MY INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR JACQUI CASTLE🌟
What’s your name and what genre would you consider your books to be?
My name is Jacqui Castle, and my debut book, The Seclusion, is a dystopian, science–fiction novel.
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
The Seclusion takes place in a future United States, in the year 2090. The protagonist, a scientist named Patricia “Patch” Evans, discovers a relic from the past – an old van that contains items considered contraband in 2090. The items challenge her current worldview, and she begins to question whether what she has been taught by her totalitarian leaders from young age, is in fact the truth.
The first draft was finished in the summer of 2016, and since then it has evolved. It will be published on September 4, 2018.
What’s a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
I have two young children, ages four and eight, so my work schedule is not always predictable. My husband and I are incredibly fortunate that we both have flexible careers. So, about two days a week, I work from home, and the rest of the time I park myself at local coffee shops while my children are in school. I generally have a to-do list I work on first thing when I sit down (I would fall apart without my google calendar). I start with any upcoming freelance writing deadlines, and when those are out of the way, I turn my attention to my fiction writing.
Do you have a new book in the making and if so, what’s the name of your upcoming book?
The Seclusion will be released on September 4th. I have started writing a sequel, and it may turn into a trilogy depending how much of the story there is left to tell.
How important are character names to you in your books? Is there a special meaning to any of the names?
The main character, Patricia, is named after my late grandmother. I wanted to honor her, and the inspiration she has had on me, in some way. Also, The Seclusion is publishing through reader-driven publisher Inkshares, which has a campaign component to their publishing process. Part of receiving the contract, was preselling 750 copies of the book. During my book campaign, I raffled off the naming rights to two of my characters. So, two of my characters (Officer Robbie Webb and Louise Collins) were named in part by two of the book’s backers.
What do you think of book trailers? Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book?
I think book trailers are a unique way to provide a glimpse inside the world of a novel. So much of being an author these days is marketing, and book trailers are a big piece of that. I did have a book trailer for The Seclusion, but the story has changed so much since I created it, that another one is probably in order.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I honestly would love to get to the point where I am writing one book a year, and that is the only thing on my to-do list. I love to travel, and writing is portable, so spending a few months a year out of the country is a goal I would like to accomplish once my children get a little older.
What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Just write. A little bit every day if you can. A novel generally sits at about 80,000 words. So, if you commit to writing 1,000 words a day (only an hour or two of writing), you can have the first draft of a novel completed in less than three months. Don’t worry about it being perfect, just get the first draft down. Also, don’t worry about the story emerging in any sort of linear fashion, you can address that later. If you have an idea for a scene that takes place several chapters away, write it, and connect the dots later. Just write, something. If you have a story to tell, tell it.
If you didn’t like writing books, or weren’t any good at it, what would you like to do for a living?
I have no idea. Though writing fiction is relatively new for me, writing has always been a part of my life. I started off writing blog articles in my early twenties, and that progressed into a full-time freelance writing and journalism career. So, while I would love to write fiction full-time, my guess is that there will always be a healthy mix of both in my life.
What is your least favourite part of the writing / publishing process?
I enjoy writing scenes with no way of really knowing how I am going to connect them later. I know my characters start in one place, and have to end up in another. Getting them from point A to point B when it might seem impossible at first glance is one of my favorite challenges.
What are you working on now?
Right now, I am still involved in the production of my book The Seclusion, but it has progressed to the copy–editing stage, and the story is complete. So, in my spare time I have been working on the second book in the series. Time will tell if it will become a two or three book set.
Can you give us a few tasty morsels from your work-in-progress?
I can do you one better! You can read the first three chapters of The Seclusion before it publishes, here!
Where did your love of books come from?
I grew up in a family of readers. My grandparents were rare book dealers and my grandfather and aunt now carry on the family business (Quill & Brush). Most members of my large family have worked within the business at some point during their lives. My summers in adolescence were often spent sorting books, scouting for first editions, or writing descriptions of rare books for catalogues. My grandparents authored a book on book collecting that is used by many in the industry – Collected Books: The Guide to Values. Many rooms in their house were filled from floor to ceiling with books, including a large a-frame library with a wraparound second story balcony. Books were always part of life, and fortunately, were never in short supply. There have been times in my life when I have been more drawn to reading than others, but I’ve always had a deep-rooted love and appreciation for the power of words between the covers.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Honestly, sometimes the thought of writing exhausts me when I think of it as another thing that I ‘have to do’ on days when the creative juices aren’t flowing. But, once I start writing, often I’m glad I did, and I end up energized.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I am part of a women’s writing group that meets once a month to talk about writing, publishing, and really anything that comes up. Because we all write different genres, they inspire me to stretch outside of my comfort zone and try new things.
I am also fortunate to have made many connections with other authors that are publishing through the same company as I am – Inkshares. The authors there are always happy to jump in and answer questions and share their experiences.
Where can your fans find you and follow??
The easiest way is to join my mailing list through my website JacquiCastleWrites.com. I send out monthly newsletters that I try to keep interesting with both updates on my own projects as well as other industry news. Sometimes I’ll throw in a giveaway or something else fun. Readers can also follow on Twitter (@JCastleWrites), on Goodreads, or follow my author account on Amazon.
The Seclusion is available for preorder through Amazon, and other retailers.