New author encourages aspiring writers: 'Don't give up'

Author J.D. [Jessica] Tassone was selling copies of her first book at the Westville Fall Fest and 125th Anniversary of Westville on Oct. 23, and visiting with Naomi Richter about her book. Renee Fite | Westville Reporter

Up until a few months ago, recently published Christian author J.D. "Jessica" Tassone was a stay-at-home mom homeschooling her two children.

Like many authors before her, especially women, Jessica uses a nom de plume, or pen name, "J.D. Tassone."

“A.R.T.ful Oklahoma” is her first book, and the title is an acronym.

The storyline involves an Oklahoma artist who struggles with her faith due to her past. With the help of her friends, "Beau," and an accident, Diane finds her way back to Christ. 

A.R.T. is a place where talented kids can express their abilities in a safe environment. Beau is a fan of Diane’s work and finds himself falling in love with her.

When Tassone started writing the book, she didn’t have an idea of what direction she wanted the characters to take.

“I started praying over the book as I wrote it, asking for God’s guidance,” she said. 

The whole process of writing and editing took two years to complete. 

"In the beginning, I was nervous and excited,” she said.

She also designed the cover.

“I took parts of the book, played around with a few ideas, and settled on this one. I used a website called Canva to design the cover,” she said. 

Now that the book can be held in her hands, she is thankful for friends, inspiration, and answered prayers.

“I couldn’t have done this without God and the encouragement of friends and family. I still get giddy thinking about it,” said Tassone.

It’s still a little hard for Tassone to believe she actually did it.

She is self-published, and the book is available on Amazon in e-book and paperback. For now, marketing is mostly by word of mouth.

“Family and friends have been sharing with people they know,” she said. 

Tassone realized she like to write as a student.

“In middle and high school, I started to enjoy literature class. We were asked to do research for essays, short stories, and even poetry. I loved the process of digging into research to pour into my writing. I still enjoy the process today,” she said. 

As she plans to continue writing, the research will be an integral aspect of the process.

Encouragement for those writing or wanting to be published begins with, “Don’t give up.”

“Keep writing. Trust your intuition. Find groups to be apart of, to learn and to grow," Tassone said. "I have found several online groups that have been very helpful and have helped me grow."

It’s not easy, but it's very rewarding to hold the book in her hands.

“There were times while writing that I would get frustrated because the story seemed to just stop. I learned it was best to take a step back, breath, and pray," said Tassone. "I couldn’t be more grateful than I am, to have such an amazing support system to get me to where I am today." 

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