Monday, October 24, 2011

Interview with Author Jaclyn Hawkes

Deirdra: When did you first know you wanted to be an author?

Jaclyn: Only three years ago. I think I'm a fluke that way. Then I wrote 9 books the first year. At the time it didn't seem strange, but when I tell people that, they kind of freak out. Apparently, one is typical. Now that I realize how long it takes to get through publication, I've slowed way down and am masquerading as a wife and mother again.

Deirdra: What is your writing and educational background?

Jaclyn: I have a Bachelor of Science Degree in Geography and was a cartographer and have a minor in Equine Management. So unless you count A s in English--another fluke. But, I love to read. Way too much! And now, I love to write.

Deirdra: What inspires your writing and stories?

Jaclyn: People and experiences. Sometimes I feel prompted. A good rain storm. Sunsets. Hot chocolate with whipped cream on top. Music. My adorable husband. (Don't tell him I said that.)

Deirdra: What was the pathway like for you to get your first book published?
Jaclyn: Once I decided it was something I wanted to do, I checked into how to submit. I submitted the first book and it went all the way through to the final approval comittee. I did a rewrite upon the publisher's request and then ultimately got rejected. Dang it!
But then the second publisher I tried loved it and accepted it and five others for publication. Unfortunately, they published Journey of Honor, (not the first one, by the way), and then went under financially. It wasn't because of my book, I swear it.
I then had another publisher pick up The Outer Edge of Heaven, but they ended up stringing me along until I walked to the fourth publisher. I'm thrilled with Spirit Dance Books and their plans to publish two of my books per year for the next while. Now that I'm settled with a publisher, I'm learning just how much goes into marketing. Frankly, it's not nearly so fun as writing.

Deirdra: Were you ever discouraged along the way? If so, how did you deal with it?
Jaclyn: Of course! Many times. Honestly, the only reason I didn't quit over and over was because I felt this was what I was supposed to be doing. Plus, I have a funny personality. Sometimes, instead of getting discouraged, I get mad! I get this, "Fine! Watch me succeed in spite of you!" attitude that comes in very handy in life! You don't want to get me ticked off, because I might just decide to buy the company you work for someday! Of course I wouldn't ever fire anyone--like the guy who signed the rejection slip--I'd just secretly enjoy signing his check. It works.

Deirdra: What is your writing schedule like?

Jaclyn: I should preface this answer with, "Caution, this is definitely not what the pros say to do." I write when I can fit it in around mothering and wifing and my church callings and business demands. (You'll notice I didn't mention housework. I couldn't keep up with that even before I began to write. When I grow up, I'm going to have a maid.) It's funny, because everyone says, "Be sure and stay current on what's happening in your genre." That's a joke. There's absolutely no way. I have graduated to a full four page, legal size to-do list. Now, I simply do the best I can and don't beat myself up about it anymore. Thank goodness for wonder boy husband and very durable kids.

Deirdra: Where do your ideas come from? How do you know the idea is good enough to write a book about it?
Jaclyn: The ideas come from life, or dreams, or boredom while I'm waiting for the dentist. Or God maybe. Probably. Who knows? I start by simply writing down bits of ideas and if they take on a life of their own and become intriguing enough, I'll do an outline. If I ever have time, I'll write that sucker. I've got several outlines stashed away, just in case life eases. Or in case I get upset enough that I'll start one even when I don't have time. It's amazingly therapeutic.

Deirdra: Can you tell us a little about your book The Outer Edge of Heaven?

Jaclyn: The Outer Edge of Heaven is a fun, entertaining, easy read! This is definitely not War and Peace. This is the ultimate "Mom needs a time-out" book.
It's about a sweet, happy college coed, Charlie,who has tough, driven, professional parents who expect their baby daughter to become a heavy hitter like their other children. The story centers around how Charlie decides to go to Montana for the summer with her childhood buddy, Fo, instead of home to Connecticut and her all-powerful parents and the future spouse her parents have picked out,--who happens to be a divorce lawyer named Elroy. In Montana, she meets Fo's uncle's nutty family and his strong, silent, hunky cousin.

It's good! it's funny. It's safe from the smut and grit and stuff in most mainstream writing these days, but it's still a great, interesting story with a few twists. I think it's an awesome book! And it's gotten excellent reviews! Try it! I think you'll like it.


Deirdra: What do you hope readers will get from your books?

Jaclyn: I hope they get a pick-me-up. I hope they're good for another ten thousand miles of reality, with a breath of enthusiasm thrown in. I hope they close the book with a sigh and have a greater desire to do something good with their lives. But I also hope they don't realize that they've been pulled upward. I hope that updraft is basically subconcious and that they simply enjoyed the book.


Deirdra: Besides writing what other talents or hobbies do you have?

Jaclyn: Uhhh, talents . . . I have marvelous children, but I fear it's in spite of their mothering. I train horses, although I don't have any right now. I'm a fine wife, if you don't count a margin of lunacy in our home. I do lots of things reasonably well and nothing perfectly. When my children are raised, I'll work on the talent thing. Until then, I'm perfectly content to excel at dinner and laundry and a safe, secure landing pad where you can always take your armor off. How's that? Oh, and I am an excellent writer!

Deirdra: What words of advice do you have for other writers who desire to have their manuscripts become books in print?

Jaclyn: Don't give up! If it truly matters to you, don't ever give up. Ever. There's always room for greatness. Just make sure that your stuff is great before you submit it.

Deirdra: What are you working on now?

Jaclyn: A sweeeeet medieval story of knights and princesses and intrepid heroines with incredibly strong and romantic heros. It's going to be great!

Deirdra: Where can our readers go to find your books and order them?
Jaclyn: jaclynmhawkes.com, spiritdancebooks.com and all manner of bookstores from Amazon to the locals, but, if they buy directly from my site, I'll make more money, so go there!

Deirdra: Any final words you would like to share?
Jaclyn: Be happy and enthusiastic. Or at least peaceful. Dance even if it rains. Smell the flowers. Smell the cows. Watch your children dance. Hug each other when you cry. Ski if it snows. If you don't, life gets tedious.

3 comments:

  1. Good articles. I like it. Dont forget to give me your comment back into my blog, okay

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  2. Great interview, and agree with the closing sentiments, but I don't go out of my way to smell flowers..haha

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