Name N.D. Jackson
Where are you from
That’s a long answer, hahaha! I was born and mostly raised in the Chicagoland area, but I lived in Milwaukee for a few years as a small child. But I say I’m from Los Angeles because that is where I’ve lived the longest in my adult life. Now though, I’m living in Germany.
I have an undergrad and graduate degree in Political Science, so you’ll notice that even my romance novels often have a whiff of politics in them. It is my passion, even when it gets ridiculous, and I think it shows a lot about human nature.
My husband and I are living in Europe to fulfil my lifelong dream of traveling the world. It is my favourite thing to do, even for a weekend trip to Strasbourg. I’m a bit of a home chef, so you’ll see lots of cooking and cocktail making/drinking going on all over the place. I love asking chefs/cooks how to make things when I travel so I can do it when I return home. I’m a Cubs fan, but tennis is the sport of my heart.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
My latest novel Feels Like Love was just released! It’s the third novel in my Mustang Prairie series, a small town in the middle of Illinois. Each novel is a standalone with no cliffhanger, but you’ll get to meet all kinds of kooky residents from one book to the next.
My next project is a series of standalone novellas.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Not to sound too cliché but I’ve been writing since I was a kid. I have old notebooks (with pink paper and recycled paper) filled with poems, short stories and ideas that have travelled the world with me.
I first started writing because it was a great escape, like reading. I thought it would be great to have stories like Judy Blume, Sweet Valley High and Babysitter’s Club that would feature kids like me. Then as I became an angsty teenager, it was a way to craft things the way I wanted them to turn out.
For awhile I fancied myself a poet when I discovered Emily Dickinson and Sylvia Plath, whom I still love, but I’ll leave that up to the real poets.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I guess I’ve always considered myself a writer. I put aside my passion for a long time, in college especially. But even then my research papers and my thesis and even essay questions were always my strong suit. Before I published my first novel, I was employed as a writer of a variety of things so, yes I’ve always found a way to write.
Now however, I get to write my passion instead of someone else’s.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My first book was actually the third published book. Cordially Invited is a satire on the death penalty (that politics thing again) and I wrote it because the way we as a Americans treat death intrigued me. We, as a whole, treat it like it isn’t irreversible when it is. So I thought, what if we treated executions like these giant Gatsby-esque affairs? When I first started to write it, there had been a lot of drama surrounding released death row inmates (I am from Illinois, remember) and botched executions.
Instead of getting angry, okay I was angry. But I decided that satirizing it was more therapeutic than doing things that also wouldn’t make a difference.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I don’t think so but people who know me and have read my work often say they can hear me in the writing. I’m sarcastic and snarky, that doesn’t sound very flattering, does it? Well it is my default and I think that’s why my dialogue is so compelling.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
For Feels Like Love I wanted to continue the ‘love theme’ and since Sadie & Dylan were reluctant to admit their relationship already felt a lot like real love I thought the title fit. The second book in the series, A Little Bit In Love, was pretty much the same. They liked each other but refused to turn a holiday affair into more.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Not necessarily. I mean love is love for the most part, but the journey is what makes romance so beautiful. Overall I like characters who stand up for themselves and don’t succumb to the expectations of others. I think Sadie & Dylan (Feels Like Love) both excelled at that. He refused to be what his parents wanted him to be because it wasn’t him. Sadie had no real choice but to become who she was and learn to stand up for herself. It made their story raw, I think, but it made them both happier people.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic ?
I’m going to give a total writer answer here and say, the people are a cocktail of people I’ve known, loved, and hated in my life. I will tell you that the town of Mustang Prairie is loosely based on the small town where I went to college. Go Panthers!
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Not at all. I introduced Sadie in A Little Bit In Love and I fell in love with her. I knew exactly the story I wanted to tell.
But as my close friends will tell you that there is a sweetheart in my past as well as my (still strong) love of Dawson’s Creek makes friends to lovers stories near and dear to my heart. So there was inspiration but not necessarily anything specific.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
Great question! My favorite book is Jane Eyre. It is the perfect mix of love and politics and I read it once every year.
I think one of the best storytellers who ever lived was Jane Austen. She just had a way of capturing the small town feel of life whether it was in the country or in London. And her punchy dialogue was amazing. Romance or not, all writers can learn from Jane.
Christopher Buckley is a huge influence for me because I think he does, better than anyone else, political satire to perfection. If you’ve ever read Boomtown or A Supreme Courtship you’ll know what I mean.
Whenever I’m feeling unsure of my skill or I need to be inspired, I will pick up a book by one of these..
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’ve just finished Some Kind of Wonderful by Jill Shalvis. I am currently debating between 5 books on my TBR list for the next read.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I’ve met some wonderful authors over the past year and two so far, have stuck out. Thomas Bartlett (Americans Bombing Paris) and Maggie Adams’ Tempered Steel series. I like them both for different reasons and they both appeal to my two sides as a writer.
If you enjoy a gritty read, ABP is just amazingly real and gritty. Tempered Steel is full of sexy alpha men but there’s a mystery woven throughout.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I’m working on a trilogy of novellas about 3 southern girls. It isn’t named yet, but they will each be standalone stories, however all 3 heroines will appear in every story.
I want to start a travel love series, based on all the wonderful places I’ve been.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
One of my closest friends, she lets me bounce ideas off her which in itself is a gigantic ask. I tell her why her idea won’t work, in the process helping me solidify the idea that was dying to break free. She’s the best and she’s as crazy as I am, so it’s work and its fun.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Most definitely! I do write for a living and it is a worthy career. Some days I think my eyes will cross and get stuck that way, but it’s so worth it. Coming up with descriptions, storylines, sales pitches, it is all creative and it’s about manipulating words until you get that perfect phrase. It’s amazing.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Yes. No. Probably! I’m still going back and forth on Sadie and her family. I’m not sure if the resolution is true to Sadie or true to me. I am happy with the way it worked out, but I’m still not sure if it was the right choice.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
It began with a diary. One with the crappy little lock that wouldn’t keep out anyone determined to get in. It was a great way to stay sane and mostly I just wrote what happened that day and how it made me feel. One day, I was 10 or 11, and I remember writing a random stanza about how I was feeling, but not. It was so beautiful to my inexperienced eyes because it said what I was feeling without directly saying it. That was the first time I truly realized the power of words.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I’m working on the first novella in a set of 3 standalone novellas. It is tentatively called REBEL GIRLZ because they’re all from the south and rebelling against the wishes of their parents.
Dixie wants more than the stuffed suit her parents have picked out for her to marry. She takes a break from her life and finds someone who makes her feel passion and love, and someone who is totally unsuitable.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
There’s always the concern that you’ve written too much. Too much detail and scenery, or not enough? That’s my biggest dilemma as a writer because, as a reader I hate when the author goes on and on about the Louis XIV settee!
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
That’s a tough question. I have tons of authors I will almost always one-click. Marquita Valentine, Susan Mallery, Jill Shalvis are some of my favorites. But I can’t name just one.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I have been traveling a lot lately but not necessarily for my books. A recent trip to Austria though, made me realize how fun it would be and I’m planning a series around my travels so far!
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Editing it! Honestly it is the hardest part because you don’t want to take anything out, but you also don’t need a romance that’s 500 pages. The emotional aspect can be hard, but what is romance without a good cry?
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned quite a bit about recording a song. I didn’t want to get too technical but if I ever find myself held a gunpoint by an aspiring musician, I’ll know what to do.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write what you feel and what you know. Don’t let the so called experts tell you that you can become a bestseller by writing something you have no passion for or by using search engine results. Your writing will always be better if you feel it, enjoy it and love it. Not everyone will love it, but you will.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thanks for your support! It’s always nice when someone tells you that something you wrote gave them the feels.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Not exactly, but I know it was one of those summer contests in 4th or 5th grade. I think a Scholastic Reader contest.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Music makes me cry and so do cheesy romance books and movies. It’s crazy but I love it! I have a twisted sense of humor, some might say macabre or gallows humor.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
I would love to meet Nina Simone, after sitting in on a live performance of hers. Her voice heals my soul when I didn’t know it needed it. I just…I love the poetry of her words and that husky voice so full of emotion.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
She was happy and didn’t waste one second she was given. That’s how I hope to live and how I think everyone should.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I am a book-a-holic to a ridiculous degree, but I also love to cook and travel.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
That’s a very long list. If it involves crime (Law & Order: SVU & Criminal Minds, I’m talking about you) or if it makes me laugh, I’ll at least give it a shot.
I’m really into The Walking Dead and my new addiction is Billions. Paul Giamatti is a really good villain.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
My favorite food is curry. I love all types, Indian & Thai, and all colors. The spicier the better.
Green is my favorite color but black is the perfect fallback.
Music…I’m a classic rock and folk kind of girl. Bob Dylan, Janis & Jimi make every one of my playlists. And of course, Adele. I’m currently wearing out ears with I Got The Boy by Jana Kramer.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I almost went to law school but a summer spent at the Innocence Project cured me of that. I have 2 degrees in politics so I spent a few election cycles doing that and even though it sucks my soul, I’m pretty good at it. If I had to…I would go back to that.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
HERE ARE BOOK LINKS – FEEL FREE TO REMOVE INTERNATIONAL LINKS
Conflict Of Interest (Mustang Prairie Book 1)
A Little Bit In Love (Mustang Prairie Book 2)
Feels Like Love (Mustang Prairie Book 3)