Jessica Goodwin’s romantic novel Clarissa Jean, Homecoming Queen, was released earlier this month. The book focuses on Claire Bradshaw, who returns to her small hometown when her relationship ends, being reunited with the life she left behind. It sounds like a great read, so needless to say, I asked Jessica to stop by for a quick Q&A…

Tell us about your latest novel in 15 words or less. 
Girl returns home to small town, tries to fit back in, falls in love.

What inspired you to write Clarissa Jean, Homecoming Queen?
Social media. What really amazes me is that the people I talk to the most on Facebook are people that I didn't really hang out with or have a lot in common with in high school. I kind of wanted to write about how sometimes, the people you were mean to, overlooked, or ignored in high school can end up being some of the nicest people you come to know as an adult. You might not have had much in common as kids, but as you get older, you realize there are more important things that can bring people together. I'm a sucker for a "love where you least expect it" storyline.

Where do you do most of your writing?
My husband and I recently bought and remodeled our house so we have this great office with a massive desk that we share... but since #BabyGoodwin came along, I usually write during naptime wherever he is. A lot of times I'm just on the couch with my laptop!

What is your favourite book?
SO MANY. I'm so all over the place. I love authors like Emily Giffin, Jane Green, and Elin Hilderbrand. I like thrillers like Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train. And I love historical/biographical fiction like Loving Frank (Frank Lloyd Wright) and The Paris Wife (Hadley Richardson, Hemingway's first wife.) And since having a baby, I've been reading a lot of parenting books like Bringing Up Bebe and Strong Mothers, Strong Sons.

Which part of Clarissa Jean, Homecoming Queen did you enjoy writing the most?
Getting back into the writing groove. When I found out I was pregnant in the fall of 2014, writing went out the window. We bought a house, we moved, the baby came... Once everything settled down, I got the itch to start writing again, and haven't stopped. I recently quit my job as a teacher to write full time. It was a little scary and intimidating at first, but I am loving every second!

Who is your favourite literary heroine?
It all started with Bridget Jones. I remember being so excited to read about someone like me... someone who worried about dating and stressed about her weight and work and all that. It was nice to see her "grow up" in Mad About the Boy all those years later because I feel like I matured right along with her.

Do you have any tips for readers who are looking to become published writers?
Find writers online and on social media to buddy up with and learn from. Don't use social media as a big "BUY MY BOOK!" soapbox. Be a real person on social media. Befriend other writers, book bloggers, editors, and reviewers. Use a professional editor. And keep at it, even when it seems hard or your dreams seem out of reach. You can't be a writer if you don't write.

Are you working on anything else at the moment and if so, can you tell us?
These days, I'm doing a lot of writing for sites like Baby Gaga, Scary Mommy, and Mommy Effect. It's gotten me thinking that I'd like to write some sort of humorous parenting memoir someday. Parenting can be exhausting and stressful and frustrating at times, but it's also so wonderful and beautiful, and there are some times where all you can do is just laugh and smile and soak it all in while you can. I'm also contemplating a sequel for Clarissa Jean.

Thanks, Jessica!

You can find out more about Jessica Goodwin at her Amazon author page, website, writing blog, Facebook and Twitter.

Clarissa Jean, Homecoming Queen by Jessica Goodwin
When Claire Bradshaw decides to end her dead-end relationship of several years, she only has one place to go - back home to the tiny town of Palmetto Park. Claire keeps bumping into people from her past as she struggles to shake her "better than everybody" reputation, make peace with her enemies, and even attempts to rekindle an old flame. Claire gets to know her old friends all over again and gets to know more about herself as she starts over - right back where it all started.

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