Although I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting this author in person-I can tell we’re soul sisters based on our mutual love of cats and her amazing stories. If you’re looking for a gentle escape that will take you to a fantastical land then she’s got a story for you.
It’s almost summer time so you’ll need something to read on the plane and the beach, may I recommend your new favorite author Jacqueline E. Smith. To find out more about her, and fall in love with her humor, check out her answers to my infamous 20 Questions.
Twenty Questions With… Jacqueline E. Smith
1. Every writer has that one book that made him or her want to be a writer, what’s yours? The Harry Potter books got me into writing fanfiction when I was in high school, but I didn’t realize that I wanted to write my own stories until spring break of my junior year of college. I’d been sick all week with a terrible sinus infection and I passed the time by reading a stack of cheesy beach reads. I don’t know if it was the fever or the antibiotics, but I suddenly found myself thinking, “Hey… I could do this.” I never looked back.
2. How old where you when you started writing? I’ve actually been writing for fun my whole life. I still have little books inspired by Disney that I wrote and illustrated in preschool/kindergarten. They’re just pieces of construction paper stapled together, but they’re technically my first “books.”
3. Name four authors that you’d love to have lunch with.
- Meg Cabot for sure! I love her so much. I want her to be my cat’s godmother.
- Ashley Poston because I feel like we’d make great fangirl friends.
- Jodi Picoult because I had the privilege of listening to her speak last year and she was so eloquent and intelligent and I feel like I could learn so much from her. And she was super sweet.
- And finally… Lisa Scottoline. I’ve only recently discovered her books but I love them!!
4. What would you eat? Um… Probably Panera.
5. How do you plot out your work? Every time I get a new idea for a book, I do what I call a “brainspill.” I open a new document and write down everything I know about the story so far: characters, setting, plot twists, romances and relationships, etc… I don’t worry about organization or punctuation or chronology. I just get it all out so I can see it. When it comes to actually writing, I’m definitely more of a pantser than a plotter. I watch the story in my head like a movie and write down what I see.
6. Do you write in the morning or evening? Evening. I’m a night owl for sure!
7. Is there music on? Sometimes! I make playlists for all of my works in progress.
8. What inspired your last story? Hallmark Christmas Movies! My mom, my sister, and I are obsessed with all the holiday films where the American girl falls in love with a handsome Prince. My most recent novella, Once Upon a Midnight Clear, follows the jilted Princess after her betrothed falls in love with an American. It was a story I had joked about writing for a while, but it only came to life after my mom lost one of her very dear friends around Christmas time. This friend, Donna, just so happened to run the Hallmark store where my mom worked. I really wrote it in memory of Donna and as a Christmas present for my mom.
9. Name three books so good you wish you wrote them.
- The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins.
- A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L’Engle.
- Geekerella by Ashley Poston.
10. What television shows, movies, or albums do you believe are written well? STRANGER THINGS! Oh my goodness, everything about that show is utterly brilliant. What I wouldn’t give to write something even half as amazing. As far as movies go, when I think of amazing writing and storytelling, the first film to come to mind is The Imitation Game. I still don’t understand how it didn’t win Best Picture.
11. Which actor would you cast in the protagonist role of your most recent piece? For Once Upon a Midnight Clear, I would cast Zendaya as Princess Rosalind and Oliver Jackson-Cohen as her love interest, Zach.
12. Which of your pieces was the hardest to write? Honestly, probably the one I’m writing now. It’s so different than anything else I’ve ever written, but I’m so enjoying it!
13. Which was the easiest? The easiest was definitely Boy Band. I wrote it in two months!
14. Which of your pieces did readers ‘get’ when they told you their thoughts on it? I’m not sure there’s a whole lot to ‘get’ with my work. My books are fun, light-hearted reads that you can take to the beach and read in an afternoon. They don’t really make you think a whole lot.
15. What are you working on now? Still haven’t announced the title! But I’m loving it! It’s a little darker and a little more mature than what I’m used to writing.
16. What story do you have to write before you die? I’ve had an ocean fantasy story in my head for YEARS and it is still evolving. I’ve tried to write it at least four times and I’m still not satisfied with it. But I think I’m getting close!
17. What’s your best fan story? I think my favorite fan story is the one where this girl who’d read the entire Boy Band series in two days messaged me asking if I’d ever considered making the books into a movie. I told her I didn’t know the first think about the film industry. Today, that girl is the director and star of Boy Band the Movie. We have an incredible cast, an amazing crew, and three scenes that made my heart leap out of my chest. All we’re missing is the funding! And for the record, that girl’s name is Jalitza Delgado.
18. What sentence have you written that you feel encapsulates your style? I think one of my favorite sentences I’ve ever written is this one from Trashy Romance Novel: “In my stories, I wrote Malcolm as fire and gold and power, but here in my arms, Colin is cedar, silver, and summer air.”
19. Have you ever based characters off of real people? Do celebrities count as real people? Because oh my goodness, yes. Haha! In my mind, Michael Sinclair from Cemetery Tours is Matthew Gray Gubler, Sam Morneau from Boy Band is Harry Styles, and Colin Ward from Trashy Romance Novel is Colin Farrell.
20. Who’s your favorite character? That’s so hard! I love all my characters so much! I think the one I have the most fun writing, however, is Brink from Cemetery Tours.