For the next 100 days, We are featuring Female Authors from across the nation for the sole purpose of highlighting books created by women for women.
The author of four published books, Jessica is an NC native who holds an MFA in Creative Writing and an MA in English, both from National University (La Jolla, California). She’s also the writer, director and producer of the award-winning romantic-comedy movie Elle Rose, as well as the serial drama, also titled Elle Rose; both are available on Amazon. Jessica enjoys being in front of the camera just as much as being behind it. Additionally, she has functioned as a writing/English college instructor for over 10 years. When not penning her next novel, film or TV script, Jessica enjoys spending time with her hubby, four children, and God.
When did you discover your passion for writing and sharing stories?
I’ve always been a writer from the time I was a little girl. I know I’m giving away my age a bit, but on the weekends, I would go thrift shopping with my grandma, and I would always beg her to buy me a typewriter every time I saw one. At that time, typewriters were selling for maybe 10 or $15 because they were going out of style. No one used them anymore. By the time I was in the fifth grade, I had 4 typewriters and was typing up stories on all four of them. It was heaven to me. I would sit my younger siblings down and read them stories that I had typed out on my typewriter and tied into a book with string. As far as I can remember, I’ve always had a passion for writing and sharing stories.
Who in your life can you tribute your gift of writing?
That’s a great question! Although she’s not a writer, I would still have to say, my grandma. She’s 100 years old (turns 101 in February if God allows her to see it), and she’s an avid reader. So when we would go thrift shopping, my grandma would buy me bags and bags of books, and I would lose myself in so many different stories. This only fed my imagination and my desire to create my own. As far as actually writing stories, there’s no one else in my family that I know of who was doing this before me.
You are an award-winning writer, director, and producer, how would you describe your creativity?
For some reason, God chose to bless me with many talents and I am ever grateful for that. My creativity is truly God-inspired. Oftentimes, I feel like I’m taking His credit because I don’t really feel like I’m “creating” it. What happens is I “hear” a story, usually just a piece of the story. And as I ponder over that piece of the story, another piece comes to me, and then another. And the pieces keep coming until eventually, I have a book, I have a movie, I have a series. It really happens just like that.
What does the creative process entail?
For my creative process, something just comes to me. For example, my romantic-comedy movie Elle Rose started off as just a thought in my mind of: “Her name is Elle Rose.” That’s all I heard. So I knew there was this woman named Elle Rose, and that was it. So I started asking questions. Who is she? Where does she work? What does she enjoy doing? What’s her personality like? Is she a mom? I didn’t get those answers right away, but what came to me as I pondered over who she was, was “she falls in love with her best friend accidentally.” I was like what? How do you accidentally fall in love with your best friend? And what kind of guy is he?
So there’s a woman named Elle Rose who falls in love accidentally with her best friend, but her best friend is a bit of a recovering ladies’ man… Okay. What else? I didn’t know the answer to that. So I started writing the book just to see what would come of it. I don’t always outline a work first, as I see many other writers do. Instead, I like to see what organically comes to me. Once I feel out the story and see what organically comes to me, then the story kind of outlines itself. But that’s a bit of my creative process. I wait for an idea, and then I let that idea bake in my head, and then I see what comes of it.
Where do you hope to see your career in the next 3-5 years?
Ooh, this is exciting. During the pandemic, when the entire world shut down, my fingers kept right on writing. I wrote Season 1 of the Elle Rose series, which I also produced in 2021 and it is currently available exclusively on Amazon with a 5-star rating. I also wrote a comedy series about two college professors, as well as another drama starring a high-school student, as well as a movie drama that tells the story of a young street guy who is also an intellectual prodigy. In the next 3-5 years, I plan to see all these works produced and available on larger platforms. I also plan to have a program in place to help guide first-time low-budget/no-budget indie filmmakers through the process, which can be rather intimidating and overwhelming.
If you could collaborate with anyone in the world who would it be?
Denzel Washington. He is my mentor, although he doesn’t know it yet. I can’t wait until the day we meet.
What is next for you?
What’s next for me is to begin filming Season 2 of the Elle Rose series and to begin producing Season 1 of the comedy series starring the two college professors. I plan to have both of these productions completed in 2022. As well as a possible Christmas Christian-comedy movie.
What is your definition of a Pretty Woman who hustles?
My definition of a pretty woman who hustles is a woman who is confident in her beauty, both inside and out, and cancels every excuse as she works diligently to turn her goals into her realities.
You can follow Jessica via Facebook @ Officially Jessica B. Smith, Instagram @ instagram.com/jessicab_smith, or the Elle Rose page @ facebook.com/ellerosethemovie.