Welcome to another post from the Writers’ Corner! Today we will be hearing from Jackie Anders (author of Arion Rising), who will share her journey to publication, and her experience “pantsing” novels!
1) What are your top 5 favourite books?
I love a variety of books. My favorites are stories that make you think. Something that sticks with you and keeps your mind going well after the last page. If I could choose five favorites, they would be Atlas Shrugged, War of the Worlds, Outlander (got to have a romance one in there!), I am Legend, and Shawshank Redemption.
2) Which writers do you feel most influenced or inspired by?
I feel inspired by H.G. Wells, Richard Matheson (who, by the way, also wrote for Twilight Zone), and Ayn Rand!
3) That’s great that your book, Arion Rising, is published soon! Tell us about your journey to publication.
Thank you! I wrote songs by piano since I was five years old and lyrics came naturally for me. I would sit in my room or climb on the roof of my house and write poems and lyrics for hours when I was young. When I got older, I started really imagining full-length stories. Whether it be writing a continuation of the books I loved or developing one just out of the blue, I would see things unfold in my head.
When my kids got older and I had more time, I sat down and decided to put those worlds that I created inside my head into actual words. It took a year to finish Phoenix: Field of Mars because I was working full-time. I only had weekends and holidays to write. However, something told me to plow through and finish what I started. After finishing, I queried publishers (which is a lot of work and very time consuming in itself). After about nine months, I finally got an acceptance and a contract!
4) Are you a plotter, pantser, or somewhere in between? (A plotter outlines the details of their work prior to writing; a pantser begins writing without an outline.) In general, tell us about your writing process.
In a way, I am a plotter. However, it is all in my head. If I have a general idea (plot) of where I want to go, I start the story and see where the characters take me. Usually things change a little from what’s in my head.
When you start writing and the characters come to life, you gotta roll with it. The characters are not you, they have their own life experiences and motivations. So they will do things not how you would, if that makes sense. As writers, we have to separate ourselves from the equation and walk in the character’s shoes ‘all the way’. It is much like an actor/actress diving into a part for a movie/TV show/play. (The really good actors/actresses will get depressed just from being in an emotionally disturbed character’s head for so long!) This is how it is for me when I write, especially when it’s 1st person POV and I’m in the head of a soldier with PTSD. Not fun! But it has to be written, and him/her portrayed correctly.
5) Some writers have favourite time(s) of the day or favourite places to write. What are some writing habits that work for you?
I fit it in when I can, where I can. Coffee shops, my keeping room, outside when it’s cool, or in my bed. I write sometimes at 4:30 in the morning before work. If I can get in a few thousand words a morning, I’m happy. Or I write on the weekends, sometimes all day, if my kids aren’t needing me or we don’t have any family events.
6) Lastly, any tips for aspiring writers?
Don’t not finish what you start. Self-doubt is a useless emotion. Push through it anyway and get that story finished!!!
About “Arion Rising”
With everything great comes strings attached.
Seventeen-year-old Téa Lane has dodged abusive foster homes and is surviving on the streets of Houston, all in order to achieve her STEM dream to become the first Latino female astronaut to spacewalk. One day, she discovers an anomalous Native American artifact that’s a powerful seed not of this world and her life is forever changed. It chooses Téa, an unlikely hero, and endows her with superhuman abilities surprisingly around the same time that a numerous amount of young girls start showing up missing or murdered.
After being chosen, a new and mysterious guy, Ben, shows up at her job and school, and Téa worries that he could be one of the murderers. However, she learns that he’s an alien from Aepi, a distant planet of peaceful and ocean-dwelling aliens that have come to Earth to seek refuge from the Epex aliens. Now, they have to work together against the growing threat even though they can’t stand each other. That’s perfectly okay by them since Aepi legend warns against their union anyway.
As Téa starts to buy into the whole fairy godmother turn of events, a surprise kiss from Ben forces her to make a choice: give up her new life or give up her first love. When the interplanetary war between the Aepi and the Epex comes crashing down upon them, Tea is faced with an even harder choice: save humankind or be the one to end it.
About the Writer
Jacqueline Anders has been an obsessed reader and lover of all fiction her entire life. As a young adult growing up in Louisiana, she never missed an episode of The X-Files or Stargate, or the release of any of the Terminator movies. Jackie holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management and a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from W.TX A&M.
She currently teaches at a public school in the Houston, Texas area. She hopes to inspire her students to use their imagination and to think ‘outside the box’ to uncover their creative side.
Anders is a mom of two teenagers, one elementary kiddo, and a part husky dog named India. She is also married to a proud Texan (he reminds her how great the state is ALL THE TIME!), and enjoys cheering on the Houston Astros!
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