What are you currently writing/working on?
Currently I am working on a Young Adult Fiction novel, tentatively titled, Gear Girl. It contains elements of steam punk, which is a brand new, but exciting experience for me. So far, I enjoy the juxtaposition of technology, and primitive engineering that the steam punk genre brings.
When and how do your characters come to you? Is it in a moment of inspiration, an epiphany? Or do they grow in some murky recess of your mind?
Most evolve organically, as I knit together the story and specific scenes in my mind. However, one character came to me in a dream. I created an entire storyline off that one character. His image, and presence was so real, I thought about him for days. He clearly had a story to tell, so I obliged.
There’s an acceptance that authors often write in traits or characteristics of themselves into their work, is there any part of you in any of your characters?
Some of my characters have hobbies, or obsessions that reflect my own. Even some of their jobs, are either occupations I have had, or jobs I’ve dreamed of having. Usually my heroines are slightly socially awkward. Writing from that POV comes easier for me, as I am the definition of INTROVERT.
How do you develop your characters? Do you let them brew in your subconscious, use character interview sheets, or something completely different?
My character’s initial voices stand out pretty clearly whenever I am creating their life story. However, to keep in tune with them as I work through the ever-flowing storyline, I usually connect them, or their plot, to a song. Whenever I need inspiration, I put the song on repeat for as long as needed.
Are you a planner, or free writer?
Both, and I’ll tell you why. On one hand I am well organized. I make use of notes, short outlines, character fact sheets, and timelines. However, all of this information is usually kept on post-it notes, restaurant napkins, or scraps of paper…
When you are developing a book, what tools or techniques do you use, e.g. timelines, mood boards, character interviews, scraps of notes?
Funny you should reference the scraps of notes. I use timelines to keep the story flowing properly, and write extremely brief, and vague outlines just to ensure I am hitting on all the elements I mean to include. I also keep character fact sheets, just as personal reference.
Has your technique changed over time?
The first novel I wrote (which is currently not published) was a disaster, and nightmare to write. I was all over the place. I wrote snippets of conversations here, and action scenes there. I had to weave them all together to make a cohesive storyline. It was very taxing to write that way. Now I write in order, flowing the chapters in and out as they would take place in real time. No more patchwork writing for me.
Where do you draw inspiration from? Do you actively look for it?
I don’t seek inspiration, it just sort of comes to me, in a very, light bulb going off kind of way. But, once I find inspiration, I will wear it out though! Ha!
What kind of an environment do you write in? Day/night/silence/music/desk/sofa etc
I usually write at a desk, and I don’t need a quiet atmosphere. In fact, I think I’d go a bit crazy with too much silence. With two young kids, I seize any stolen writing moments I can get! My first published work, The Devil’s Wingman was written entirely after their bedtime, and usually well into the morning hours.
Half way into writing my first novel, it’s taking over my brain! What advice can you give me on completing it? Or maybe an easier question. What do you wish you had known about writing a book before you started?
The publishing industry is in decline across the board. Do you think things like the Kindle are bridging the gap, is there still the same love for the written word, or is it being diluted by the modern obsession with tech and gadgets?
I think you’ll find most readers still enjoy the comfort an honest-to-goodness REAL book brings. With its delicious smell, and tangible existence weighted in your hands, written words are more intimate than ebooks. But with everyone’s high-pace daily grind, and technology ever-evolving, it allows your TBR pile to be combined into one device. This makes things convenient and practical for busy readers. As long as there are devoted bookworms in the world, publishers, whether traditional, or independent will always flourish.
50 Shades of Grey author EL James was reported to make around £100k a day at the book’s height, and the upcoming film will make her millions. Do you find it a shame that the most lucrative and famous book franchise of the moment is one so widely derided for its lack of literary value? Or is it just good to have a book going mainstream?
I say “Good for her!” From what I know about EL James, she wrote initially fan fiction for the love of it, not to make money. The fact that her passion ignited such popularity deserves a round of applause. And who knows. She may have made a reader out of a non-reader with her work. And for that, hats off to you Mrs. James.
If a fascist regime was burning the worlds libraries, what books would you save? Children’s books. After all, that’s where the love for reading begins. I would save all the great ones, like Where The Wild Things Are, Where the Sidewalk Ends, and The Very Hungry Caterpillar, so we may have them to pass along to other generations. Could you imagine a future without bookworms? Scary thought.
Which publishing route have you taken? Did you always know you were going to go down this route, and if so why?
I chose to publish with an independent publishing company. The reason? I call my editor by her first name. Sounds insignificant right? In fact, it’s because of that reason alone, that I am satisfied with my decision to partner with The Wild Rose Press. Communication comes swiftly, and freely. It calms me to know I have a professional family supporting me through this journey.
What do you wish you knew about the publishing process before you started?
How much hair-pulling is involved in the revision process! It’s truly maddening! (Unfortunately for me, my husband has pictures to prove it.)
What is the best advice you could give to aspiring novelists like me? Or what was the best advice you were ever given?
At the risk of sounding cheesy, I’d say, “Never give up.” Keep reading, and keep writing. Whether you write something brilliant, or something gag-worthy, keep writing! Never allow the day you write something terrible, be the same day you give up.
Is fanfic to be welcomed as it broadens interaction and the readers experience or a scourge that devalues the ability of an author?
I believe any writing is important. Whether it’s literary classics, fanfiction, self-published novels, blogs, or even the poem you penned in high school about your crush. Who am I to judge what writing matters, and what doesn’t? If it matters to the author, than it matters.
I am finding more and more, that writers often have several creative outlets. Do you? Or is writing your one source?
I enjoy doodling, and dabbling in photography, but my true outlet is writing.
If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?
In addition to writing, I work with animals, which is my other passion.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always enjoyed writing. When I was a kid I wrote poems, and short stories. It wasn’t until a few years ago, did I actually think seriously about sharing my work outside of my family, and friends. It’s truly mind-boggling that little old me, has a published novel out there for the world to see! (Oops. Looks like I slipped back into my elementary days of silly poetic verses!)
What authors do you admire, and why?
I know I should say something dignified here, and name a literary giant, but I am going to go with the first author that came to mind. Cassandra Clare. Her style of writing is so beautiful. She’s an artist who paints a lovely description of her worlds, and I get completely wrapped up in her flowing descriptions. It’s like floating on a lazy cloud of pretty words whenever I read her work.
To find out more about Jillian, read her Author Bio:
I work full-time as a zoo curator, so when I’m not running a zoo, I’m trying to tame the one I live in! I have two kids, and a husband who sometimes acts their age. I can usually be found jamming to Elvis Presley tunes, or diligently chipping away at my never-ending ‘to be read’ pile. I tend to gravitate toward anything paranormal. I love creatures who fly and characters who sprout fur or fangs. Sprinkle some romance and magic into the mix, and I’m a happy girl!