Complementing my interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the three hundred and thirty-fourth, is of horror novelist and short story author and interviewee Jessica Grace Coleman. If you would like to take part in an author spotlight, take a look at author-spotlights.
Jessica Grace Coleman was born in Stafford, England and raised in the nearby village of Little Haywood, a quaint English location that would later be remodelled into Beth Powers’ home village in the Little Forest novels.
Jessica has so far self-published four books in the Little Forest series: ‘The Former World’, ‘Memento Mori’, ‘The Exalted’ and ‘Carnival Masquerade’. She has also released her first short story collection, ‘Grown By The Wicked Moon’, featuring 14 weird and wonderful tales. A big fan of Stephen King growing up, Jessica’s preferred genres to write in are horror and mystery, often drawing on elements of the paranormal to add that little something extra to her realistic, down-to-earth settings.
The Little Forest series, in particular, focuses on a traditional English village which has dark and disturbing secrets bubbling away under its perfect façade, and explores how regular people with regular jobs and worries deal with the realisation that nothing is as it seems. It is very important to Jessica to base these supernatural tales in normal, everyday situations so that the reader can experience the growing strangeness of the stories at the same time as the main characters do.
A fan of mystery books and horror writers, Jessica delves into the world of legends and paranormal activity in this supernatural series, leading her own investigation into the fictional fantasy landscape that permeates readers’ darkest fears. The Little Forest series isn’t just concerned with spirits of the dead or other ghost stories, it’s about how we would react if these terrifying spectres actually did come into our world.
Before getting interested in writing, Jessica studied Film Studies and American Studies at the University of Sussex in Brighton, and attended the University of Colorado at Boulder for a year as part of her course. A big fan of travelling, she has road tripped around North America and backpacked across China, South East Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.
Jessica also runs monthly short story, poetry and flash fiction competitions at Darker Times Fiction (www.darkertimes.co.uk), which focuses on finding new and exciting horror writers. Compilations of these works are now available as the Darker Times Anthology Volumes One, Two, Three and Four and Darker Times Collection Volume One in ebooks and paperbacks, with more Anthologies and Collections planned for the upcoming months.
When not writing about ghouls and ghosts, Jessica edits Rock Pulse (www.rockpulse.co.uk), an online UK music zine, and has had the pleasure of interviewing many bands and artists in the past including The Darkness, InMe, Simple Plan, Bowling for Soup, HIM, Sugarcult, Less Than Jake, Yellowcard, Taking Back Sunday and Funeral for a Friend.
Jessica’s next project is ‘The Gloaming’, the fifth book in the Little Forest series, and she also hopes to find time to work on her humorous, non-fiction account of various trips and holidays, ‘The Darker Times Of Travelling,’ before the end of the year.
And now from the author herself:
Having now written four books in the Little Forest paranormal mystery series (and planned the other four), I’m really enjoying getting stuck into writing stories that span over several volumes. Although I’ve released a short story collection, I still haven’t attempted a stand-alone novel, as I’d find it much harder to write – when reading, I always want to know more about the characters and what happened to them next, and it’s the same when I’m writing. I’ve had feedback from people who really love the characters in the books because I’ve had the time and space to explore them and their background far more than I ever would have if their stories were limited to just one novel. Just as the readers want to know more, so do I – not just about where the characters grew up and what incidents and people have shaped their lives, but how they interact with others and where their place is in the grand scheme of things. Having eight books to explore all of the characters – secondary as well as main – is really fun, and hopefully the readers will agree.
‘“Little Forest is the only place I’ve ever lived, and it’s the place where I’m going to die. Tonight.” These are the words of Beth Powers, long-time resident of Little Forest. On the surface, she’s just an ordinary English girl in a typical English village, but appearances can be deceiving… extremely deceiving.
There’s something lurking beneath the picturesque façade of the English village of Little Forest, something dark and disconcerting, something which the vast majority of the residents are refusing to see…
Fed up with living in the tiny, gossip-fuelled village, twenty-one year old Beth resolves to escape to London with her best friend, Veronica Summers. That is, until something throws a spanner in the works. A rather large spanner. A dead body, to be exact. A dead body found early one morning in the spooky surroundings of the Great Specton Woods.
The apparently accidental death of Beth’s work colleague sets off the small community’s well-oiled rumour mill, and Beth soon finds herself in the middle of a bizarre village conspiracy. Potential suspects start appearing in all shapes and sizes – including the handsome new resident, mystery man Connor Maguire, who has conveniently just arrived in Little Forest – and with the police refusing to consider murder, Beth takes it upon herself to investigate. At least it’s a good distraction from the other strange and unusual things that have started happening in her generally boring life; let’s just say that Beth’s work colleague isn’t the only dead person she has to deal with these days. After all, it isn’t always something as innocent as the ghosts of past memories that come to get you…
With the help of rather unlikely ally Will Wolseley, Beth delves into the village’s sinister secrets and, in turn, uncovers a terrifying truth about herself that could change her life forever.
Unfortunately, she might not have much of ‘forever’ left, as when it comes right down to it, it’s not a question of whether or not she’ll decide to leave her childhood home. The question is whether or not Little Forest will let her go.’
The rest of the series so far (in order: ‘Memento Mori’, ‘The Exalted’, and ‘Carnival Masquerade’) further explore Beth’s powers, as well as the more sinister characters in both her village and the surrounding area. We delve into her family history, her relationships, and her ongoing dilemma involving who should know the truth (and what the truth actually is). The series focuses on many issues and worries we have in our own lives – what to believe, who to trust, what is right and wrong – but amplifies them in a supernatural setting the keeps surprising the core characters.
I’m currently about to start writing the fifth book in the series, ‘The Gloaming’, and I can’t wait. This book sees us delving more into Connor’s past – with a rather disastrous trip to his homeland – as well as seeing Beth have to make some tough decisions. Hopefully the readers will enjoy it as much as I will enjoy writing it.
You can find more about Jessica and her writing via…
- Official website: www.jessicagracecoleman.com
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/JessicaGraceColeman
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/jessformerworld
- Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Jessica-Grace-Coleman/e/B0096LNXQW/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2?qid=1378653518&sr=8-2
- Darker Times Fiction competitions: www.darkertimes.co.uk
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Morgen’s Online Non-Fiction Writing Group
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Morgen’s Online Poetry Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Script Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Short Story Writing Group
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