Justine Hale inherits her flaky mother, gets her kids and cranky mother-in-law in her divorce, then triples her problems by renting a house with a Civil War era ghost who means to rule the whole eccentric bunch. Then there’s Tucker Highsmith, neighbor and handyman deluxe with his own agenda.
What emotional baggage and agendas are in play in Justine’s life and will she survive them all? Jackie Weger, follows the ups and downs of Justine’s once she’s moved into ‘The House on Persimmon Road’. Jackie, thanks for sharing a little time with the readers and myself today. In this book we see Justine on the road to starting her new life, what inspired you to write this tale about a woman’s foray into her new life?
The House on Persimmon Road started with my remembrance of my great-grandmother’s house, destroyed in Hurricane Camille. I was very young when I visited, but the house was old, huge and magical. There were herbs drying the pantry. The aroma was wonderful. Big tin washtubs hung on hook on the back porch and a water pump in the yard.
I kind of feel like I’m there right now. It feels like you didn’t have to do too much work to develop your mental picture of this wonderful house. Did you find that it was essential to build up your other areas of expertise to ensure that your house was situated well in its environs?
I always do research. I’m a Southerner, so I’m much aware of the different dialects, levels of society and customs, but parts of the story that are Lottie’s, I had to research certain things during the Civil War. How people got their news. Many farms and plantations had riverfronts, and the river was quickest and least expensive mode of transportation.
How do your characters sit within this world? Do you personally feel that the characters or the plot is what drives the events that unfold?
My stories are character driven. I let them have their heads. I do have to reign them in at times.
Do you also try to direct your characters towards a strong message for readers when you’re attempting to reign them in?
I don’t know about anything important. I write a story to entertain. That’s it. Sometimes I get it done, sometimes, I don’t.
There’s always next time, right?
Yes, what I adore about indie authorship is I can do it again. I can change a scene, add a scene or delete a scene.
For you, is that flexibility to change one of the most satisfying aspects of writing within the indie space?
For every writer I know, writing THE END is the most rewarding. That euphoria lasts a couple of days and next, we’re into revisions. Work starts all over again.
Are you a writer who enjoys tackling revisions, or are you one to try and outsource that job to fresh eyes?
I self-edit as I compose. I hire editors and proofreaders. And re-proof. There are always small errors. I repair those ASAP. I sometimes hire back-to-back editors. Here’s why: Editors get tired…especially in the last third of the ms.
Hiring back-to-back editors is a fantastic tip for avoiding the trap of tiredness, which I don’t believe another author has provided us before. Thanks for that tip! Are there any other self-publishing gems of advice that you think might also point stuck authors in the right direction?
What I’ve learned is if a selfie does the best he or she can do for a book, the book will do fine and find readers. My goal is that my books have to pay for themselves, and what I invest in them. That means smart, well-planned promotions. I don’t listen to rumors. I beta test promotions. I’m a skeptic. I also use every tool Amazon provides that I can take advantage of. I don’t listen to naysayers. I stick to basics–not gimmicks.
What basics do you enjoy about writing that keeps pulling you back?
I enjoy the process or creating a story out of thin air. I like being my own boss, setting my own hours. I am a writer and has been for thirty-five + years. It’s my day job, my career. It’s had a few interruptions with life events, but I always return to it.
As you are your own boss, how do you take advantage of those hours to work best for you? Are word counts a benchmarking technique that helps you set your own targets?
I have a little writing nest. No, I don’t aim for a set number of words. I write what a scene calls for and move on. It is not the word count, it is what the words say to move a story along.
What happens when you get stuck in writer’s block and can’t figure out how to keep the story moving along?
I don’t have writer’s block. I recognize when I’m lazy or I prefer to do something else, like recover a chair or go fishing. I also recognize when I’ve written myself into a corner. So then I back up a chapter or two and revise.
Or maybe go fishing. I’m feeling as a keen fisher that you might have some solid views on oceans. Do you have any particular favorite?
Pacific, simply because the tides are so different from the Atlantic.
It’s amazing how something like oceans can be so similar and yet so different from each other. One of the recent questions I’ve been posing authors to find out where lines between similarities and differences may be drawn is – where is the line between insanity and creativity? What is your take on this idea?
I haven’t a clue. I think most fiction writers have multiple personality disorders. And one of those personalities drives a book.
Are any of those personalities driving your next book?
I don’t talk about works in progress. It puts too much pressure on me.
Plus, it prevents the focus being distracted from your current work. Jackie, thanks for partaking in our exploration around ‘The House on Persimmon Road’, and I hope that you continue to enjoy each and every day of your writing career.
Excited to read the book we discussed today? Find it here on Amazon: ‘The House on Persimmon Road ( ASIN: B00E9LS0OY )‘.
Want to find out more about Jackie Weger? Connect here!