I have Jacquelin Thomas on my blog today. Please help me welcome Jacquelin to my blog.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am the mother of 3, the grandmother of 8 and writing is my passion. I’ve been published for 21 years and Poison Pen is my 84th title. I write inspirational, romance and young adult fiction. When I’m not writing, my other love is interior design.
What do you do when you are not writing?
When I’m not writing–I try to catch up on my reading (my TBR pile is huge). I also read books on the craft of writing. I also binge watch Netflix movies with my hubby.
Do you have a day job as well?
I am a full-time writer.
When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I have been writing since I was in the 3rd grade. I stopped for a while in college and didn’t really write to seek publication until I was on bed rest due to a high risk pregnancy. This was in 1994. I sold that book in 1996 and Hidden Blessings was released in 1997.
How did you choose the genre you write in?
I grew up reading my mother’s romance novels, so I gravitated toward that genre initially, but then as my relationship with God developed–the tone of my writing changed. I wanted to write books that would glorify Him. I still write secular books but none of my stories contain profanity and graphic sexual scenes.
Where do you get your ideas?
They come from everywhere! I get ideas from newspaper articles, conversations, shows, etc.
Do you ever experience writer’s block?
Only just recently but it didn’t last long–I was actually dealing with a health issue so my focus just wasn’t on writing.
Do you work with an outline, or just write?
I write from an outline. I spent at least 2-3 weeks just on the outline alone before I ever start writing. I’m very organized and I have to have some type of directive.
Is there any author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
I love Tina McElroy Ansa. I met her at a book signing when I was a teen and she was so encouraging. The other author was Eugenia Price, a historical romance author–they were both local authors. I was able to get some great advice from the late Ms. Price.
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
I didn’t really have any challenges. I submitted my book to Kensington Publishing and the late Monica Harris offered me a 2 book deal. After I wrote Hidden Blessings, I attended an Romance Writer’s of America (RWA) conference in Dallas, which is where I met Monica. I pitched my book and she requested it. The rest is history.
If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?
There’s nothing I would change about that experience.
How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
I market on social media platforms, but I’ve found that word-of-mouth and attending literary events are great avenues for promotion. Readers enjoy getting to know the author and often, will take a chance on reading your work if they find you genuine and approachable.
Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?
That book for me is Phoenix, which will be released in March 2019. It’s been 11 years in the making, but I’m publishing it independently.
Can you tell us about your current book?
Bailey Hargrove dreams of becoming a published author until she met bestselling author Harini Samuels whose literary brilliance lit a fire in Bailey. Harini offers to mentor Bailey, but betrays her by taking the story line Bailey has worked so diligently on for herself.
More than a decade later, Bailey’s put the terrible experience with Harini behind her forever and she’s begun to fulfill her dreams as a successful author in her own right. However, the past comes roaring back when she discovers that her experience is not unique.
Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
Poison Pen deals with something I experienced early in my career. I wanted to encourage other writers that what God has for them is for them.
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
I love the ending because it really sums up the message that we are not to use our gifts to abuse or hurt others. Our gifts come from God and He will hold us accountable.
How did you come up with the title?
My character Bailey called Harini and poison pen and so it hit me–this is the title of the book. I was 80% finished with the second draft when I came up with the title.
What project are you working on now?
Phoenix is the book I’m currently working on. Phoenix will be released in March.