Interview with Jacqui Jacoby

jacquiI’m happy to welcome multi-talented paranormal writer Jacqui Jacoby. Jacqui writes articles for the RWR and KOD (Kiss of Death), and has interviewed best-selling romance writers. She’s a martial artist and workshop teacher. She’s going for her second B.A., and she has a husband, children, and pets.

Jacqui, you have so much going on. How do you find time to write your books?

Writing the books is the priority. The pages for them get done before anything else. If something comes up that needs to be done first, then I sit at the computer when everything else is done until I meet my quota for the day. The quota for the day is determined by what projects I am working on at the time. Right now I am writing the first draft of a paranormal, the first in a trilogy, so my main goal every day is to write eight to ten pages on that.

How do I get it all in? His name is Miguel and he is my computerized Day Planner. Miguel and I check in every day, first thing in the morning. He keeps track of the projects I am working on, their deadlines. He tells me what needs to be done every day and what to expect. I do have to program everything into him as the events or projects come up, but once he knows, he knows and he is ever faithful in keeping me on track. I think having some sort of tracking program, whether it’s a computer program or on paper, is important to keep track of what you are supposed to be doing when. For example, if you have a Golden Heart Entry you want to finish ahead of the deadline, then you decide when you want to ship. Once you know that, you can back track from that date, taking into account how many steps the project needs (editing, formatting, printing, packaging to name a few) and how many days each one will take. When you work backwards from the deadline, you know exactly how long you need to be on schedule. For good measure, and because I know how chaotic life runs in this house, I always subtract one more week. It’s a trick I learned in an English class at UCLA.

Are you goal oriented? Do you write on a schedule?

I’m goal oriented. I know what projects I am working on when and when they need to be done. I go by those and not by what time I can sit down in my office. I do put in four to six hours a day at the computer, but when those four to six will happen is not set in stone. Sometimes it will happen in one big block, sometimes in three smaller sessions. I have a very active family that requires a lot of attention. Though I say the writing comes first, the reality is the open door policy I have at my house really takes priority. I write with my door closed, as per Stephen King’s instructions in his book On Writing, but that doesn’t mean the door doesn’t get opened forty-seven time on a typical work day. And that is cool. I am a very active Mom who happens to be a writer. I have to work at both jobs and I thoroughly enjoy the challenge of keeping up.

What do you feel about your journey as a writer?

I have been very lucky. The luckiest thing that happened to me was I didn’t sell my first book. I came close, almost had it made into movie, too. But the whole thing fell apart at the last moment and I was left to struggle through this roller coaster ride that has turned out to be a hell of a lot of fun. If I had sold that book and made the promised untold fortunes, I would have missed out on a lot of the journey and I wouldn’t trade all this for anything. I have met some great people. Some national best selling authors, some people just starting out. There is a variety of personalities that make up the writing field and I have been able to get to know quite a few of them. A lot of them have become pretty good friends.

Even though you haven’t sold yet, you’re already getting your name out in the romance community. Is this why you’re doing so much? Is it a form of networking and pre-publicity?

I have sold. I have sold lots and had lots of calls. Just not on a book. But I don’t view myself as a “novelist” but as a “writer”. When the call comes in for a book deal it will just be another step in an already established career with a larger check to deposit at the bank. My career is multi faceted with many, many different characteristics. I teach courses which in turn, teaches me quite a bit. I write for several publications and I volunteer for my RWA Chapter (Kiss of Death) and judge for six or so contests a year. I get to conduct interviews on a regular basis with writers from many, many levels of writing, as well as agents and editors. Each experience has something to offer me whether it is directly related to the activity or project I am working on at the time. A lot of the time, I get this little bonus of information and it’s a real boost. It’s all fun and I am learning new things and having new experiences all the time with my work.

Do I do it all for publicity? No. I do it to keep the job interesting. Having so many different types of projects at any given moment keeps me from ever getting bored. If one aspect isn’t peaking my interest one morning, then I will work on another until I switch back again.

I know you’re on the cusp of selling. When you get the call from your agent, what will you do to celebrate?

After I make a few calls to my writing partners of twelve years, I will put the flowers my husband bought me into a crystal vase to set on the end of my desk. Then there is this wonderful little Italian place downtown that serves the best cheese ravioli in Alfredo sauce with orange zest and fresh basil. Their wine list is exquisite. I think the family and I will go there for a toast and a wonderful night out before walking over to Cold Stone for a bowl of ice cream. My family and I have celebrated many milestones in my career: getting an agent, getting a particular article sold or a contest wins — this is usually how we handle the evening afterwards.

You can find out more about Jacqui at her website. In addition to her workshops and interviews, she has articles on writing, tough chicks, and self-defense.

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20 Responses to Interview with Jacqui Jacoby

  1. Edie Ramer says:

    Jacqui, all your accomplishments are very impressive. As I was reading, I grabbed a piece of paper and wrote down my goals for the day. :mrgreen:

    The Italian restaurant sounds lovely. When I get my call, we’ll probably go to a nearby restaurant that has a lot of fish dinners. 🙂

  2. LaDonna says:

    Jacqui, you’re an amazing woman. I absolutely agree that the journey is a not-to-be missed route. I love your attitude, and it says a lot about ya. 🙂 I wish you all the best, and keep shining your positive atttitude, girl! That’s what it’s all about imo. You’ve dealt with challenges beautifully.

  3. Michelle says:

    Jacqui, I agree with Edie and LaDonna, you have a fantastic attitude. Good luck with everything for the future, it sounds no matter what, you’re enjoying the ride.

  4. Jacqui, you’re so smart to plan for the first book sale with a celebration you can control! That’s great mental-health stuff, setting realistic goals…when sometimes it’s tempting to say “soon as I get the call I’m gonna quit my day job and buy dh a Porsche and pick out my new wardrobe for appearing on Oprah.”

    The vase, dinner and ice cream sound like a much better plan!

    Laurie, who shouldn’t be surprised you’ve got it figured out that well

  5. Nance says:

    Jax is indeed a very amazing woman. In the twelve years plus that I’ve known her, she never ceases to amaze me with her versatility and the tenacious grip she has on both her writing and personal life. She’s worked hard for her successes, and is a generous and wonderful friend to those of us who know her and have watched her deal with that “roller-coaster” ride to success.
    Just ask the dozens of writer’s she knows who have gladly given her information for her many articles…including the one is this months RWR. I remember a time when Clive Cussler was her own private mentor. <sorry, but I loved that time >
    I am really looking forward to the workshop she will be teaching at National This Year. Sounds fab! Love Firefly.

  6. Kelly says:

    As Jacqui pointed out, goal setting is so important in helping to stay organized and motivated. Jacqui has also helped other writers work toward their goals. As one of Jacqui’s critque partners, we’ve had a lot of fun over the years coming up with ways to help each other stay motivated to write. In the beginning, we’d meet every Monday and plan our writing week, and then be accountable to the others in the group. If someone was struggling we’d send encouraging notes or brainstorm–whatever it took. Sometimes when the going got tough, we’d report in to each other daily on our writing progress. Also submitting our work weekly to the group helped keep the process moving forward. We called our critiques PHs “Public Hangings”, but really it wasn’t all that bad. LOL We learned a lot along the way.

  7. Cee Dunsheath says:

    Great interview, Jacqui! (even if I did like Laurie’s idea of a celebration better )

    You’ve proven time and again that persistence, resilence and dedication pay off. Not always in the ways we first aim for, but often in ways we couldn’t have imagined at the onset.

  8. Anne says:

    Jacqui, your optimism (laced with a healthy dose of realism), and persistence are inspiring. What I appreciated the most was how you remind us to count every success – whether it be an interview, article, or class (or book contract!) – as important to your career. We aren’t just novelists. We are writers, and can offer our talents through many forms. Thanks for the reminder and keep up the hard work! Can’t wait to read your next success…

  9. BrendaNovak says:

    Hi there–

    Great to see you here. I love your line that the best thing that’s happened to you is you *didn’t* sell your first manuscript. It takes real wisdom to realize that wouldn’t have been the best thing for your career over all.

    You’ll get there. It’s just a matter of time!

    TRUST ME, On Sale Now!

  10. Anna says:

    Jacqui~I love the comment that you’re a writer, not necessarily a novelist. Writing is what we do, novels happen to be one form.

    I agree that your persistence is amazing and an incredible inspiration. Any time I catch myself whining about writing (why is getting my butt in the chair the hardest part when I love it so much), I’ll just remember how hard you’ve been working and shut up.

    And yes, sometimes not selling is the best thing that can happen…it means you’re meant for something even better!!


  11. I just wanted to thank everyone for their wonderful comments. I feel all warm and fuzzy reading them. Some of you are old freinds, some are new friends and some are people I hope to get to know better.

    Thank you so much for taking the time out to say such encouraging words.


  12. Donnell says:

    Jacqui, always a pleasure. I’m usually reading one of your amazing interviews; how great that I get to read one about you. Well done, and well done Edie!

  13. Randy says:

    Damn, can Miguel come to my house and play? Which brings to mind…I wonder…do you have a mental vision of what he looks like? Can you describe him for us? *g* Another question: I’m always interested in the muse issue–do you believe in them? If so, how does yours figure into the creative process?

  14. LOL … my muse is 6’4″ with a killer set of abs, a drop dead gorgeous face and voice that could melt a cube of butter. What can I say? I got lucky when it came to muses!!

    Seriously, I think my muse changes with each book. I can never tell you where the “information” is coming from or what is going to trigger it. With this book, it is a TV show I like: I watch that show and I can write. With my last book, it was the band Bowling For Soup … as long as I listened to their CD, I wrote. I stopped listening, and I stopped writing.

    I don’t understand it and I never try to explain it –even to myself. I just go with it and use whatever is working at the moment.

    And Miguel … I would tell you who he looks like, but you would laugh!! So I will let your mind find his face, telling you only that he is about six feet tall, has blond hair to his shoulders, a goatee and the most beautiful green eyes!!

    Man, I love my job.

  15. Debbi Ward says:

    I now knwo what I need–My very own Miguel. Thanks for the pearls of wisdom.

  16. Debbi Ward says:

    I now know what I need–My very own Miguel.

  17. I think if you get any “day planner” (Miguel is run on a older version of the Franklin Covey computer program … I like it because you can break any project down into manageable steps and assign them dates and deadlines) and then you find a face for him in your mind and then give him the perfect name … then it is a pleasure to open him up in the morning. He has a personality and you just *have* to get along with him. You don’t want to make your Miguel mad!! So he helps you out and you get things done.

    As I have said on many, many occasions to a variety of people … we’re grown ups with imaginary friends!! Why not use that talent to jump start our days?! A little caffeine … a little talk with the guy in our computer … … what a way to face the morning.

  18. Liz Kreger says:

    Very impressive, Jacqui. I’ve never quite managed to put my writing first. Life has this nasty habit of getting in the way. However, your blog shows that there is hope … eventually.

    I’m with Randy. I want a Miguel in my house. I have a very vivid image of him … my own cabana boy. 😆 Love it!

  19. Thank you Liv.

    Suzanne Brockmann gave me a couple pointers a few years ago that have really helped me out.

    First off: Look at your writing as your reward for a day well done. If life jumps in front of your writing, then cool, deal with it. But still sit down for a few minutes a day and loose yourself in your story. It is what we love to do so we should allow ourselves that privilege.

    The second thing she suggested I do was to set up a number of days I am allowed to “miss” my writing. Like you get five free pass days a month where you don’t have to write a word. Once you hit those five days, then the writing is the first thing that gets done and you promise yourself you will get those pages done. Maybe it will be one page, maybe five. Either way, it’s forward motion in your book.

    And I look at this way — if Suzanne Brockmann is willing to give you writing advice, then everyone should listen!! She seems to have figured things out pretty well!!

  20. Jacqui,

    Great interview. You are amazibg. I can vouch for that. And you have an awesome attitude and great dedication and persistence. Now, if some of that would just rub off on me.
    I know you’re this close to selling that book – and one terrific celebration.

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