Jessica Shirvington, author of Between the Lives, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

by |June 6, 2013

between-the-livesThe Booktopia Book Guru asks

Jessica Shirvington

author of Between the Lives and The Violet Eden Chapters

Ten Terrifying Questions


1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born in Sydney and raised on Sydney’s North Shore. I have two older brothers and one older sister. I went to primary school in St. Ives and then senior school began at Loreto Normanhurst and in year nine, my parents moved house and I transferred to Loreto Kirribilli. 

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

At twelve, I wanted to be a vet.
At eighteen, I wanted to be a restaurant owner.
At thirty, I wanted to be a good mum and write books.

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?Shirvington_Jessica

 I used to think that if people let you down badly then they didn’t deserve another chance to be your friend. That view has changed with age.

4. What were three works of art – book or painting or piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?

Having my first daughter changed my life immensely. It made me question everything and consider a new career path for the first time.

Moving to London and starting my first business was such a confidence and character building time in my life. If I hadn’t done that I don’t think I would’ve grown into the person and writer I have become.

After the birth of my second daughter I had a touch of post baby blues. My way of coping at the time was to read in my downtime. It led to more and more reading and ultimately to me starting my first novel.

5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?

Stories are one thing that will be constant in life. Whether told, written, reenacted they are a fundamental part of human nature. We dream and we use our imaginations to look beyond the everyday. Yes, the world and technology grows, and the way we share them might morph into new mediums, but the stories that become books will always be there.

between-the-lives6. Please tell us about your latest novel…

For as long as she can remember, Sabine has lived two lives. Every twenty-four hours she ‘Shifts’, living each day twice. She has one life in Wellesley, Massachusetts … and another, completely different life in Roxbury, Boston.
In one life she’s surrounded by glamorous friends and dressed in designer clothes, in the other her family struggles to make ends meet. In one life she’s a straight-A student with the perfect boyfriend, in the other she’d considered a reckless delinquent.

All Sabine has ever wanted is the chance to live one life. When it seems like this might finally be possible, Sabine begins a series of dangerous experiments to achieve her goal. But is she willing to risk everything – including the one man who might actually believe her?

Click here to order Between the Lives from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore

7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?

The goal is always pretty simple for me – I hope they enjoy escaping into a story that connects with them on some level. I hope they are entertained and enjoy the themes and emotions.

8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?

My husband. Because he works hard, has achieved so much and has done it all while being a loving husband and father, by being kind and generous and always humble.

9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?emblaze

To be a good mother – I think raising children is the most important – and at times difficult – job and responsibility there is. And I would love for people to continue enjoying the stories that I write. For as long as there are people who want to read my books, I hope that I will be able to write them well!

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Trust yourself. If you believe in a story and can work through the plot points, go for it. Then write big! You can always scale it back but in your early drafts push the scenes as much as they can go, take everything to the extreme and then pull it back in later drafts. And always remember that even in the most fantastical scenes the emotions can be heartfelt and very real.

Jessica, thank you for playing.

Click here to order Between the Lives from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore

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