Today, Tag Line Tuesday sits down with the author of Wilderness Heart, who I will now allow to introduce herself.
Ed: Hola! As I hear writers are creative people, please answer each of the following biographic questions twice, once with the truth and once with a lie.
JH: Jacqueline Hopkins. Jackie Collins (well I can wish can’t I?)
Ed: Where you from?
JH: I’m a displaced Okie who has lived in many places. Retired, living in Hawaii.
Ed: Day job?
JH: In-home health care for my mother. TSA Security Screener at LAX
Ed: I shall now turn my head and cough. Dream job?
JH: Big 6 Publisher/Editor. Forensic Pathologist, but I can’t handle blood and guts…I’d be in the corner somewhere puking my own guts out. *SHUDDER*
Ed: And the inevitable, Why do you write?
JH: Because I like to, the money and the fame and glory. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I enjoy letting people know about other places they may not be able to get to in person; they can hopefully learn about new places from reading my books.
Band – Journey
Food – any kind of seafood – crab, shrimp, halibut
Game – Texas Hold’em Poker
Album – any by Alan Jackson
Word – persnickety or vacillate, can’t decide
Color – Purple
Animal – hmm, dog or cat, which one shall I choose. Any that can stay small, cute and cuddley..oh wait that’s not a word, is it. I like to cuddle with soft furry things.
Bird – Hummingbird
Piece of clothing – I hate clothes, they are so uncomfortable, but if I have to choose, it would be what I am currently wearing – a black and dark purple free-flowing Hawaiian dress
TV show – CSI, NCIS, forensic shows, Rizzoli and Isles, The Closer (can’t pick just one)
Drink – Kahlua and cream with splash of coke
Song – “Let’s Make Love” by Faith Hill
Line from a song – Let’s make love all night long until the sun comes up
Pizza topping – Candian Bacon
Crime – hmm, not sure what you mean by this one…favorite crime to read about or write about in a book? I like guns and am a good shooter. Does that answer the question? Oh, and I have a story about my husband and my 20 gauge shot gun if you ever want to hear it.
Quote – “You only live once and you are as young as your mind thinks you are.” (These are mine…or did you mean you wanted one from my book or a book I read, lol. I like mine.)
Ed: Three random things about yourself, please.
JH: 1.) I love to travel, 2.) I like history and studying maps, and 3.) I am undecided if I like the Oxford Comma.
What’s the biggest consideration when you are deciding what book to read?
JH: Genre first, book cover has to be striking for me to even want to read the blurb, then author might play a role in it.
Ed: You are looking at the back of a book in a bookstore, reading an online blurb, or whatever. What sort of thing makes you say “yes,” what sort of things makes you say “pass?”
JH: To get me to say yes to reading a book it has to have that mystery, that intrigue about it that pulls me in, it has to have a good cover. If the blurb is very bland, not exciting writing, boring I’ll say no. And of course, I’ll say it again, the cover has to grab me.
Ed: What genre do you enjoy most?
JH: Probably murder mysteries.
Ed: What genre would you read only if you lost a bet?
Ed: Do you have a favorite author, and do you think they influence your own writing?
JH: Yes, Tess Gerritsen for her murder medical thrillers and June Lund Shiplett (RIP) for her time travel historical romances. They might, but I haven’t analyzed if they influence my writing other than I wish I could write like them.
Ed: Do you have a favorite book, and how many times have you read it?
JH: No, not really and I rarely read a book a second time unless I read it a long time ago and can’t remember what it was about because I like to read and read a lot.
Ed: What’s the first book you remember buying with your own money?
JH: Don’t remember the name, but it was probably one of those bodice ripper romances back in the 1970s by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss (RIP) or Johanna Lindsey or Penelope Neri.
Ed: Any books you have been told you should read, and know you probably never will?
Jac: Yes, lots of them since joining Goodreads and Facebook, but when I am writing it is hard for me to read for pleasure having been a technical editor/writer. Although I do go to bed reading something.
Ed: Ever lied about reading, or not reading, a book?
JH: Probably in school when I was supposed to write a book report.
Ed: Ever read a book you were sure you were going to like, and not liked it?
JH: Yes, but I don’t feel comfortable mentioning whose or which one. It’s funny. You meet people on facebook or Goodreads, think their books will be great, but when you start to read it, it doesn’t do anything for you. But I am sure there are people out there that feel the same way about my book.
How, and when, do you tend to come up with titles?
JH: Most of the time, the titles come to me before I begin to write the book. But my current WIP I am totally stuck on for a title. I might have to run something on my blog for the readers to help me come up with a title. I am totally clueless on this one.
Ed: How do your characters get their names?
JH: Sometimes, I use a name book, but most of the time I play with names I like of people I know and mix and match them, see how they sound or make up my own. Sometimes I even use celebrity last names.
Ed: If you could live in the world with the people of one of your stories, which one would it be and why?
Ed: What do you think your books say about you?
JH: That I like history and like to give people a place to go from their current reality in life.
Ed: Is there anything you have written which you would now like to change or revise, wish you had written differently, etc.?
JH: No, not really. Perhaps my first book I published, but we can’t keep going over and over our books to make them perfect (that word should be stricken from the dictionary because nothing and no one is perfect) for ALL readers because not all readers are going to like what we write so I need to move on to my other books and hope readers will like them and see that I have learned and made my writing better.
Ed: Tell me about your favorite character.
JH: Don’t really have one…yet.
Ed: What’s your favorite line which you have written?
JH: “Nimbly, she let her fingers have their way.”
That’s from the WIP. You can interpret that as I am writing a time travel historical cowboy romance or I’ve changed genres and names and writing an erotic romance. You can decide.
Plotter or Pantser?
JH: Both, I start out knowing my characters and sort of an outline, then write by the seat of my pants.
Ed: Best/Worst advice you ever got as a writer?
JH: Best is to write what I know and what I like to read.
At the moment I can’t think of the worst advice I got. If I think of it, I’ll let you know
Ed: Best/Worst thing about being a writer?
JH: Worst is having to spend a lot of time promoting myself and my book(s).
The best is not having to try to please a publisher and dictate what I write according to their interpretation of what the masses like to read.
Ed: Why Indie?
JH: I tried the traditional route way back in the late 1980s, went to a writer’s convention, pitched my book (the one I published), was a member of RWA, started the Aloha Chapter of RWA in Hawaii and belonged to a critique group, but none of that got me anywhere except how to hone my writing—hopefully for the better. And yes I was rejected. Then life got in my way – raising kids, divorce, a move, 911 hit, unemployment, another move, verge of bankruptcy, another move, employment, major neck surgery, married and back into my writing, and I didn’t want to try the traditional route this time. With a little research about publishing in today’s market and inspiration from editing my niece’s novel, I picked up the one book I did have finished and decided to try publishing it on my own.
Ed: Have you, or would you ever, collaborate on a story?
JH: Yes, I’d love to and am doing that now with another author. I think it will be fun if it turns out super in the end.
JH: Study more about social media and promotion so that I can sell thousands of books immediately. Also study how something goes viral so mine would do the same. Isn’t that what we all are striving for?
Ed: What is the most important thing you have learned about writing?
JH: To first self-edit your book, then let about three beta readers read it and give you feedback and then hire an editor. If you can’t hire an editor, find another author you click with and edit each other’s work or hire an editor for trade. What I mean by that is I edit books and instead of charging an author for my editing services, I do a trade with them. For instance, one author is promoting my work for me on Facebook, Twitter and other avenues the author uses to promote her own work. I may be imaginative to write a book but not to promote it and I am not a salesperson. I hate getting spammed with ‘buy my book’ from other authors and I won’t do it to anyone else. You or anyone who knows me, will rarely see me post about myself and my books. I have a hard time doing it.
Ed: What’s the moral of the story?
JH: As you know and have seen everywhere in the social media indie authors are getting a bad reputation for putting out poor work. I know I am sounding like a broken record, but I am going to say it anyway. Hire an editor and get it as near perfect (there’s that word again) as possible. And don’t be in a hurry to publish. If an editor sends you back suggested/recommended edits, make them if you agree, make sure you understand what the editor suggested/recommended and send back to the editor for a final once over if you feel it is needed. Some editors charge for repeat lookovers but I don’t. If an author is going to put my name in their book as the editor, I want to make sure the book is the best it can be and if the author didn’t follow or make the suggested/recommended changes, it will not only make the author look bad but the editor as well.
Ed: All good advice. :-)
Your computer is smoking, wheezing, and sparks are shooting out of the back. You can save one thing off the hard drive. What is it?
JH: All my writing documents I usually store in one folder.
Ed: You have one perfect day of free time, no obligations, needs, or responsibilities. What do you do?
JH: Go visit my kids or grandkids.
Ed: Someone “in the business” suggests you change something you feel is a critical part of one of your books, and guarantees it will increase sales. What do you do?
JH: Think long and hard about it, see how the story reads without it or with the requested change, and it depends on this ‘someone’s’ standing in the business. Does he/she really know what they are talking about, how long have they been in the business, does their knowledge just come from having gone to University or college for their knowledge without experience themselves in the publishing industry, their experience in publishing (how many books do they have or are they new), and do they have stats to show me it will increase my sales?
Ed: You are offered just enough money to live comfortably for the rest of your life, if you will just stop writing. What do you do?
JH: I might consider it but in the end negotiate for more money to live better than just survive. If they aren’t willing to negotiate, then no, I wouldn’t stop writing. No seriously, I don’t think I could stop writing, doesn’t matter if I have anything else published or not.
Ed: What question do you wish I had asked?
JH: What nationality am I? I am of Choctaw Native heritage and according to genealogy records I have searched thus far, we are also part Irish and who knows what else. I think we are all a Heinz 57 mix.
Or have you ever thought about writing a screenplay for tv or movie? My answered would be yes, I’m doing that too. So much to write, so little time!!!!
Ed: Thanks for stopping by, Jac.
Jacqueline describes her novel Wilderness Heart, via the short-short blurb I ask all writers to offer (because I know they hate doing so), thusly –
“Can a female hunting guide survive working in a man’s world?”
Jac herself can be found on facebook https://www.facebook.com/Author.JacquelineHopkins
and Twitter https://twitter.com/jacquehopkins
Additionally, the chili recipe in Jacque’s book has been chosen to be part of the Passionate Cooks Cookbook which will be available for FREE from All Romance Ebooks on Oct 1, 2012: http://www.allromanceebooks.com/storeSearch.html?searchBy=title&qString=Passionate+Cooks