Welcome to the Author Spotlight, Jacquie, and congratulations on the recent release of ‘Beautiful Illusion’
Thank you very much.
How would you best describe your style of writing and genre?
My genre, loosely, is fantasy romance, or perhaps you could call it romance with a fantasy twist, or alternative romance. Anyway I call it, I write love stories fused with an element of the unreal.
I don’t believe I have a conscious style of writing. I incorporate many different styles into each novel I write – first or third person, present or past tense, but I do write from the heroine’s point-of-view usually. As for language, I write in my Australian tone—how I would hear a novel when I read, and how I myself speak. I opt for uncomplicated words and sentence structure because my main aim is understandibility in my audience. And I aim for an easy, enjoyable read because many people are too busy these days to trawl through laborious prose.
Where did the inspiration come from for ‘Beautiful Illusion’?
I wanted to write a love story that was different to anything else I had ever read. I wanted the hero to be someone my heroine could fall unequivocally in love with, but, in the end, be totally inaccessible—but not in an everyday sense, like because of distance, but in a way that seems completely insurmountable unless some touch of magic or miracle plays a part to reunite them again. (I was reading a lot about philosophy and alternative religions at the time, which may have pushed me in this direction to begin with).
So with this in mind, the story line for Beautiful Illusion drifted into my thoughts; however, to keep it firmly in the romance box, I did have to leave off the real ending my characters were begging me to write.
You’re a mum, student and employee – how do you fit it all in? How do you manage your time effectively?
Well, that’s the question I ask myself all the time. To be honest, I struggle with the juggling act, particularly because on top of all that, my husband is usually only home 2 days out of every week and has very little capacity to help on the home front.
To start with, since I started back at work full-time, I haven’t been able to study (was attempting to complete a Master of Arts) at all. And as I have a job that is stressful and requires me to be in front of a computer most of the day, I find it difficult to keep my eyes open at night when trying to write. Then there is homework, dinner, sport to drive the kids to.
But in saying that, I attempt to write every day once the kids are in bed, or at least edit, if only for a half hour. I also use the weekend to get a couple more hours in.
What is an ‘Authoraire’?
Authoraire is a term I coined during my time struggling to become published. I always felt I wasn’t able to call myself an author because I wasn’t yet published. And if I did say I was an author, people would ask, ‘oh, where can I buy your book?’ It was kind of disheartening when I had to tell them I wasn’t at that stage yet.
So I come up with a light-hearted term, authoraire, which denotes a person who is characterised or occupied with writing a book/s. Or to put basically– a person who writes books, but is not necessarily published – yet.
What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?
I’ve heard plenty of fantastic writing advice over the years and I threw all of it out of the window because I thought none of it was relevant to me, or completely false. Not until now, after six long years on this journey, have these pieces of advice become self-evident truths (if only I’d listened earlier).
The one piece of advice that has stuck with me from the first time I ever decided to throw in the towel, and has been my guiding light since is:
- What you put your energy on, you will get.’ It’s really just a different way to say, ‘stay determined’, ‘never give up’, and ‘keep your eyes of the prize’.
Secondly, and I’m certain I’ve read this countless times, but it is now one of those self-evident truths:
- You owe it to yourself and your readers to continually improve your writing ability. And the best way to do this, I’ve found, is by writing as much as you can.
Are there any other genres that attract you as a writer?
I would love to have a go at horror because my imagination is off the spooky charts. But, unfortunately, I also get so scared that I can’t allow myself to purposefully let my imagination wander in this direction.
Are you a plotter or a panster?
I started as a panster, but the more I write the easier I find it to have a thought-out plot and an idea of what my chapters will cover. Mind you, I’m still not incredibly thorough.
How has being published changed you?
My major goal has been reached. Now I’ve had to revise my goals so I still have purpose with my writing. Now I’m aiming to publish a best seller.
Other than that, I don’t believe being published has changed me too much. I definitely have more confidence telling people I’m an author (hehe, no longer an authoraire). But, my life still goes on as normal. I still have to work a day job and raise the kids, etc.
Which was more challenging, publishing your first or second novel?
Definitely the first. With the second I knew what I was in for. Though, every emotion experienced with the first publication I experienced all over again with the second.
Could you please give us an excerpt from ‘Beautiful Illusion’?
This is of Leah and Brennan at the end of their first date.
He placed his hand on my thigh. A friendly gesture, but I still felt a pang of arousal shoot through my body. He followed my eyes as they came to rest on his long fingers pressed against my leg. He could feel it too; his face was a mirror. My next breath was long and deep, my only answer to the electricity arcing between us. God, what this man was doing to me.
“I should probably get going and let you get a good night’s sleep,” he said.
I nodded, but couldn’t hide my frown.
“I had an enjoyable night tonight,” he said.
“Me too. It was great to see you again.”
Hesitantly, he withdrew his hand from my leg and I walked him to the door. Brennan inhaled and opened his mouth as though he was going to speak, but didn’t. Instead, he shook his head.
I arched an eyebrow. “What?”
He smiled. “Nothing.”
“Tell me what you were going to say.”
He tucked a few loose strands of my hair behind my ear and I fought hard to keep my eyes from closing in pleasure at such a simple gesture.
“I really want to kiss you again, Leah, but I’m afraid if I start, it won’t be so easy to stop.”
I wanted to tell him that I didn’t care if he couldn’t stop. I wanted it as badly as he did. But I lowered my eyes to the ground, unable to think of a suitable response.
“You don’t give too much away, do you?” he said with a nervous laugh.
I shook my head. “That’s not my intention. I’m just not overtly seductive.”
His eyes widened. “Leah. You are. Without saying a word you seduce the hell out of me. The way you unknowingly give me a sultry glance. How you unintentionally run your tongue along your lower lip so salaciously. And, just now, the kittenish way you peered up at me from under your eyelashes. You’re seductive alright, believe me, and it drives me absolutely crazy.”
“Crazy in a good way, I hope?”
“Crazy in the best way,” he said and kissed me, oh so gently, filling me with tingly delight. Making me forget that words have ever existed in the universe.
“And you thought you wouldn’t be desirable at thirty,” he whispered in my ear, his warm breath sending goose bumps up my arms. “You’re the sexiest woman this side of thirty. And the other side, for that matter.”
I giggled, my cheeks warm.
He shook his head. “You drive me crazy. You know that?”
“You may have told me that before.”
He brushed his lips across mine. “I’ll talk to you later.”
“Definitely,” I said, and opened the door.
He slipped out of my apartment and was gone. I shut the door behind me and leaned back against it, my face dominated by a smile, my body buzzing. It had been too long since a man made me feel this way. Much too long.
Jacquie is giving away an Amazon ecopy of both her novels, ‘Beautiful Illusion’ and ‘Paler Shade of Autumn’ to one lucky reader. All you have to do is answer the following question to be in the draw:
Which actor or book hero would you like to have as your own personal beautiful illusion?
This competition is open worldwide and will be drawn on Tuesday November12, 2013. The winner will be notified by email, so please ensure that we can contact you!