Interview with Jennnifer Quail
We are delighted to have author Jennnifer Quail amongst us today at Musikdiv India Online Magazine at our Special ‘Authors Festival’ interview series to tell us about her book Strange Roads: Book One of Omens In The Night !
Please read on …
What do a conservative, ex-Navy test pilot and a liberal Senate aide have in common? Nothing, really–except being the two most powerful Mages born in decades. Elaine Gates and Alan Graves are the Lady of Wind and Water and the Lord of Earth and Fire, or so the strange Mark Valentine and his equally-unusual companion, Nadia Julian, tell them. And none too soon, as the unlikely allies are plunged into a battle against dark forces poised to take over the world, starting with Washington, D.C.
Sparks literally fly as Alan and Elaine confront dangerous enemies and even more deadly allies in a race to find a magical treasure . . . and the key to their own destinies
So Jennnifer, we’ll start your Interview with the very first question
1.Please introduce and tell the readers something about yourself.
I’m Jennnifer Quail. I grew up in Michigan, went to school in Virginia, D.C., and New England, have worked in lots of different jobs (I get bored easily), but mostly in museums. Ironically I didn’t take any museum education courses for my Masters, but have worked almost entirely as a museum educator.
2.What brought you to writing?
I wrote down a dream I had when I was in second grade, and wrote stories that I know now are fan fic about the ponies in Marguerite Henry’s “Misty of Chincoteague”, and stories about me and my friends having adventures with our horses. I wrote to Mrs. Henry asking if she would write a book about my then-favorite breed of horse and she replied, suggesting I write a story about it. It was probably the first time it occurred to me I could write something for other people.
3.How long have you been writing?
I think I was seven or so, and I’m now 33.
4.Which was your first literary project?Tell us something about it.
I don’t know if you can call it “literary”, but I sold a short story to “Dreams of Decadence” magazine when I was in grad school. The first full-length novel I’ve released is “Strange Roads: Book One of Omens in the Night”, a contemporary fantasy set in Washington, D.C.
5.Is this your new/latest project?
This is the project I’ve been dithering over for quite some time. The protagonists were originally created for an ill-advised ninth-grade attempt to write a political novel in the style of Allen Drury. (Fourteen-year-olds shouldn’t attempt to write like Drury.) Ultimately, after many false starts and different drafts, I settled on exactly who they really were and what kind of world they lived in, and after another two or three drafts and much reading by advance readers, I had my first book.
6.Traditional books or e-books? How do you prefer to see your works published? Have you tried ever publishing the traditional way?
I have, and the nicest rejection letter I’ve had thus far is from Pyr Books (a wonderful publisher) whose editor said that she very much enjoyed my writing, but it wasn’t right for their imprint. So I knew the problem was finding a market, and e-publishing does help there. But I don’t buy many ebooks, mostly only to help friends, and I haven’t read those I did get. I don’t like reading on a screen or even own a Kindle myself. I view Kindle and Createspace mostly as a mean to build enough sales numbers to interest a real agent by showing there’s a market for what I write. It seems a more productive route than trying to send unsoliciteds by guessing which publisher and which of their imprints is best suited to my books.
7.What are your hobbies?Things that you enjoy doing besides books of course.
I own a retired racehorse, whom I might get around to taking to horse shows someday, and I ballroom dance in pro-am competitions. I also enjoy quilting.
8.Who is your favourite author?
Of all time? Probably John Bellairs and Edward Gorey. As a person? Aaron Allston.
9.What is your favourite genre to read and also to write?
I read just about anything that isn’t potboiler romances (I have a lot of respect for authors who can crank out Harlequins but I can’t read them for very long) or general literary fiction. Lately, I’m reading a lot of Steampunk. But I’ll try almost anything.
10.Do you have a role model that you get inspiration from?
Aaron Allston and Mike Stackpole have been wonderful mentors for beginning writers. I’d love to be half as witty as Aaron’s writing or clever as Mike’s.
11.Where do get your ideas from?Do you take your story ideas from real life situations?
I’ve never really understood this question, as my ideas come from everything. I might read something in a news story or see something on the internet or look at a building I’m walking past or read a history book or watch a television show. The ideas just kind of build off those: “How would my character respond to this? What if this ghost story were true?”
12.Do you have a pseudonym?
13.Whats your experience been like in the publishing industry?Postive or negative?Please share your experience with our readers.
I’d say it’s been quite positive, overall. I haven’t sold to a major publisher, but I have never recieved a form-letter rejection for a manuscript, either, only personalized responses that were kind in detailing why they didn’t feel the ms was ready, or why it wasn’t right for their market. I find the professional authors and editors I’ve encoutered have, by and large, been exactly that: professional, and very supportive of would-be authors who show they’re willing to work and take criticism.
14.Where do you see yourself 10years from now?
I never know how to answer this for job interviews, either. Every time I do, five years later I’m nowhere near where I alleged I was going to be. So I’ll just say “Still writing, wherever I am.”
15.What motivates you to write?
I’ve been writing fiction so long, I honestly have no idea what I’d be doing if I weren’t writing.
16.How important is good cover art for your books?
Very. I don’t pick up/download books with covers that look thrown together with Photoshop using free clip art, so I don’t want one like that on my book. I had a friend who is a much more skilled photo-manipulator and artist design the cover, using a photo I’d taken and open-rights fonts. If a real publisher picks up the book, they can put whatever they think will sell on it. I got my meltdown about illustrations done with my first short story, where the illustrations were nothing like what I’d want, but that’s not an author’s decision to make.
17.Do you have a price strategy for your books?
“Anything that moves quantities.” I’m unlikely to make any real profit, so it’s all about making a name. I just want people to read it.
18.How does it make you feel when you read a bestselling book that you don’t feel is as good as yours?
As my mentors, who are full-time employed authors, reminded me long ago, publishing is more about persistence than quality. You can be the best writer ever to set fingers to keyboard, but if you fold after one rejection, no one will care. It’s also about knowing the market. I may not think “The DaVinci Code” is especially complex or surprising, and it’s not, but clearly Dan Brown knows how to sell to a large market. If he gets people buying hardcovers for $29.99, I say more power to him. I loathed “Twilight”, but hey, if Stephenie Meyer sells a billion books, publishers take another look at YA fantasy. Anything that gets people reading.
19.Why do you think readers should buy your book?What can you offer them through your book?
If readers are looking for a truly different kind of contemporary fantasy that isn’t just a paranormal romance hiding under that label, they’ll enjoy my book. I like books with interesting characters who haven’t been done to death set in places you wouldn’t expect (D.C. is woefully underrepresented as a fantasy setting) using tropes of the fantasy genre in different ways. So I wrote the kind of book I’d like to read.
20.Where is your book available?Any Buy Link for our readers?
The ebook is available exclusively through Amazon.com >>
( including available for borrowing for KDP Select members.)
The print version will be available on Amazon via Createspace print-on-demand service.
21.Do you have a website or a blog that you’d like to share here.
You can find me on Facebook at >> http://www.facebook.com/pages/Omens-In-The-Night/130417210321917
22. What advice would you give to other writers?
First, KNOW YOUR GRAMMAR AND SPELLING. That is not something editors want to waste time fixing for you and it will put readers off buying or downloading your book. Get advance readers who know your market. The more, the better. My friend asked if she could send my latest draft to her mother. Have them read your book. Listen to what they say. Accept that not everything you write is golden and be prepared to junk something that took a lot of work to write. My novel is about 96,000 words. All told, I’ve probably written about 300,000 on it. So a little more than two-thirds got thrown out. It’s a much better book now than it was when I started. Do not take rejections and criticisms personally, especially when they come from publishers and agents. They’re not out to get you.
23.Anything else you’d like to share with our readers
Besides “Buy my book?” Just “Happy reading!”
Thanks again from Team MusikDIV
Buy Strange Roads: Book One of Omens In The Night by Jennnifer Quail On Amazon Kindle >> http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006PWUKWK
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