Chatting with Author Jessica Nelson

Today I’ve invited Jessica Nelson, author of Love on the Range, to join us to answer some questions about how she creates her characters. First let me introduce you. I first met Jessica online after she was contracted by Love Inspired and then in person at last year’s ACFW conference. She’s a sweetheart.

  In keeping with her romantic inclinations, Jessica married two days after she graduated high school.

She believes romance happens every day, and thinks the greatest, most intense romance comes from a God who woos people to himself with passionate tenderness.

When Jessica is not chasing her three beautiful, wild little boys around the living room, she can be found staring into space as she plots her next story. Or she might be daydreaming about a raspberry mocha from Starbucks. Or thinking about what kind of chocolate she should have for dinner that night.

…Is it any wonder her boys are wild?!

Jessica, thanks so much for joining us. Could you tell us a little about your research into the early days of the FBI? 

Sure! I have NO FBI experience *grin* But when I worked at the bank years ago, several good-looking FBI agents worked in our upstairs office, which triggered my interest long before I wrote this book.
At my first writing conference, I spoke with a well-known, kind agent who pointed out that he thought the name Striker sounded like the CIA, which he didn’t think had started at the time of my book. He was right. So I stuck with the FBI which was formed around 1909.

I played on the FBI website, read their history, and discovered the Mann Act of 1910. I took a bunch of liberty with this law but it really did exist due to some moral hysteria (or so certain writers claim). Whatever the case, there really were instances of women being transported for immoral purposes, and The Bureau of Investigation became somewhat involved with it (though little history of actual abductions). It’s fascinating. 🙂

How do you come up with your characters? 

How do I come up with my characters? I honestly used to think I just made them up as I wrote. But now, four manuscripts in, I’m starting to see some real similarities in my heroines to people in my life.

For example, Gracie is the heroine in Love On The Range. Curious, emotional, and verbose, I thought she was a work of fiction.

After refining the story, I asked my mom to read it. And cringed. It suddenly hit me how similar my mother and Gracie are. I certainly didn’t mean to model her after my mom, but no one in my family can deny their similarities.

Characters are thrilling to create. Hopefully in the future my muse will abstain from writing family members into my romances.

Your Turn: Are you a writer? If so, how do you think up a character? If you’re a reader, who is your favorite character? What is it about him or her that snagged your loyalty?  

Giveaway: Leave a comment for a chance to win my gently read copy of Love on the Range 

Connect with Jessica at:



  • I like heroes who are protective of the heroine, and driven a bit out of sorts by her. Love farmers, cowboys, rugged types.

  • Great interview! I like to read about protective heroes, and heroes and heroines who clash at the beginning. Typically with my stories, I have some plot idea or setting first and then I figure what characters fit into that.

  • Would love a copy of this book. This is a new author to me and I would love to get to know her through her books.


  • Hi Jessica! I like creating characters with flawed personalities that somehow make them loveable. The heroines, I find, are a little bit sassy. Sometimes a little uncouth, but strong and independent. women who don’t need a man to rescue them, even of they do 🙂 the heros are almost always a tad arrogant, both are almost always stubborn, but aren’t we all! And like you, they often tend to resemble people in my life. Might want to warn people about the perils of befriending writers. 🙂 great post.

  • Hi guys! Anon, I hope you get a chance to read it. Let me know what you think. 🙂

    Helllooo Miss Stacy! 🙂

    Hi Amy, I adore sassy heroines. I really, really adore arrogant heroes. *grin* PUt them together and what do you have? Sparks! LOL

  • I would love a chance to read this book. I did wonder when a person writes so many books how they manage to come up with so much detail about them. I would love to get into writing and am trying to learn from people who already are doing so. I haven’t read one of these books as I hopefully start to prepare for my own book.

    • Welcome Ruth, you’ll find some more resources for writers at the page link under my blog title bar above, and on my website, where I review many excellent books on the art of crafting a story.

  • Fun interview, ladies. I’d love to meet your mom if she’s like Gracie, Jessica–she’s my kind of spunky lady!

    Please don’t enter me; I’ve already read Love on the Range, so would like someone else to win. It was a great book, full of suspense and history, with very believable characters. I hope it sells through the roof!

  • I’m late to the party as usual. Good excuse this week — the dreaded Scholastic Book Fair at one of my schools. Just finished four days of being a bookseller instead of a librarian. Way ready to revert back!!!!

    Anyhow, just wanted to say that I’m looking forward to reading Love on the Range. Don’t enter me in the draw — I have a copy waiting on my teetering TBR pile. Had great fun shopping online at eharlequin a couple of weeks ago. What an incredible selection in the Love Inspired lines!

    • Ooh, I loved ordering books from Scholastic when I was a kid! Still have all those books, too. Encyclopedia Brown, etc. 🙂 I hear Hqn is adding the Heartsong books to the lineup, too.

Great to "see" you here today! I look forward to reading your comment.