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Interview with Best Selling Author Jacci Turner

Jacci Turner Interview

Date: May 15, 2016

Jacci Turner image 2016-0515
Best Selling Author Jacci Turner

Jacci, welcome back.

A quick introduction:  You have 10 books on Amazon, including 2 series; you are the Director of Education for High Sierra Writers; you’re an Amazon bestselling author of young adult and middle grade fiction and your book, Bending Willow, was selected to represent Nevada at the 2013 National Book Festival in Washington D.C. Now, your YA book, Cracker, just received a Red Ribbon Award from The Wishing Shelf Book Awards. Have I missed anything?

Answer: Haha! Nope, that about covers it, Dennis.

Tell us about the Red Ribbon Award? What is it?

Answer: The Wishing Shelf Award is kinda cool because it was started by an author, Billy Bob Buttons. He is from the UK and does a lot of work with school kids. So, he gets 16 kids to read each entry and rate the books. Even if you don’t win, you still get the feedback, which, to an author is gold.

How did all that come about? How did you find yourself as an author?

Answer: I think of myself more as a story teller. When I was five I used to charge the neighborhood kids a nickel to come watch my plays. I was in theater in high-school and even have a degree in theater! But, if you’ve ever done a play, you’ll know that they take a LOT of time to prepare and as life got busier, I just couldn’t commit to the rehearsal schedules. So, I thought what can I do that’s creative but doesn’t take all my time? I have always enjoyed writing. I have a book and a screen play that will never see the light of day. But it wasn’t until I turned fifty that I had the discipline to do the necessary revisions a good book needs, so that is when I started writing for publication.

Before we dive into it, what advice would you have for a beginning author? What is the one thing that might be the most meaningful thing then could hear?

Answer: For me, the key is getting into a writer’s group where you can have the support and encouragement of other writers. That is so important. The one I’m involved with brings in monthly speakers and each month I feel like it’s the kick-in-the-pants I need to keep writing. The critique groups we are invaluable. Keep learning, let people read your work, keep growing as a writer and don’t’ give up.

Okay, you write for young adults. Tell us about the genre?

Answer: I love Young Adult, which is for ages fourteen and up. I also write for kids age eight and up, that’s called Middle Grade Fiction. I think what draws me to these age groups is that with kids, anything is possible. They still believe in magic and have incredible imaginations.

Why the YA genre? What motivates you? What inspires you?

Answer: Kids today have to face some pretty rough realities, yet I’m constantly amazed by their spirits and creative minds. I have great hope in the upcoming generations. Those two thoughts are put together for my website tagline which is, “Infusing Reality with Hope.” I want to write about the real challenges of this world, but from a hopeful place, not a dark place.

I read your latest book, Cracker. It has an intense message. What inspired you to write that story?

Answer: My hope is that Cracker will encourage people to have a conversation about race. It is a topic that people are afraid to talk about because it sometimes feels like walking on egg shells, like you might say the wrong thing. Cracker turns the conversation upside down. The white people in the book are an oppressed minority, the black people have power and privilege. This causes white people to experience, through the main character, the micro-aggressions and injustices that people of color face every day. It comes with a study guide to help further the discussion. I think being able to talk about race is the first step in learning to heal the racial divide in our society.

From a literary standpoint, without spoiling it, how did you come up with the idea for the setting twist?

Answer: I was reading Beverly Daniel Tatum’s book, “Why are all the black kids sitting together in the cafeteria? And other conversations about race, and I thought, “This is important stuff, how can I get white people to think about it? And the idea for Cracker was born.

If we can, let’s get a little deeper into your messages. You’re dealing with some intense issues. I know in your non-author life you work with hospice and have a spiritual background. Where are you pulling these stories from?

Answer: Well, my spiritual director would say they all come from parts of me, like I’m working out my issues! I guess it’s cheap therapy. But you’re right: I do have a deep faith and I do work with people that are dying and that gives me a unique perspective. I also worked with college students for thirty years and love, love, love them. They keep my mind sharp and keep me up on – you know, technology! J

What are you working on now/next?

Answer: Speaking of technology, I’m working on a book about, “Snapchat gone wrong.” I read this article about how young girls are being objectified by boys on Snapchat as the boys are pressuring them to send pictures of their bodies. If the girls say no, the boy might post a naked picture and say it was her, but if the girl sends the picture, she is labeled a whore. It puts girls in an awful situation. In my research for this book I learned that the average teenager is sending snaps (Pictures) 200-300 times a day! It’s crazy.

Authors develop characters, including odd traits or idiosyncrasies to make them more interesting. If you were a character in a bestselling novel, what is the one thing the author might share to make your character more interesting?

Answer: Wow, that is an amazing question. Probably my stunning good looks and razor sharp wit! Just kidding. I guess I’d like to be the character that is full of surprises. People are often surprised when they know me for a while and then learn something they didn’t know, like that I got my black belt in Karate at age 43 or that I jumped from an airplane at age 52. I love adventure and that would be my odd trait, “The grandma that is full of surprises!”

Anything else you want to share?

Answer: Sure Dennis, I’d like to share that I’ve read both of your books and I’m a fan. I hope you fantasy lovers out there will rush out and buy the Kingdom of Torrence series! Thank you so much for all of your support and friendship.

Jacci, thank you for your time. Can we share your contacts?

Amazon’s Author Page

http://www.amazon.com/Jacci-Turner/e/B006D3187M/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1463279953&sr=1-1

Personal Web Page

http://www.jacciturner.com/

Twitter

https://twitter.com/JacciTurner

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/Jacci-Turner-162842543809329/

 

 

Continue reading Interview with Best Selling Author Jacci Turner

The Road to Publishing – On the Street (Part III)

Wow! I have my manuscript edited, the self-publishing is finished, and now….  what do I do with my book?

If you are going through a vanity press or other self-publishing service, it is a little easier; they do all the “leg work” for you. If not it is just a matter of creating accounts on the various distribution channels (websites) and uploading the book that the formatting service should have prepared for you. The sites that I am currently using are:

CreateSpace and Ingram Spark will distribute your books to a variety of sales points, including Amazon and Barns & Noble On-line. This is important because, according to one publisher’s content editor that I recently heard speak, Amazon currently sells over 70% of all books.

Once you have your book uploaded it takes as much as a couple of weeks for the cover to appear, but the text and opportunity to purchase the book is quicker.  So, where are you?  You are now on the edge of the marketing cliff. The lake is deep so jump in… you can’t just wade around in the shallow spots.

Marketing P bulletsTraditionally, marketing included product, price, placement, and promotion, but the internet, social media, and spamming ads are changing that approach.  Unknown, image downloaded from Google. I intend to write more on marketing in the future.

 

Everyone should agree, the key is making the connection with readers. It is easy to get lost in the crowd, but you cannot ignore Amazon if the speaker I heard is correct. There is a lot of debate how effective social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, etc, are at 1) reaching readers, and 2) encouraging sales. There are also genre specific author coops like FSFNet.com who specialize in Fantasy and Science Fiction authors/books. Recently, I submitted an article to LeRue Press‘s paper, What’s the Story. Lastly, plan on going to book signings; other than Amazon, getting in front of readers is essential. Word of mouth promotions is always a good thing.

I would encourage you, the writer/author, to use as many of the above channels as possible, time allowing. Keep in touch.

Inspiration

Writers, authors, poets, lyricists, we all get inspiration from a variety of sources. Depending on what I am writing, I may have more motivation when I am sad or angry. I can just sit and pound on the keys, expressing my feelings. I find this particularly true with poetry. At other times, my muse comes to me in the early morning when everyone is sleeping and the house is cool. It is a great time to write until the cat comes and sits on my keyboard, or the dog wants out, or, my coffee cup runs dry. After the small interrupting I sit back down and continue writing, dream of Jerrod, Amanda, and the others while I lay out a story line that I hope will entertain my fans and readers.

One of the most unique moments of inspiration that I had was after struggling with a musician for several weeks, trying to get The Bard’s Song in chapter nine of The Legend of Jerrod. I was driving home from my mundane job, which pays the bills, and started humming a tune, probably about four measures. I went home, downloaded some music software, and composed the music for The Bard’s Song. The instrumental is currently available on this blog for free.

Yet, there is another kind of inspiration, of motivation. Sometimes it is hard to just pick up the feet and move on to the next task. “I don’t wanna go to work” or “I’m sick of dealing with this” seem to plague our lives at times. An author can sometimes push off writing, but inevitably, we all face moments where some additional inspiration, some motivation, is all that gets us through.

One of my fans, who read The Legend of Jerrod with her aunt over the phone, was just such an inspiration for me. She had been confined to a wheelchair for twenty years and struggle daily with tasks I take for granted, such as getting out of bed or brushing my teeth.  In recent years, when the stress of life became so great that I grew frustrated or dismayed, I thought of her challenges. Marie became my inspiration helping me realize what I was facing wasn’t that bad and enabling me to get through adversity.

In Loving Memory

Christina “Marie” Miarecki

May 1965 – May 2015

The Legend of Jerrod Book Trailer Preview

 

Enjoy a preview of The Legend of Jerrod Book Trailer. It should be posted to YouTube shortly, but I wanted to give my fans the first opportunity to see it. Please leave a comment. I would love to know what you think. Enjoy!

New Promotion Services

Announcing

Tracee Ford’s

Silver Lining Events

Tracee is an author and internet program personality. She is undertaking a new adventure, to help authors promote their books and she is going to expand her promotion experience to help business.

I participated in one of Tracee’s blog tour promotions last year. She presented a new author everyday during November. I found her organizational skills to be excellent and the quality of the promotion material to equal any that I have seen.

Check Tracee and Silver Lining Events out at:

http://teb19762.wix.com/silverliningevents

Her social media contacts for Silver Lining Events are listed at the bottom of her web page. Enjoy and let Tracee take some of the business concerns off your back…

April 14, 2013 – Event

What: D.M. Stoddard’s first public book signing
When: Saturday, April 27, 2013
Time: 10:00 am to 11:00 am
Where: Grassroots Books
660 E Grove, Reno Nevada

http://grassrootsbooks.com/

Come see this splendid bookstore and talk with me about the first book in the Kingdom of Torrence series, The Legend of Jerrod. Get a peak at the second book’s storyline.

Grassroots Books has a great selection of books divided into nonfiction and fiction genre. The staff is pleasant and knowledgeable. I am looking forward to spending time with Grassroots and meeting readers of all ages.

March 29, 2013 – This Week

Wow, I have really felt the urge to write I mid-week post. I love it when I “have to” write. So, here I sit putting “pen to paper”. I wanted to write when I got home last night, but, as discussed on Twitter this week, it is 3:00 am and here I sit…

First, I created a book give-away on Goodreads.com this week. I am giving away 5 books in the United States at the end of April. I hope to give more away for Canada and Europe in the following month or two so please, stay tuned.

I have really been living the life of an author this week…. very chaotic. With that chaos goes a rise and fall in the interests of my book, The Legend of Jerrod, which is the first book in the Kingdom of Torrence series. An author’s emotions flow with the ebbing interests.

Most of the authors I have spoken with write for one reason; they love to write. It is stark realization to find that at the end of the book there is a business side that must be managed. Just to prepare a book for publishing there are editors and publishers that you must coordinate changes between. It is much easier to write the manuscript than to review it. But when it is all done and the publisher has the book for print you breath a sigh of relief thinking, “it’s done!”

I write because I enjoy creating a story that readers might enjoy. But writing has an unexpected consequence. The cost of “writing” may not be much. To make the storyline of the book available so that readers can enjoy it you have to deal with the cost of (self) publishing. It would be great if every author could be picked up by a publisher who wanted to pay for the publishing (we will leave the pros and cons of traditional publishing for another time). So, to share your writing you must publish and to publish you must promote and market your writing. A circle.

It is not that promoting and marketing are bad; they are just time consuming, but this week I have met some marvelous people on Twitter, Facebook, print media (i.e. magazines), and other associations. They have touched my heart and I, I hope, have touched theirs. We have shared emotions of life, memories, and inspirations of various kinds. Some really great quotes came out…

Carmen DeSousa (Twitter @Author_Carmen) quoted Robert Frost, “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.”

Carla Martinez posted an inspirational image on Facebook. “Don’t carry your mistakes around with you. Instead, place them under your feet and use them as stepping stones to rise above them.”

“Measure your success in your child’s reflection, not your money and toys.” D.M. Stoddard (Facebook @kingdom.torrence)

As it nears 4:00 am I will go back to bed. I hope to post some background or excerpts from The Legend of Jerrod this weekend. I need to write some more on book two, Amanda’s Quest. I am working on her reaction to Jerrod’s…

Ops, no spoilers!

March 24, 2013 – Great Beginnings

This week I spoke with photographer Cathleen Tarawhiti (@CTarawhiti) about the creation of book covers and discussed the chaotic life of authors on Facebook. I finished reading Puppies for Sale: $25.00, by Rosalie A. Pope, and Brief Visits – Sonnets from a Volunteer Chaplain, by Susan Palwick, both quick reads. Finally, I bought The Hobbit DVD by J.R.R. Tolkien, directed by Peter Jackson. With all this, I formed a question for myself; what is the greatest beginning for a book?

Above all else it has to be…

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat; it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.”

Doesn’t that just make you want to curl up in a comforter and read forever? With that beautiful begining J.R.R. Tolkien compelled me to miss many college courses and nearly a semester of my life, but, in exchange, I became committed to fantasy.

Yet, there are other beginnings that somehow grasp a reader. How simple they may be while providing such profound impact…

“Call me Ishmael.”

How simple! How marvelous! You have to want to know what the book is about! It is not my genre, but you have to appreciate Herman Melville’s beginning.

And in The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet William Shakespeare begins…

“Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.”

What wonderful beginnings.