To bring our month of celebrating the performing arts to an end, we are excited to present our expert of the month – Jessie Cave! Jessie is a true renaissance artist having worked in many different disciplines of the creative industry. Most recognisable from her experience as an actor (readers may know her from the Harry Potter cinematic series in which she played Lavender Brown or from the brand new ITV2 series Buffering). Jessie has also worked in the comedy world, taking her shows Bookworm and Sunrise to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where she received rave reviews.

More recently Jessie has published her first novel Sunset, a comedy about grief, love and the relationship between sisters. Her novel has had standout reviews, becoming one of The Sunday Times instant bestsellers. Jessie has released two books previously, Lovesick, which is a collection of her doodles and illustrations and Sunrise, an illustrated story version of her Fringe performance.

With Jessie involved with so many areas of the creative industry we thought we would get the inside scoop into what it takes to make your own work.

You’ve worked in a number of disciplines now (acting, writing and illustration) what inspired you to go into the creative industry?

“I think I’m in the creative industry because, quite simply, I have never fit in anywhere and being broadly creative is the only option I’ve got. I love making stuff, whatever that may be.”

When acting and performing, what are the differences between performing your own writing to working with someone elseโ€™s?

“Performing someone else’s work is a lot easier, but can also be frustrating if the material is quite sparse. I prefer performing my own work because no one can tell me what to do… I realise this makes me sound like a control freak (which, of course, I am).”

“my book taste is quite particular”

Your Edinburgh Fringe show Bookworm focussed on obsessive Harry Potter fans, have you ever been part of a book’s fan club or book club before?

“No, it’s something I’d love to do, but I don’t think I have enough friends. Also, my book taste is quite particular and I give up on a lot of books if I’m not enjoying it by the time I’m at 50 pages so I would find being forced to read books I’m not keen on quite challenging.”

A photograph of Jessie Cave in her peformance 'Bookworm' at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Youโ€™ve now released your first novel, how did this compare to writing for stage and screen?

“Some days, there is no comparison, but then on other days, they are exactly the same. it’s just about telling the story that’s in your head.”

What are your top three books?

“This changes all the time so it’s almost impossible to say, but these books stayed with me…”

The cover of the book 'The Trick To Time' featuring white text over an image of a woman on a beach.

The Trick To Time by Kit De Wall

Mona is a young Irish girl in the big city, with the thrill of a new job and a room of her own in a busy boarding house. On her first night out in 1970s Birmingham, she meets William, a charming Irish boy with an easy smile and an open face. They embark upon a passionate affair, a whirlwind marriage – before a sudden tragedy tears them apart.

Decades later, Mona pieces together the memories of the years that separate them. But can she ever learn to love again?

The cover of the book 'Blue Ticket' featuring blue text over a red photograph of a woman's reflection in a shard of mirror.

Blue Ticket by Sophie Mackintosh

Calla knows how the lottery works. Everyone does. On the day of your first bleed, you report to the station to learn what kind of woman you will be. A white ticket grants you children. A blue ticket grants you freedom. You are relieved of the terrible burden of choice. And, once you’ve taken your ticket, there is no going back.

But what if the life you’re given is the wrong one?

The cover of the book 'All at Sea' featuring white text over an image of the sea.

All at Sea by Decca Aitkenhead

On a hot still morning on a beautiful beach in Jamaica, Decca Aitkenhead s life changed forever.

Her four-year-old boy was paddling peacefully at the water’s edge when a wave pulled him out to sea. Her partner, Tony, swam out and saved their son’s life then drowned before her eyes.

Exploring race and redemption, privilege and prejudice, All at Sea is a remarkable story of love and loss, of how one couple champed each other’s lives and of what sudden death can do to the people who survive.

We want to thank Jessie Cave once again for being our expert this month! Please go check out her work and her brand new book here and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.