Interview with Jackie Anton

How do you approach cover design?
Cover design is a critical part of attracting readers, and for me each cover has to reflect the story within. My first Backyard Horse Tale was about a foal born with a handicap that was befriended by a child with a learning disability. I chose the photo of my two month old quarter horse for the cover. Everyone loves foals and puppies. I hired a wonderful illustrator for the second and third books in the series. She is also a horsewoman and the collaboration is magical. These are family friendly books suitable for readers eight thru adult. Many parents and grandparents have told me that they read the first book to younger children while they follow along and view the illustrations.

The adult covers are a little tougher to nail down. An attractive cover that will attract the correct cross of readers for a thriller, or a crime solving story with a romantic touch. I made a decision early on that there wouldn't be any nude or half dressed couples on any of my adult book covers. My adult novels often accompany me to events and signings along with my books for children.
What do you read for pleasure?
I still read for pleasure, but these days I review for other authors. Some are traditionally published works. The majority of what I read are by other Indy Authors. Independent authors have arrived, and many of the books are well written with intriguing storylines. It is my habit to select books that cover subjects that I enjoy The fact that I am an eclectic reader offers a wide range of genre from which to choose. I don't usually read or review non-fiction, but recently joined two bookclubs where selections are picked for monthly group discussion. The very first choice ended up being a non-fiction accounting of the author's journey across America. I was pleasantly surprised.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
My e-reader is a Kindle, and I bought it two years ago. The incentive for me was to see what my books looked like in the digital world. My daughters and grandchildren all have iPads, which they love. It is easy to take an e-reader with you when you are traveling, or crunched for time. I still prefer the feel of the printed page and find it easier to check facts by flipping back to a previous scene or chapter.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Marketing is the toughest part for a writer. We would much rather be at our computers creating the next story lurking in our imaginations. In my previous life, I trained horses, coached 4Hers, and judged horse shows, so I had a built in niche market for my "Backyard Horse Tales." My most effective marketing to date has been horse events, and the Christmas craft shows. Those venues allow me to inter act with the public and potential readers.
I find it a little more difficult navigating the social media jungle, and hooked up with a publicist to help with the online end of things. Book trailers and teasers are another online tactic that I am exploring.
Do you have any events planned for the remainder of 2014?
September 6 - 11, 2014 I am hosting a "Children and YA Author Party" on my Facebook Backyard Horse Tales Fan Page. Details may be found on my blog site. October will be the Adult Author Party on my adult J. M. Anton Fan Page.
I'am scheduling book signings and events for the up coming Holiday season.
When did you first start writing?
Junior high was my first real attempt at crafting a story. It sort of backfired! My english teacher was so impressed that she decided that not only was I to read my work to the class, but to present it to the school assembly. After that, my writing became a very private undertaking for many years.
What's the story behind your latest print release?
"Wind River Refuge" was released March of 2014. The refuge in the title was the result of finding safe harbor for a traumatized and abused young girl. This story was in the works for nearly five years. Jax's troubles follow her as she matures into a woman. Working out the characters complexities and motivations was challenging, and I had to abandon it for a while then come back at it with fresh eyes.
Today there are child advocacy groups in every state, and still children fall through the cracks. Jax was born in the 1950's before any of these protections were in place. She becomes a young woman during the Viet Nam era. Crafting my heroine's male counter part took a bit of soul searching. I lived with these characters for years. Sending them out into the world was like sending your kids off to school for the first time.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
My big motivation behind becoming an indie author,was the control it affords me. Like most aspiring authors, I submitted early works to several traditional publishers, I quickly found out that I would have little say in the results. I like choosing my illustrator, cover, and letting my characters live between the pages the way I intended. Let the readers decide.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords was the best choice I made as a new author. It is now part of my marketing plan to release my new work as an e-book and to see how well it is received by readers. Smashwords allows me to gift my book to reviewers and a sampling of readers, so that I can gauge the response. I usually make final revisions after my beta readers answer my questionnaire, but my first novel underwent a revision following a review by a fellow author. The e-book was updated, the cover was changed to match the cover for the paperback. In addition to the back cover blurb are some review excerpts. It has become habit to add a couple of excerpts from reviews received from the e-book published on Smashwords to my print versions.
Who or what inspried you to write Fateful Waters?
My children inspired the storyline for my first adult novel. My daughters are well traveled. The biggest adjustment for my eldest was the move from Ohio to Texas, and my grandchildren can’t get over all the shades of green whenever they visit us. So, I incorporated a more contemporary version of the duck out of water premise and updated the old mail order bride idea.
What if two young women made a cross-country trip to meet an online dating service match. Okay, I thought what kind of problems could arise? Almost three years later this first adult novel still holds its own, and 93% of feedback is positive. Like all authors who continue to hone their craft, if I wrote it today it would be probably be very different, but would it be a better read?
What are you working on next?
This is a two fold question. "Cassandra: Night Shades." Was delayed due to an epic flood in May and a computer crash a few weeks later. Beta readers should have their PDF's before the end of the year. Look for Casandra here on Smashwords early 2015.
"Backyard Horse Tales 3: Don't Call Me Love" is progressing well. The cover is awesome! Sandy Shipley who did the cover for "Frosty and the Nightstalker" has done it again. She will be illustrating the interior of Love's tale. We are working for an early spring release.
"Uncharted Storms" will be in print by spring of 2015, with a few suprises.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
My husband and I still like to work outdoors. We have three horses, two Quarter Horses that were born on our farm in 2002 and 2003; we ride together three or four times a week. We also have a two year-old Haflinger filly that followed me home from an auction October of 2011.
I like to garden. We love the fresh vegetables, but I'm not into canning anymore. Everything goes into freezer bags or containers. Writing takes most of my time, but I still draw and paint every now and then. We love to travel. but it is tough to make arrangements for our animal family.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Most of my e-books are a result of review requests or swap reviews with fellow authors. Occasionally, a book comes my way as a result of a blog tour that I host on one of my blogs, and the blurb intrigues me.
Any new books that your followers should know about?
Two of my adult books were a result of the NaNoWriMo challenge. This November I hope to complete the rough draft of "Mac's Blue Eyed Mistress," or "Alabama Sunrise."
The first work is featured as a short story in "Uncharted Storms." "Alabama Sunrise" is a bonus short for the print version. Those who read "Uncharted Storms" and responded to my request for beta readers to my e-mail will receive the short story entitled "Wicked Winds." They may also weigh in to help me by choosing which book to release first.
Published 2014-09-06.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Fateful Waters: Troubles in Love-Land Book One
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 32,870. Language: English. Published: April 2, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Action/adventure
Do you ever wonder why some people avoid the online match services? Find out what happened to Melinda Potter when she travels half way across the country to meet her match.
Uncharted Storms: Short Stories of Hearts at Risk
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 20,290. Language: English. Published: March 15, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » General
Weather is our constant companion, and when it behaves like a benevolent parent we pay little attention to it. Angry or out of control it becomes terrifying and can change the landscape as well as lives. So I asked my characters to take a ride on the wild side of weather. “Uncharted Storms” takes readers on a journey from a gentle summer rain to raging storms in the cosmos.
Backyard Horse Tales 2: Frosty and the Nightstalker
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 28,510. Language: English. Published: October 11, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Animals, Fiction » Literature » Literary
Frosty is an Appaloosa colt who undergoes a life changing event the summer he turns two that triggers a strange out of body experience. Is he only having bad dreams or is his strange haunting a result of the collective memories of Appaloosas from a long ago past? Follow Frosty through the twilight between space and time where you will meet the Nightstalker. 2013 Multiple book award recipient.