Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
Hi! I’m Kristen Jackson, and I am 46 years old. So nice to meet you, and thanks for having me!
Fiona: Where are you from?
I’m from Reading, Pennsylvania, in the U.S.A
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I am a wife and mother of two grown sons. I’ve been a teacher for over twenty years, and I currently teach preschool. My college degree is in the Elementary Education/Early Childhood Education. I’m a home-person. You can usually find me at home, watching TV, reading, or writing at home with my family and dogs.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I have two books set to release in 2018. A young adult novel called KEEPER OF THE WATCH will release on February 1st, 2018, and a childrens picture book entitled JOCELYN’S BOX OF SOCKS will release late summer/early fall 2018.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing in my thirties, but it’s something I’ve always talked about. My very first attempt was a children’s picture book about my dogs. (I currently have 3 large-breed dogs.)
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I finished my first novel, a middle-grade fiction book about a dog made of snow. It is unpublished, but I’d like to go back and revise it someday.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My dogs. My very first book was a children’s picture book about my dogs, and my very first novel, SNOW DOG, was also about a dog.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Well, it’s about a dog made of snow that magically comes to life…so it seemed natural to call it SNOW DOG.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I am an admitted pantser. I’ve tried so many times to create a neat and tidy outline before writing…but I find that I never stick to it. The challenge is that, though I basically know what the beginning, the middle, and the end of the story will be, the rest just emerges as I’m writing. That means that sometimes things happen in the story that I had no idea would happen prior to writing.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Events in your life shape every story. We writers tend to write what we know. But no, I don’t base my stories on a particular experience or a person in my life.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
My current work in progress, tentatively titled BENEATH THE WAVES, is based in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, due to the large great white shark population. Since I’d never been there, I wanted to have a first-hand knowledge of the area while I was writing, so my husband and I went on a road trip to visit for our anniversary vacation. I’d already written 26 chapters, so after the trip, I did go back and add/change details that I never would have known about if I hadn’t visited the area. First-hand views are always better than just seeing it on a computer screen, at least in my experience.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My publisher designed the cover for KEEPER OF THE WATCH with my guidance, and the illustrator in collaboration with the publisher will design the cover for JOCELYN’S BOX OF SOCKS.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I think the underlying message in KEEPER OF THE WATCH is to never give up. Even if things seem impossibly negative, you should trust in yourself and keep going. Stay strong, and things will work out. Maybe not the way you intended, but a different path may open that you never considered.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
I am currently reading THE SCORCHING by Libbi Duncan. This was her debut young adult novel, and I’m really enjoying it! My favorite author is Nora Roberts. I think she could write about anything and make it interesting! She often adds a mystical element to her stories, and I’m drawn to that as well. Another favorite of mine is Dean Koontz, especially his earlier works like STRANGERS and WATCHERS, to name just a few. I love the science fiction elements, the mystery, and the suspense.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Honestly, it was other writers. I joined several writer’s groups on Facebook, and they have been wonderfully supportive and uplifting every step of the way. Social media can be a boost to your writing and motivation, if you find the right people.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
It is a passion, but yes, I also see it as a career. Right now, it is a second career for me, but I’d love for my writing to be my number one job. To be able to write everyday would be a dream come true.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No, I don’t think so. There are some violent elements in my book that I wonder if some would be offended by, but I had to stay true to the characters and write what they would do in each situation. I’m happy with my final manuscript.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Yes, I learn so much during the writing of all my books. Whether it’s about how to write in general, a place, or a concept, I’m always researching during the writing process. Learning is an ongoing, life-long process.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Hmm. That’s an interesting question! I have to admit, I picturedan 18 year old version of actress Jaimie Alexander for the character Alyx while I was writing. For Chase, maybe actor Alex Pettyfer…
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
I know this has been said before, but never give up! Receiving rejections can be hard to take, but I guarantee all writers have been where you are. Keep trying, that’s the only way it’s ever going to happen.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
A piece of me goes into everything I write. When you read my book, you are seeing just a bit of me. My hope is that you can connect with my book the same way I do.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
THE SCORCHING, debut novel by Libbi Duncan
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
My Mom read books to me all through my childhood, so I don’t remember the first. I do remember that I loved the book BUNNICULA by Deborah and James Howe as a young girl, and CHARLOTTE’S WEB by E.B. White made a big impression on me back then.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
When a character that you relate to (human or animal) dies. Or on the flipside, when things work out unexpectedly. I read the book MARLEY AND ME by John Grogan, and at the end of it I had to keep putting the book down because I couldn’t see the words through my tears.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Steve Irwin. I admired(and share) his love of animals, and his lifetime of dedication to the conservation of his favorite species.
Oh, wait! Maybe it would be Theodor Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss! He found a way to include profound messages between the eye-catching pictures and stories filled with rhymes.
Okay, okay. I know that’s two…
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I love to write, read, and spend time with my family. We have a small cabin in the Pocono mountains of Pennsylvania, and we go there on the weekends. It’s a very inspirational place to write! I guess you could say that writing is a bit like a hobby…because I do it every chance I get!
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Right now, we’ve been binge-watching the series STRANGER THINGS on Netflix. I also like THE WALKING DEAD and GAME OF THRONES. I’m a huge STAR WARS fan, and the X-MEN are another favorite. On a lighter note, the TV show MODERN FAMILY makes me laugh out loud, and THE GOLDBERGS takes me back to what it was like to grow up in the 80’s.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Pepperoni pizza, blue, and music depends on my mood. I alternate between rock and country music.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I’d continue working as a teacher. I love working with children.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Since my family is the most important thing in my life, I think it will read:
Kristen Jackson, wife, mother, daughter, sister.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Yes! My blog is on my website: https://kristenljackson.wixsite.com/kristenjacksonauthor
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Kristen L. Jackson, Author of KEEPER OF THE WATCH released 2/1/18
Available for Pre-order at:
Black Rose Writing
Barnes & Noble
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