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A Center Stage Moment: Angelica R. Jackson

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Mason Cooley said, “Reading gives us some place to go when we have to stay where we are.”

A Center Stage Moment shines a spotlight on writers who give us great places to visit with characters we love and want to call friends.

Today, I have the pleasure of introducing to you Angelica R. Jackson!

Angelica R. Jackson, in keeping with her scattered Gemini nature, has published articles on gardening, natural history, web design, travel, hiking, and local history. Other interests include pets, reading, green living, and cooking for food allergies (the latter not necessarily by choice, but she’s come to terms with it). Ongoing projects include short fiction, poetry, novels, art photography, and children’s picture books.

In 2012, she started Pens for Paws Auction, which features critiques and swag from agents and authors to raise money for a no-kill, cage-free cat sanctuary where she volunteers, Fat Kitty City. She’s also been involved with capturing the restoration efforts for Preston Castle (formerly the Preston School of Industry) in photographs and can sometimes be found haunting its hallways.

An incurable joiner, she is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (where she serves as Twitter Diva for her local chapter), the group blog Operation Awesome, and the collection of 2015 debut authors known as The Fearless Fifteeners.

She shares a home in California’s Gold Country with a husband, two cats, and far too many books (if that’s even possible).

Without further ado, here’s Angelica’s interview…

I love reading the bios of authors. Many of them did not start out as writers. Sometimes people stumble upon the craft. Have you always wanted to be a writer? Yes! Or an artist. And, now I’m both since I’m also a photographer. I guess that means I can retire now with a fruity drink on the patio. What’s that, Mr. Editor? You want me to write another book? Okay, but I’m keeping the fruity drink. 

Is writing a full-time or part-time career? I write full time and I also do photography.

Why did you choose to write Science Fiction and Fantasy?   I started reading fantasy and science fiction in elementary school, and even at that early age I realized that many of those works rang truer than some of the other books I’d read. [That] included some of the biographies. As a writer, I love the possibilities that abound in science fiction and fantasy, and everything I write has some degree of wonder or magic in it.

What is the strangest subject or topic you’ve ever written? Probably my strangest research subject has been for organ donation. I was curious about what the cadavers are used for beyond the vital organs. It turns out they use cadaver cells in other places, like for lip plumping (Eeewww!). “Mmm, what’s that new flavor of lip gloss you’re wearing?” “Why, it’s cadaver, darling!” (Wonder if you can get that with Avon or Mary Kay?)

What are you currently working on? I’m working on the sequel to Crow’s Rest, which is tentatively titled No Man’s Land. It picks up right after Crow’s Rest ends, and follows the main characters again. But, the third book in the series will be told from a different POV and new character, so this won’t be a true trilogy.

Goodreads.com Description: “Avery Flynn arrives for a visit at her Uncle Tam’s, eager to rekindle her summertime romance with her crush-next-door, Daniel. But Daniel’s not the sweet, neurotic guy she remembers—and she wonders if this is her Daniel at all. Or if someone—some thing—has taken his place. Her quest to find the real Daniel—and get him back—plunges Avery into a world of Fae and changelings, where creatures swap bodies like humans change their socks, and magic lives much closer to home than she ever imagined.”

What motivated the plot for it? Crow’s Rest is the second full novel that I wrote. In my first novel, I’d been playing around with possession and ghost stories. It got me wondering whether it would be easy to recognize that your loved one was being controlled, or whether you’d make excuses for why they’ve changed. So I took that concept into the world of Faerie instead, and created a creature called a corbin, who normally enters into our world by occupying crows or humans. (Sounds like another addition to my TBR!)

What was the hardest story for you to write? In general, I have the hardest time writing the emotional sections. It feels so vulnerable and exposed for me to write that kind of stuff, so you’ll find that (just like in real life) I often include humor in the most emotional parts of the book. I’ve been surprised how many people have told me they’ve cried at Crow’s Rest first chapter. I must be better at it than I think.

What process do you use to plan your novels? My first novel I used a detailed outline, and then I winged the rest. I ended up with about 25,000 words or so more than it actually needed (ha!). For Crow’s Rest, I created a scene-by-scene outline and came in almost exactly on my target word count. I ended up having to completely rework the ending, but the plotting helped immensely with it. I also double check the structure of my drafts with the Hero’s Journey Template [from Scrivener] (writer’s software).

Who has been your favorite character to write and why? I love to write snark and sass, so all of my characters are great for that. The corbin, Lonan, holds a good part of my heart. He actually doesn’t get to show off too much since the focus is on Avery, but he would be really fun to hang out with more.

Do any of your characters reflect facets of your personality? I have described Avery’s voice as “Me to the Nth Degree” because it’s very like my own. The only reason I don’t have such blunt/horrifying things coming out of my mouth is because I’ve had about thirty more years of trying to get along with people than she has had (laughing out loud).

Have you ever experienced writer’s block? If so, how did you overcome it? I have! Switching to another project helps, or doing something physical like going for a walk. I’ve also found that music helps drop me back into a project after a long absence, so I try to come up with a signature song or playlist for each project.

If you were to choose another genre to write in, what would it be and why? I’ve published in historical fiction (middle grade), as well as a lot of freelance work (nonfiction articles). Historical fiction is definitely a close tie with fantasy for me. One genre that I would love to tackle, but have so far lacked the confidence, is mystery. Just need to get the hang of making sure all the clues fit!

Which authors inspire you? So many! Christopher Moore, Laini Taylor, Holly Black, Adam Rex, Rae Carson, Maggie Stiefvater, Jane Yolen, Charles de Lint and more.

What novel would you read multiple times? “Scorpio Races” by Maggie Stiefvater. I’ve read it twice already, and know I’ll read it again. There are some violent scenes that are hard to read, but as far as the writing goes, it’s pretty near perfect.

If you could meet anyone in the world, alive or deceased, who would it be and why? I’ve met people who have a ready, coherent answer to this question. I am not one of them. Partly because I can acknowledge that many characters who I love in books, movies, and television would not be so fun in real life. Sort of like Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock. I love him on screen, but I would not have lasted nearly as long as Watson without punching him.

What is your favorite quote? It’s not an inspirational quote like you might think. It’s a quote that I’ve used to open my first novel, a historical ghost story: GLENDOWER “I can call spirits from the vasty deep.” HOTSPUR “Why, so can I, or so can any man; but will they come when you do call for them? (Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1).

What is your favorite animal, real or imaginary? I love all animals! But maybe Bobbin from Crow’s Rest.

What is your favorite color? Red. No, blue! Green?

This has been so much fun Angelica! I especially enjoyed interviewing a fellow Gemini! Thank you for participating in “A Center Stage Moment”.

Look for Angelica online at:

Website: http://angelamcphersonblog.wordpress.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001046475887

Twitter: @angelicarjaxon

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/angelicarjackson

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Angelica-R.-Jackson/

Blogger: https://www.blogger.com/profile/09448717076699744259

Join me next week for another “Center Stage Moment” featuring Laura Thalassa!

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