Saturday 19th October 2013
Bookish Banter is proud to present today’s Featured Author.
Jean is Irish, born in Louth and grew up in Dublin. She has lived and worked in various parts of Ireland. She spent 8 years in Spain with her husband and 3 of their children and moved back to Ireland in 2008 and in 2009 opened a nail salon in a seaside town in the Irish Riviera. She feels privileged to live in such a beautiful country. In October 2012 she began to write her first book. She was part of a writers’ workshop in the late 1980s and some of her work was included in their first publication ‘Sticks and Stones’. In February 2013 Jean joined a new local writers’ group the ‘Youghal Writers’ and with their encouragement she finished her first book, which turned into a trilogy. Jean writes Young Adult and Historical Fiction.
It’s lovely to have Jean with us here on the Bookish Banter and without further ado we shall continue with the interview…
What part of the planet do you call home?
I live in a seaside town in county Cork, Ireland
❤ Ahh! I have been to Cork many times – a beautiful part of Ireland. ❤
How long have you been writing?
Off and on since my teens, poems and short stories, but in 2012 I started to write novels.
Have you got a book to promote at the moment and can you tell us a little bit about it please?
I have the first book of a trilogy on Amazon at the moment, a young adult novel about a seventeen year old who gets mugged, suffers from amnesia and ends up in a futuristic slave labour camp. The story is set in 2038, slightly sci-fi, with suspense and a little romance thrown in.
🙂 Ooh my daughter is going to love this book. She loves the Hunger Games and so I am sure she will read it – I will get her to do a review for you 😉
Are you working on anything else at the moment?
The second book in the Finding Trilogy is being beta read and edited at the moment, in the meantime I am writing the third one. I am also writing articles for http://marsocial.com/2013/10/budapest-jewel-of-the-danube/
You are a very busy lady and I can tell everyone that your articles are a really good read on MARsocial – I would highly recommend our readers go and check them out too 😉
Where did the inspiration for your latest book come from?
The idea for the storyline just came to me one evening and I told my 15 year old daughter about it. We began to make up names for the characters and I wrote down a rough description of where I wanted the plot to go.
🙂 ❤ I love the idea that you shared the process with your daughter. I can really relate to that as my daughters too are my inspiration ❤ 🙂
Which genre do you write for or do you cross genres?
The trilogy is young adult fiction, a genre I like to read lately because it is a fast read, usually with strong characters and a good plot. I also like historical fiction, and have written a novella set in the Irish Famine, which is loosely based on my ancestors. I can see myself writing in different genres as I like to read all kinds of books.
Did you do a lot of research for the book and how did you tackle it?
I did lots and lots of research for my books, particularly the historical one. For the Finding trilogy, I needed to use some futuristic medical technology. Not long after I had begun Finding Kaden, saw something on TV about 3D printing, and I had an idea about using it in the book. I researched what use it might be put to in the future and tied that into the plot. I also had the idea about using a thumbprint to unlock a mobile phone way before the IPhone with that feature came out, I wrote that in October 2012 at the beginning of Finding Kaden, not knowing that it was already in the pipeline.
🙂 That all sounds really cool! Can’t wait to read the book and see how you managed the techie stuff – awesome! 🙂
Do you think you have improved as a writer since beginning your book and what lessons have you learnt about the process?
I feel that I have made great strides in my writing since my first book, returning to writing poetry and even tackling flash fiction. The one big lesson I learnt is that everyone writes differently. At first, I tried to be disciplined and wrote at the same time every day, but for me that wasn’t practical as I have a business to run and must work at it four days a week. I found that getting up earlier than usual gave me time to write the first drafts of my books, and I think that is when I am more creative. I have two days a week where I can spend most of the day writing or editing and on the other days I do what I can. My routine could change if my work changes so I think the best thing a writer can do for themselves is be disciplined but practical, make time to write, and know at what part of the day you are at your most creative.
Any stumbling blocks in the writing process for your latest book?
Because my latest book is the last one in the trilogy I am finding it more difficult to apply myself to the story. Maybe I don’t want to end it and that is causing the delay, I’m not sure. I’m excited about the plot and I know exactly how it will pan out even to the ending, but getting through the chapters is much more difficult on this book than it was on the other two. I have also come through a busy time of year in my work and I’m hoping that the slower winter months will give me more time to write.
What is it that you love so much about writing?
I love to get lost in a fictitious world. When you write fiction, you are in control of how events will unfold. As the story develops your characters begin to take shape, becoming more real to you, and it gets easier to visualize how they will react in certain situations. I use a lot of dialogue and can see the scenes in my head almost as if I was watching a film, and I love a good movie.
😉 The sign of a great writer – having a really vivid imagination! I can relate to that too (not that I’m a great writer – too lazy LOL)
Did you craft a carefully well thought out plan for the book or did it just flow naturally?
Brandon Sanderson in his writing classes speaks about two types of writers, the Gardener and the Architect. The Gardener plants seeds through the book as they are writing and might go back and do a bit of weeding, often having the end roughly in mind and taking out or putting in characters as the story unfold. The Architect, on the other hand writes in a more structured way, building the characters up before they begin the plot, knowing what is going to happen in each chapter right up to how their book will end. I think I am the Gardener.
LOL Oh! That is a great way to describe the writing process I love it – I wonder how many writers are gardeners and how many are architects? I think I may be a bit of both! I must admit I hadn’t heard of Brandon so I am putting in a link for our readers in case they would like to find out more about his work – must be good if he’s influencing you and your good works 😉
Do you have a blog and do your fans encourage you?
I have only recently begun to blog, it’s a work in progress. In fact I only joined twitter this year. Ask me this question next year and I hope I can answer like an experienced blogger and sound like I know all about social networking. My clients in work were my first fans and they gave me so much encouragement, particularly at the beginning, when I doubted myself, that I can never thank them enough. My family and children were great to spur me on, reminding me that writing a book was something I had always wanted to do.
❤ Fans are the lifeblood for any writer and I can see you are truly blessed with a great fan base behind you ❤
Self-published or traditional or both?
For me, self-publishing was the way to go. The internet makes it so easy to get your work out there. My husband formatted my books for publishing as I struggle with the technicalities of it all. I have only begun to promote my work lately as I spent the last year writing the first two books of the trilogy and my historical novella. Traditional publishing would be great and I wouldn’t say no to the right offer, but at least with self-publishing a writer can see something for their effort, either as an eBook or paperback or both. It gives a sense of achievement and encourages the writer to keep going.
Is your book a part of a series?
Finding Kaden is the first of a trilogy, Finding Megan is the second one and Finding Henry Brubaker, the third book.
What other passions do you have in life apart from writing?
I love to read, watch movies, listen to music, eat out, and spend time with family and friends, but I am passionate about writing.
Do you have any inspirational heroes, literary or otherwise who have really influenced you?
Don’t laugh, but Charles Ingalls of the Little House on the Prairie was my hero as a child and teenager. I still love how that pioneer spirit moved his family to take life by the horns and set out on their adventure. Maybe it’s what gave me the courage years later to up sticks and move to Spain, a place we had never been to, when we found ourselves out of work in Ireland. We began a new life there which lasted for eight years, till the recession hit.
❤ ❤ ❤ Aww! That’s a lovely story. I used to love that show too! ❤ ❤ ❤
Do you have a book trailer?
I don’t yet have a book trailer, but I’m working on it. I think they are a great idea.
How do you pace yourself with writing and do you have a special place to do it?
Some days I can write for hours, but I do try to write something every day. Mostly I find myself writing in the kitchen, as the dog keeps me company and I can get on with laundry and cooking when I am trying to think. I find the physical activity helps clear my mind when I am lost for words. For editing I usually go upstairs to the office so I can concentrate undisturbed.
Do you belong to any writers’ circles and does it help you to focus?
I belong to a local writers group and we set ourselves exercises to do for the next meeting, which is once a fortnight. It helps to be among people who love to write, and I find it very encouraging. Becoming a member of http://marsocial.com/ where other writers encourage one another and share helpful tips and information was one of the best things I have done for my writing.
❤ I think it’s great that you have a circle of writer friends and that you support each other. Writers need encouragement. I love that site too! Great bunch who all help and encourage each other. ❤
If you could give one piece of advice to a budding author – what would it be?
Don’t compare yourself with other writers, you are unique, and if you have a story to tell, do so, then edit, edit, edit.
Where can we buy your book and like your fan pages?
Here is the Amazon link to my book on Amazon
Thank you so much for being a part of the Bookish Banter Jean and I really look forward to learning more about you through your work.
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