Adriel: First off, thanks for “visiting” the Memos for an interview Jessica. It’s great to have you! Before we start, can you please tell us a little about yourself?
Jessica: Thank you so much for having me Adriel. Let’s see… I’m am wife to my amazing husband, Dave, and mother to two beautiful miracles, Hope (3 1/2) and Joshua (6mo). I live in the Nashville, TN area where I settled after attending college here. I am a former Christian music and book industry professional. After 13 years in the field, I am now a stay at home mom enjoying the craziness of life with two little ones while I try desperately on the side to minister to women through their journey to motherhood. I partnered with my dear friend and OB, Dr. Heather Rupe to write The Pregnancy Companion after experiencing a hard road of infertility and multiple miscarriages. I was diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) in 2006, which made it hard for me to conceive and hold a pregnancy. Through the care of Dr. Rupe and a local fertility clinic along with lots of prayer, I have been blessed with two amazing children.
Adriel: There are a zillion books on pregnancy out there, why did you decide to write another one?
Jessica: After everything I had experienced as I walked my own journey to motherhood, I went into my first (successful) pregnancy with a good amount of fear. I wanted so badly to believe for the best and experience true peace throughout those 9+ months but honestly, it was tough. I searched for a pregnancy resource that was faith-based and found several, wonderful pregnancy prayers books. But I was never able to find a book that combined medicine and faith. Since Dr. Rupe and I were friends, I approached her about writing The Pregnancy Companion. As a Christian physician, she understood the need for such a book and was excited to partner with me. Our prayer for this book is to provide all of the medical information you might find in other pregnancy books, combined with practical and devotional content – all wrapped in gentle reminders that God is the author of life and will walk with you through your pregnancy.
Adriel: What kind of women do you think would benefit from reading your book? Besides the “obvious” ones – the pregnant ladies, haha!
Jessica: We tried to be mindful of women who are at all stages on their journey. Those who are trying to conceive or experiencing infertility or miscarriage would benefit from reading this book because that is such a large part of my story. We included lots of helpful information for women who have not yet conceived and encouragement for them throughout their time of waiting. We also believe this book will be encouraging to single moms-to-be. No matter what the circumstances surrounding your pregnancy, we pray this book will be a blessing. Even if you are half way or almost through your pregnancy, there is information you can still find helpful. We discuss many aspects of labor and delivery as well as postpartum care and the early stages of motherhood.
Adriel: You said you were working in the music industry before you became an author. How did you make the switch?
Jessica: Yes. I spent 13 years working for record labels and a management company where I served both artists and authors. I learned so much about the business side of music and publishing and it has helped me tremendously. It’s always different when applying those things to yourself though so I continue to learn every day. When I became pregnant with Joshua I knew I couldn’t juggle my demanding career and two children so my husband and I prayed and looked toward my third trimester mark to make the switch. It has honestly been quite an adjustment to go from working outside of the home to working (really hard) in the home but every day it gets better and better and I know I am called to be with my children during this season.
Adriel: Can you give us a snapshot of what a day in the life of an author/stay-at-home mom looks like?
Jessica: Well, every day is different and probably not much different than yours! Right now it all depends on what my little man is doing. Some days he naps well and some days he doesn’t. My husband and I take turns getting up to feed him in the morning (did I mention my husband is amazing?!) which is usually between 5-6:30am (he sleeps through the night but wakes up at various times still). When it’s my turn, I often take some time after feeding him to check email. There is nothing like a few quiet moments to focus on your inbox without a little person vying for your attention! After I get myself ready, I get the kids ready for the day and we send daddy off to work. Mornings are typically the best time for both of my children to play independently so I utilize that time to get on Facebook and Twitter or start writing a new blog post. I’m sure you can relate but it seems as though once I clean up the kitchen from breakfast, I may have a few moments to do those things before it’s time to put someone down for a nap, change a diaper or begin working on lunch. And once I clean up from lunch, it’s pretty much the same in the afternoon before it’s time to start dinner. Most of my work is done in spurts between normal, daily mommy tasks. When I am working on a manuscript or proposal, I use my quietest, most peaceful time of the day… after the kids are down in bed for the night.
Adriel: Many of the readers of the Memos are also parenting bloggers, and no doubt some are aspiring writers. Can you tell us one piece of practical advice for pursing that goal?
Jessica: My biggest piece of advice would be to continue developing your writing and your ideas. The most important thing that will set you apart in the sea of bloggers and writers is a unique idea or story. I never considered myself a great writer, but I had an idea that had never been done before that identified a need in the market. I was so blessed to find a publishing company that caught the vision and has been a wonderful partner to get it out there.
Once you have your message, build a community (I prefer that term to “network”) of like-minded people who could be blessed (I prefer that term to “benefit”) from your message. If your idea is unique enough and your community active enough, you will likely catch the eye of a publisher at some point. And even if you don’t, it doesn’t mean you can’t be an author. The publishing industry is changing daily with many more opportunities opening up for independent authors. Much like the music industry evolved over the past 10 years allowing independent artists to distribute their music through digital channels enough to make a living, the publishing world is following close behind. If you are passionate enough about your idea, you should use whatever means you can to share it with others.
Adriel: And in closing, can you please share with us any of your goals for the future? Do you hope to continue writing about pregnancy-related topics? Or was this fabulous book a one-off?
Jessica: Now that I have six months under my belt with the little guy, I feel like I am in a groove enough to spend more time writing and developing ideas. We hope to bring a follow up book to The Pregnancy Companion, which I will be working on this spring. I have a few other ideas swimming around in my brain that I hope to nurture in 2012. Taking those steps toward the next message will be a big part of the upcoming year for me but more than anything I want to work hard to make sure women everywhere know about this resource so that they may experience the most peace-filled pregnancy possible.
Adriel: Jessica, thank you so much for taking the time to do an interview for my readers. I love reading personal interviews from people I admire, and so “conducting” one myself has been an absolute pleasure! And I’ll also say “thank you” on behalf of my readers. *grin*
Jessica: Thanks for giving me the opportunity to be a part of the Memos!
Now, a giveaway for you!
Jessica would like to give one of my readers a copy of The Pregnancy Companion. (Thank you Jessica!) To enter, just leave a comment below telling us why you’d like to have a copy of the book for yourself or a friend. You may enter once a day until the giveaway ends on Wednesday, January 18. For additional entries, tweet (using the handle @mommyhoodmemos and @pregnancypal), link this post on facebook, or blog about this giveaway. Just make sure to tell me that you’ve done so in the comments.
Dear friends, as I said in my post last month on the six best reads for new or expecting moms, The Pregnancy Companion is an excellent book that I’d personally recommend. Whether you win the giveaway or not, I hope you’re able to get your hands on a copy!