Jacqueline, Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I was born in New York, but raised in Willingboro, NJ. I moved to FL in 1998, and have been here ever since. I've been writing for many years now, but in 2012 I published my first book, "Jax & Marbles". I enjoy reading when I get the chance. I now own a Kindle, but I still prefer to own physical copies of books.
Why do you write?
I write because I find that I can express myself easier through written word, whether it's a short story or a journal entry. It's relaxing for me, and I feel right at home when I'm focused on the newest thing I'm working on.
What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?
My aunt is a published author as well. When she found out that I had a book that wasn't finished, she asked to see a sample of it. When she read the few chapters I sent her, she made me promise to finish, and publish it. This is something I also promised a few close friends that insisted that I publish my work because they thought it had a lot of potential.
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
I write whenever I have the time. If I'm out and about and an idea comes to mind and I can find something to jot it down, I do it. If I'm at work and an idea for a chapter comes to mind, I take out my mini external drive, and add it. Sometimes when I come home from work if I think of something, I stop what I'm doing and I write. I'm kind of sporadic.
Where do the your ideas come from?
Mostly from the vivid dreams that I have. I make a point to log them when I can in case a piece of it can be used in some of my chapters.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
I prefer to see where my ideas take me.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
It take take me from six months to a year and a half.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
The hardest thing about writing is when I have writers block. Sometimes no matter what I do, I just can't seem to write anything. The problem is, if I can't see a new chapter playing out in my mind, I can't write it.
Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
Keep yourself occupied and don't stress about not being able to write. Without realizing it, ideas will come pouring out, and it'll be as if you didn't have writers block to begin with.
Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?
I try to proofread / edit my books the best I can on my own, but in the end, I send it to a line editor to clean up anything I may have missed.
Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?
I try to do that as much as I can so I'm not frantically trying to change things later when it's going through the publication process. I try to exhaust any plot changes the best I can until I have no reason to think that dialogue, settings, or anything else, could somehow "sound better".
Who edited your book and how did you select him/her?
I went through line editing with AuthorHouse as part of my publishing package.
What do you think makes a good story?
If a story can pull you in as if you're really there, that to me makes a good story.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I do, actually. Especially the ones that are in the middle of the books. They usually talk to me about the characters as if they're real people. They're able to express their love, dislike, etc. for them.
Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?
I try to read when I can. Currently one of my favorite authors is Erin Hunter. I also enjoy reading books by Stephen King, and Dean Koontz.
For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
I prefer traditional books. And when it comes to the traditional books, I absolutely love hard back books. I have a Kindle reader now, but I'm still trying to get used to not holding a physical book in my hand. So I still buy a physical copy every once in a while.
What is your favorite quote?
I finally understand that I do not write, I leak.
- Tyler Knott Gregson
So, what have you written? How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I'm the author of "Jax & Marbles" and "Pick-up Stix". So far I've written the two books. If I had to pick a favorite, I'd have to go with "Jax & Marbles" since it was my first.
Where can we buy or see them?
They both can be seen and / or purchased at Amazon, Books-a-Million, or Barnes & Noble. I've actually seen them for sale on Ebay and Overstock.com as well.
Tell us about your book cover/s and how it/they came about.
The title of the books helped with the process of picking a book cover for them. For a while I wasn't sure about them, but when I realized I couldn't get the titles out of my head, I knew I had to find something that had to do with them.
Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
I do. I find myself picking up books in bookstores if the cover catches my eye as I'm walking by. That usually leads to reading the inside flap. And from there, I'm usually adding the book to my list of titles I'd like to own.
How do you market your books?
I try my best to share links from reviewer blogs on the Facebook page I have for the books, and by tweeting those same links to my followers.
Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers?
I keep a spreadsheet so that I know who I've already emailed, who accepted the query, and who rejected it. That way I can keep track of the reviews that are done so I can save the links, and so that I don't query to the same people multiple times accidentally.
What do you do to get book reviews?
I try to compile a list of reviewers I find online, and I go through the blogs to read their guidelines and rules. If they seem promising, I send a query email to them with as much information about the books as possible. Sometimes I get responses, and sometimes I don't. And some of the responses are that they'll be more than happy to review the books, while others are rejections.
What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?
Good reviews are always amazing. Bad reviews do sting a little, but it's the reviewers opinion. My writing isn't everyone's cup of tea.
What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?
The main advantage to self-publishing is that you have control of your work. There's no one telling you that this needs to be changed, or that needs to be changed. If you like it the way you have it, then that's your decision, and yours alone. The disadvantage is the cost. That's honestly the only thing holding me up in regard to publishing book three.
What does your family think of your writing?
They love it. They're constantly asking when the third book will be ready for purchase, and they're amazed at how much imagination I have.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
My "first book" was written years ago when I was in junior high. I'm not sure how old I was at the time, though. It was dedicated to my dog Buster before he was put down because he was sick. It was full of illustrations and everything. I think my parents still have it.
What are you working on at the minute?
Currently I'm working on the third book to the Toy Box Series. I'm hoping to have it published late this year, if not next year.
What genre are your books?
Young Adult / Fiction
What draws you to this genre?
I enjoy reading a book that enables me to turn off the world around me. Especially when I can place myself in the story as one of the characters. It helps to imagine what everything looks like. Before I know it, an entire day has gone by. Which is something I don't mind at all when I'm reading a really good book.
How much research do you do?
Although my books are fiction, I try to make sure that a lot of the terminology is correct. I want it to be fiction, but I want it to be believable as well. If that makes sense.
Have you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers?
I haven't. I've been approached by fellow writers when they found out about my books and was asked if it would be something I'd be interested in in the future.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Don't let anyone tell you that your work isn't good enough, or doesn't make sense. One of the main reasons why it took me so long to publish my first book is because of a fiction writing professor I had in college. It took me years to realize that what she felt about my writing was her opinion, not fact. If you love writing, and others enjoy your writing as well, keep doing what you're doing.
Where can people connect with you?
Thank you for being a part of the blog this week, Jacqueline.