Jamie Fessenden talks Screwups and more (with Giveaway)

I would like to thank Dreamspinner Press author Jamie Fessenden for sitting down and talking with me today about his latest release, Screwups.  You can check out my 5* review of this fabulous novel.


Your latest is the Dreamspinner Press release Screwups, what can you tell us about it?

It began as a vague reference to a childhood friend of Tom’s in my novel Billy’s Bones.  He talks about his best friend, Jake, who freaked out when Tom came out to him and never spoke to him again.  I kept wondering what happened to Jake?  So I decided to drop in on him a few years later, in 1996, when he’s in college.  The rest fell into place really quickly, because I put him in the dorm I lived in, and suddenly it all came flooding back to me.  I don’t think I’ve ever had so much fun writing a novel, because I got to relive one of the most wonderful times of my life!

Do you read your reviews, and if so do they influence the way you write the next book at all?  Also, what is the nicest thing a reader has said to you?

I do read them, good or bad.  And although I can’t claim I never get upset by the negative ones, I do try to learn from them.  Sometimes there will be one little thing – little to me, anyway – that a lot of readers really focus on as being irritating, or even ruining the story for them, and I’ll wish I could go back and just yank it out.  Certainly, I’ll try not to put it into a story in the future.  The nicest thing a reader has said to me?  Not one specific thing, but a host of them.  Many people told me how painful reading Billy’s Bones was, because of abuse they’d lived through.  My biggest fear, when that novel came out, was that it would be unnecessarily disturbing to survivors.  I had no desire to make someone’s past traumas worse.  It felt really good that many people told me, despite it being difficult to read, there was something cathartic in the story for them, or at least I’d handled it in a way that left them feeling good about having read it.

How do you choose names? If you decide to change a name, do you feel that it alters your perception of the character? 

I go to lists of names online – Hispanic names, or Victorian names, or just popular contemporary names.  I’ll pick a few that I like and keep saying them to myself until I find one that “feels” right for the character.  Occasionally, I’ll change a name, though more often for a minor character than one of the two leads.  It does change my perception of the character in a subtle, and often disturbing, way.  Danny’s best friend, Eva, in Screwups, originally had a name that made her a bit sillier in my mind, but I was forced to change it, because she was starting to resemble a real person I knew by that name. (No offense to that person.)  Now she seems a tiny bit more mature to me, just because of the name change.

Is there a genre of story (like fantasy or BDSM) that you haven’t written but would like to try? 

I don’t object to BDSM at all, but I’m not into it, so I don’t think I’ll ever go there.  I may write a werewolf novel, although if I do, it will be based on folklore and it will be frightening.  The same thing, if I ever tackle a vampire novel.  I also have an adult novel in mind about an elite band of Viking warriors that made some appearances in the Icelandic Sagas.  I actually have written some historical and fantasy YA novels under the pseudonym James Erich, and I’m currently working on a YA science fiction novel.

What 10 authors would you put in a Hunger Games style match up – and who would win?

Well, I certainly wouldn’t put myself in there with them – I can barely make it up a flight of stairs without needing to sit down a minute.  Maybe… F.E. Feeley Jr., Shelter Somerset, Rhys Ford, Shae Connor, William Cooper, Angel Martinez, J.P. Barnaby, Jessica Skye Davies, Christopher Hawthorne Moss, and Rick R. Reed.  That’s based on a combination of athletics, for those I’ve met, and personality for those I haven’t met.  Who would win?  I’d put my money on F.E. Feeley Jr.  He’s a big guy, he was trained in the military, and he reads far too much Stephen King to be firing on all cylinders.

How will the world end?

Well, I just read an article about the likelihood of geneticists being able to resurrect the Woolly Mammoth.  I’m kind of hoping for a world-wide Jurassic Park.  (Yes, I know mammoths weren’t around in the Jurassic Era.)  It will be terrifying, but so worth it.

What are you reading right now and what is next on your to-be-read list?

I tend to read several books at once.  Currently, I’m reading Cut & Run by Abigail Roux and Madeleine Urban, Objects in the Rearview Mirror by F.E. Feeley Jr., The Martian by Andy Weir, and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.  I’m not sure when I’ll be done with all of those, but I might try tackling Pilgrimage by Kim Fielding or The Reluctant Berserker by Alex Beecroft next.

A little birdy told me that you and fellow DSP author FE Feeley might just have something in the works.  How did that come about? What can you tell us about it?

Now you know why I know so much about him.  We’re working on a ghost story set in rural Vermont, focused around a Victorian hotel.  It’s contemporary though.

What is next, what are you working on?

I’m just finishing up edits on a steampunk novella called Watchworks, which will be out in late April, as part of the anthology Gothika #1: Stitch with stories by Eli Easton, Sue Brown, and Kim Fielding.  I’m also finishing a murder mystery called Murder on the Mountain that takes place on the summit of Mt. Washington and at the Mt. Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, NH.

Where can readers find more about you on the web?

I keep my blogs up to date:

Adult:  http://jamiefessenden.com/

YA:  http://jameserich.com/

I can also be found on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/jamie.fessenden.7

And Twitter:  https://twitter.com/JamieFessenden1

Buy Links:

Dreamspinner Press



Fessenden has agreed to give one lucky commenter their very own ecopy of Screwups!  

Contest ends 15 Mar 2014 @ 11:59pm

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

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28 thoughts on “Jamie Fessenden talks Screwups and more (with Giveaway)

  1. Thanks for the interview! I’ve seen great reviews and added it to the TBR. I loved Billy’s Bones and look forward to reading something from the “lighter side” of Jamie Fessenden

  2. Thank you for the interview and giveaway! I have Screwups on my TBR list. Also excited to hear about the steampunk anthology that is coming up.

  3. Haven’t seen too many stories set in Iceland, so that should be different. Would love to win this book. Thanks for the contest!

  4. Oh, very interesting interview. I think it would be interesting to read a shifter or vampire story from you. Thank you for the giveaway =)

  5. I hadn’t realized until I read this interview that this book was connected to Billy’s Bones. That was such a great book, disturbing and amazing at the same time. Would to read this, please count me in. 🙂

  6. I remember seeing Billy Bones and being interested. This book looks even better. Thanks for the interview and the review!

  7. I’ve never read anything by James before, but after seeing what a broad spectrum he’s put out, I’m definitely looking into it!

  8. Great interview – I love Jamie’s books and can’t wait to read his next ones! (and I want to read that werewolf story.)

  9. I bought Billy’s bones but I haven’t the courage to read it yet…. Screwups is already on my TBR thank for the chance

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