I’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.