Interview with Romantic Suspense author Jacquie Biggar
I welcome Jacquie Biggar to the blog today. Jacquie owned and operated a restaurant in her hometown of Edson, Alberta for thirteen years before moving west to Victoria to take care of her grandson and pursue her dream of becoming a writer. She joined Romance Writers of America, Kiss of Death—an online suspense group, and her local group, VIRA, Vancouver Island Romance Authors.
You can reach Jacquie at:
1. What inspired you to start writing?
From the time I was twelve years old, I knew I wanted to be a writer. That year I wrote a short story called Count Daffodil after spending countless hours in a desperate search for ideas. The story garnered me an A and was read aloud through the school's loudspeaker system. Needless to say, after that I was hooked.
I grew up, got married, raised a family and left my writing urges to simmer in the background unattended.
I owned and operated a successful diner in my hometown for a number of wonderful years before deciding to live my dream of becoming an author.
My first book, Tidal Falls, a romantic suspense novel about second chances, released September of 2014.
2. How long have you been writing?
Not long at all, I’m still a relative newbie. I joined RWA-Romance Writers of America, in 2013. First thing I did after that was sign up for as many writing related classes as I could find. RWA is a haven for romance authors. They have a terrific support network and many forums to guide an author along the path, whether traditional or self-publishing.
3. What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?
Don’t be afraid to ask advice. But, and here’s the caveat, stand up for what you believe in. No one can know your story like you do, so if they’re calling for a major overhaul I’d seek more opinions before doing anything else. Also, save, save, save. There’s nothing worse than working for hours on your project only to lose it all with some computer glitch. I recommend Dropbox, it’s free and so far, trustworthy J I usually save to my computer, my laptop which is a Mac, and Dropbox, so I have 3 copies at least of my work. Join some critique groups, the more eyes on your work the better. Most of all do it because you love to write. If you’re getting into this for the money, there are easier ways.
4. Who is your favorite author and why?
That’s a tough question. I have a couple automatic buys and they’re on opposite ends of the romance genres. Number one would have to go to Suzanne Brockmann. I have every book she’s ever written and re-read them every couple of years, yes, they’re that good J Almost from the first words on the page you’re drawn into the world of her characters. She’s so good at portraying realism into her heroes and heroines that the reader gets caught up in the life and death struggle of survival, as well as the hopes and dreams of a happy ever after. More than once I’ve lifted my head from one of her books and had to readjust to my surroundings. Now that’s good writing.
5. What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
I’d have to say characterization. If you can’t hook your readers into having empathy for your hero/heroine, or even for your antagonist, you have a problem. I think a writer needs to get into the head of their characters and show the reader their inner most fears and desires. Make us root for them. Secondly, I think setting is crucial. The reader needs to be able to picture the scene in their head for believability. As a writer it’s our job to point out different elements of a setting seen from the eyes of our characters. A man wouldn’t notice a crocheted doily on a table for instance, but the heroine might cherish it as an heirloom from her grandmother.
6. What comes first, the plot or characters?
I think for me it would be the plot. I get an idea in my head, usually from news stories on TV, and then I do the ‘what if’ scenario. After that the characters form from within the plotline.
7. Tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.
When I was in school, I was the typical wallflower, slightly overweight, nerdy, loved reading. So when writing The Rebel’s Redemption I decided the perfect foil for Jared Martin’s outgoing, sarcastic nature would be me, J , kidding. Annie Campbell does have a lot of the same characteristics though.
8. Are you working on anything at the present you would like to tell us about?
Currently, I’m working on book three in the Wounded Hearts series. Tentatively titled, Twilight Theatre, this is the story of a pair of star-crossed lovers, Ty Garrett and Katy Fowler. Ty and Katy were high school sweethearts but then life got in the way and tore them apart. Now, eight years later, Katy returns to Tidal Falls planning to get married in her family’s old business, the Twilight Theatre. The building is in need of restoration so Katy’s father hires the local expert, Ty Garrett. Dangerous mishaps begin to occur at the theatre. Can Katy and Ty put aside the past and work together to stay alive, or will it be too late?
9. What are you reading now?
I’ve just finished Suzanne Brockmann’s book, Do or Die. I love a good suspense novel. J
10. What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?
I’d say Suzanne Brockmann, Iris Johansen, Elizabeth Lowell, J.R. Ward, Cherry Adair. They all have the ability to make the reader feel as if they’re part of the action. I love when you can get lost in a great book.
11. How do you come up with the titles to your books?
That’s a good question. It doesn’t usually happen until I’m about two thirds of the way through the story. Then something just clicks and voila J Titles are so important. You need something halfway original, yet eye-catching, and it has to give a feel for the type of book the reader is opening. That’s a tall order.
12. What is the hardest part about writing for you?
Staying vigilant and focused. I’m a horrible procrastinator. I start the morning with e-mails, which carries over into social media. Then I look at my advertising for the day. Then my blog, maybe some sales stats…yeah I can waste time like nobody’s business, lol.
13. What do you like to do when you are not writing?
My favourite thing to do is going to the beach with DH. We lived in Northern Alberta for most of our lives. Winters there are long, cold, and dreary. A couple years ago we moved to coastal British Columbia to help take care of our grandson while our girl goes to university for Marine Biology. Best decision ever! Now my DH and I go out on dates to the beach. We stop by the coffee shop for a French Vanilla, and then away we go. It’s heaven on earth, truly. Food for the soul.
14. How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I’ve written two so far, working on the third. I’m also going to be a part of two multi-author boxed sets this year, one releasing in June, Dangerous Encounters, and the other July, Hot Summer Nights, Vol 1. My favorite book so far would be The Rebel’s Redemption. I have a real soft spot for Jared.
15. Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I’m a pantser all the way. I’ve been told numerous times if I would sit down and write an outline the story would move along much faster and that may be true—for them. I just wait until I get a thought in my head and start setting words to keyboard it works for me.
16. Where are you from, and what do you love best about your hometown?
I’m from a small town in west-central Alberta, Canada. Our family was there for four generations so needless to say we were well-known members of the community. As a child the town was one of those you read about, where no one locks their doors and kids were safe in their neighborhoods. Then the oil boom hit and strangers moved in, the town suffered growing pains, and regretfully changed.
17. Ebook or print? And why?
Both J Actually I have e-books for my regular reading and print for my keeper shelf—which is over-running my house! E-books are good because e-readers are light, compact, and most of all, multiple sized fonts. This granny needs larger words all the time, lol.
18. What are the best and worst pieces of writing advice you ever received?
The best advice I’ve received is to join critique groups, get as many eyes on your work as possible before publishing. This is key in the editing process, I love my critique partners. Worst advice, funnily enough, came from some of these aforementioned groups. One would say change this, so I would. Another would say change that, so I did. Then came the second best advice, from my DH. He saw my frustrations, listened to my whining, then looked me in the eye and asked, “Whose book is this?” Trust yourself, no one knows your story better than you.
19. If you were stranded on a desert island and were only allowed to have five modern conveniences with you, what would they be?
Ooh, great question. First, my e-reader loaded with all the books I could ever need. Second, a solar panel to re-charge my e-reader. Third, a hammock, so I could be comfortable while reading my e-reader. Fourth, a coffee machine and a case of coffee. Fifth, did I mention an e-reader? J
20. What are your favorite TV shows?
My current favorite is Blacklist. I love Redd’s character, James Spader is awesome.
Wow Jacquie, that was a lot of interesting information about your writing journey. Thank you for sharing yourself and your works with us today
Annie Campbell's predictable and cozy life gets turned on its side when her son's prodigal father returns to town. Then an old enemy shows up and the outcome will not only place her in danger, but their son as well.
Jared Martin left Tidal Falls a hotheaded youth, and has seen his share of violence in the eight years he’s served Uncle Sam. Floundering, he returns to his hometown to regain his bearings, bitter and disillusioned.
Then he finds out he’s a father.
When an old enemy follows and causes mayhem in the small town, can Jared overcome the odds to protect the woman he’s always loved and the child he never knew, or will it be too late?
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