Paula Marie: I so appreciate you taking the time to sit down with me today to get to know you! I have been a fan of yours for a while, but only recently read some of your fantasy series. What genre do you prefer writing?
Jackie: At one time, I would have said fantasy. But, I love writing in both genres, actually. I had originally ventured into the romance genre because it was more popular, but I’ve grown to love writing about relationships as much as I enjoy writing about strange fantasy worlds.
Paula Marie: I will be honest with you, fantasy was never a really big draw for me, but I am really enjoying yours. What was your inspiration for the series, and how do you come up with all the ideas?
Jackie: I love reading fantasy because it’s out of the box and full of creativity. There are no constraints and one is only limited by their imagination.
I never intended the White Road Chronicles to be a series. I had a dream about Alyra one night and that she was trying to find her way home. All I knew was that she was a healer. The story began to take form and I wasn’t even wanting to write at that time. I was being a mom and going to college to be a counselor.
But I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a child. I wrote my first story when I was in the 6th grade. Illuminated was like my turning point on my life-journey. I’d been happily traveling along in one direction and that book set me back on my writing path. Which is where I think I was meant to be all along.
After I wrote Illuminated, I realized the story needed to keep going because there was more to tell about the group of friends that had formed. I’d intended just three books, until I got to the third and realized there would be more. I never intended it to be six books in all, but here we are.
Paula Marie: I was looking at your website, and it seems like you have had a winding road to becoming an author! Do you feel like you could have become an author sooner than you did, or perhaps God was taking you on this journey to better prepare you for this adventure?
Jackie: Ha. I started to answer this question before I even read it.
You know, as I said before, I wrote my first story in the 6th grade and my teacher liked it so much, she read it to the whole class. That’s when I knew that I knew that I knew that I wanted to be a writer. She even believed I would grow up to write books.
In my early 20’s I belonged to a wonderful writer’s group, and learned a lot about writing through them. I even attempted a couple of books that I finished, but did nothing with. They were my learning books, I suppose.
Then my kids came along. Writing can take up so much of my attention and thoughts, I felt like the Lord asked me to put it aside. So I did.
And when Illuminated came to me a few years later, I argued at first about writing it. I was learning to be a counselor. I wanted to be a teacher and thought I’d eventually become a school counselor. But I think the Lord was just waiting for the right time to give back what His true purpose was for me.
I’m in a much better place now to be a full-time writer than I was before during those early years. And life has taught me a lot. So, I guess, everything has been working out in His perfect timing.
Paula Marie: If you were forced to choose one of your previous careers over being an author today, which would you prefer to be doing?
Jackie: counseling. I like helping and encouraging people.
Paula Marie: What are some of your favorite hobbies, other than reading, when you are not writing?
Jackie: Oh, I’ve recently taken up crocheting. I get distracted easily and have a variety of crafting projects I’ve started: jewelry making, soap and candle making, painting and drawing and now digital art which I totally love exploring. I just enjoy making things. I see neat crafts on Pinterest and think, “I can do that.” Ha. Sometimes I can, sometimes not so much.
Paula Marie: If you had the chance, where in the world would be a place you’d want to visit?
Then I think that and come up with five other awesome places that would be fun to go. I like anywhere that’s green, has a lot of trees, and isn’t covered in concrete.
Paula Marie: I must be honest, I just received your newsletter, and I am so intrigued by your new adventure, Castle Creations! Can you give us all some more inside information?
Jackie: Ah, my seekrit project.
So, the Castle Creations store is a little place where I’ll be offering exclusive stories (either bundled books, or short stories that I don’t want to publish on Amazon and other retailers.) I’ll be selling signed print books, and reader goody boxes that go along with some of my book series. And I’ll also be selling a few of my craft items that I’ve made that relate to my books. I have some tree pendants that’ll go along with the White Road Chronicles and a few other things.
The store is a work in progress at the moment. I’m still figuring it out, but hope to be able to share more about it very soon. My head is bursting with ideas of things I can offer there. It’s going to be fun.
Paula Marie: I am curious, considering your fantasy books, what was your favorite movie or television show as a child?
Jackie: Well, I actually loved mysteries as a child and would read Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys book, along with watching my fair share of Scooby-doo. (I love dogs).
I think I turned to loving fantasy while in high school when I started reading The Lord of the Rings, Watership Down and The Last Unicorn- stories like that hooked me into the fantasy worlds.
Paula Marie: When is your favorite time to write, and do you schedule it, or just wing it?
Jackie: No, I have a detailed schedule, it’s helped me stay on track and keeps me balanced. Otherwise I’d either be playing all day, or sitting at the computer all day.
I do my creative writing in the morning until lunch with a goal of 2000-2500 words a day. After lunch I break up my afternoon with editing projects, taking care of things around the house and running errands, and in the early evenings, I work on business stuff.
I have lists that I keep, otherwise I’m staring off into space not sure what to do next because there’s so much to do. And then I end up playing and looking at Facebook or Pinterest-ha.
So, I’ve accepted that schedules and lists really are my friends.
Paula Marie: How can fans keep up with your books and new releases?
Paula Marie: Finally, thank you so much for joining me today, are you a coffee drinker, tea, or something altogether different?
Jackie: Both. Coffee to wake me up in the morning, but I do enjoy tea on cool days. Not so much during the summers here in Texas unless I’m sharing a cup with a friend.
Thanks so much for inviting me to chat today. Blessings to you and your readers!
Jackie has also generously offered a reader any one if her White Road Chronicles book in PRINT for a USA winner! If winner is International you will receive an ebook copy! Just comment on this post and tell us what you favorite “fantasy” childhood story was to enter! Contest is open for 7 days from today and winner will be notified via email!