Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Promotional Interview with Jean Hackensmith

You have been invited to share you experience with our readers.

Name: Jean Hackensmith

1. Tell us about yourself - where you are from, how you got started writing, what you do when you are not writing (or anything you want our readers to know)
I live in northern Wisconsin and have been writing since I was about twenty years old--thirty-one years, to be exact, and yes, I'm disclosing my age. I have been married to my second husband, Ron, for 14 years--he's my biggest fan and my biggest supporter. I am the proud mother of three, the stepmother of two and the grandmother of ten. My children and grandchildren alike are the highlight of my life. Next to writing, my passion is live theater. I founded our local community theater back in 1992 and still direct 2-3 shows a year.

2. What inspired you to write your first book?
I was sitting at the counter in my kitchen at 20 years old talking to my mother on the phone. I was an avid reader, and I was also a doodler. The next thing I knew, this…line came out on the page. Yes, I still remember that line: “Jenny McCall awoke with a scream on her lips.” I thought to myself, Hey, that would be a great first line for a book! Well, it kind of went from there. I, of course, had to decide why Jenny McCall had a scream on her lips, but after that, the story just kind of flowed. It also sucked. Those first few stories were never published, and they didn't deserve to be. They were a learning experience, though, I'll tell you that!

3. How many books have you written?
Twelve, counting the newest one, “Daddy's Revenge,” which I just finished the second draft on a few days ago.

4. How do you decide on their topic?
I'm basically a romance writer, though my books are far from your typical “sweet”, “drippy” romance. My novels have interweaving sub-plots throughout, making them suspiciously close to mainstream fiction. Since I tend to stray from the classic romance genre, I choose a plot first--generally a very complex one--and then decide how my characters can be worked into that plot. More often than not, something on the evening news or a documentary-type channel will inspire an idea. I find time travel romance the most challenging. I like to put my characters into specific times and places in history, so the story itself also serves as a learning experience for the reader. I also like to incorporate little known facts into my books. I've had more than one reader comment “I never knew that!” It takes a lot of research, yes, but it is well worth it in the end.

5. What works best to keep you focused and on track?
Peace and quiet. Hence the reason my normal writing time is from around 9:00 p.m. to about 4:00 a.m. Even a T.V. or radio can be distracting for me. My house is like a tomb when I am writing.

6. Do you write to make money or for the love of writing?
For the love of writing, though I'll admit the monthly income doesn't hurt either! Even if I never made another dime on my writing, though, I would still be pumping out stories. It's in my blood and, like food and water, I can't live without it.

7. What are some traditional methods of marketing you have used to gain visibility for you and your book(s)?
Newspaper, radio and television ads. press releases, book fairs.

8. What are some unique methods?
This virtual book tour, for one. This is totally new to me, but I have high hopes that it will get my name--and my books--out there. I have also written a few plays for our local community theater. The plays themselves are a great marketing tool, because people know I can write a good story. My publisher also has a program called “Books Now!” where their titles can be used as a fund-raiser.

9. Do you sell through a website?
Through my publisher web site, yes… The publisher is at this time offering a $10.00 discount on the entire “Passage” saga.

10. Do you plan on writing additional books?
Oh, yes. As I said, it's in my blood. I have three ideas floating around in my head right now. Which of them will make their way onto my computer screen next, though, is yet to be seen.

No comments: