Name: Jax Cassidy
Fiona: Where are you from?
Jax: I’ve lived everywhere from Paris to Los Angeles, Orlando to Dallas…however, I recently moved to Pittsburgh where I hope to stay for a while.
Fiona: A little about yourself `ie your education Family life etc.:
Jax: I was always a ham as a kid so naturally I signed with a talent agent to do commercials, television, and print work. While studying broadcast journalism and film in college, I continued moonlighting as an actor. Being on the set for extended periods of time, it didn’t take long for me to realize I loved working behind the scenes, instead of in front of the camera. I met some talented filmmakers along the way who inspired me to write screenplays. That’s when I realized that my love of art and storytelling would ultimately be my career path. I’ve been very fortunate that I was able to travel for work and leisure, immersed in the fast-paced Hollywood lifestyle. All those memorable experiences definitely shaped my life for the better. I might just write about it one day.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Jax: I thought a St. Patrick’s Day 2016 release would be perfect since it is set in Northern Ireland. HEART OF STONE, a part of the Irish Hearts series, is the sequel to Devil’s Heart.
A celebrity chef takes a forced vacation arranged by his assistant. He never expects the fiery redhead, and proprietor of the cozy B&B, is the same woman who owns the elusive private label whiskey he’s after. Can he charm her into an exclusive partnership with his company? Or, will he sacrifice everything when she unravels his stone-cold heart?
I love revisiting old characters from the previous story. This fictitious small town is a place I’d definitely want to live. Being a total romantic at heart, it has a modern day fairytale feel with plenty of sensual heat and humor.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Jax: I loved reading as a kid, so it was only natural that I would create my own fairytales. If daydreaming was an occupation, I’d be a trillionaire! Rather than winning math competitions, I racked up awards in writing contests and scholarships. It wasn’t until I was in Los Angeles that I met urban fantasy author Kelly Gay (Kelly Keaton). If it wasn’t for her urging me to write romance, I really wouldn’t have considered becoming a novelist. Let alone, becoming a multi-published author. Thank you for that, Kelly!
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Jax: I’d written many articles, poems, and short stories that were published throughout my elementary and college years. It never occurred to me that I was a writer until I submitted a sweet romance short story to an entertainment magazine called the SUN. I received my first contract and check under the penname Jocelyn Cassidy. This was long before I wrote novels. I still have a copy of the check framed. It was a major achievement in my life and made me feel completely legit.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Jax: I was in love with paranormal shows so the first book I’d ever written was GHOSTHUNTER, set in the world where Eastern meets Western mythology. It got the attention of several agents but, sadly, it was never published. It’s still somewhere in my hard drive. I’d gone on to write two more paranormals but somehow I felt contemporary romance was my calling. During the whole waiting on agent process, I submitted my first contemporary under the penname Cassidy Kent which sold. It wasn’t until a few years later that I ended up with my amazing agent, Roberta Brown of the Brown Literary Agency.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Jax: My author friends have told me that I have a lyrical voice, but when it comes to the dialogue and action, it reads like a movie in their mind. It’s a distinct writing style that manages to include my corny sense of humor, with a bit of heavy dramatics at times.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Jax: I can’t seem to start a book without a title. It’s the OCD in me. It just comes to me.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Jax: Overcoming obstacles and knowing love always wins out in the end.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
Jax: I actually do a lot of research and I try really hard to be as accurate as possible. If it’s about a city or place, I want to know all there is to know about the topic. I want readers to believe I’ve visited those destinations. However, there are days when I just go all out on the creativity. It’s fiction so I’m hoping readers just let their imagination flow.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Jax: There’s always a little bit of somebody in my characters. Whether it’s me, a friend, or a stranger, I like incorporating it into my stories. Many of the places or events come from experience or imagination but not everything. That’s the beauty of writing, no one knows what is reality and what is fiction.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
Jax: Gosh, there have been so many. I’d have to say, Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein. It was the first book of poems I’d ever read that made me fall in love with words. It was like a magical conversation with a good friend that comforted me and told me that being different was okay.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Jax: I’ve been blessed to have met many, many amazing and talented mentors in my writing journey. I can’t name everyone because it would take a while but Eden Bradley and Kristen Painter were dear friends who hopped on this crazy ride with me when I first pursued romance writing. They helped me to find my voice and improve my craft. They were the support I needed back then. Throughout my career, I am humbled by everyone I’ve met in the romance industry. There’s quite a few author friends who have exploded over the years. Authors like Sylvia Day, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Monica Murphy, P.C. Cast and many more have been extremely supportive and kind to me over the years. They proved that hard work and resilience really pays off. They’re my inspiration because I was lucky enough to call them my friends at the beginning of my career. I really could go on and on about all the mentors…and there will be many more on my path.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Jax: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. I love motivational books that make you want to get up and do something—to conquer the world! To believe that you can realize your dream if you want it bad enough!
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Jax: These days I’m reading a lot of art, calligraphy, and motivational books.
Although, I’m always discovering new authors. I love print books and with my eReaders, I can easily purchase a huge catalogue of books, sample new voices, and become a fan of authors that I’d never heard of. I blame the internet and social media for my huge TBR list.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
Jax: I’m working on a proposal for my agent. It’s a sweet romance series but I’m also writing a motivational book, and brainstorming for the third book, BEASTLY HEART, in the Irish Hearts series.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Jax: I have a whole network of support so I can’t just name one. They all know who they are!
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Jax: Writing is my career. Even when life gets in the way, I’ll never stop believing that I’ll get back to it full-time. I may not completely live off of this career just yet, but I know one day it will happen. Until then, I still see it as my career.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Jax: All my books are imperfect. Even if I wanted to make changes to them, I won’t. It’s a sort of marker for me to revisit. I want to see my growth as a writer. I want to see how much I’ve grown and improved since my first book.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Jax: It was always inherently a part of me.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Jax: Trying my best not to be repetitive!
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Jax: My publishers have in-house cover artists who design them. However, as a graphic artist, when my books are indie pubbed, I design all my covers.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Jax: Finding the right space to write the book! I get easily distracted but listening to music keeps me focused.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Jax: I learned that I am good at writing emotional characters and very sensual love scenes. Not everyone will get my writing style and some may even hate it, but I will continue to write the kind of books that reflect my love of happy endings.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Jax: Keep writing! I realize sometimes it’s difficult and you have to take a break, whether it’s short or long…even when life kicks you in the gut— learn from it, then get right back up and write when you’re ready to. Squeeze in the time. Write a line, a paragraph, a page. Don’t listen to the negative voices around you. Listen to your own voice, and never give up! You’re a writer as long as you keep trying and have made it to THE END!
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Jax: I am so THANKFUL for my readers! I’m grateful they’ve given me a try and supported me even when I took a hiatus. There are so many stories yet to be told and I hope they will continue to stay with me. The best support readers can give an author is by recommending us, ordering our books, writing reviews, and helping us connect with new readers.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
Jax: I’m a mixed media artist, graphic designer, and modern calligrapher. I love making beautiful things, whether for my own personal joy or to sell on my Etsy shop Inspiration Unbound ( www.inspirationunbound.etsy.com ). I hope to get back to my abstract painting and perhaps have an art show in the near future.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Jax: My guilty pleasure is Hallmark movies. It’s the holiday season so I’m glued to the channel. I’ve seen all the movies at least three times! And when I’m not watching them, I love HGTV, cooking shows, and romantic comedies.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Jax: I’m a total foodie…but I can eat sushi and Korean BBQ all day long! My favorite color has always been black. Lately, I’m warming up to colors. I am a big indie music lover and a sucker for love songs.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Jax: I would probably spend my life as an abstract artist. My first love was art and I’ve been lucky enough to have my work displayed at art shows.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Amazon Authors page http://www.amazon.com/Jax-Cassidy/e/B003J97MWI/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1
Jax Cassidy followed her dreams to Paris, then Hollywood to pursue a film career but managed to fall in love with penning sexy romances and happy endings. She writes contemporary romances and is Co-Founder of Romance Divas, an award winning writer’s website and discussion forum. Jax is also known as one-half of the retired writing team of Cassidy Kent. She is represented by Roberta Brown of the Brown Literary Agency.