2013 Club:Jessica Brockmole's Letters from Skye

Letters from Skye book coverToday's guest: Jessica Brockmole Why we love her: She has written a captivating debut and we are already anticipating her next!

Her debut: Letters from Skye (Out today!)

The scoop: A sweeping story told in letters, spanning two continents and two world wars, Jessica Brockmole’s atmospheric debut novel captures the indelible ways that people fall in love, and celebrates the power of the written word to stir the heart.

March 1912: Twenty-four-year-old Elspeth Dunn, a published poet, has never seen the world beyond her home on Scotland’s remote Isle of Skye. So she is astonished when her first fan letter arrives, from a college student, David Graham, in far-away America. As the two strike up a correspondence—sharing their favorite books, wildest hopes, and deepest secrets—their exchanges blossom into friendship, and eventually into love. But as World War I engulfs Europe and David volunteers as an ambulance driver on the Western front, Elspeth can only wait for him on Skye, hoping he’ll survive.

June 1940: At the start of World War II, Elspeth’s daughter, Margaret, has fallen for a pilot in the Royal Air Force. Her mother warns her against seeking love in wartime, an admonition Margaret doesn’t understand. Then, after a bomb rocks Elspeth’s house, and letters that were hidden in a wall come raining down, Elspeth disappears. Only a single letter remains as a clue to Elspeth’s whereabouts. As Margaret sets out to discover where her mother has gone, she must also face the truth of what happened to her family long ago.

Our thoughts: As not only authors but best friends who live two thousand miles apart, we appreciate the power of the written word. Letters from Skye, told entirely through letters, is a powerful story of love and loss.

Giveaway: 3 copies! (One of them is signed!) Just leave a comment to be entered to win. We'll select the winners on Sunday, July 14th after 3pm PST

Fun fact: Lisa met Jessica last night at a book signing and it made her love the novel even more.

Where you can read more about Jessica: Her website, Facebook and Twitter.


Jessica Brockmole author photo1. DO'S: 3 things every aspiring novelist should do

Trust, innovate, and listen. Trust in your own passion, then use that passion to fuel writing that makes your heart sing. Listen to those writers who went before you, as their encouragement and advice are invaluable.

2. DON'TS: 3 things every aspiring novelist shouldn't do

Doubt, imitate, give up. Don’t stop believing in yourself or thinking that you have to write to a certain formula. Persevere!

3. MUST HAVES: On your desk?

Stacks of all the research books for my current project. Even if I’m not reading them, I like to surround myself with the history.

On your Facebook feed?

All of my writing friends. To see their news, from publishing deals to the excitement of finishing a draft, inspires me!

App on your phone?

Twitter. Some of the best history stuff is posted before I wake up, and I catch up while doing my morning elliptical.

4. LASTS: Song you listened to on repeat?

Damien Rice’s The Blower’s Daughter. Never fails to pull emotion from me while writing.

Book you read?

The crisply excellent The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O’Farrell.

Time you laughed?

My kids make me laugh all the time. Do I have to pick just one?

5. HOW MANY: Agents did you query before you found "the one?"

I sent 180 queries out over the course of three books, before I signed with the fabulous Courtney Miller-Callihan of Sanford J. Greenburger Associates.

Hours do you write per day? Hours do you waste online when you should be writing?

When I find myself doing more of the latter than the former, I give my social media passwords to my critique partner for safekeeping. I do my writing while the kids are off at school, and at night after everyone is in bed.

6. BESTS: Way to celebrate a book deal?

Sleeping in and then going out for the most heavenly lemon ricotta pancakes at a local restaurant. Oh, and bouncing a lot!

Trick to overcome writer's block?

I don’t believe in writer’s block (I don’t want to give myself an out), but when I’m frustrating myself through an idea, I change location and I keep moving. Running, driving, pacing a circle through my kitchen.

Way to think of a book idea?

I am always thinking of book ideas, unfortunately. A footnote in a history book, a dropped storyline on a TV show, a mused “what-if,” all get jotted on index cards and tucked into a drawer. When I’m ready to start a new project, I take all of the cards out and see which ideas fall together to make a book.

7. NEXTS: Show you'll DVR?

I love shows with smart writing and, at times, a healthy dose of irreverence. The next thing I’ll DVR will be one of the shows on USA.

Book you'll read?

I have Julie Kibler’s Calling Me Home up next on my Nook. Excited to read it!

Book you'll write?

I’m currently working on a book coming out with Ballantine next summer. Set before and during WWI, it centers around a pair of artists and how the war changes their budding relationship and the world of beauty they once knew.

Thanks, Jessica!