Episode 140: Writing Multiple POV Suspense — Interview with Jessica Strawser

by Gabriela Pereira
published in Podcast

Hey there word nerds!

Today I’m absolutely thrilled to introduce you to Jessica Strawser, the editorial director of Writer’s Digest magazine, and author of the stunning debut novel Almost Missed You.

As editor of Writer’s Digest magazine, she has interviewed luminaries like David Sedaris and Alice Walker. She is now a debut author herself—her novel was released yesterday from St. Martin’s Press—and her book has already garnered early accolades from an amazing list of bestselling authors.

Her second novel is slated for release in Spring 2018 and let me just say… I can’t wait. Today, Jessica and I dive into some of the decisions she made in crafting Almost Missed You. Listen in to the episode below.

In this episode Jessica and I discuss:

  • Strategies for setting up your first chapter. Jessica and I unpack ways to craft your first chapter for maximum effect.
  • Shifting POV between multiple main characters. Picking which elements of the characters’ stories you want to show, and which you want to keep hidden.
  • Tapping your personal perspective, emotions, and experiences to help illustrate character experiences in your novel.
  • Balancing work, writing, and family in such a way that sets you up to be successful, and helps you channel the strongest emotions possible to your characters. Knowing and being clear about your priorities to meet your goals.

Plus, her #1 tip for writers.

About the Author

Jessica Strawser is the editorial director of Writer’s Digest magazine, North America’s leading publication for aspiring and working writers since 1920, where she counts her cover interviews with such luminaries as David Sedaris and Alice Walker among her career highlights. Her debut novel, Almost Missed You, is forthcoming in March 2017 from St. Martin’s Press and has garnered early accolades from a humbling list of bestsellers, including Chris Bohjalian, Garth Stein, Adriana Trigiani, Lisa Scottoline and Jacquelyn Mitchard, and a second novel is slated for a Spring 2018 release.

Her diverse career in the publishing industry spans more than 15 years and includes stints in book editing, marketing and public relations, and freelance writing and editing (with work published in The New York Times and other fine publications). She blogs at WritersDigest.com and elsewhere, tweets @jessicastrawser and enjoys connecting at Facebook.com/jessicastrawserauthor. Learn more at jessicastrawser.com.

Almost Missed You

Violet and Finn were “meant to be,” said everyone, always. They ended up together by the hands of fate aligning things just so. Three years into their marriage, they have a wonderful little boy, and as the three of them embark on their first vacation as a family, Violet can’t help thinking that she can’t believe her luck. Life is good.

So no one is more surprised than she when Finn leaves her at the beach—just packs up the hotel room and disappears. And takes their son with him. Violet is suddenly in her own worst nightmare, and faced with the knowledge that the man she’s shared her life with, she never really knew at all.

Caitlin and Finn have been best friends since way back when, but when Finn shows up on Caitlin’s doorstep with the son he’s wanted for kidnapping, demands that she hide them from the authorities, and threatens to reveal a secret that could destroy her own family if she doesn’t, Caitlin faces an impossible choice.

Told through alternating viewpoints of Violet, Finn and Caitlin, ALMOST MISSED YOU is a powerful story of a mother’s love, a husband’s betrayal, connections that maybe should have been missed, secrets that perhaps shouldn’t have been kept, and spaces between what’s meant to be and what might have been.

If you decide to check out the book, we hope you’ll do so via this Amazon affiliate link, where if you choose to purchase DIY MFA makes a small commission at no cost to you. As always, thank you for supporting DIY MFA!

Link to Episode 140

(Right-click to download.)

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Until next week, keep writing and keep being awesome!

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