Q ~ Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
A ~ Sure, and thanks for having me Jonel. I was born on the east coast of the USA in the section of Stratford, Connecticut called Lordship which is right on Long Island Sound and next to an airport. I spent my childhood at the beach or playing in the surrounding marshes (mucky, but fun!). I've been an avid reader since I was three or four (I don't remember, but my parents used to argue over it) and have always had a fertile imagination. Once, when I was about six, I spent the afternoon with the phonebook trying to find the number for The Airport (Who knew it was Bridgeport Airport?) so they could deliver a baby brother to me by helicopter. Yes, babies come from helicopters and are not found under cabbage leaves as some would have you think and everyone else in the neighborhood was getting baby brothers, so why not me.
My Dear and Only Spouse thinks I never did get that straightened out because we had five kids over the course of six years even though my degree is in Biology. (Must have skipped that lecture because I already knew where babies came from!) Reading then became my drug of choice. I could not maintain my sanity without it. I worked in the school library and with Special Education students. Time passed (I think). Suddenly, the children were grown and I had time to think and to write and now I have a whole new career. I loved every minute of the chaos that was our family, but I love my empty nest, too.
My vegetable garden is now my pleasure instead of my chore. I have time to grow flowers, particularly snapdragons which I never thought I could (all plant, no flowers) until my grown children confessed that they regularly snapped the blossoms off to make puppets. You can make a snapdragon talk, you see. We live in a rural area of Ohio, though disappointingly it has become less so since we built our house, where I enjoy watching the wildlife as long as they're not eating my garden. I spend my free time counting the fish in the pond and watching baby birds - we have a nest box with a camera -and I sometimes think "Jack! You need to get a life!" but I like my life the way it is, so what would be the point.
Q ~ What’s something that you never leave home without?
A ~ My Garmin. I tend to daydream while I drive, not to mention a terrible sense of direction and often end up in strange places having no idea how I got there. Notebook, pen and Kindle are right up there with my Garmin.
Q ~ If you were stuck in a dingy floating in the middle of the ocean, who and what would you want with you and why?
A ~ I would like to say my best friend because we can talk and laugh (and cry) for hours and hours to pass the time, but I would have to choose my husband. I'd probably end up on a desert island or dead and either way (sorry Dear Spouse) I want him with me because I can't picture a life (or afterlife) without him. As for what I want with me? My practical side says a fishing pole with extra hooks, but the impractical says a complete set of The Black Dagger Brotherhood. (Giggles) I'm picturing myself reading J.R. Ward aloud to the Dear Spouse.
Q ~ Are you a dog person, a cat person, or does some other critter strike your fancy?
A ~ Both! We've always had cats and dogs (and every other thing that runs, hops, or slithers). There's nothing like the unconditional love you get from a dog and that happy-to-see-you tail wag always makes me smile, but there's also nothing like curling up with a good book and a cat. They may be a little aloof, but when a cat deigns to love you, you know you've accomplished something.
Q ~ How did you begin writing? Was there a single catalyst or a series of events?
A ~ I've always been a huge reader and an inveterate daydreamer. Put me in a hot shower and my mind can wander off to all kinds of places and scenarios until the water runs cold. Dear Spouse: "Hey Jack! Are you asleep in there or writing another book? Or should I call the undertaker?" He says he's glad my books are earning money. We can finally afford the water bill! So yeah, I've always had stories in my head. Now I have time to write them down.
Q ~ Who are your biggest supporters?
A ~ My best friend, Georgianna, who bugged me forever to write another book after a disastrous first attempt many years ago and who listens patiently whenever I call and blah, blah, blah about fictional characters as if they're real. (She thinks they're real, too!). My two daughters who pushed me to take the leap and publish as an indie saying I'd always encouraged them to follow their dreams, it was time I followed mine. And last, but definitely not least, my husband, also known as the Dear Spouse, who can't figure out why anyone would read a book never mind write one and yet never laughed at my aspirations and who was the first to say, "Quit the damn job and write! We'll figure the rest of it (money) out later."
Then of course, there are the readers who follow on Facebook and Goodreads and email me with praise. It's humbling and gratifying and their words mean more to me than royalty checks ever could (though we'll keep that bit a secret from the Dear Spouse)
Q ~ When you write, do you lay out a solid outline before beginning, or start writing and iron out the kinks later?
A ~ I've tried the outline route. It makes the most sense and seems to me to be more efficient, but I just can't do it for more than a chapter or two ahead. My stories are more character driven, I guess, and while I have vague ideas of where the story needs to go, my characters tend to take over and well, sh** happens and then they (and I) have to deal with it. I have scenes and whole chapters that I've written ahead of time because I can see them happening later in the story and then I can't use them when the time comes because the story has changed. I also get writer's block if I try to make my characters do something they don't want to. How weird is that? They fictional, for heaven's sake! I should be able to make them do what I want, but no, they take on lives of their own and I have no choice.
So, yeah, I do end up having to go back and add bits of conversation or clues so no one says "Where the hell did that come from?" It's inefficient, but it's what works for me.
Q ~ What inspired you to develop the Wolvers?
A ~ As I said before, I'm a huge daydreamer. I'd recently read a slew of wolf/shifter books and I started thinking about what it would be like if I moved into a perfectly normal seeming place that wasn't normal at all. I'd read about Wulvers -gentle mythical creatures found in the Shetland Isles of Scotland and many of the early settlers of the Appalachian Mountains were Scots, so… I Americanized the name to Wolvers and thought it would be fun for Elizabeth, a well-read but not very confident woman, to move there. The Alpha's Mate was born.
Q ~ With The Alpha’s Daughter now released, what should we expect from you next?
A ~ For the Wolvers? I'm planning on at least three more and then we'll have to see if I can keep the stories fresh. I don't want my readers to get bored with repetition and I don't want to get bored with the writing which is something I think can happen when a series is successful. Do I write something new or spend all my time writing the tried and true? Where do I draw the line?
To say "I write for myself" is fine up to a point, but if that was the whole truth, the books would have stayed on my laptop. I also want to write to entertain readers. I'll never be a millionaire. I'll never write the Great American Novel. No one a hundred years from now will know my name and that's okay. But in the here and now, knowing that I can give a reader a few hours of escape for a few dollars and earn my keep doing it, gives me great pleasure and satisfaction. I don't want to blow that with boredom.
Q ~ Do you have anything in the works outside of The Wolvers’ series?
A ~ Oh yeah. Right now I'm working on the fourth addition to my Guardians of the Race series, Guardian's Faith, which is a tough one because Faith is mute. Lorelei, from Preston's Mill needs her story told in Changing Times. Poor Broadbent from the Guardians needs to find his lady love and I'm (vaguely) mapping out book six for my Wolvers. Oh wait! That means I have to decide who gets to be in Wolvers 4 & 5! And so it goes.
Q ~ If you could give aspiring authors one piece of advice, what would it be?
A ~ Flesh out your secondary characters. Often, as new writers, we put so much into our hero and heroine, we forget the 'people' around them. It's those secondaries who'll give your story a sense of reality even if it takes place on another planet.
Okay, I know you asked for one, but here's another. Don't get discouraged. Why one book sells and another doesn't is a mystery I and many other writers are still trying to figure out. My Guardian series does pretty well. My Wolver series does even better. My contemporary, Preston's Mill, sells very few even though the reviews are good. Why? Who knows. Does that mean I won't write another? Nope. It's already in the works. I love that town and the people in it and their stories are already buzzing around my brain.
Write the stories you would like to read and then keep your fingers crossed that they're stories others would like to read, too. That's the best you can do.
Connect with the Author online:
Twitter Link: https://twitter.com/JRhoadesAuthor
Goodreads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6453512.Jacqueline_Rhoades
Book Links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords
And now, enter to win 1 of 2 awesome eprizes.
1st prize ~ An ecopy set of the 3 published books in the Wolvers series (The Alpha's Mate, The Alpha's Choice, and The Alpha's Daughter)
2nd prize - an ecopy of The Alpha's Daughter