Jacqueline Garlick is an author of young adult, adult, and women’s fiction. She loves strong heroines, despises whiny sidekicks, and adores a good story about a triumphant underdog. (Doesn’t everyone?) Her edgy, rule-breaking, Tim Burton-esque style of writing has earned her the nickname…the Quentin Tarantino of YA…among close writing friends.
In her former life, Jacqueline was a teacher (both grade school and college, don’t ask) but more recently she has been the graduate of Ellen Hopkin’s Nevada Mentor Program, and a student of James Scott Bell, Christopher Vogler and Don Maass. An excerpt from Lumière earned her the prestigious Donald Maass Break Out Novel Intensive Scholarship, in 2012. Lumière—a romantic steampunk action adventure fantasy—is also the winner of the 2013 LYRA award for best YA, and was also awarded an indieBRAG Medallion, in 2014. Contact Jacqueline on her website www.jacquelinegarlick.com or catch up with her on Twitter @garlickbooks or on Facebook.
Introduction: Tell us who you are, how and why you decided to be an author and where you’re at right now in your career.
I’m Jacqueline Garlick. I guess I decided to be an author around grade three. Or so the story goes. Apparently, I drove my teacher Mrs. Martin, crazy asking to write and illustrated my own stories on a daily basis. She was very supportive; thus, I started my first series right there in her room. After that, it took me forty long years to take writing seriously again. The loss of my career (due to an illness inflicted by my employer…long story, another blog), an extended sick leave, and finally, expulsion from my teaching position (over sticking up for my rights!) were all motivators in my decision to pursue my life-long passion of writing as a career. Right now, career wise, I’d say, I’m ticking along nicely, still learning the ropes, but swinging from most. One happy writing monkey over here!
What was the hardest thing about balancing writing with a day job. What’s still the hardest thing to balance with everyday life?
Well, for me, as I said, I’d lost the day job, so that took care of that pesky little detail, HA! But seriously, ultimately, that put more pressure on me to succeed as a writer. I felt the need to succeed, and hurry up about it, which I don’t recommend to anyone. Self Publishing (as is Traditional Publishing) is more of a slow burn game. Publishing Rome is seldom an overnight sensation kind of thing. The hardest part about balancing writing with everyday life is that fact that I want to write all the time, all day long, and there are things like dinner, and husbands, and kids, that need tending to…occasionally. HA! I’m a bit of a workaholic. I find it hard to take breaks. If I’m on a break, I feel like I’m cheating my business, slacking off…which is unacceptable when you’re running your own business, or at least in my books. So, taking time for myself is a tough one, but a very necessary one, to preserved creativity. A double-edged sword for sure.
Tell us about your schedule and habits from this time (or what you’re doing now if it hasn’t changed).
The one thing I do that hasn’t changed is…I write every single day. Whether it be for one hour, twenty mins, two mins, or the whole day…I write EVERY SINGLE DAY. My schedule is easy. I get up, shower, make a protein shake, and I write until my family comes home again. I work on marketing in the evenings. Then I wake up and do it all over again. It is nothing for me to work from 7:30 am to 11:00 pm, sometimes 2 the next morning, around other things, but uninterrupted until at least 4 pm everyday. As I said, I’m a bit of a workaholic.
If you don’t mind, would you tell us how your sales first started out? How many books did you have out before you started seeing traction?
Lumiere had only been out for the first year, so I had really just gotten started when Amazon came calling and bought the series from me. I had planned to bring out Noir on my own (book two) as book two’s usually generate a leap in sales, but, as I said, Amazon/Skyscape made me a deal, and I sold them both, so I don’t really know. I can say; however, that my other series (actually a serial) IF ONLY, really started to take off in popularity by book three, IF ONLY SHE HADN’T. I like to theorize that it’s because it features Aubrey, my villain, and people love to hate her so much that they rushed to read it, but then again, it might just have been that by book three, readers trusted in me enough to finish the five book serial and were willing to invest. I’d say, it’s tough to make too much traction with just one book (although there are one-hit wonders out there, for sure!), by two or three books, readers are willing to jump in and check you out. They’ve seen your work around and been impressed by your covers (hopefully)(covers are KEY), and by writing multiple material you’ve proven to them that you’re a serious artist in it for the long haul, so they are willing to try you out.
At one point in time did you make the decision to support yourself/your family as an author? What was that decision like and how did you feel afterward?
As I mentioned above, the decision was sort of made for me, but I can tell you, it was a terrifying one. Change is always nerve-racking, you know you what? If things don’t change, they’ll always stay the same!
Do you support yourself completely from writing books or through a variety of work? If so, what else do you do to pay the bills?
I do a variety of things, but mostly, I focus at this, point on the writing. For example: I’m a well sought after story development editing coach, (not many people know that) helping writer’s write their best books. I very much enjoy story developing, but I only take on a handful of students each year. If I do more, I find I end up neglecting my own writing, and as I say, that is my focus at the moment.
What is one thing about your author career that not many people know of? What are some of your interests outside of writing?
One thing that people might not know about me is that I LOVE to public speak. What makes other’s sweat, makes me SMILE. In fact, just for fun I’m starting up an new Book Tuber channel tomorrow, called “Two Old Chicks Pics” with a long-time writing friend of mine, Rosemary Danielis. Together will be reviewing books we like to read and suggesting more! So, come by and check us out, won’t you?
What’s the single best piece of advice you have for authors who can’t support themselves with their writing yet? What should they be focusing on?
Focus on the writing. In this game, productivity is key. You need to just write and write and write. Write YOUR best book, put it out as flawlessly as possible, with an alluring cover, and then get onto the next product. I say product, because that is essentially what your manuscript becomes. First it’s art. Then it’s a product. For consumers to consume. And you want them to keep consuming; thus, you need to produce more products…so, get that but in your chair and CREATE!