APKY/AMP: Hello Trish, and thank you for being with us at AuthorMeProfessionals. Please tell us something about yourself and how you came to be a writer. What inspired you to write your first book?
First I'd like to say hi to the readers, and a big thank you to Akinyi for inviting me.
Africa is vibrant, violent, savage and mystical. It pulses with its own unique rhythms and energy. Growing up there, one cannot help having a unique outlook on life, and a vivid imagination. I always loved to write, but it wasn't until 1990 that I decided to attempt my first novel. That was it. I was smitten. Once I had finished that one, I started another, and after that, another. Those first few novels were a learning curve, and I was ecstatic when WAY OUT OF LINE (Vol.1) was published in 2002.
APKY/AMP: Wow. I have to say this, Trish: of all the dozens of interviews we’ve conducted you’re definitely the first one who starts out by thanking the most important people for an author – the readers! Now tell us, what genre do you generally write and have you considered other genres?
I love to read suspense novels, but I am also a romantic at heart, so romantic suspense works best for me. My redneck series also has a good dose of comedy thrown in, and has been great fun to write. I haven't tried any other genres –I'm satisfied with my choice.
APKY/AMP: You started out telling us about your life in and impressions from Africa. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
It was not my intention to send a message, but in WAY OUT OF LINE, teenager Trent lies to Hal about her age. He is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law for statutory rape—having sex with a minor—and goes to prison. Trent's guilt leads to an emotional breakdown and her life goes totally off track. Rather than growing, she regresses emotionally.
Maybe the lesson is to think very carefully before you tell a lie. Even a very small white lie can lead to exponential life changing events.
APKY/AMP: An important message, I must agree. What have you had published to-date?
WAY OUT OF LINE was my first published novel, and the re-edited version has recently been published by my new publisher, Uncial Press. It's about two kids from Texas—a sizzling romance—and that one stupid mistake. Intrigue, terror and undying love take the lovers to Africa, where they are reunited in the vast Mozambique wilderness.
REDNECK P.I. is romantic suspense/comedy. Twila's a redneck and proud of it. Harland O'Connor's a sexy P.I. with a target on his back. And a twin brother. Twila brings a frightening maniac to justice, ably assisted by her hard-drinking weed-smoking great aunt Essie and computer hacker Gasser Cunha. Her allergy to law enforcement officers helps her to choose Harland over his cop twin, Horton.
KICKASSITUDE – the sequel to Redneck P.I. is due to be released in March 2013. A dog named Scratch adopts Twila, and rides around on the back of her Harley wearing a studded leather collar. The romance centers around sexy cowboy, Tanner Ferrano, and Twila's long time boyfriend, Harland. The suspense includes a twenty-year-old skeleton, man-eating wild boars, illegal moonshine, rare wines, and a haunted mansion.
APKY/AMP: Sounds terrific and I love your titles! Do you have any advice for other writers?
Follow your dreams and never give up. And don't expect to get wealthy from writing, unless you write something like Fifty Shades of Grey!
APKY/AMP: Erm, yeah, I’ve heard a lot lately about Fifty. A shady genre to me personally. Anyway, why should we buy your book?
WAY OUT OF LINE is something different. A totally unique story packed with action, adventure, suspense, and sizzling hot love scenes. Where else are the characters subjected to witchcraft, rhino poaching, land mines, and flooding, crocodile infested rivers? On top of all that action, it may even make you cry.
APKY/AMP: Your descriptions alone are almost enough to do that. How much of the marketing do you do for your published works or indeed for yourself as a ‘brand’?
Marketing is the curse of writers. Most of us just want to write, but in today's enormously competitive market, it's absolutely essential to spend a significant amount of time working on it.
My publisher does some marketing of my novels, but I have to market myself, which means having a presence on every social media platform available, so when people Google my name, they see it all over the page.
Bloggers are a great asset to writers, too, because they help get the word out to different audiences. (Thanks Akinyi!)
APKY/AMP: My pleasure any day, Trish. Do you have an agent? Do you think they’re vital to an author’s success?
Agents are almost impossible to get in USA. They really only want to represent you after you have become famous or sold thousands of books on your own.
APKY/AMP: Rather unfair in my opinion. Imagine us writers turning the tables on them. What are you working on at the moment / next?
My next novel, IMPASSIONED, is a romantic suspense story about a small town Colorado veterinarian, Riley Shaughnessy. She is looking for lasting love, but is afraid if her past is revealed, no man will want her. She is stalked by a serial killer who forces her to face her worst fears. Like everything in life, practice makes perfect, and I love the way this one is working out. The plot just keeps getting more and more complex.
APKY/AMP: Way to go, Trish! Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and off you are with it?
I am a pantser—not a plotter. I write by the seat of my pants. I sit in front of the computer and start with a single idea. The characters come to life and the story is right there in my head. All I have to do is get it recorded.
APKY/AMP: Yours truly here pants it too. Do you have a method for creating your characters, their names and what do you think makes them believable?
The names just pop up while I'm writing, and sometimes I change them a little afterwards. I work on the characters after I have written the first draft completely. I create profiles for each of them, and figure out their background information, hobbies, etc. The small details make them believable.
APKY/AMP: Precisely. And do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
I write the first draft completely, then leave it and move onto something else for a while. When I get back to it I am looking with fresh eyes. I then start to add the texture and fill in all the details. That's the part I love the best. It's just so much fun to get "in the zone" and have all these new ideas that add to the story come into my head. It's a high, like getting jacked on adrenalin. Once it is complete, I go through and edit as many times as I think are necessary before I start submitting it to publishers. I think I will adhere to this method because it works well for me. I did notice less red ink from my editor, Jude, with my most recent novel, Kickassitude, which means she approved of most of what I had written.
APKY/AMP: Part on the shoulder, old girl, you’ve got “richer”, see? What point of view do you find most to your liking: first person or third person? Have you ever tried second person?
I love writing in first person and I use it in the redneck series. Twila is such an interesting character, who doesn't "give a rat's ass" what anyone thinks of her, to use her terminology. It's great fun seeing things through her eyes.
Way Out of Line is written in third person, which is intriguing, because you can see things from your various characters' unique perspectives.
I haven't tried second person, but if the right story comes up, I would like to give it a try.
APKY/AMP: Great. I’m still stuck with third because I love roaming around the globe at one and the same moment! What do you like to read?
Wilbur Smith is my favorite author. He writes exxxtreme romantic suspense, although his books are not classified as romance because his stories don't always have a happy ending.
I read a lot of best-selling authors of suspense and romance, because apart from being entertained by their stories, I learn from them. Reading is kind of like homework for authors.
AMP: I absolutely agree with you. By the way I love Wilbur Smith too and I’m ploughing through his ASSEGAI at the moment. So tell us where we can find out about you and your work.
Here are some of my links:
My Website: http://www.trishjackson.com Read excerpts from my books here.
Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/redneckpi "Like" it and leave a comment.
My Blog: http://romanticreviewramble.blogspot.com/ I blog about writing, romance, and my novels, and every now and then I give away an Ebook. Subscribe and you'll get regular updates.
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Trish-Jackson/e/B004ZZG55 Buy my books here.
My Publisher: http://www.uncialpress.com/trishjackson Buy my Ebooks here.
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/106604959980999778139 Add me to your circles.
Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/trishjaxon I always follow back.
Friend me on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4748215.Trish_Jackson I sometimes give print books away on this site.
Follow me on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/trishjax I belong to several writers groups.
Check out my book trailers on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/trishjax/videos
I love meeting people and hearing their stories, so come on over and let's chat.
APKY/AMP: I’m booking a date for that chat; I need to know how you managed to do your book trailers. But for now, thank you, Trish. I invite you to include an extract of your writing.
Thank you again, Akinyi.
WAY OUT OF LINE – excerpt:
Hal slept fitfully for a few hours before he was wakened by Antonio’s light touch. The sliver of crescent moon hung in the sky. The stars were fading. No breeze rustled the dry leaves of the shrubs that concealed them.
An owl hooted softly. Hal made sure he had his camera slung around his neck, and an UZI over his shoulder, with the safety off, ready to fire. He had never seen Demetrio like this, not during the prison riots, nor during their escape. His tension was a tangible thing as they blackened their faces.
Stavros, always animal-like in his intensity, reminded Hal of a leopard, the whites of his eyes glowing dangerously in the shadows.
The only indication of Antonio’s thoughts was the rank smell of his perspiration, despite the cool of the African predawn. Demetrio had instructed him to wait in the driver’s seat of the Land Cruiser, ready to leave at a moment’s notice.
Hal’s eyes were adjusted to the dark. He could see enough of the ground beneath him to avoid stumbling as he picked his way carefully down the narrow pathway to the outskirts of the camp.
Demetrio waved him back, and he slowed to allow a space between himself and the others in front of him. Hal heard a dull thud, then another as the two guards were eliminated. His heart was in his mouth as he crept forward, all eyes and ears in the darkness.
Stavros waved for them to take cover. From where he crouched in a patch of shadow, Hal saw a man emerge from one of the buildings. His yellow hair glowed eerily in the first light of dawn. He looked around suspiciously, crept toward the prison hut. The dark patches on the skin of his arms and neck gave him a ghoulish appearance.
Weird looking dude. Probably been doing her…
Stavros pulled at Hal’s sleeve. Hal followed him at a full run toward the prison hut. Stavros quickly cut the lock with the bolt cutter, and they burst inside.
Hal's eyes took a few seconds to adjust to the deep shadows. "It’s okay," he said as soon as he could see the woman lying on the cot in the corner. "We’re friends. We’re here to get you out." He raised the camera.
For a second the flash illuminated her face. Her image imprinted itself on his mind, and he shook his head to clear it. Not a good time to be dreaming. Trent’s face was never far from his mind, but he needed to keep his thoughts on the mess they were in right now.
Stavros cut the rope holding the girl’s hands behind her. "Move," he snapped.
As they passed the open kitchen, Hal saw Demetrio standing over the unmistakably dead body, his breathing ragged.
Demetrio and Stavros melted back into the darkness of the bush where Antonio kept watch.
The woman stopped to spit in the dead albino’s face. Hal grabbed her arm and tried to pull her along. The moment of hesitation was costly. He felt the cold steel of a gun barrel pressing into his back. "Run for your life," he yelled.
He caught a glimpse of Demetrio grabbing the girl’s wrist and dragging her into the bush before he turned to face his captor.
"Put your hands up," the man holding the gun said, in pure American English.
APKY/AMP: Mine are up for you, Trish. Thanks once again.