Friday, April 23, 2010

TBG Author Interview: Jackson Pearce

Happy Friday, all! Today I am thrilled to announce that we have our first author interview of 2010, with none other than * drum roll *... the fabulous and uber-talented, Jackson Pearce! : D She's the author of As You Wish (out now!) And the-soon-to-be-released Sisters Red (which I'm DYING to read!). . . . Welcome, Jackson!

1) Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?.
I've always wanted to create in some way, but since I was about twelve I've known that writing was for me.

2) How did you come up with the idea for Sisters Red? Did it just come to you, or was it more of a gradual progression?
With SISTERS RED, I got the idea for a badass, tough Red Riding Hood sort of out of nowhere. I'd also been thinking about doing a book on what it means to be the younger sister and what it means to be the older sister. The ideas smashed together, and SISTERS RED was the result.

3) Where do you draw your inspiration from while you are writing? For example, do you listen to music while you write or sit outside?
I don't usually listen to music because it's distracting to me, but occasionally I'll find one song I put on repeat while writing a book or scene. For SISTERS RED it was often "Sister" by Dave Matthews Band.

4) How do you stay motivated to write? Even though you are now a published author, have you ever wanted to give up? And if so, how did you pull yourself back from the "edge"?
I get this question a lot, and the truth is that I stay motivated simply because I love writing. I'd do it if I wasn't getting paid for it, it's just handy that I am! I do get frustrated sometimes and want to walk away from a particular project for a while, but usually if I go back to my outline, relax, and think things through slowly, I can find my way back to the story again.

5) Tell us about your writing habits: where you write, when you write, how much you write, etc.
My writing habits are somewhat scattered. If I'm working on a book, I write all day, every day, and go through about a case of Diet Cokes in a matter of hours. If I'm between books, I typically only work on outlines for future books and take my time with them-sometimes I'll spend an hour a day on them, sometimes I'll spend three, but usually it's not an all day thing. . . . . I usually write at home, since I'm easily distracted, but occasionally edit or copyedit at coffeeshops.

6) How do you deal with constructive (or not) criticism? And if it's negative, how do you deal with it?
I try to remember that criticism from people I trust and respect is just them trying to make me a better author, and criticism from everyone else is just the peanut gallery talking! That said, I've had trusted critique partners give criticisms I don't agree with before, and have declined to make their suggested changes. I think that everyone should have confidence in their work, and know what's best for the story, not best for one person-whether that person is you, an editor, a critique partner, or a reader.

7) How many stories did you start writing before you found a "winner" and how did you know you'd found a keeper?
I wrote several versions of a book called KEYBEARER that was rejected everywhere. I started working on AS YOU WISH in order to get over how sad I was about KEYBEARER not working out. I didn't really KNOW I'd found a winner, but I knew I loved AS YOU WISH and felt very strongly about it, so I started querying agents.

8) Do you have any new writing projects in the works? Can you tell us about them?
I'm currently working on SWEETLY and FATHOMLESS, companion books to SISTERS RED, as well as a contemporary called PURITY and a historical novel that's my "just for fun" book (ie: I can't tell if it's going to suck or not. . .., but I'm writing it anyway!).

9) What were the most difficult and best parts of writing your second book, Sisters Red compared to writing your first book, As You Wish.
With SISTERS RED I was able to avoid a lot of the mistakes I'd made with AS YOU WISH that my editor had to request changes for. I was also a lot more confident going into it, though I'll admit I definitely had my worries and doubts as well!

10) What did you do to celebrate when you found out that you were getting signed by your agent?
I went out to dinner with my parents, I believe, and then got some guy arrested because he flashed me at Kroger while I was buying celebratory candy.
No, seriously. I'm pretty proud of that. :).

11) What made you decide to write your books using two different points of view instead of one? What is your writing process when writing two POVs?
I never really intended to write two points of view-it just seemed like both AS YOU WISH and SISTERS RED called for it. The POV character is typically the one who changes the most, and in both stories I felt like more than one person did a lot of changing.

12) Now that you're a published author and a more experienced writer, what advice would you give to your unpublished self?
RELAX. Stop setting goals that you can't control (ie: "I'll write a book by the time I'm 18" is a great goal you can control, but "I'll be published by the time I'm 18". . .. isn't). And stop buying linen paper. The agents don't care.

13) How long did it take you to write As You Wish from concept to outlining to completion to sending if off to agents?
About two months, but I revised it extensively before getting an offer!

14) Can you briefly detail your journey to publication after finishing As You Wish? (Finding an agent, an editor, promoting the book, etc.)
I wrote AS YOU WISH in 2006, revised it a zillion times, got an agent in spring of 2007. We sent AS YOU WISH the multiple houses and got offers from three in August 2007, and I chose Harper Collins. It was almost two years before AS YOU WISH would hit shelves, so I focused on revising it again and working on a new book, SISTERS RED, which I wrote spring of 2008. SISTERS RED sold in Fall of 2008, a year before AS YOU WISH would hit the shelves. Before AS YOU WISH's release I tried to blog more regularly and hold several contests to crank up the publicity, as well as sign every book within two hours of me (seriously).

15) What kind of atmosphere do you prefer to write in, calm or chaos?
Calm, always.

16) What is your writing process like?
I always start with an outline, which I make bigger and bigger until I'm actually writing scenes, not outlining. Then, using that as my guide, I write the book!

17) Do you have any odd and unusual habits which help you in regards to writing?
Diet Coke. I must have Diet Coke. I think it's addictive, seriously.

To find out more about Jackson and her books, visit her blog.

Thanks again for the interview Jackson, you made my Friday! : D.

~ Ella


Aubrie said...

Wow, I admire your organizational approach to writing. I need to outline more.

Congrats on your books! Great interview. :)

Christina Lee said...

LOVED reading this--thanks Jackson and blogger girl for the interview. Your books are def onmy reading list!