Writer's Wednesday! Author Interview: Jadie Jones

It's been a very long time since I've featured an author on my blog (I think it's been well over a year and a half) but here I am again! Today, Jadie Jones - the author of the recently released "Wildwood," published by Parliament House Press - is here and was willing to answer some very fun questions in celebration of her book release! 

Thank you Jadie for stopping by! Let's just get right down to the interview! 

Jadie Jones

Jadie's Novels: 
The Hightower Trilogy (formerly known as the Moonlit Trilogy) 
Book #1 is now called Wildwood, and released 9/26/17. 
Sequels will follow in quick succession.


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 If you could go back and re-write a novel, or re-experience writing a novel of yours, which one would it be and why?: This is a timely question, because rewriting my entire trilogy is exactly what I’m doing! The Moonlit Trilogy was originally published beginning back in 2013. Three years later, and with a deeper writer’s toolbox, I looked back at the first book and realized I had some major problems with that piece of my trilogy. I reached out to Shayne Leighton, who is at the helm of Parliament House Press, and asked her if she would help me consider revamping my entire trilogy – from plot to packaging. She was game to take Moonlit and me on, and it has been a huge learning experience. I’m very grateful for the team at Parliament House. I feel like book #1 – now called Wildwood – is finally where it needs to be, and I’m very proud of the result.

Did you always wanted to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?: I have always wanted to be a writer. I’ve also always wanted to work with horses professionally. I’ve worked in both of these fields by turns, sometimes at the same time. Although I’m finding as both careers picked up, I had to choose. I turned to one of my dear friends, and asked her thoughts. After a pause she said: I think you ride to escape, but you write to be heard. She was one hundred percent right. I chose to focus professionally on my writing, and have moved away from teaching/training horseback riding, and have begun a rescue/rehab for older horses at risk of being run through public auctions.

When did you first consider yourself a “writer”?  Honestly it’s still a little strange to call myself a writer. Having a job that happens at home – and mostly in the wee hours of the night – almost feels like I’m playing pretend. But then I see this beautiful color with my pen name on it and I am blown away. I would have to say the first time I saw a cover with my pen name on it… that’s when it felt very real.

If you were a donut, what kind of donut would you be? I don’t like donuts ;) I would be an asiago cheese bagel loaded with cream cheese.

If you could take a character from your novel on a date, where would you go and what would you both do? I would take Lucas to Six Flags. The poor guy hasn’t had a ton of fun in his life. I wonder what he would do on a roller coaster.

What was the publishing process like for you? If you self-published, what obstacles have you come across in the process of publishing? Well, I have now experienced two different small presses, and tried my hand at self-publishing. Self-publishing is not for me. I need someone establishing schedules, in charge of cover art, someone with a plan. I don’t have much free time to write, so with the time I do have, I would rather focus on writing as much as possible. All authors still have to self-promote, but having a publishing gives me the coach and quarterback I need to stay focused. On the other end of that, with my first publisher I felt like I didn’t have a voice at all, and we saw two very different tones for the packaging/marketing. Parliament House has been an awesome blend of direction, innovation, and collaboration.

What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 words what would you say? My latest book is called “Wildwood” (formerly Moonlit). Tanzy Hightower learns her father’s death was no accident, and travels a thousand years into the past to learn why.

If you type into Google “Your Name” – what is the first thing that comes up? My website lol. Boring, yes. But once upon a time I built websites and managed social media presences for small businesses, so I know a few tricks when it comes to Search Engine Optimization.

 Do you have any future books planned or in mind? Yes! I am currently editing the other two books in the trilogy, and we’re adding a special bonus feature for the series, which should be out next year. I’m also drafting a crime novel set here in Southern Oregon.

If you could be any part of a happy meal, which part would you be? (i.e hamburger? French fries? The free sundae?) Probably French fries? Those things last forever, so even if I was dropped under the car seat, I would still be alive and well a hundred years from now.

Do you have a favorite character from your books? Why?: Probably Jayce. You meet her at the end of Wildwood, and she’s a big part of the next two books. She even gets chapters in her own point of view in book 3. Tanzy is indecisive and scattered. She can be hard to write. Jayce in point blank, brutally honest, and lives by one code: no secrets, no lies. She says what’s on her mind. I appreciate someone like that. Her voice comes through in my head clear as a bell. She’s very black and white about what is right and what is wrong. It gets her into trouble, but it’s very vivid as far as writing her goes.

If we were to go to a book store together, where would I find you?: In the metaphysical section or skimming books on horse training.

What is your favorite character’s “favorites”? Give us a list! 
Favorite season: Fall
Favorite color: charcoal gray
Favorite animal: horse
Favorite outfit: jeans and fitted t-shirt
Favorite meal: chicken salad sandwich
Favorite drink: sweet tea
Favorite time of day: morning
Favorite band: Dave Matthews Band

How long have you been writing and who or what inspired you to write? I started writing in elementary school. I would spend full Saturdays in bed reading, and then I would start drafting my own stories. The escape books gave me inspired me to create me own worlds.

Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? I used to, but with three young kids and a farm to run, I just have to sit down and write. The only real routine I follow anymore is when I’m drafting, solider on and draft straight through parts that aren’t working, knowing I will have a better idea of what it’s missing once I reach farther into the book and discover more of what the characters are up against and trying to accomplish. No story is nailed down in a single pass or a single day. That’s what editing is for.

Do you read all the reviews of your book/books? – Why or Why not? Can you remember your first great one and the worst one? I do read my reviews! I learn so much from them – what people respond to positively and negatively, especially if there are common points of praise/critique. I used to obsess about them, and was hurt by the first couple critical ones. Then one day, I looked up a few of my favorite books on Amazon to see what the reviews looked like, and was stunned to see that they had some negative reviews too. I came to realize that books are a form of art, and not everyone is going to interpret what you’ve written the same way. Two people can be looking at the same piece of art, and one person will be struck and inspired, while someone else just sees paint on canvas. One of my favorite reviews called book #1 “a magnificent explosion shot backwards.” I think I’ll remember that description forever. One of the worst ones basically called it a pile of worthless garbage… It’s actually amusing to me that I don’t remember the exact words anymore, because for a long time they were seared into my brain.

How did you feel knowing more than just yourself would be reading your work? I love the idea of reaching people with my work the way books reached me, especially during harder times. But the idea of someone I personally know reading my work makes me a little queasy. It’s definitely one of the reasons I use a pen name!

Who was the first person to ever read a story/poem of yours? Some classmates found the first story I ever wrote, and made fun of me for it. I think that made me very secretive about my work, and I still get a nervous stomach whenever someone I know reads my finished books.

 How do you come up with characters names and place names in your  books?: Tanzy started out as Rynn – short for Erinnere, which is a German reflexive verb for “I remember myself when,” which was thematic since the story involves reincarnation. But the more I got to know “Rynn” the more I realized the name didn’t suit her at all, so I started googling names that meant “eternal” and found “Tansy.” I switched out the “s” for a “z,” and the entire character came to life. I actually have a really hard time finding the heart of the story until my main character has a name. One time, I heard a southern, bitter voice clear in my head, and she said: Momma never intended to name me Raven. But I was born with a mess of coal black hair and eyes a shade darker. When they brought in the paperwork, her fingers refused to write anything else. Well, that’s how she tells it. ‘Course all that hair fell out a few months later, and was replaced with fuzz the color of a new penny, and my eyes turned gray as smoke. I ain’t ever seen red feathers or gray eyes on a raven, but she still thought it suited me just fine. And that was that. I could see her standing in a snow covered grave yard. I know it’s a supernatural story set in the south, beyond that I have no idea what Raven wants to tell me, but one day I’m going to find out.

Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?:  As I go along. I generally don’t know all the building blocks of my characters or my story until I get to the end. Then I look back and see subconscious threads of commonality and start to tying knots. But generally, a story starts with a single line of dialog or thought from a character, and I start painting outward from there.
  
What is your favorite book and Why?  Bloodroot by Amy Greene. It’s the best ending I have ever read of any book ever. Have you read it more than once?: Twice, and I want to read it again soon.

Your favorite food is?: Ribeye steak (thank you, cow)

Your favorite singer/group is?: This is the hardest question on this whole survey because I love music! Etta James, Ella Fitzgerald, Jennifer Hudson, Goo Goo Dolls, Christina Aguilera, Lauryn Hill, Twenty One Pilots, Justin Timberlake, Frank Sinatra…

Your favorite color is?: Green

What sparked the idea for this book? Squirrels. This is gross, but I was watching a squirrel look around the yard for something, and out of nowhere, it sat up and bolted out of the perfectly good yard and t-boned a passing car. The squirrel hit the car. And it made me think: what in the world was it so scared of that it decided to risk outrunning a car? Then I heard the scientific fact that we hear less than 1% of the sound spectrum and see less than 1% of the color spectrum, and it made me wonder if squirrels are actually super smart little critters that see a whole host of predators that are invisible to us, and the Unseen World – a world existing in our clear air - was born.

Which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel? The character’s story. Usually a train of thought or a line of dialog from the character will pop in my head, and I build a story from there. Where is the character when they say/think this? What’s the context? What happens next?

What was the hardest part to write in this book? The hardest part about writing this book is the fact that it is a mystery occurring in two worlds and two different time frames, all in first person present. So I have to give Tanzy and the reader enough in believable context to keep everything moving, but not so much at once that it feels contrived or confusing.

How do you hope this book affects its readers? During edits, I realized my main character (and her mother) both suffer from anxiety. As someone who has also battled it, I tried very hard to make the paralyzing effect anxiety can have authentic and vivid, so that people who haven’t been through it can step inside of it a little bit, and I hope I’ve done right by the people who have experienced it in my description of Tanzy’s attacks as she wonders if she’s losing her mind.

What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer? Our minds fill in gaps and holes in our stories because we are so close to what we write. Find someone to share your work with. Make sure this person feels comfortable being as direct and honest with you as possible. Your story is not going to be perfect and polished in one draft. Or two drafts. Or sometimes not even ten. Your critics are your best teachers, so don’t shy away from someone who wants to give you feedback. More often than not, they’ll make you better.

 If you could have any superpower what would you choose? The ability to control the weather! How cool would it be to be able to summon a storm or channel wind, or for a rain dance to actually work?
                                                                             
Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. I attended a book club meeting where my book had been featured. Sitting around with those readers discussing my characters, the worlds, and Tanzy’s journey was like watching it all come to life through someone else’s eyes.

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book. If you don’t believe in coincidences or formula reads, Wildwood is for you.

What’s your favorite season/weather? Spring. The colors here in southern Oregon are as vivid as someone dumping out a 64 count box of Crayola crayons, and the temperatures are wonderful.

What is your favorite and least favorite thing about writing? My favorite thing about writing is when I’m halfway through a first draft on a manuscript, and I start to see details/developments a level deeper than before. To me, it means I’m finally locking into my characters and discovering the heart of their stories. My least favorite thing about writing is when I have written myself into one of those plainer, transitional type scenes and for the life of me I cannot seem to write me way out of it.
  
If you could be any famous person for one day, who would you be and why? I would be Shonda Rhimes so I could pitch the idea of a TV series based on the Hightower Trilogy to major networks and be taken seriously.

If you could meet any famous person, who would it be? What would be the first thing you say to them? I would want to meet Emilia Clark and I would ask her if she makes it to the end of Game of Thrones. (I have a theory…)

Favorite Superhero? Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I definitely wasn’t the cool kid in school – super frizzy hair, cystic acne, and a tooth I could take out on a retainer. Saying I didn’t fit in is an understatement. Buffy the Vampire Slayer gave me the sense that even though I didn’t fit in there, I would one day fit in somewhere, even if it was developing the ability to fit in with myself.

You can find out more about Jadie's work on all of her social media links above. Also, but sure to check out her new book wherever books are sold!



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