Jessica James is a a reader, a traveler, a collector, and an appreciator of times past.
Her novels run the gamut from military suspense and thrillers to historical fiction, Christian fiction, and small-town Southern women’s fiction.
She is a four-time winner of the coveted John Esten Cooke Award for Southern Fiction, and received a Gold Medal from the Military Writers Society of America in addition to a dozen other literary awards.
Interview by Elise Cooper
Q. The first book doesn’t put journalists in a good light, and the last book doesn’t put politicians in a good light. What’s the message here?
Jessica: Yes. I was a journalist, a reporter, and an editor for over eighteen years. The journalist in the story is what I see happening today. She is power hungry, would throw anyone under the bus, and there is some fake news. I am old school and that is not how journalism was when I worked in that occupation. Politicians are just as power hungry and deceitful.
Q. How would you describe the hero, Rad, in Meant To Be? What about Lauren, the heroine?
Jessica: Rad is serious, patriotic, devoted, big-hearted, sincere, generous, and protective. Lauren is competitive, trusting, calm, reserved, resourceful, friendly, and courageous.
Q. How would you describe their relationship?
Jessica: Cautious because of their occupations. They are both wary. They do trust each other and realize there is a chemistry and intensity between them. Both are strong-willed.
Q. How would you describe the hero, Brody, in Presidential Advantage? And how would you describe Liz, the heroine?
Jessica: Brody is smart, courageous, stubborn, a professional. He is also calm, reliable, authentic, and a warrior. Liz is introverted, kind, naïve, generous, compassionate, and fearless. I based her not on Jackie Kennedy but on Melania Trump who seems uncomfortable when in the spotlight.
Q. What about the advisor Camilla?
Jessica: She is evil, malicious, a power grabber, a backstabber, and represents everything people do not like about politics.
Q. What is the theme?
Jessica: How money and power create deceit and betrayal.
Q. What about your next book?
Jessica: Presidential Advantage was the first book in the “Phantom Force Tactical Series.” In late 2022 the next book will be published, with a working title of Relentless Truth. It has a new President whose child gets kidnapped while at a summer camp. The group is assigned to rescue her.
Review by Elise Cooper
Meant To Be, the first national security novel, by Jessica James delves into the meaning of honor and duty. This is a story of hope and love along with patriotism, conviction, and perseverance.
The story begins with a chance encounter between Rad and Lauren, on a beach in Ocean City Maryland. They spend the day together doing fun things along the Boardwalk including going to Ripley’s Museum, an arcade, and a Ferris wheel. In the evening, the hero, Michael Radcliff, asks the heroine, Lauren Cantrell, to meet his buddies at a party on the beach. She is impressed with his friends and their partners, with their humor, compassion, and helpfulness. That is except one person, Angela Powers, a power-hungry journalist who will stop at nothing to make a name for herself. Unfortunately, for Rad and Lauren, at the end of the day they both go their own ways, never revealing their occupation or last name.
But soon they find themselves reunited on a Special-Ops mission. She is a CIA operative, embedded in a Pakistani village to gain intel on a terrorist. Rad is the leader of the Navy SEALs who has been assigned to take out this powerful terrorist. They reunite after she arrives at the base to share her intel. Readers will think of the Osama Bin Laden take down but also understand how 9/11 plays into the story. Lauren’s parents were on flight 77 as it flew into the Pentagon, the reason she became a spy.
Both Rad and Lauren realize their intense emotional connection cannot interfere with their common goal: take down and eliminate one of the greatest threats to world safety. After they separate, neither knows if they will ever see each other again.
The story involves love, heartache, healing, and hope. Readers will be on the edge of their seat. A bonus is the great job the author does showing military life, the difficult choices faced, and how love, courage, and resolve can conquer all.
Presidential Advantage, her latest novel, switches from the military to political intrigue. It is very realistic showing the dark world of politics with leaks, lies, deceits, deceptions, betrayals, and secrets.
In the plot, readers learn that Elizabeth (Liz) Vaughn always prefers to spend time with her horses, not people. This shy country girl who works on a horse farm met her Prince Charming, a Senator, Ethan Collins, who became Vice-President. After the President dies, Collins is catapulted to the office of President of the United States, while she is thrust into the position of First Lady. At first, she listens to all her advisors, but then realizes she must become more assertive to survive the Washington swamp. She must overcome Camilla, her personal advisor, and the Chief of Staff, Chandler who want to thwart her at every turn. They constantly try to obstruct her good intentions and feed the media news stories that show Liz in a bad light. Knowing she only has her Secret Service Agent Clint Brody as someone she can trust she decides to take matters into her own hands. This works to her advantage as the nation finds her a breath of fresh air.
With her husband Ethan involved in his own presidential duties, Liz realizes their marriage is growing apart. Readers might be reminded of Jack and Jackie Kennedy. Ethan realizes that Liz is helpful in securing voters for the upcoming election. She is no longer the shy person who felt overwhelmed but has a growing confidence that displays compassion. The second half of the book becomes a thriller as Liz and Brody struggle to overcome the many betrayals.
This is a story about a shy Virginian woman who not only survives extremely nasty politics but holds true to her own values. Readers will not want to put this book down with a plot that is a page turner.
Jessica James's Latest
It started as a chance encounter on the beach, and ended 24 hours later when they parted to go their separate ways.
Or so they thought.
Actually it was just the beginning.
WHEN LAUREN CANTRELL said goodbye to the guy she had just met on the beach, she had no way of knowing their paths would ever cross again. But fate had another unexpected meeting in store for them—this time in a place where danger was part of the culture and the stakes were life and death.
THE LAST PERSON in the world Rad expected to see at a special ops briefing in Afghanistan is the girl he met at the beach two weeks ago—the one he can’t stop thinking about.
From the sundrenched beaches of Ocean City, Md., to the snowcapped mountains of Afghanistan, this thrilling tale of espionage and intrigue takes readers on a spellbinding journey into the secret lives of our nation’s quiet heroes—and answers the question:
What do you do when the person you most want to protect is the one risking everything to make sure you survive?
MEANT TO BE recounts the dedication of our military, the honor and sacrifice of our soldiers, and a relationship that is tested and sustained by the powerful forces of love, courage and resolve.