Wednesday, December 26, 2018

#Interview: Jacqueline West

Welcome to this weeks Interview.  This week we have an author that Anarece has totally fallen in love with her Elsewhere book series. And we are totally excited to read Last Things coming out next year! 

Jacqueline West
Last Things (Greenwillow/HarperCollins, 2019)
Digging Up Danger (Rodale Kids/Penguin Random House, 2019)
The Collectors (Greenwillow/HarperCollins, 2018)
Candle and Pins: Poems on Superstitions (Alban Lake, 2018)
The Books of Elsewhere (Dial/Penguin, 2010 - 2014)

1.  What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
My name is Jacqueline West. I was born in Red Wing, Minnesota, and now I live in Red Wing, Minnesota – although my family didn’t live here when I was born; they lived across the river in Wisconsin, and Red Wing just had the nearest hospital. It’s kind of ridiculous: I’ve moved around the Midwest and ended up exactly where I started.

2.  Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I was always so certain that I couldn’t be a writer that I never even thought about whether I wanted to be one. (I mean, I would have loved to grow up to be Wonder Woman, but I was pretty sure this didn’t count as a career plan, either.) As a kid, I loved and believed in stories so intensely, I thought you must have to be a genius, or a wizard, or have just the right kind of fascinating, adventurous life to create such magical things. 
And I wasn’t a genius or a wizard or someone with a fascinating life. So when I started writing stories of my own, I did it in secret.
Less secretly, I went through phases of planning to be a paleontologist, an archeologist, a veterinarian, an actress, a psychologist, and an opera singer—a plan that lasted all the way to grad school, where I finally realized that I didn’t want to be an opera singer at all. I wanted to spend my days with stories, reading them, teaching them, writing them, like I had been doing on my own all along.
So I earned my certification, started teaching high school English, and a year later, I had a book contract.
3.  Did it take a long time to get your first book published?
I started writing the book that would become The Shadows, volume one of my middle grade fantasy/mystery series The Books of Elsewhere, when I was in college. It took eight years of writing, revising, giving up and getting started again, searching for an agent, and finally getting a book deal before the book came out into the world in 2010. So: Yes!  

4.  What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 words what would you say?
The Collectors: A boy discovers an underworld filled with collected wishes and gets caught between enemy forces that want that wish-magic for themselves. 

5. How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
I’m a longhand drafter and an obsessive reviser, so for me, the process is slow. It generally takes me between one to eight years to finish a book. The fastest I ever finished a book was three months. 

6. Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
The sequel to The Collectors—it’s going to be called A Storm of Wishes—will be released in October 2019.

7. What genre would you place your books into?
The Books of Elsewhere are middle grade fantasy/mystery, The Collectors is middle grade fantasy/adventure, Dreamers Often Lie is YA magic realism, Digging Up Danger (coming January 2019) is middle grade mystery, and Last Things (coming May 2019) is YA magic realism/horror/mystery. 

8. What made you decide to write that genre of book?
I never really decide to write in a particular genre or for a particular audience – I’d get completely stuck if I tried! When I’m beginning a new project, I follow the central idea – whether it starts with a character, or a setting, or a few wisps of plot – and by the time I’m done, the genre/readership is clear. I never have to decide at all.

9. Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
Generally, I get to know my characters as I write about them. I might know a few of the basics when I begin—their age, where they live, a few central interests or needs—but I really discover their character traits once I start writing and get to see the characters in action. Writing dialogue is especially useful to me in this way; you learn a lot about your characters when they start talking to each other!

10.  What do you do to unwind and relax? Do you have a hobby?
I’m not a good relaxer. Even when I’m doing something that’s supposed to be relaxing, like flopping on the couch in front of the TV, I’m also knitting or sketching or playing stupid puzzle games on my phone. Hobby-wise, I play the piano (rustily), I knit (badly), and I perform with local theater and choir groups (infrequently!). I also love to bake, and I’m an obsessive cookie decorator. If I wasn’t a writer, I’d want to be Christine McConnell when I grow up. 

11. Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is your favorite/worst book to movie transfer?
Usually, the movies based on books I’ve read fall far short of what I felt and thought and imagined as a reader. If I really love a book, I’ll avoid seeing the movie version, because I want to leave the memory of that book untainted in my head. But now and then, a movie adaptation really captures the essence of the book it’s based on, even though it tells the story in a completely different way (because it has to!). A couple examples are the Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea  TV movies starring Megan Follows and Colleen Dewhurst – they are practically PERFECT – and Fight Club. I’ve got varied tastes, obviously. 😊

12. What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it?(ebook, hardback or paperback)
I’m currently reading The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There by Catherynne M. Valente (paperback), the second volume of The Collected Letters of Sylvia Plath (hardcover), The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens (paperback), Save the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody (paperback), and Raising Your Spirited Child by Mary Kurcinka (paperback). See? Varied tastes.

Strange Questions to have some fun! 
Which do you prefer? . . . . .
Paperback/Hardback or E-book?
Real paper books!
Read a book once/Reread books more than once?
I reread my favorites over and over and over and over…
Books or Movies?
Books. Obviously.
Action, Drama, Mystery, Romance?
A little of all four, please.
Library or New books from a bookstore?
Morning or Evening?
Mornings for writing. Evenings for food, family, and fun TV.
Early Nights or Late Nights?
Early nights. At least these days.
Coffee or Tea?
Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter?
Autumn. With winter in second place and summer a close third.
Favorite Book Snack?
I don’t generally snack while reading. But my day is interspersed with chocolate breaks.
Dogs or Cats?
Dogs, at least in the real world. Cats in the fictional one.

Make sure to check out the books below!  
All covers link to Amazon. 

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