Jackie: I write under the name of Jackie Bannon and my fingers write whatever I'm feeling. Mostly I work on paranormal or science fiction romance. There are a few contemporaries running though my head as well. But at the beginning of 2010 I branched out into women's fiction and everything has clicked. I love this genre. It's almost like the window into a woman's mind and the research I've done has really opened my eyes.
Kage: What happened to the first book you ever wrote?
Jackie:It's on a file on my computer and I haven't looked at it in years!
Kage:What is your favorite part of writing?
Jackie: My favorite part of writing is learning my characters. As they appear on my computer screen, they come to life for me. And as to what keeps me going after the multitude of rejections...I'd have to say other writers. The local chapters of RWA seem to know when you need pushed and when you need support and provide it all. Not only that, but several of my favorite authors have suffered rejections and aren't shy about admitting it. Sherrilyn Kenyon wrote an authors note in one of her recent science fiction publications about the beginning of her writing career. I strongly suggest to anyone who is thinking of giving up to read it. Considering how many books she has published - if that happened to her, we all have a chance.
Kage: So, what story are we going to talk about today?
Jackie: Every woman knows this story. Girl meets boy. Girl falls in love with boy. Boy disappears without a word, making said girl feel like a disposable razor. Set in Kansas City, my heroine runs into her boyfriend while he's out on a date with another woman. Sick of dating jerks, she decides her jerk meter is broken (why else would she fall for their B.S. every time?), so she decides to conduct a research assignment. With the help of her quirky girlfriends, she starts mending her broken heart. She also starts a list of jerk traits – The Jerk List. The plan is to expose herself to as many jerks as possible so that when she is ready to date again, she doesn’t waste time on men who can’t give her what she wants - a functional relationship. She gets into a lot of situations – some women normally get into, some not – but in the end, she finds out a lot about herself and the dating world she didn’t know.
Kage: What would the story be rated if it were a movie?
Jackie: That would all depend on Hollywood, lol. I think it would be a PG-17 movie. While the sex scenes are steamy, there aren’t a lot of them and no doubt they would cut several out. But since this is a story about how real women react, there aren’t any rose colored glasses.
Kage:If you HAD to fit this story into a cliché, which one would it go.
Jackie: This one is hard. Maybe an America Bridget Jones tries to turn herself into Dr. Phil? Does that work? Lol!
Kage: Works for me!! Okay, now that we have a general idea which class to fit this story under, what makes this book so unique from every other Bridget Jones story out there?
Jackie: Since women’s fiction is based on women, the only thing different is how my heroine deals with the plot. The truth is that this book really started more as a way to help me get through my own dating crisis. I never planned on trying to publish it, never thought that far ahead. I just needed to sort out my thoughts on paper and since I write, I decided to do it this way. Since then, I’ve talked to a lot of women, and I realized that all the pain and thoughts I was afraid to show – every single one of my friends has had them too. They were normal – not psycho like society would like us to believe. After that, my fingers flew over the keyboard. More situations surfaced and it just developed into something every woman can relate to. Now, I would love to see it on the bookshelves.
Let’s face it - women are funny and quirky and all around fun. We do nutty things we don’t even understand sometimes. We have doubts and don’t always do the ‘right’ thing – but have a justification for it. It may not be logical to anyone else, but it makes sense to the woman doing it and that is all that matters.
Kage:What was the easiest part to write?
Jackie: The easiest part to write was the interaction between my heroine and her friends. Women have an amazing dynamic a lot of men don’t understand. We don’t always need to finish a sentence because our friend knows exactly what we are going to say. We don’t shy away from each other and can be so blunt that from the outside looking in – it’s hilarious.
Kage:What do you like most about the main character and what do you like least? Did you learn anything from her?
Jackie: My heroine is like a lot of women out there, only she’s not afraid to show who she is. I love the fact that what she thinks comes out of her mouth, that she doesn’t hide who she is. So many people do that now. They try to fit into society’s ideal of ‘the norm’. Normal is boring. So is perfection. We’re individuals – stand out! Be yourself!
And yes, I’ve learned a lot from her. The main thing I’ve learned from her is that we usually only regret the things we DIDN’T do, not the things we DID do. Life is about living, not existing. And laughter is priceless. As we get older, we forget that. Life gets in the way of…life basically. So don’t be afraid to laugh so hard your stomach hurts. Don’t be afraid to cry or get hurt. But mostly, don’t be afraid to be alive!
Kage: Jackie, that's about the best advice I've ever heard. Thank you so much for stopping by today and gracing us with your presence. Before we go, is there anything else you’d like to say to wrap things up?
Jackie: I’m not published yet – but I will be! There is always another way around the wall stopping you from what you want – you just have to find it. Take a detour, build a bridge, just don’t give up! The harder you work for something, the more you appreciate it!
Very well said!!! Good luck to Jackie on her writing journey to publication. Personally, I can't wait to buy her first book.
If you're still curious about Jackie, here are other places to find her on the web:
Blog: Chaotic thoughts from Ms. Quirky
Facebook: Jackie Bannon