One of my fellow blogging buddies, K.M. Jackson (from Kwana Writes), has done what many of us creative types aspire to do; she wrote and published a book!
Her debut novel, Through the Lens, is a fun and sexy tale of a young woman who finally catches the eye of her object of desire. Set on a remote island, Jackson’s stellar descriptive writing style takes readers on a romantic, spellbinding journey.
I recently spoke with the New York native and chatted about her new book, the book publishing industry, and more.
Move over 50 Shades of Grey, there’s a new steamy page-turner on your New York Times best-seller tail!
Check out the Q&A:
BGG: At what age did you realize that you wanted to write professionally?
Jackson: Growing up a city girl taking the ‘A’ train everyday to high school I had two dreams. One was to be a fashion designer and the other was to be a writer. After ten years working in the New York Fashion world I became a stay at home mother to my school age twins. It was then that I decided to pursue my other dream of being a writer. Of course the professional part didn’t come for quite a few years but it did come.
BGG: Through the Lens is such a sexy page-turner! Is romance your favorite writing genre?
Jackson: It is. I’ve always loved romance. Give me something that makes my heart flutter and I’m in. I enjoy a book with strong characters and even stronger emotion and I think the romance genre as that no matter if you go for contemporary, historical, suspense you can find that payoff in romance.
BGG: Without giving it away, is there a message in Through the Lens that you’d like readers to grasp?
Jackson: That is a tough one. I don’t like to get preachy in my books and I don’t start off with any sort of message. This being a romance I would say there is a definitely a message of true love conquering all but over that there is a message of finding strength and self worth that I hope comes through.
BGG: E-publishing is on the rise to the joy of many writers. What were your initial thoughts about it?
Jackson: Honestly, at first I was nervous. Like so many writers I had dreams of going the traditional route and being published by one of the big six or is it four or two now? Who knows? But after so many years of rejections and getting close and ‘we love your voice but just don’t know where to put you,’ I see e-publishing as a wonderful opportunity take more control of my own career and finally get my stories out there.
BGG: Prior to publishing with Crimson, did you find it difficult to not be labeled as “African-American” romance, but simply romance?
Jackson: Absolutely. I know that is cause for debate but it has always bugged me that there has been this separate but unequal thing with African-American writers or any writers of color. I believe I have had a harder time getting my books out there because my characters were not black enough. Yes, I’ve had an agent tell me this and what a horror that that is still a thing. I, clearly in his eyes, wrote books with too much diversity and he said the publisher would have a hard time knowing where to shelve my books. This to me was a heartbreaker. But I’m thrilled to now have found a publisher in Crimson who regardless of the color of the characters or more importantly the color of the author does not segregate the romance.
BGG: Who are a few of your favorite authors?
Jackson: There are too many to count and I fear if I leave some out I’ll be doing your readers a disservice. I read so many books and my favorite is the one that keeps me up and has me fibbing to my husband about the time. You know, saying it’s only midnight and it’s really 3am and I’m still up reading. Shh don’t tell!
BGG: Now that you have two more books in the works, what can readers expect?
Jackson: Thanks so much for asking. Through the Lens is the first in what I’m calling my Creative Hearts series and my publisher, Crimson Romance, has just contracted the next two in the series. These next two will be stand alone books like Through the Lens but have characters that the readers will meet in each of the preceding books. The defining thread is that the main characters all have creative jobs and come from New York. Up next is my sexy book set in the art world and then after that is a book set in the sometimes not so glam New York fashion design world. I’m so excited to bring these two out. I’m a New Yorker and have an intense love of the city so I’m thrilled to set my books here.
BGG: What advice do you have for aspiring authors who dream of getting published?
Jackson: Keep writing. It took me over ten years and countless rejections. And I’m sure there may be plenty more in the future but as they say (and yes, it is annoying) no writing is wasted writing. You do get better with every word. So keep at it. Don’t give up. Also get yourself some fantastic, loving, critique partners who know their stuff. Yes, men will do you no good in life. I’m forever grateful to my group of supportive writer friends who have helped me along the way.
If you haven’t already checked out my iPad case giveaway, this would be the perfect book to download to your newly outfitted tablet!
What books are you guys reading right now?