Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Author Interview: Jess McConkey

Thank you so much to Jess McConkey for allowing me the opportunity to ask a few questions and also the opportunity to read and review The Widows of Braxton County.  Check out my review that went up yesterday.

1.  What do you find yourself rambling about?

Ummm...my adult children would probably be better at answering that question!!  I can tell when they think ol' Mom's off on a tangent when their eyes kind of glaze over and they give each other "The Look!"

2.  Who was the first character that launched the story in this book when you were writing?

The first character was Hannah.  Several years ago I attended a book signing for Midnight Assassin by Patricia Bryan and Thomas Wolf.  The book deals with an unsolved murder case that happened here in Iowa in 1900 and is a fascinating story.  The book also touches on what life was like for women at the beginning of the twentieth century, and needless to say, I was appalled by what some women had to face back then.  It made me start thinking "What If?", which was basically how all my stories start, and Hannah popped into my head.  Her chapters were very easy to write . . . in fact, I wrote those first then went back and wrote Kate's story, which wasn't easy for me.  To this day, I'm not exactly sure why maybe my answer to Question 3 had something to do with it.  I didn't want to revisit those times when I had acted like Kate.  It wasn't until my friend and fellow author, Tamara Siler Jones, got tired of listening to all my angst and told me to "put your big girl panties on and just do it" that I finally got those chapters finished!!

3.  With your main character, Kate, was there ever a part of you in her?

Definitely!!  I've often thought that most writers, myself included, are at heart "people pleasers."  And in the beginning, Kate is trying to please everyone.  It takes her awhile to learn that with some people, you can't run fast enough or jump high enough to suit them.  It's a lesson that I've repeatedly learned throughout my life.

I've also been guilty of deluding myself when it comes to relationships.  Instead of picking up on the red flags at the beginning of a relationship, I've convinced myself that it's me, not them.  Wrong!!  There are times when two people just aren't a good fit.  They want different things out of life; they have different goals and expectations.  It's better to walk away from a situation like that at the start than to try and shove yourself into someone else's mold, or try and make them fit yours!

4.  If you could put your book into one person's hands, who would that be?

That's easy . . . Oprah!!  Her endorsement has driven a lot of books to the top of the lists!  And although trying to land a best seller isn't why I write . . . I write to entertain others as my well-loved books have always entertained me (back to that "people pleasing" stuff!) . . . I'd be lying if I didn't admit that part of the dream is hitting "The New York Times" best seller list!

5.  What part of the writing process do you love the most?

I love, love, love doing research!!  I've always been an information junkie and writing gives me a good excuse to indulge my habit!!  (I go through withdrawal if my Internet isn't working!)  There is a down side . . . when researching a particular topic, I can find myself jumping from link to link, and before I know it, I find I've spent HOURS reading about things I really didn't need to know about in order to complete the manuscript!  And it's not like these tidbits of knowledge will ever come up in a conversation!  Does anyone, other than me, really care about Victorian mourning customs??  (When researching The Widows of Braxton County, I spent days reading about that fascinating subject!)

6.  What is next on your plate?

Right now I'm doing a lot of marketing to get The Widows of Braxton County off to a good start.  We've organized street teams which has been fun and given me a chance to get to know the readers who've volunteered better.  And I have a trip to Boucheron coming up in September.  Funny thing - it seems my brain is only capable of one thing at a time - so it's either work on a manuscript or work on promotions!

But next up after Widows is launched, will be able to finish a new "Ophelia and Abby."  There isn't a contract for it at this time - I want it completed before handing it over to my agent.  Once it is done, we'll go from there and see what happens.  In addition to that, I'm mulling over ideas for a new "Jess McConkey" book, which at this time is only a glimmer.  Also, I've become quite a fan of "Steampunk" and I have a rough plot thought up for that genre as well.  Then there's a new "witch" series . . . four chapters completed on that manuscript . . . so there's plenty to do!!  I simply need to follow the advice that Tammy's already given me . . . "put your big girl panties on and just do it!"

1 comment :

  1. Congratulations on your release, Jess. I love reading author interviews and The Widows of Braxton County sounds like a fascinating read.


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