Our interview today is with Laura Jackson. Thank you Laura for being here today and for doing this interview.
Answer: Teaching middle school for eight years gave me a love for YA literature and a passion for reaching that age group through books.
Question: Tell us a little about your “real” (Non-writing) life — family, job, church life. Does it give you inspiration for your writing? Does it get in the way of your writing, or are there times when you get help, from people or circumstances?
Answer: I’m a school librarian, so I’m surrounded by books all day. Reading great books to kids and seeing them respond to a good story inspires me to write that evening when I go home. I have added aspects of my personal life to my novel. In my debut novel Worth the Wait, the characters go on a mission trip to an orphanage in Mexico, which is how I spent two incredible summers. In my current book, the main character has to complete volunteer hours at a mission much like the one my church runs.
Question: Tell us about working with any people who help you create your books — Do you use Beta readers? Hire an editor or proofreader? How do you get your covers?
Answer: I did hire an editor. Becky Miller helped me with the first few chapters, pointing out weaknesses and offering suggetions that I could follow throughout the novel. Having an English teacher for a mother is also helpful.
Question: Tell us about your newest book. Make us want to read it.
Answer: Ellie Lansing has a picture-perfect life with a close-knit family and the perfect boyfriend. But her world is suddenly knocked off center when her drool-worthy boyfriend cheats, and her always-has-it-together mother is diagnosed with cancer. Ellie doesn’t get it. She always does the right thing – doesn’t God owe her a happy life? Through her heartache, Ellie learns that sometimes what seems like the end is really just the beginning and that what God has for us is always worth the wait.
Question: What is the “message” of your writing? (For example, is your purpose to encourage old-fashioned values, encourage romance, or do you have different purposes in different books?)
Answer: I love YA literature. After teaching middle school for eight years, I had read myriad books in various genres. I enjoy novels where the main character comes of age and finds out who she truly is. However, as a Christian, I realized that there is something missing in those books–Jesus. So, I write novels about teenage girls who figure out who they are in Christ.
Question: Tell us one place you want to visit, or person you want to meet, and why.
Answer: I want to visit Nantucket so badly. I’m on the Dave Ramsey money-management plan, so it may be a while before I can finally visit the little coastal town, but I’ll get there eventually. I have no idea why I want to visit except I love the water but am not a big fan of the typical beach.
Question: What’s your next project? Tell us so we can’t wait for it to come out!
Answer: In my first novel, there’s a girl named Lindsey who causes problems for Ellie, the main character. After I finished the novel, I realized I wanted to know why Lindsey was so hateful. So, I’m about halfway through writing Lindsey’s story. It’s fun to write about a “mean girl,” figuring out what makes her tick and hopefully redeeming her a little.
Question: How many books do you have out?
Answer: Worth the Wait, my first novel, releases February 4, 2014.
Question: What is your favorite book/character?
Answer: Sold by Patricia McCormick is one of my favorite books. Written in free verse, it shares the plight of a young girl who is sold into prostitution in Nepal. It’s a heartbreaking tale, but it opened my eyes to the reality of what’s happening to young girls around the world.
Question: What is your writing style?
Answer: I’m not sure. I’m playing around with first and third person and style, figuring out what I like best. I enjoy reading different styles, so I think I’ll enjoy writing different styles as well.