book that captivated me. In The Words of Jessica: Born of Persuasion...best described as Downton Abbey meets Wuthering Heights.
I never understood the hub-bub of Downton Abbey until last year when I finally caught an episode on the Mississippi Public Broadcast Network. Needless to say, I was hooked. Now take that desire to watch the series play out before me and couple it with my love of Wuthering Heights, how could I not read Born of Persuasion. Hard to believe this is her debut novel; a great book (and I haven't finished it yet--sliding reading time in between painting, selling of home, packing, writing, homeschooling, and Angry Birds competition with husband) and one I definitely recommend. Check out Jessica at her Facebook page and read below for more about her and her book, Born of Persuasion.
Tell us a little about your book and yourself.
JD: Born of Persuasion is my debut novel, the first of a trilogy. It's best
described as Downton Abbey meets Wuthering Heights.
Here's the blurb:
The year is 1838, and seventeen-year-old Julia Elliston’s position has never been more fragile.
Orphaned and unmarried in a time when women are legal property of their fathers, husbands, and
guardians, she finds herself at the mercy of an anonymous guardian who plans to establish her as
a servant in far-off Scotland.
With two months to devise a better plan, Julia’s first choice to marry her childhood sweetheart is
denied. But when a titled dowager offers to introduce Julia into society, a realm of possibilities
opens. However, treachery and deception are as much a part of Victorian society as titles
and decorum, and Julia quickly discovers her present is deeply entangled with her mother’s
mysterious past. Before she knows what’s happening, Julia finds herself a pawn in a deadly game
between two of the country’s most powerful men. With no laws to protect her, she must unravel
the secrets on her own. But sometimes truth is elusive and knowledge is deadly.
Here's my bio:
Born in the wrong century–except for the fact that she really likes epidurals and washing
machines–Jessica Dotta writes British Historicals with the humor like an Austen, yet the
drama of a Bronte.
She resides lives in the greater Nashville area—where she imagines her small Southern
town into the foggy streets of 19th century London. She oversees her daughter to school,
which they pretend is an English boarding school, and then she goes home to write and
work on PR. Jessica has tried to cast her dachshund as their butler–but the dog insists it’s
a Time Lord and their home a Tardis. Miss Marple, her cat, says its no mystery to her
as to why the dog won’t cooperate. When asked about it, Jessica sighs and says that you
can’t win them all, and at least her dog has picked something British to emulate.
(*ds: I believe your dachsund is preparing to be the next Doctor. The Doctor may not be ginger, but being a dachsund would be a first.)
JD: I started this story in my late teens, though I found it a bit too difficult for me to continue with it. I'm a seat-of-the-pants writer, which means I write as I imagine it. As I wrote, the story it became clear that the majority of the characters had ulterior motives.
At that time, I didn't care to drag my protagonist through the discovery of what those motives were. The story, however, haunted me. And I'd often find myself wondering what those characters had been orchestrating.
Over of the course of a decade, every time I saw down to write, this story would present itself to me again and again, waiting to be written. In my late twenties, I finally sat down and allowed myself to explore it.
Your book has a strong faith element. How natural was this to write
JD: The faith element in Born of Persuasion is akin to novels written in the 19th century.
Faith and church played a major role in the Victorian era. So much so, that The Church
of England was part of the government at the beginning of the century, and society as a
whole operated on the same moral code. This trilogy dives into the heart of English law,
as it was defined by the church.
Also, there is a theme in the series about the cost of following Jesus. How we handle
a clash between our beliefs and our personal desires is explored. When it comes to
balancing the faith element, I'm comfortable because I don't worry about convincing
the reader to change their mindset, but rather I focus on making the character's growth
What do you hope readers take away from this book?
JD: By the time readers finish the trilogy, I hope their perspective is opened to realize how
wrong it is to predetermine someone's worth or value. I hope they want to start seeing the
great potential that is within each one of us.
Which of the characters in the novel is most like you and why?
JD: I might regret saying this later, but I'm most like Julia, Edward, and though you won't
meet him until the second book, Isaac. Through Julia, my protagonist, I've explored the
deep sense of loss I've experienced, through Edward my unrelenting sense of conviction,
and lastly through Isaac my deep longing to see the past amended .
Who is your favorite Biblical character and why?
JD: Oh, that changes all the time! But this week, I like Noah. Think about it, the poor guy has
been picked on for almost all of human history.
While he was alive, he was mocked as he built an ark that God told him to build. Likely
enough people thought he was crazy. Now that he's dead, he's stilled mocked in our age.
People scoff at the story, calling it a children's tale.
Imagine being called to become the laughing stock of your generation by following what
God told you to do, and then becoming scoffed by future generations. You've got to have
a unique personality to deal with that.
(*ds: I never thought of it this way before, but it's something to consider. Noah is a great role model for us all in this day and age.)
What’s your favorite and least favorite part about being a writer?
JD: Favorite Part: The feeling I get when I find the exact combination of words to capture
the thought or emotion I want to communicate.
Least Favorite Part: The ping-ponged nature of the business. One day you're swamped,
the next day nothing is happening. Or for a season everybody wants to talk to you, and
then nobody does.
What advice would you have for writers hoping to follow in your
JD: Educate yourself about the business. Visit sites like Novel Rocket and learn how others
launched their books.
Network by attending writer conferences. It's really important.
Other than writing, what else occupies your time?
JD: I'm a single, working mom, so I'm not granted a lot of free time. But when I do have
some, my favorite type of evening or Saturday afternoon is spent with a small group of
very intimate friends. I also love crafting, thrifting, cooking and decorating.
Of course reading a great book is at the top of my list, or watching a movie! Nowadays
you can also find me on Facebook!
Thank you SO much for interviewing me! I really appreciate it!
DS: You are so very welcome, Jessica. It was a great honor to host your book and to learn more about you.