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?
Hello, my name is Sandra J. Jackson, and I turned 50 earlier this year.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I was born in Montreal, Quebec Canada and lived on the South Shore until I was 16 when I moved to the Ottawa area. I now live in a rural community in the 1000 islands region in Eastern Ontario.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I grew up with two older brothers and a younger sister. When I was 16 my parents, sister and I (brothers had moved out by then) moved to Ottawa. I studied Graphic Design in college but did little work in the field as computer graphics suddenly became the way-to-go shortly after I earned my diploma. I married my husband a year after college graduation and we have raised two children. I now work as a finance assistant and write in my spare time.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I wish my latest news was something exciting. Had this been August I would tell you I just won my first book award. But that is old news, and so I guess the latest news I have with regards to writing is that I have begun edits on the third book of The Escape Series trilogy. The second book is with a creative editor, and I expect both books to be released next year.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing in 2005, and it began with a poem I’d written about my niece who had passed away. I gave it to her parents and they asked me to readit at her funeral (not an easy task). About a month later I had an idea for a story and the ideas kept coming. Eventually, I had eight different stories started and all in various stages of completion from a few paragraphs to several chapters. At some point I decided that I needed to pick one and finish it. I ended up with a ninth idea and that became my first completed novel.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I didn’t consider myself a writer, at least publicly, until my first book was published.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I’ve always been fascinated with people who believe they have lived another life and with the belief of soulmates. These two notions inspired me to write Promised Soul.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
My titles are derived from the last lines of the book. Promised Soul came from the concept of a soul being promised to another in eternal love.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I’m not sure if this is a specific writing style but I do like to include elements in my stories that make my readers feel like they are a part of the story. I also like to make my readers think and wonder ‘what if.’
So far I haven’t found anything challenging with regards to the genres I write or my style.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
There are always elements in my books that are real based either on my personal experiences or someone else’s. As a writer though my stories are fictional I have to draw from fact to make the characters believable.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
While I have travelled to some of the places I have mentioned in my writing there are other places I have not. However, I do extensive research using tools like Google Street View and enlisting the help of people who live in the places I am writing about.
If I have travelled to the location the writing about it occurs afterward. If I am writing about a place I have never been to before the research occurs usually during the process.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Both of my books were previously published by another publisher. With my first publisher a graphic artist working with the publisher designed the cover of my first book, and I designed the cover of the second. A designer with my current publisher designed the covers of both the second editions of my books.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I suppose if there are messages in my novels it is to not give up hope.
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 have read a lot of works in the last few years by a number of new authors. Some have been great, and I will, and have, continued reading works from them, others not so much. One of my favourite authors is Diana Gabaldon. I enjoy the stories she writes and the research she does to ensure that her fictional stories have a realistic side to them.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
I’m not sure if there was anyone outside my family I spoke to about writing, certainly not one entity. However, I can say that since I have become published, some of my biggest supporters have come from members of my community as well as many other authors.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
It would be great, a dream, if it could be a career, but at the moment it is not, perhaps someday.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No, I don’t think so.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Yes, that writing a trilogy is difficult and requires a lot of note taking.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
That’s a good question and one I have thought about. I’m not really sure but she would have to pass for 27 years old with honey blond hair and green eyes, Kirsten Prout, Amanda Seyfried, or Jennifer Lawrence (with coloured contacts) types.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
My advice to authors starting out would be to build your author platform before you become published. Start a blog, a website, and grow interest in your talent. Though I did not do these things myself (I had no idea) I did start posting chapters of my book on Wattpad where I received a lot of great feedback before I approached a publisher.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Thank you! Your support and interest in my books is very much appreciated as well as your reviews.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Right now I am reading The Long Gray Goodbye by Bobby Underwood
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Probably the first chapter books I read would have been the Nancy Drew series. I absolutely loved those books and read many of them. Then I think I moved on to books written by Judy Blume.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I tend to laugh at funny things that have actually happened to people. Candid camera shows, prank shows make me laugh. One of the funniest television shows I’ve watched was Mrs. Brown’s Boys.
I’m a sap and can cry at the slightest thing I find touching. There are even songs that make me teary eyed.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
I suppose there are a few celebrities I would like to meet such as Benedict Cumberbatch, or several cast members from the Outlander series. I would of course love to meet Diana Gabaldon or J.K. Rowling.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Aside from reading, I enjoy painting though it has been a while since I have painted anything. I also make bookmarks, a new endeavour of mine. I enjoy photography, kayaking, and hiking.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
My film and TV tastes, much like my reading and writing, are very eclectic. I like anything from adventure to comedy, romance to thriller, science fiction to fantasy.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
I like a lot of different foods but pasta dishes would have to be my favourite. Red is my favourite colour and as for music it varies. I like some pop, rock, country and classical.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I would probably just pick up with painting again and do more photography. I’m creative and have tried a lot of different crafts so I am sure I would find another interest.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
With my family, my husband and children are my world.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
I always strived to be a better person and if I failed, I kept trying.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
My website is www.sandrajjackson.com
I have a Facebook page where you can sign up for my quarterly newsletter www.facebook.com/sandrajjackson.author.
I also have a blog on WordPresshttps://sandrajjackson.wordpress.com/
Some more of my links:
Thank you, Fiona, for this interview opportunity.