A few weeks ago we reviewed Silver and Stone a paranormal romance from self published, debut author J.D Thompson. A busy working mother awaiting the immanent arrival of her second child, Jennifer took some time out of her busy (makes me tired just hearing about it) schedule to answer a few of our questions.
Welcome to high school high society hell.
As if senior year at Weatherford Preparatory School wasn’t hard enough, sixteen year old Alexis Bardolph had to add school outcast to the curriculum.A new found notoriety following a family scandal, her lacrosse star boy-friend dumping her for a former BFF and a string of perpetually bad hair days were among the many things going wrong in her already turbulent teenage life.
But when the haunting nightmares that have plagued her since childhood begin to take an eerily tangible form and several Holler Creek residents are reported missing, Alexis can’t help but wonder if there isn’t more to her hellish dreams than meets the eye.
The unexpected arrival of a mysterious and dangerously handsome new student ultimately leads Alexis to troubling truths that not even her wildest imagination could have conjured.
Please describe Silver and Stone
My favorite description for Silver and Stone thus far came from a fellow book blogger who said it was like Gossip Girl meets Twilight. Those being huge shoes to fill I find the comparison quite intimidating, but I get where they are coming from. Alexis went from being a popular teenage girl at the prestigious Weatherford Preparatory School to becoming a social outcast after a tragic family scandal. To make things worse, terrifying dreams have begun haunting her every slumber. Dreams so vivid that Alexis is often left wondering if they were really dreams at all. To complicate matters further, Alexis meets her new dark and mysterious neighbor Lucas who ultimately makes her question everything she once thought she knew about her life.
What research did you do for this book?
The bulk of the research I did was for the character of Lucas. Without giving too much away, I wanted some historical aspects to come into play on his end. As for the rest, I can’t say very much research was done.
Are there any elements of Silver and Stone which are based on real life experiences or people?
Holler Creek is loosely based on my hometown. From the mountainous scenery to the quaint Main Street, it’s a lot like where I grew up. Weatherford Preparatory School was inspired by Bishop’s Univeristy located in Lennoxville, Quebec. The campus is beautiful and it definitely had that historical feel I was going for. Apart from that, Silver and Stone is entirely a work of fiction.
What are you currently working on?
At the moment I’m working on completing the Bloodlines series. I’m hoping to have Blood and Champagne available early spring 2012.
Why did you choose to write YA fiction?
YA is the genre I identify the most with. It just wouldn’t feel natural to write anything else.
How did you get interested in YA?
I read a variety of genres, but YA is the one I have the most fun reading.
What inspired you to become a writer?
Writing has been a closet passion of mine for a very long time, though I didn’t “officially” start writing until I went on maternity leave for my oldest daughter. It was something that was always put on the back burner so to speak. Once on maternity leave, I had a lot more free time on my hands than I was used to and I filled the gap with reading. I went on a paranormal binge so to speak and was becoming increasingly disappointed with what I had in hand. It wasn’t so much that the books were bad, it’s that they were all the same. I like vampires. I get the appeal. But I can only take so much of them. So I started to think of what else could be interesting to read about and how I could make that happen. From there, Silver and Stone was born.
Describe your writing process.
Most of my writing is done on my laptop, though I do sometime use the PC. Since my life is pretty chaotic at times, it’s hard to have a routine. I do however try to write every night. I often find myself jotting down random ideas in the middle of the night though I must admit that the next morning my notes are sometimes gibberish.
Do you use anything to sustain you during the writing process? Coffee? Chocolate? Music?
All of the above! Music is a key player in my writing. The right play list can set the mood for an entire chapter. I’ve found myself listening to the same song/band on repeat at times while writing, much to my husband’s annoyance.
What prompted you to self publish Silver and Stone?
The whole publication process was so much more complicated than I had ever imagined. I had this notion that all I needed to do was print off a copy of my manuscript, send it off to a publication agency and like magic it would be on bookshelves. I was so naive. I had no idea what a query letter was, or the fact that it can take months before an agency ever gets back to you. I did come close on a handful of occasions, where an agent would go as far as requesting the full manuscript, but in the end I was still left sans-agent. I sat on it for some time before deciding to self publish. I didn’t realize how much merit there was in self publishing until reading about YA author Amanda Hocking. She is truly an inspiration to me. She managed to sell millions of copies, all on her own.
Can you tell us about the challenges of writing and publishing your first novel?
The worst for me was editing. It was a major challenge. I wish I had realized how terrible I was at it from the beginning and had paid someone right off the bat. I will definitely keep that in mind with the next one!
Do you ever experience writers block? How do you overcome it?
I think every writing at one point or another experiences writers block. Personally, I try not to stress over it too much. If it’s not happening one day, I try again the next. I think the trick above all is to keep writing every day, whether it be a chapter or just one sentence. Every bit counts.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Don’t give up. I know it sounds cliche, but it’s the best advice I can give. The publishing world is a hard one. It takes time and patience and a tough skin to make it. Every writer has had a rejection letter. It’s about taking everything in stride and moving forward.
What do you do when you are not writing?
What don’t I do when I’m not writing! I have a full time job as well as a business to manage, so working a 60 hour week isn’t unusual for me. I am also the mother of a very active toddler who always has a way of keeping me on my toes. My guilty pleasure is reading and any time I can fit that into my day I’m happy.
What books have inspired you?
There are so many books and authors that have inspired me throughout the years. I love Wurthering Heights. My paperback edition is so used the papers are literally falling out. I’m a big fan of James Patterson, and his Maximum Ride series is a must read. The pace of his novels is excellent and I have yet to pick one up that wasn’t a page turner. The romantic in me loves all that is Nicholas Sparks. I’ve reread The Notebook more times than I like to admit.
What was your favourite book as a teenager?
I was a twisted child. I was the crazy kid that aired The Exorcist at her sixth grade birthday party. So my favorite books as a teenager reflected that. I had a lengthy Stephen King phase during which time I read almost everything he ever wrote, my favorite being The Shinning.
What are you currently reading?
At the moment I’m reading The Iron King by Julie Kagawa and I’m totally loving it. It had been on my to-read list for some time but being so busy it took a while before I was able to pick it up. I’m really happy I did!< What was the last book you recommended to a friend?
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Absolutely loved it.
And just for fun…
Paper, Audio or eBook?
Paper is my preference, though I’m starting to enjoy the convenience of eBooks.
Tea or Coffee?
Coffee, hands down. I’ve tried to acquire the taste for tea for years now and just can’t do it. Nothing beats a latte.
Slippers or barefoot?
I’m always barefoot, even in the dead of winter. I only wear socks when I need to leave the house and don’t even own a pair of slippers. It’s a weird pet peeve of mine.
Shower or Bath?
I think I have a touch of OCD, but there’s something totally unappealing about the thought of bathing in my own filth. I don’t do baths. It’s strange and I can’t explain it.
Email or postcard?
Though postcards have a great romantic feel, in today’s world I couldn’t get by without email. Between my PC, laptop and iPhone, I’m sure I check my email 100 times a day.
Big thanks to Jennifer for sparing us some of her very precious time. Silver and Stone, the first book in The Bloodlines Series, is available to buy now from the Kindle store for the amazing price of just 86p!