Jen: Today we welcome Jessica Scott to Romancing the Book. Jessica, will you share short bio with us?
Jessica: USA Today Bestselling author Jessica Scott is a career army officer, mother of two daughters, three cats and three dogs, wife to a career NCO and wrangler of all things stuffed and fluffy. She is a terrible cook and even worse housekeeper, but she’s a pretty good shot with her assigned weapon and someone liked some of the stuff she wrote. Somehow, her children are pretty well adjusted and her husband still loves her, despite burned water and a messy house.
She’s also written for the New York Times At War Blog, PBS Point of View Regarding War, IAVA and most recently, War on the Rocks. She deployed to Iraq in 2009 as part of OIF/New Dawn and has had the honor of serving as a company commander at Fort Hood, Texas twice.
She’s pursuing a graduate degree in Sociology in her spare time and most recently, she’s been featured as one of Esquire Magazine’s Americans of the Year for 2012.
Jen: Tell us about your newest release.
Jessica: My newest release is the print release of ALL FOR YOU. I have to say, I really love this story. It’s probably my most favorite one every. I wrote Reza and Emily wide open, nothing held back. I wrote them when I was really frustrated with how things were going with my writing career and I couldn’t see how I could possibly write a story like this that would fit, so to speak, with genre restrictions. But my fabulous editor Michele Bidelspach really fell hard for Reza and I’m so glad. She helped me shape this book into what it is and I loved working with her.
ALL FOR YOU is a story about a struggling alcoholic. SFC Reza Iaconelli is a warrior in every sense of the word but he’s hiding some pretty deep trauma. He’s been self medicating most of his life but when he meets Emily, he’s doing everything he can to stay sober. Things don’t really work out that well and when he falls off the wagon, she’s there in an unexpected way. She won’t enable him but she’ll stand with him if he’ll let her. It’s a huge move for both of them and I think Emily is the perfect match for Reza.
Emily watched her friend weave through the crowd of broad-shouldered Cavalrymen and toward the captain. Alone at the bar, Emily twirled her wine in the glass, staring into the swirling pale golden liquid.
She sipped her wine and glanced around the wide open space, feeling the warmth. She was comfortable in this place. A drink after work. A good friend. This was a good life. It was simple. It had purpose. So much better than the complicated mess she’d left behind.
She lifted her glass, savoring the freedom of her rebellion. She might not fit into her uniform just right but she fit here among these soldiers better than she’d ever fit back home.
She saw Olivia gyrating slowly with the captain across the dance floor. Her friend’s movements were slow and sensual, a sultry undulation that spoke of power and of sex. She smiled at her friend’s pleasure. It was enough that Emily could enjoy another’s happiness. She’d come here tonight to relax, to help Olivia celebrate.
“You don’t come here often, do you?”
Emily glanced at the man who’d appeared at her shoulder. He’d been standing with the group of captains that Olivia had just infiltrated.
“Not really,” she said, sipping her drink. She thought about easing away, putting space between where their upper arms touched.
Personal space much? she thought.
“Are you here with friends?” he asked. She caught a heavy scent of beer from his direction, beer mixed with cigar smoke. It was not unpleasant.
She glanced over at Olivia. “Yeah.”
“Not up for company?”
She smiled and finally glanced back at him. “Not really. Thank you though.”
He brushed the tip of his hat with two fingers. “My pleasure, ma’am.”
He swaggered off, leaving her alone at the bar. That had been nice. Too bad she wasn’t interested. Once upon a time, she might have danced but there was something missing from the way he’d carried himself.
He was missing that power that Sergeant Iaconelli wore like it was second nature.
She shook her head and took a long sip of her wine. She’d done nothing but argue with the man but now she was thinking about him in a way that was purely unprofessional.
The heavy iron door swung open at that moment and Emily’s breath caught in her throat.
“Speak of the devil,” she muttered.
Reza Iaconelli stood in the doorway, his gaze scanning the room as though he was taking a headcount. What was it about the man that he was always walking through doors at the wrong time? And this time, his gaze swept the bar and landed directly on her.
His eyes lit up, his mouth flattened. Just a faint flicker, but it was enough to tell her he’d recognized her.
And the familiar hostility was gone.
Her mouth went dry and she took another sip. He wasn’t going to come over. It was going to be fine.
They would keep the rampant hostility and no lines would be blurred.
It would be fine, right?
Except that he was now coming over. Weaving through the crowd, his Stetson adding to his height.
What the hell was she supposed to do about that? The closer he got, the more her stomach flipped beneath her ribs.
She was too tired to fight. And the alcohol would probably allow her to say something that she’d regret come Monday.
His clean white shirt accented his shoulders and made his skin look darker, more appealing. His face was shadowed by the brim of the Stetson.
He was there. A short space separated them. He radiated something—a power.
She was doomed.
Jen: Are there any other writers, published or not, in your family?
Jessica: I’m the only writer in my family, as far as I know. I did spend time as a kid at my grandmother’s house and her neighbor was an author. Maybe she planted the seeds.
Jen: Are you a plotter or pantser?
Jessica: A little bit of both, I think. I tend to get these bursts of inspiration and just get a whole bunch down on paper. Then I have to go back and figure out how the story fits together.
Jen: Describe your writing in 3 words.
Jessica: Chaos, messy, emotional
Jen: Do you have a writing routine?
Jessica: Oh how I wish I did. I’m currently in graduate school at Duke and yeah, writing has been on the back burner. I try to write at night after the kids go to bed. Some nights are more successful than others.
Jen: How do you remember ideas that come to you at odd times?
Jessica: I don’t. If I don’t write them down, they’re gone forever.
Jen: Is there a genre you’d like to write? Is there one you’ll probably stay away from? Why?
Jessica: I’m working on a thriller right now about a soldier who makes a deal with the devil. I’ll let you know how that turns out. I can honestly say I’ll probably never write a billionaire story. The whole 50 Shades of Gray thing does nothing for me. I’m super thrilled that people are having success in that subgenre but it’s not for me.
Jen: What kind of research did you do for this book?
Jessica: I focused on how alcoholics react to detoxing and staying sober. It was a pretty interesting look at what people who struggle with addiction go through every single day.
Jen: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Easiest? Most rewarding?
Jessica: Getting into the story and then figuring out how it all ends. The most rewarding part for me is editing and revising. Seeing the final product take shape is really satisfying.