Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
My name is Susan, but I write under S. Jackson Rivera, and I’m … old enough.
Where are you from?
I grew up on a ranch in eastern Oregon, but I’ve lived in Utah since getting married, a long time ago.
A little about yourself:
I’m still married to the original, My Own Personal Hero (My H). We have 5 great kids and 9, soon to be 10, grandkidlets. We love to scuba dive, all of the original 5, and even their spouses—yeah, diving is a make-or-break requirement to marry into the family, (ha ha) I’m sure the grandkidlets will love it too. When they are old enough, Damma and Dampa plan to whisk them all off to a different tropical island each year for our own version of sea-camp. It’s going to be a blast.
When we can’t get away to get wet, we like to take off for the weekend on the Indian Roadmaster and enjoy the beautiful scenery in the area. And if we can’t get away for that, you can find us on our deck, enjoying the view, or watching The Walking Dead.
Tell us your Latest news:
I released my latest book on Amazon a couple of months ago, Poppy’s Anthem. Then, I planned to finish Jungle 2, but got invited to join an anthology project. I just finished that story, but it will be a while before it releases—Next Spring, I think, but I’m excited about it. I based my H character on my big brother who was a pro bull rider. It was a fun dedication to a very interesting man.
Finally, My H just announced that we are going diving the end of July. No plans made yet, and we aren’t sure where we’re going, but he’s determined to make it happen. Yay!
When and Why did you start writing:
So, I had a dream about 2 little kids playing on a pile of rocks that were a set of ruins that had been overgrown. It was such a sweet dream, I didn’t want to wake up, so when I did, it just kept growing in my imagination until I started thinking I should write it down someday. Then, years later, all the kids were grown, and I had another birthday approaching that had me feeling old, and I realized that if someday didn’t come soon, it never would. So, I sat down and hammered out my first chapter . . . and then I cried like a baby. Ha ha
The rest just grew from there.
When did you first consider yourself a writer:
That was a hard one for me to figure out. While writing my first, I think I told myself I’d be a real writer/author when I made a top-selling list, or when I made X amount of money … I had all these ideas. People told me I wasalready a writer because I was writing, but I didn’t buy it until I finally released Jungle: The Whispering Ruins, and it went crazy. I think I finally decided I could allow myself to feel legit.
How did you come up with the title:
Coming up with a title is very stressful for me. I agonize over it for quite a while. I keep lists of possibilities, but only because I’m not comfortable with any of them yet, but then, so far anyway, it just hits me and I KNOW, that’s the one.
I took a lot of heat for my Wet series title though. I’ve had so many people suggest I change it. I tried, but nothing better ever came to me. I might still change it when/if it happens, but for now, in my mind, Wet is perfect. In the diving world, we say, “Let’s get wet.” My Wet series is set in the world of scuba diving. See? Not what you sexpected, right? ha ha
How much of your books is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your life:
I try to keep it realistic. Even in Jungle, which is paranormal, I tried to stay believable. We’ll see if I can still pull it off in the sequel. You’d think most of a person’s writing would come from personal experience, or their take on them, but I amaze myself what comes out of my fingers as I’m typing a scene, and the character does or says something very foreign to me. It’s weird, like, how did I even know that?I don’t think I did, my characters made me do it.
I find preachy books kind of annoying, so I try to be careful, but I still feel compelled to throw in little life lessons or wisdom I’ve learned. I hope someone will find it useful, so they don’t have to learn it the hard way, the way I did. (And I hope I do it stealthily enough that no one knows what I’ve done.)
To craft your books, do you have to travel? Before or during the process:
Kind of. I’ve been lucky enough to travel a lot, and it has come in very handy. My 1st trip to Costa Rica really helped me with Jungle. All the diving trips we’ve taken helped with Wet, especially heading to Utila, Honduras to visit my daughter who decided to become a dive master—a little inspiration there for Rhees. It was my first out-of-country trip, alone, and it made me feel pretty grown-up, even though I was a full-grown woman at the time. I tend to use places I know whenever possible in my books, to be authentic.
Do you see writing as a career:
Yes. I’ve been a Realtor for 14 yrs, and while I recently renewed my license, I don’t practice real estate anymore. I love writing, and I wonder why I put it off for so long.
If you had to do it over again, would you change anything in your latest book:
Yes! Always changing and revising, but there comes a point where you just have to say, “Let it go.” I would like to go back and get the typos fixed though. On my to-do list.
If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead:
Something I think about all the time. Ha ha(Fingers crossed)
I keep boardsof the possibilities on my Pinterest. It helps me to visualize my characters in order to get the expressions right. One good picture can inspire several scenes. However, I have a problem when I picture myself trying to talk to the producers:
Them: So, who do you picture as this character?
Me: A young Paul Walker (Paul Weaver), or a young Heath Ledger (Jungle). A young Danny Trejo (Pala).
See what I mean? I’m old … enough.
Any advice for other writers:
Just do it! Get to it! Like me, if someday isn’t soon, it’ll never be. You just have to sit yourself down and start typing. Don’t put it off until you take those refresher English classes. Don’t put it off until you have more time, you’ll never have more time. Don’t put it off. I sooo wish I’d started sooner.
Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I love you! Thank you for validating me . . . Oh, and have you by chance left a review on Amazon yet? It would really mean the world to me.
What are you reading now:
At the moment, I’m mostly reading other stories in the anthology I’m a part of. We are Beta reading for each other, though I did manage to sneak in two of my friend’s books, Untouchable, and Unraveled, by Nicole Dykes—I love her books. I also just read,Becoming a Vincent, by CM Owens, and I laughed aloud through, The Virgin Romance Novelist, by Meghan Quinn. (I really, really wish I could write comedy. My books have funny moments, but I want to be Meghan Quinn, Lindy Zart, Penelope Reid, or Helena Hunting when I grow up!)
I want to list my whole Kindle library, but I’m pretty sure you said the word‘recent’.
Do you remember the first book you ever read:
Not the title, but in 4th grade, I read a book all way through for the first time. Up until then, I didn’t have an attention span and only managed to quickly skim through, looking at the pictures. I remember feeling amazed that it was so good—Yeah, I was a little late to the party, but that opened a whole new world for me, and I actually remember the moment. Next book to make a big impression: The Good Earth, by Pearl S. Buck.
What makes you laugh/cry:
I think I have a weird sense of humor. I laugh at the grandkidlets, funny videos, funny books, and just good old-fashioned storytelling, sitting around with loved ones, reminiscing. I don’t like to cry, I guess because I only cry when I am too emotional and out of control. So, I avoid sad movies, books., etc.
Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
I always wanted to meet Paul Walker. I based my Paul Weaver on his looks and expressions and was halfway through my Wet series when he died. After his death, Idecided to dedicate the book to him and named the character Paul, which was not my original plan. I’d like to meet him and thank him for the inspiration of a great character. I think Wet will always be my favorite, but shh … don’t tell my other books that.
What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching:
I really don’t watch a lot of TV. If I have down time, I’d rather write, but when I do, I love The Walking Dead. I like Survivor, Ray Donovan, HGTV, and my guilty pleasure, Shameless. My favorite movie is probably Into the Blue.
Favorite foods, colors, music:
I don’t eat sugar, flour, potatoes, or rice, which after 4 years, eliminates the fun out of this question. My cravings change, but my go-to is always nuts. At the moment, I like the dry-spiced wings at one of our favorite restaurants, Straptank Brewery.
Fav colors are Purple, Orange, and Lime green, all together.
My taste in music is quite diverse. I pretty much like anything, but can only take so much rap, and opera.
Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Wow! I finally found something I am passionate about, besides diving, and now I have to figure out what I’d do if I had to give it up?That’s a hard one. I’d probably still be doing real estate, and I think I’d be bored, as well as feeling like I missed the Fulfillment Boat.
What do you want written on your head stone:
I have no idea. That question is kind of like trying to come up with a blurb for a book, something I hate. “We hates blurbs.”
Do you have a website, or blog:
Yes. Please visit:https://sjacksonrivera.com/to find out what events I’m attending, and read my hit-and-miss blog.
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/S-Jackson-Rivera/e/B00HYJWF7Q/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1
Poppy’s Anthem: http://amzn.to/2nbkmea
Wet Part 1 http://amzn.to/2p1ewbA
Wet Part 2 http://amzn.to/2o3FHF8
Wet Part 3 http://amzn.to/2o3USyb
Jungle: The Whispering Ruins http://amzn.to/2o3BmBZ
Facebook Author Profile: https://www.facebook.com/sjacksonriveraauthor