Interview with Jacqueline Hurley

What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Life. I hate to keep banging on the "cancer" drum, but really, after so far surviving this disease where I was told my chances were not good, I make the most of each and every minute of every day. And why wouldn't I? I am now a very spiritual person; the sun coming through my bedroom window (even in winter) is enough to kick start my becoming more sensitive to the universal energies and it this buzz that streams through my body that is my life wake up call. Of course, running our B&B n SW France, our mornings and our full attention are turned to our guests needs, but on the very rare occasion that I really don't wan't to get out of bed, I don't!
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
When not running our B&B? Well, there's the soap making "Ateliers" (workshops) that I regularly run during the winter months along with workshops for re-looking furniture with decorative paint techniques. The french love to recycle yet despite the global perception for them being "on trend", they have very little imagination when it comes to interior decor! They seem to think that wallpapering over the doors in the same paper as the walls is chic. In my book, it is not! It is interesting that our french B&B guests always remark adoringly on how English our decor is and yet our English speaking guests love our french shabby chic style. Consequently, these workshops always remain popular not only with the French but also with the English speaking community. I'm never really content unless I'm up to my eyes in making soap, lotions and potions, fiddling around with fabric to create some thing unusual with my sewing machine or even designing new paint colours and creating paint alchemy with natural colourants, chalks and other additives. In between all this, I love walking the dog, and who wouldn't in this landscape steeped in legends, history, culture and tradition?
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
To be honest, I prefer my books in the time honoured tradition of paper. I do much of my reading in the bath and there's many a time when I nod off to find upon waking my book is floating and looking very bedraggled and wet. Not a good look for ebook reading devices!
What is your writing process?
Very scatty. I know what I want to write. I see the chapters in my thoughts and as I put fingers to keyboard, it kind of flows. Mind you, this is my first book on a subject that I know inside out so that makes it a little easier. I do think that my years as a Management Trainer has helped me to create my first book because I've written umpteen training manuals in my time that are in fact, step-by-step guides towards achieving an end goal, a bit like my first book, Soap and Glory.
How do you approach cover design?
I'm a big fan of ensuring that the cover image(s) are powerful enough to tell the story of the subject matter without any supportive text. I start with an outline idea that I sketch out. I show it to as many people as possible and ask them what they think the book is about simply from the sketch design. I find this a truly valuable exercise as I am able to improve the design depending on the feedback received before committing to a final cover design. I am a control freak so I like creating my final cover using something like CANVA or similar. That way, I get the exact look I want at a fraction of the price of a designer. Does my approach to cover design work? Well, I'll let you be the judge of that.
Describe your desk
Messy, cluttered, dusty, paper's everywhere but everything is in the right place!
What's the story behind your latest book?
Does the world really need another book about cold-process soap making?
After due thought, the answer to that is YES, and here’s why……
When I first started making soap as a hobby, it was with a great deal of trepidation and anxiety. A thousand questions and more needed to be answered so, just as you’ve probably already done, I took to the Internet in search of answers.
Now, I’m not saying that the information out there is a bit suspect as there are many really good soapers willing to share their secrets. Sadly though, there is much written that is. Sorting out the reputable sources from the suspect was extremely time-consuming, frustrating and a pain in the proverbial.
What’s more, once I found the reputable and worthwhile stuff, it was never in one place. My poor printer worked hard to produce a massive lever arch file stuffed full of recipes, tips, techniques and much more, and do you know, I’ve never looked at it since.
That got me thinking. Whilst there is many a good book published to tempt and guide you through the basics of cold process soap making, they still fail to provide what I call the very basics. Most of them are written for the American market with good old US weights and measurements for recipes which is a bit of a nuisance if, like me, you’re upbringing was in imperial and later in metric.

I think you'll agree with me that, if you are new to soap making, you'd really benefit from a book that brings together not only solid proven experience but also the basics such as choosing and lining moulds, making your own moulds and calculating the volume of your mould for your oil quantities, understanding super fatting and lye discounts followed on by what kitchen cupboard ingredients you can use and so on.

If you are new to soap making, I do hope that you'll consider this book your constant companion, always ready to offer advice and guidance as you adventure together towards unleashing your soap making talents and creativity.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Helping others to achieve their full potential whilst taking me on a journey of self-discovery
What do your fans mean to you?
The book is dedicated to my readers. Because we haven't yet met and perhaps never will, I trust despite this, we will always think fondly of each other.
What are you working on next?
Mmm, good question. Do I really want to write another book? Maybe, maybe not but I have a seed of an idea to write an equivalent book for herbal lotions and potions to make at home, although this has probably been done to death already!
Published 2016-02-21.
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