An Interview with Marcy Jacks on Writing

Author Image 5I’m going to do this Interview a little more for the side of readers who are interested in becoming writers, how I went about it, and what I do.

Q: What inspired you to be a writer? When did you start?

A: I can still remember taking a computer class when I was in grade school and wanting to write. The computers were bulky, and only one of them had the Internet. We were basically only put in there to learn typing skills, but I always wanted to type up my own thing, instead of finishing the typing game that was on the screen.

The next thing I always thought was how stupid that was. What would I write? The next thing that came to me was when an even older computer got put into my room when I was a teenager. It was some outdated thing that needed floppy disks put in and out of it just to get the programs to work. I don’t know why we had that. I think my mother just thought it was cool, but I wrote my first story on it; a fantasy that had a little romance in it. It never went anywhere other than myself fleshing out the history of the country I was creating, the people in it, surrounding countries, and the characters. I wish I still had that story, but it’s gone.

Anyway, I think I always knew, but I never really started writing until a Dell computer came into the house, and I discovered fanfiction. I wrote some pretty embarrassing stuff on there, but at the time I loved it. That was pretty much when I realized that I wanted to write for a living. It was the only thing I liked well enough to see myself doing for years to come.

Q: What are you writing now? Why werewolves and paranormal?

A: I’m writing paranormal, and I guess that’s what I’ve always been doing. All my stories, save for a very few, involve people with powers of some kind, but werewolves are easy for me. I don’t know why, but there’s something about them and so much that can be done with them.

They have a long history, any number of forms they can take, despite it being called a werewolf, and then there’s how they get along with vampires, other people, the troubles they have fitting into society, or not fitting in, depending on how you want your story. Then there’s the idea of mating. It makes for a pretty good love-at-first-sight kind of story.

To be honest, I used to hate those kinds of stories, and I let people know that I hated them. I wanted a slow, tension-filled build up, and it annoyed me to see one hero blindly defending the other out of love, even against close friends that he’d known and trusted his entire life, meanwhile the two lovers have only known each other for ten minutes. But I since learned that you can still create an interesting dynamic and have deep and personal connections and dialogue between love interests by doing that. You just have to find a way of doing it that makes sense and advances the story, while making the readers love your couple.

Q: What is your upcoming series about? Tell us a little about it.

A: The new series is about a different kind of werewolf. I called them Luna Werewolves. I wanted to make a different sort of werewolf that followed different rules, so that other werewolves and shifters would distrust them. They’re going to have more problems on their plate than just hiding out from hunters and making sure humans don’t know who and what they are.

Only men can be luna werewolves. The alphas can transform into giant half-wolf, half-man creatures that are like tanks once they get running, and this is part of the reason why every other shifter type fears and hates them, and why other werewolves have basically made it their mission to hunt them down. They feel like the existence of luna werewolves is a stain on themselves.

The omegas have a special power where they can transfer energy and build strength in another person through touch, but this is stronger when done with a mate. This also makes them a special target for other werewolves who want to cash in on that power.

A free prequel to the series will be posted soon for everyone to read, Craving his Mate, and that’s something I’m pretty excited about.

Q: If you started writing today, how would you go about everything? The same, or different?

A: Definitely different. When I was first getting into the idea of writing my own stories, phasing myself out of fanfiction, e-publishing was still taking off, and the Kindle still cost a boatload of money to get. Naturally, at the time, I couldn’t afford one, and I wasn’t at all interested in e-publishing. In fact, I had a pretty snobby attitude about it which didn’t go away until I was out of college and getting into my first writing group instead of just taking classes.

I learned more about it, and even though I was still skeptical, I thought I’d give it a try, and I’m glad I did.

I know where this mentality comes from. I am part of the generation that just missed the boat here. Not so young where I grew up with it, but at the same time, old enough to remember how things were beforehand. I spent eighteen years of my life before I had daily access to the internet instead of just going on Google for school work in the high school’s computer room and fumbling around. Even then I didn’t have my own e-mail address until, I think, a few months before that.

Now I can’t live without Internet. Seriously.

I’d always read books in print before e-publishing came along, so that was real publishing in my mind. Because I was so set in my ways, I can understand why I still read articles with people talking about how scared they are to even submit to an e-publisher, as if that means they’ve given up or something.

Not true. They just need to check out the publisher they want, research them, the same as if they were researching an agent. Check out their history, what they’re up to as the days go by, what’s happening with them lately that they find impressive or not so great.

With Siren, I’ve never had a late payment, the editors don’t disappear for weeks on end when I want to contact someone about something, and most impressive of all (to me, at least), when I e-mailed them about a name change in a book that was already a few days released, they got back to me the next day with new files. I wasn’t expecting that, and as these things happen, I’m won over more and more.

Granted, the name change thing, a traditional publisher couldn’t do unless they move to a second printing, so that can’t be counted as a fault, but there are traditional publishers who’ve had the first two problems I listed happened to them.

The point is, if I’d been more open-minded to begin with, maybe I could’ve started sooner, and my skill level would be higher right now. My advice to anyone looking for a publisher would be to not assume that just because one’s traditional that it automatically means everything’s going to be smooth sailing. Or, if you’re a curious reader, don’t assume that just because it’s e-published means it’s not worth your time.

Q: What do you like to do aside from writing?

A: I’ve been getting into drawing and painting again, though I draw like a fourteen year old. I’ve always been interested in drawing, but it was so easy to get discouraged because of a lack of time and the little practice I’ve put in since art class in high school.

My ultimate goal would be to learn anatomy and human figures so I could create sketches of my characters for readers to see them, or even create super short scenes in the form of a one-page comic that would be too short to bother with writing.

Q: What do you like about Erotic Romance?

A: I’m still learning, to be honest. I’m still figuring out what erotic means and how to write it, but the more I’m doing it, the more I’m loving it. I can still remember when I was in college and thinking that I should just churn out something erotic. It’ll be easy!

Wrong again, Bob. You still have to sit down and put in the time, make sure the story and character development are there, while still giving the reader enough of what they want. You can’t have fifty thousand words of sex and no plot; that’s not interesting and no matter how great the sex scenes are, people won’t come back to that. But equally important is not putting in too little sex, which I’ve since learned about the hard way.

The point is, it’s a challenge no matter what you’re writing. Some people can do it easier and faster than others, but it all requires sitting there and keeping all those characters, their names, descriptions, quirks, all of it, aligned properly in your head, and that’s not as easy as it sounds. More and more, I’m thinking that I like the challenge of writing like this, but writing about gorgeous guys does make it a little easier for me to deal with. 😀

Q: Who are your favorite characters and why?

A: That’s a tough one because, and I know this is going to sound like garbage, but my favorite characters tend to change with each book. Right now the favorites are Alexander, the scarred alpha luna wolf who’s hiding away in an abandoned vampire mansion, and his human mate Bellamy, who is fun loving and quirky, despite a rough upbringing. Their book doesn’t come out until the fall, I think, so I can’t say much more about them.

Q: What are your favorite social media tools for connecting with readers?

A: At the moment, it’s Twitter. I’ve never gotten into Facebook like my mother has, and I don’t know why. I can’t really figure it out that much. I think I’m only into Twitter right now because I’m always signed on with the app on my computer, so it’s a simple matter of bringing it up, typing in my quick message, and then doing something else. It doesn’t suck away my writing time like Facebook and blog writing would.

If updating my website was as fast then I think that would get done a lot more.

Q: How do you search for your inspiration? What do you read or watch on TV or listen to?

A: Reading is definitely a big part of inspiration. I can come across a new phrase, or a word, and there’s something about it that makes me think of a scene that would work well with it. That’s what reading is good for. I don’t have all the time I’d like for reading, so short stories tend to come in handy for that. I still read fanfiction, which puts me back to thinking about my favorite TV shows and how I’d like them to turn out, which turns into a story idea of my own. Right now I’m watching Teen Wolf and totally in love with some of the actors. I think the TV show is pretty appropriate to be on my favorites list right now considering what I’m writing.

What I listen to changes. When I made a playlist of songs I wrote to for Siren’s Facebook page, I admitted that there were only twenty or so songs on that list. It’s really jumped since then, which shocked me. Now there’s forty-two.

Q: For the readers who want to become writers, what’s some simple advice that you can give them?

A: I’m not going to mention reading, because I’ve already explained above why that’s important, and everyone’s heard it a thousand times, but I will say that you have to write every day. Even just to practice. Do short stories if you don’t have the time. If you like erotic romance and have no time but want to try your hand at writing it, then make a game with yourself to see if you can put in a sexy short story of a thousand words that’ll be interesting for someone other than yourself to read.

Put those on your blog or website and see if you can stir traffic that way. When people tell you to write every day, they don’t mean you have to slave over a hundred-thousand-word manuscript. It takes time before you can build up the skill level to write to that and be comfortable, so start small and see what you can produce. The world is your oyster.