Who’s That Indie Author? Jaq D Hawkins

Jaq D Hawkins

Name: Jaq D Hawkins

Books: Dance of the Goblins, To Dance With Dragons, Power of the Dance, The Wake of the Dragon, The Chase For Choronzon

Genre: Fantasy

Background: Traditionally published author gone full indie. Publishes non-fiction occult and Fantasy fiction.

When did you first decide you wanted to be a writer? As a child, though my first book was published in 1996.

Do you write full-time? I juggle film editing with writing, but yes, my creative work is full time.

Where do you get your ideas for characters and plots? They plague me constantly. I have many partial projects on my computer, all vying for attention. Ideas are the easy part.

Have you ever written yourself into a story? I think all writers lend some of themselves to favourite characters.

Tell me about your nonfiction projects. What subjects motivate you? I’ve had an interest in occult subjects since an aunt first introduced me to astrology at age 8. My first published pieces were for specialist magazines in that subject matter and I’ve had a few books out since then, mainly about chaos witchcraft and nature spirits.

What kind of research and preparation do you do before you write? It depends on the project. For example, The Wake of the Dragon is set in an alternative Victorian England and apart from the airships, much of it is effectively historical fiction. The East India Company and their involvement in the opium trade was very interesting indeed!

What is your editing process? Do you hire an outside editor? Every writer should hire an editor. The first pass I do myself though. I make a PDF and put it on my Kindle, read one chapter a day and take notes on any typos I find and anything else that needs changing.

How do you decide on your book covers? Do you outsource? My Fantasy covers have art from very talented artists. I do my own titles and graphics as I’m an old Photoshop addict. The one exception was The Chase for Choronzon, as the whimsical nature of that one was given to a photo manipulation.

How did you come up with the title of your latest book? The latest release was The Chase For Choronzon. That reflects the plot of the book itself, as two magicians chase the demon Choronzon through time and space to return him to his duty, guarding the gates between the worlds.

What route did you take to get published? Describe your experience. The fiction was a lucky accident. I was deciding what route to go with that when someone starting a small publishing company ended up sitting at a table with me at a social event. He had a look, got some of his people to read my manuscript and decided to go with it.

Have you ever tried to get an agent? If so, what steps did you take?  In my early writing days I sent things to agents, usually to be told they didn’t handle genre fiction, even if their listings said they did.

What kinds of things do you do to promote your book? Not enough. I’ve got them on book sale lists and more recently have tried Bookfunnel while assessing the more costly options.

Have you ever had a book-signing event? Yes. I’ve done book signings for my non-fiction on occasion.

Have you taken writing courses? In school. I regularly read articles online about various aspects of writing.

Do you belong to a writer’s group? Tell us about your experience. A few groups on Facebook. I find them very friendly and supportive.

Are you in a book club? Not at the moment.

Do you ask friends/family to read your WIP? No. They’re the least likely to read it and if they do, they’ll tell you it’s wonderful no matter what.

Name three unread books on your bookshelf. The ones at the top of my tbr at present are The Other Magic by Derrick Smythe, Reign of Shadows by Angel Haze and A Thief in Farshore by Justin Pike. I do read other genres but there’s some awesome indie Fantasy out there and I’m trying to catch up.

What is the last book you read? Finished? Crucible of Shadows by Jon Cronshaw. It was third in a series well worth reading.

How many pages do you think a book of fiction/nonfiction should be? It depends. Non-fiction is totally down to how much information needs to be conveyed on the subject. Fiction is fairly subjective. I like books under 400 pages best. Some people like huge books and I will read them if they’re good enough to hold my attention that long.

What is the riskiest or wildest thing you’ve ever done? Either running away with the carnival at age 16 or initiating court proceedings on my own, using my writing ability to copy format on papers sent against me in a custody case. I won in the end.

What is the hardest thing you’ve ever done? Physical or mental? Mental, definitely the custody battle. Physical, was probably a printing job I had where I didn’t realise the first night I was doing the work of two men. I just threw myself into the work and didn’t think about the fact that it wasn’t really a lady’s job.

What advice can you give to new writers entering the writing and publishing arena? Learn to take criticism. Your first draft is never going to be perfect. Writing is hard work, not an easy buck.

Website and social media links:
Website: jaqdhawkins.com
WordPress: goblinsandsteampunk
Amazon: Jaq-D-Hawkins
Smashwords: jaqdhawkins
Facebook: GoblinSeries

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28 thoughts on “Who’s That Indie Author? Jaq D Hawkins

      1. One of these days I’m going to write up the carnival experience as fiction. It occurs to me to do so every so often!

      2. Funny enough, I did actually write up a short version of the events that led up to it for a relative I didn’t know I had until recently. Just sharing life stories. The Word file is in my writing folder.

  1. Hi Jaq, I love your advice for writers to learn to take criticism. I think as creatives many of us have a hard time with that. Thank you for the reminder. 🙂

    1. It’s important not only because we can improve our writing by taking criticism, but also because some reviewers will certainly be looking for something different than what you wrote and some can be downright nasty.

      Every time I’ve written stories for an anthology, we’ve passed around stories to give each other constructive criticism and 99% of the time it has been worthy improvements.

    2. It’s hard to be thick-skinned when you’re work is being critiqued. But it’s good advice to try to learn how to take criticism. Thanks for reading, Valerie. 🙂

  2. Jaq, it takes true grit to be a writer, win a custody battle, and heft heavy loads in a printing job.

    Thank you, Barbara, for featuring an author who has been traditionally published but gone full indie. One who doesn’t shy away from criticism or working hard in the “creative” industry. Brava!

    1. Thanks, resilience is perhaps a learned skill. Or maybe obstinance is a bad habit, not sure which. 😉

    1. It was a fun book to write, inspired by the song, Airship Pirates by Abney Park. There wasn’t a story about airship pirates out there at the time so I had to write one!

  3. A fascinating interview, Barb. Hi Jaq. It’s always a joy to meet another fantasy author. I was initially drawn by your covers, and it’s nice to meet the writer behind the work. I had to chuckle at your statement: Friends/family are “the least likely to read it and if they do, they’ll tell you it’s wonderful no matter what.” That’s true of my experience too. Lol. Best of luck and Happy Writing. 😀

    1. It’s a common thing. I did manage to get my current partner to read a couple of my books, but he was an exception. I think there’s some psychological resistance against the ‘pressure’ to like it standing in the way.

    2. Hi Diana – I thought of you as I was preparing Jaq’s post – so I’m so glad you were able to stop by! I also smiled at the friends/family comment – it’s too awkard to say anything different! Thanks for reading! 🙂

  4. Fantastic interview, Barb. Her work definitely draws me in, since there is so much about the dragon in my first book, even a section titled “In the Dragon’s Wake.” 🙂

  5. I love dragons! But they’re in my Goblin Trilogy. The phrase ‘wake of the dragon’ is an opium term, which is how it’s used in that book about airship pirates.

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