Gosh dang am I excited about today’s post and am oh so grateful that our guest Jessica Joyce agreed to be here today. I haven’t read a debut THIS GOOD in a long freaking time and I shall no go forth and shove her down your throats!!!!
Big thanks to Penguin Random House South Africa
for the early copy of You, With a View!
Title: You, With A View
Author: Jessica Joyce
Page count: 352
Date published: 11 July 2023
Genre: Adult contemporary romance
Two weeks on the road… stuck in a car with your high-school enemy.
Noelle Shepard is grieving the loss of her beloved grandmother when she discovers decades-old photos and letters that hint to a forbidden love in her gram’s past. Needing to know the full story, she creates a TikTok video appealing for information – and it goes viral.
Through her video, she manages to track down her grandmother’s secret love, Paul, who offers to take her on the honeymoon road-trip he and Gram planned but never got to go on.
Noelle jumps at the chance to make this one last connection with her grandmother. There’s just one problem – Paul’s grandson is Noelle’s frustratingly handsome high-school rival Theo.
And Theo has to come, too.
It’s only two weeks. Surely Noelle can survive that long? But with one car between them – and often only one bed – it doesn’t take long for things to heat up…
WITH JESSICA JOYCE
Hi hello Jessica! I first wanted to give you a big thank you for being here today and a second big congratulations on the release of You, With A View! I am so ecstatic for this to be out in the world and for everyone else to get their socks blown off by your debut adult romance, so let’s get into the questions *insert heart eyes*
Firstly, can you tell us a little about yourself: hobbies, favourite foods, where you are, how are you? And also about your debut release You, With A View which just recently hit shelves!
Hi! I’m Jessica (obviously) and I live in the Bay Area with my family, where I love to go hiking (the easy trails, I’m not trying to climb any mountains), discover new delicious places to eat, and, of course, read as many books as humanly possible.
My debut, You, with a View, is about a grieving woman, Noelle Shepard, who decides to seek answers about her late grandmother’s long-lost, secret ex-fiancé via TikTok. When the video goes viral, she finds herself on a road trip meant to unravel the whole story with the mystery man—and his grandson, Theo Spencer, who happens to be her old high school rival.
Where did the idea for You, With A View come from, how did you start writing and what was writing the first draft like?
The idea came to me in two pieces: the first piece was back in 2016, when I found old photos of my grandma and a very handsome man named Nick (if you’ve read YWAV, this probably sounds familiar!). I asked my family about the pictures and found out that Nick and my gram were interested in each other—which was painfully obvious in the pictures!—but they never got together because my great-grandma didn’t approve. I thought it was such a compelling story, but didn’t really have a plot to attach it to, so I set it aside.
Then in 2020 during the pandemic, I downloaded TikTok on a whim. I started seeing tons of videos of people talking about people they’d lost touch with—friends, relatives, loves—and either wanted to find or just wanted to talk about. It kind of clicked for me then, and the rest of the plot fell into place from there!
I started writing it in May 2021 and writing the first draft was a pretty unique experience. I’m a discovery writer, in that I sort of learn the story alongside the draft as I go. But with YWAV, I felt fairly clear about the path it needed to take from the start. Of course, there were deviations along the way—once a discovery writer, always a discovery writer I guess!—but when I was finished with the draft, I had a solid story in place, and it really didn’t change much in revisions. I definitely don’t anticipate ever writing like that again!
How did you get into the romance writing genre? Was there a book that inspired you? Did you always want to write romance books?
I’ve always been a romance lover. I grew up surrounded by romance books, thanks to my mom and grandma and aunt, who all loved the genre. So in a way, I feel like I was kind of born into it—I read in a wide variety of genres growing up, but the ones that always stayed with me were the books that had a love story.
In terms of one book inspiring me to write, it has to be Twilight, because after I devoured the series, I turned to fanfiction. At first I was just reading it, but then decided I wanted to try writing it too. I’d always written stories, but I’d never shown anyone my work. It was the first time I was really exposed to the vulnerability of sharing and the reward of people really liking it! I was hooked from there.
How has debut author life been treating you? What’s been most surprising about publishing your first book? Have you been writing anything else, apart from your next release?
It’s been amazing and overwhelming! The biggest surprise for me has been the reception of it—seeing people connect so deeply with Noelle’s story has been unbelievably rewarding. Also, I recently hit the USA Today bestsellers list, which has definitely been the most shocking moment of all! The momentum since pub day has been incredible and surreal to watch.
I spent quite a bit of time drafting my second book, so I’ve been replenishing my writing energy since I turned it into my editor, and really focusing on reading books by authors I love. It’s so easy to burn out, and I’m trying to protect myself for my (hopeful) next project. I’ll definitely start drafting something new before the end of the year!
What was hardest part to write about in this book and what was the easiest in You, With A View?
The hardest was probably incorporating all the grief themes. Having lost my gram in 2016, I’m very familiar with the feelings Noelle had, so having to excavate and examine a lot of those emotions up close was at times very challenging.
The easiest was the banter between Noelle and Theo! I absolutely loved writing their back and forth, leaning into the tension and drawing it out. It was so much fun.
In this book, our main characters Noelle and Theo go on a road trip: what are your favourite places you’ve visited, and which travel destinations are still on your bucket list? And which places have your characters not been to yet?
Road trip wise, I love going to Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, across to Southern Utah where I have family, or even just down to Southern California. There is so much beautiful landscape on the West Coast that road trips always feel like destinations of their own. I’d absolutely love to go to Sedona like Noelle and Theo do, or even take the exact road trip route they do in YWAV!
I imagine Noelle and Theo travelling often, so I can’t think of anywhere specific they haven’t been yet. Maybe Alaska? I can see that being a bucket list for them, especially Noelle because it’s so incredibly picturesque. So that’s on their list, probably!
Each of your characters are so well fleshed-out, which of them do you most relate to? Who could you see yourself in if you were a character in You, With A View?
I see parts of myself in Noelle, although she’s definitely a lot sassier than I am! But her closeness to her grandma, her supportive family, those are all life elements that I have, too. I think when you’re a writer, inevitably you nestle pieces of yourself into every character, so I see myself in everyone, a little bit. From a personality standpoint, I’m actually probably most like Sadie, Thomas’s girlfriend!
Noelle loves photography and videography so much in this book, does this come from anywhere? Do you have any experience in that field, or did anyone in particular inspire this?
I do not have any experience with photography beyond my iPhone and an entry level Canon! I actually leaned a lot on Jen Devon, the incredible author of Bend Toward the Sun, who’s also an amazing photographer. I’d send her paragraphs from my draft and be like, “is this how it’s said?!” So she was really amazing in helping me sound like I knew what I was talking about (and of course any mistakes are mine alone!).
I think for me it’s just that I love storytelling in all its mediums, whether it’s photography or videography or books or music or art or—I could go on. And for this book, I loved the storytelling element of photography for Noelle. It felt like such an important piece to her emotional arc, to actually document her healing, sometimes without even knowing it.
If you could transport Noelle and Theo into any rom com (book and/or movie), which would it be?
I think they’d be hilarious in a You’ve Got Mail type situation.
Finally, can you tease us anymore about your next book? Maybe when to expect it or a trope readers can look forward to?
I can definitely tell you that it’s second chance! And that there’s plenty of pining and longing and emotions! I love these two so much and can’t wait to share more about them. I hope everyone else loves them as much as I do!
And those are all of my questions for today! I absolutely loved this book and I’m oh so honoured that Jessica could be here today to answer my nose questions. Another huge thank you, virtual hug and a giant congratulations on the release of You, With A View which is OUT NOW <3<3<3
Jessica grew up a voracious reader who loved to lose herself in books (ask her about her impressive ability to walk and read at the same time, mastered after many years of practice). Thanks to a family full of romance-novel-loving women, she discovered love stories and never looked back, especially when she realized she could lose herself in the words she created.
She now lives happily-ever-ongoing with her husband and son in the Bay Area. When she’s not writing character-driven, realistic and relatable tales of millennials who are just Doing Their Best while falling in love, you can find her listening to one of her dozens of chaotically curated Spotify playlists, trying out a new skincare face mask, crying over cute animal TikToks, or watching the 2005 version of Pride & Prejudice.💌