Author Name: Jacqueline Church Simonds
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Books: The Heirs to Camelot series: The Priestess of Camelot (prequel); The Midsummer Wife (Book 1); The Solstice Bride (Book 2); Mistress of the Rose Moon (Book 3)
Bio: I have been writing for as long as I’ve been able to hold a pencil. Along the way, I have been everything from a lady’s companion, to a salesperson, to a rock band roadie, to a publishing consultant. Somewhere in there, I’ve written six books and ghostwritten an additional seven to eight.
What got you started as a writer? I always told myself stories. One day, my mom suggested I write them down. It took until I was forty to actually write a novel. (I have been a professional editor, so I was always in words.)
What is your writing routine? What’s that? Seriously, I write when/as/if I have time.
What route did you take to get your books published? I self-published my first book, Captain Mary, Buccaneer (I sold all three thousand copies and foreign rights to Italy’s Harlequin Mondadori). For this series, I went with a small press.
What things do you do to promote your books? I’ve done newspaper/radio/TV interviews, podcasts, website interviews and guest hosting, signings at bookstores/libraries/author events, a table at a garage sale, and a local convention.
What is your favorite genre to read and why? I read a lot of sci-fi, but I’ll read anything not nailed down. I post my quick Book Takes on my website.
Do you prefer to write dialogue or description? I often write a lengthy description, then turn it into dialogue because it reads better.
Have any of your characters ever surprised you? Did this change the plot of your book? Ava, the main character of my series, totally surprised me in the first book. In the first draft, I felt she was sort of lifeless. A fellow writer suggested I try writing in first person, so I could “hear” the main character clearly. I discovered Ava suffered from massive anxiety attacks/poor self-esteem/PTSD from a terrible event in her life. Although I went back to third person, it gave me a better handle on how to handle the character.
What is the most difficult thing you have accomplished in your life? I had a brain tumor and recovered almost fully from it. It changes the way you think about time and what you are doing here.
What three events or people have most influenced how you live your life? Going back/finishing college in my thirties. Sitting down and writing that first novel. Recovering from brain tumor.
What would you tell your younger self? Own being a writer. Don’t give up because it’s hard and you’ll get no support. Get jobs writing. Write that big book that’s in your head. WRITE, DAMMIT!
Have you ever met up with a bear on a hike? If so, what did you do? If not, are you looking up what to do right now? I stopped hiking long ago, but the best method for dealing with a bear is: don’t be where there are bears.
You’re locked in your local library for the night with no dinner. Thank goodness you have water, but you only have enough change to buy one item from the vending machine. Choices are limited to: Fudge Pop Tarts, Snickers or Doritos. Which would you choose and why? I almost went with Doritos, but then I’d get that fake nacho dust on my fingers and I wouldn’t want to leave that on the pages. I guess I’d get a Snickers.
What’s the largest number of people you’ve had in your kitchen at one time? Ten? Last family Christmas at my folks’ place before they sold it. My kitchen is pretty quiet—my Hubbers is the cook and hates anyone else in there until he’s done.
Closing thoughts: I’ve been involved in publishing for twenty-two years. I’ve helped other people get their book babies published and launch their dreams. Indie and self-publishing is a great way to get our work out. We need more readers!
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