Jackie Weger, Welcome to Romance Lives Forever. Let's talk about your book, Beyond Fate.
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Liquid Silver Books
Cover artist: Amanda Kelsey
Length: 232 pages
Heat rating: Sweet
Tagline: Heartwarming, emotional, funny
Raised by her grandmother, Cleo has lived her life in the shadow of her mother's sin. When she falls in love with a fellow camper in the tumbled-down fish camp in the
she struggles to cast off the shadow and comes to terms with her past--and her future.
Liquid Silver Books http://lsbooks.com/beyond-fate-p727.php
What are your main characters' names, ages, and occupations?
Fletcher Fremont Maitland, mid-thirties. Attorney.
Cleo Anderson, thirty, children's book writer.
Big Mamma Freeman, camp owner. Ageless, but in her seventies.
Tell us about your story's world. What is it like in this period or place?
The Okefenokee is a fragile, magical place full of alligators, bears, snakes, mosquitos, wild orchids, thousand year-old Calusa Indian mounds, mangrove swamps and mystery.
The area was settled in the 1700's by runaway indentured servants and slaves and just plain independent, ornery folks who wanted to live outside society and government. For two-hundred and fifty years the swamp fed, clothed and sheltered the inhabitants--until the Forties when the Federal government moved them out onto the edges of modern society--but the old people held onto their habits, their myths and their language--Old English.
What inspired you to write this book?
I once found an elderly woman sitting on a bench outside a bus station in
. She knew where she was from, but not where
she was going. I took her home with me until I could locate her family. She was
from the Okefenokee and entertained my kids with stories of her early life. Her
stories hung in my mind, but not her name. Ten years later I was camping on the
Midland, Texas in the Okefenokee and thought: What
if? Suwanee River
Which character in your current book do you think readers will like the most?
In Beyond Fate I think readers will adore Big Momma Freeman who is based on the elderly woman I found on that bench outside a bus station. But, there is also eleven-year-old Katie, and between the two they almost stole the book out from under me.
Big Momma Freeman is the epitome of those early settlers. She was born deep in the Okefenokee, speaks old English and is an independent woman. She wouldn't know a feminist if one climbed into her apron pocket, yet she asserted herself, owned her own business and brooked no nonsense from anyone. Big Momma is a writer's dream. I never had to scratch around for dialogue or action when she was in the scene.
Why do you write?
Same reason I breathe.
Who has helped you the most in your career as an author?
Actually, I never had a mentor. I didn't know one could have a career as a writer. I participated in a small writer's group. Most of us wrote non-fiction for trade or travel magazines. Someone snidely challenged me to write a romance novel. So I did.
When you write, what things do you want close at hand? (Coffee, water, chocolate... pictures of gorgeous hunks for inspiration...?)
Coffee, pots of it. If it's late at night, chocolate wine is nice. I don't have pictures of hunks hanging on my walls. The men in my books are man to the bone with lived in faces, lived-in bodies and they own a good sense of self. They have good jobs, stamina, know about women and when they drop their drawers, their tinker toys don't have to take a back seat to any muscle-bound, gym-built boy-toy.
When you're not writing, what would we find you doing?
Are you a plotter, or do you prefer to make it up on the spur of the moment?
I'm not a plotter as in creating story boards or anything like that, but I know the gist of a story before I sit down to write. I usually know my characters strengths and weaknesses before I start. I know the setting, a few bits of dialogue, what annoys a character and what doesn't.
Looking back at your first book, what do you wish you had done differently?
I still like that story. It's a bit over-written—which back in the day was acceptable and now falls under Retro. I'd clean up some dialogue tags.
What's your writing schedule like?
It depends. If I'm in an emotional scene I may stay at my keyboard twelve or fourteen hours. Other times I spend five or six hours at my desk.
Any advice for new authors?
I don't. New authors today have far more sense about the publishing industry today and how it works than I do.
What aspect of your life do you write into your books?
Family--with quirky characters, subtle humor. Foremost is my love of nature, water and simple living. When I think back on it, I somehow manage to plot a way to get my characters on a pond, a lake, a creek, a swamp, a river, an ocean, an island or a beach.
Even a ditch with tadpoles blooming will do. I think I was water sprite in a past life.
When an idea hits you, what do you do to capture it?
Nothing at first, but if the idea or character keeps showing up, I make a note, write down what I've discovered or what the character is telling me. I don't keep diaries, but I have notebooks filled with tidbits of info that interested me at the time. And still do.
If you knew it would be a bestseller, what book would you write that you might not write otherwise?
I have one book that I think would be received nicely. I've done pounds of research, the characters are well-defined, the setting is in place, the plot thickened, but the story intimidated me. After a couple of months, I knew I had to better my craft before I told the story.
What's keeping you from writing that book?
Other books right this minute. I recently contracted with Liquid Silver to bring out five novels on backlist in digital format. I'm learning indie publishing and have just brought out another of my backlist. But the backstory is I thought all of my research and notes were lost in Katrina. I had stored it with a friend while I was living abroad and her house was destroyed. They showed up in a plastic tub last November when she and I were sorting through some debris in a storage shed which had somehow survived.
What other jobs have you held besides writing?
I was a department manager in large hotels. I worked as manager and Food and Beverage director for hotels and restaurants.
Which of your books was the hardest to write and why?
The most difficult book for me to write is always the one I'm currently working on. I've slogged through two hundred pages--know I have story--but really won't know the final structure or who in the cast of characters might get cut until I finish the first draft. Usually after that, it's smooth sailing. But the characters in this book are eccentric, mouthy and misbehave. Each wants to be front and center. They are driving me mad.
What are you currently reading for fun? I'm re-reading Randy Wayne White's The Man Who Invented Florida. Naturally, the main character lives in a stilt house in Dinkin's Bay on the
. It's all about water. East Florida
What's the best gift you ever received?
I really can't name the best, but I can tell you one that changed the direction of my life. I was packing to return to the tiny jungle village I called home in
America when my daughter gave me a Kindle, which introduced me to e-books
and renewed my writing career. I unpacked.
Do you believe in luck?
I do believe in luck--good, bad and indifferent. Good luck when I'm winning at Bingo. Bad, when I'm not.
What's your favorite movie?
My all-time favorite movie is the African Queen. I've watched it dozens of times and it never fails to thrill or chill--especially the scene in which Charlie Allnutt is covered in
leeches. "Arhh! The beasts!"
Are you the eldest, middle, baby, or only child?
I'm the oldest and only daughter--which played havoc with my life.
What's the strangest job you ever had?
Oh, boy. I once was briefly a single mother. I held down two jobs. The evening job was cleaning dressing rooms for headliners in a night club. I was getting a dressing room prepped for Jayne Mansfield when my boss stepped in and said, "Jayne's not coming for ten days. Her son was mauled by a lion. You're going to take her place." Jayne was a famous pinup during the War and after--very shapely. She could sing and dance. I could clean and change diapers and was so thin I'd have to borrow a mop handle to show up next to a toothpick. My boss ordered costumes from
New Orleans--padded front and back with lots of
shimmery threads. The pay was wonderful. So I shook my false bosoms and booty for
ten nights. The audience thought I was comedy act.
Fill in the Blanks
I'm always ready for a game of Scrabble or a trip to the beach.
When I'm alone, I read, daydream, and read some more.
You'd never be able to tell, but I'm profoundly deaf.
If I had a halo it would be hung around my neck.
If I could hook rugs I'd recycle plastic bags into scatter rugs for my kitchen.
I can never sing because I can't carry a tune.
Find Me Here
Cover Reveals: http://coverreveals.blogspot.com/search/label/Beyond%20Fate