For those of you who know me on Facebook, you've seen that I have a special fondness for all things Jade. I picked up Tangled Web, and immediately felt a connection to Johnny and Katie, so I had to keep reading. To me, Jade writes her characters with a level of realism that isn't often seen - they cuss like sailors, struggle to pay the bills, and lose site of what's in front of them when it's most important. And the torturous teasers that Jade has shared with us prove that Bullet promises to be more of the unexpected we have come to appreciate from her.
Without further ado, read what Jade C. Jamison has to say about herself and her writing!
1. What would you say is the inspiration behind your writing?
In general, I am just driven to write and anything—big or little—can become an inspiration. But specifically, my inspiration usually comes from a “what if?” question. For instance (and [some of] you will recognize these), “What would happen if a lawyer crossed the line and slept with her client?” “What if a mother discovered her daughter had been sexually abused?” “What if a woman decides she’s fed up with low-income jobs and wants to make her life better doing something she loves? And what if said woman can’t get over a one-night stand she had with her best friend years ago?” Obviously, too, my never-ending obsession with music fuels a lot of my writing as well! Even when it’s not in the foreground, it’s there, and often that’s just because it’s cranking out of my laptop as my fingers are flying across the keyboard.
2. What is your favorite book you've written, and why?
Holy hell, is that a hard question, and it’s probably because, as an author, I love all my books. Each book is seriously like a child I’ve carried for nine months and finally given birth to. Some of those children are smaller or weaker; some of them have wicked senses of humor; some of them are smarter; some of them are inappropriate and you don’t let them lose in the mall. To choose a favorite one, though - that’d be like choosing a favorite kid out of them all. But…I could choose favorite ones for different reasons. No, that’s a lie. The more I think about it, I think I’m going to have to give you a cop-out answer. I love them all the same, just differently.
3. When did you decide you just had to write, and you couldn't stop?
At the age of eleven or twelve. I started as a youngster, writing Nancy Drew/Trixie Belden-type mysteries that I’m afraid weren’t very good, but I had my cousins convinced they had to read the next one. I also made lots of magazines in middle school and wrote scads of poetry in high school. When I started college, though, that’s when the serious writing began. I wrote my first (unfinished) book that I’m actually going to talk about in a blog post soon, because that sucker became the inspiration for the book I’m working on right now, the almost finished Bullet. A few years later, I was writing short stories constantly. And then the first few years of marriage, I’d begin writing a book (unfinished), then another (unfinished), then another that was unfinished…so many almost finished manuscripts. Then, about fifteen years ago, I wrote a children’s novel that I finished (inspired by my own kids), followed by another book that I finished (which became the inspiration for Then Kiss Me), and on and on. Once I hit my stride and knew I could do it, I was unstoppable. And I didn’t want to[stop]. And, oh, since I mentioned it earlier...I guess I'm kind of coming out to my readers here. Yes, I'm married and I have four kids. But it sounds more fun to talk about my "sweetie" and it's fun to pretend I don't have kids when they're asking for money.
4. How often do you read your reviews? How do the positive ones make you feel, and how do you cope with the negative ones?
Oh, I read them way more than I should. The positive ones are just like you’d imagine—they make me happy, and I think, “Oh, someone understands where I’m coming from!” Part of what drives my writing is not wanting to read a lot of the same old formulas or same old heroines. I write what I want to read, and that’s definitely not for everyone. I know that. And I think that’s where so many of the negative reviews come from. A reader thinks, “Oh, this sucks!” when, really, what she means is, “This isn’t my cup of tea.” I’ve tried to toughen up, but it’s hard sometimes, because that book is your heart and soul—as I said before, it’s your baby, and some reviewers can be downright mean and nasty. I get that not everyone will like my writing. I’m okay with that, because I don’t like everything I’ve ever read. But readers sometimes act like they are personally offended that you wrote something they didn’t like. If I were charging $20 a book, I might feel bad. If you read one of my books and don’t like it, well, now you know. Put me on your list of Most Reviled Authors and, please, do me and everyone else a favor and read someone else’s stuff. Oh, and take a valium while you’re at it. In all seriousness, I’m trying to avoid reading the mean-spirited ones. I’m still not very good at that yet, but someday, right?
5. How did you feel when you first had a fan reach out to you and gush about your work? Do you notice any difference from that point to now when you gain a new fan?
That was one of the coolest moments of my life. She posted on my Facebook wall and said that Tangled Web was the kind of book she not only wanted to read but wanted to write. I had just started out about five months earlier and had started my Facebook page about three months before that post, and I didn’t check it very often, so she’d posted it a day earlier. Anyway, it was huge. Picture Sally Field: “You like me! You really like me!” Now, it’s still wonderful. I get new fans more often now, but they are no less important to me. Fans are who I write for, and when one of them reaches out to me, it’s a great feeling. Some of them only reach out via email; others through my website or Twitter; but the most fan interaction comes through Facebook, and I am so happy to be able to utilize that medium. I smile when I get a new fan, but the first one or two, I suspect I squealed and woke up everyone in my house.
6. Did you expect that your fan base would create a level of camaraderie based on their connection through you? (Shout out to my lovely ladies here, you know who you are!)
No. I guess because I’d never “been” there, I had no idea what to expect, especially because I’m a fan of lots of “things,” for lack of a better word, and I don’t experience much internet camaraderie as a fan. Well…that’s not entirely true. I’ve noticed indie artists and fans of those indie folks interact more. Maybe it’s because the numbers are smaller. I’m not sure. But I am a fan of a lot of indie and local bands, and I have gotten to know a few people because of that. But, for instance, being a Korn fan, I haven’t met new people just because of it, not through Facebook or Twitter or anything, and when your fan base is literally millions of people, it’s not surprising. I might be commenting on a post that thousands of people have commented on, some in a different language, and there might be multiple replies within seconds of each other. It makes it difficult, if not impossible, to get to know other fans. I think it’s freaking fantastic how my fans have become friends—not just with me but with each other. I didn’t expect it, but it’s been cool watching it happen!
7. What is the last book you read?
You really don’t wanna know. It’s a boring textbook for one of the classes I teach. It’s about English grammar. Not very exciting stuff but necessary.
8. If you had to choose, who is your favorite author?
Toni Morrison, hands down.
So there you have it, Jade C. Jamison in a nutshell. If you haven't checked out any of her books, you really should. Like she said, it might be for you, it might not be. The worst that can happen is you don't pick up another one (but I'm thinking you might). Thank you, Jade, for taking the time away from your writing and answering my questions. Now get back to that book, before the ladies shiv me for delaying a release date :)