Interview with N. Jane Quackenbush-Author

Published 2015-11-10.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was born in upstate New York. We lived in a imagination fueling farmhouse surrounded by tall climbing trees, tippy-toe trails and soft gurgling brooks. We had a 120 acre farm which grew apple orchards, hay, horses, ponies, continual puppies, dogs and ever giggling, gawky children. I was the youngest of the five children and received a tremendous amount of unworthy attention. I am thankful for my siblings who were are beautifully uncommon in many ways which influences my perceptions and how I write. Being born in such an ideal setting set me on a road on wanting to maintain that pure nature mixed with humor and that gut busting narrative we get from growing up in a big family.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing in high school. You know those feelings we get bombarded with during those years? Oh, those are fun, right? I was much darker then. I wanted to write about telling people what I really thought of them instead of telling them to their faces. For some reason, the only form that could capture these lashings were poems. I love poetry and studied it in college. While in college, I grew a huge crush on Lord Byron (yes, he had been dead for over 200 years, but who cares?) and I wanted to be in his circle of Romantic Poets. Poetry has always come to me much easier than any other kind of writing. But recently, I have branched out in writing a middle-grade book called The Children's Horrible House. It has been so much fun writing and reading over and over and it still makes me laugh! I love to laugh!
What's the story behind your latest book?
The Children's Horrible House is a place that my brothers and sisters used to threaten to send me when I was a kid. I didn't want to clean my room or make my bed, so they decided to team up and scare me into being obedient. They would taunt me and sing this scary song about The Children's Horrible House, where you have to clean rooms and make beds all day long and as soon as you are finished, they come in and mess them all back up...over and over...all day long. In the book, I actually go to The Children's Horrible House which looks like a haunted victorian mansion on the outside, but on the inside, it is the most luxurious magical place filled with mystery and intrigue. There I meet some exciting new friends and some ugly mean bullies. I learn how to stand up to them without violence as well as discover an enigmatic force crying out for discovery.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Impatience. Plain and simple...I don't have time to wait around for the big guys to not get back to me and then tell me what I can and can't do with what I have so lovingly created. Honestly, I went to a seminar and learned that independent authors are the wave of the future and that traditional publishing might make an author look more desirable, but with the new influx of big-time indie authors making it big, I wanted to be current with the trend and not a beggar.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Personal fulfillment is the greatest joy I have received from writing and publishing my books. It had been a lifelong dream to be a published author and now that I have achieved this, I can now die with no regrets!
What do your fans mean to you?
I have fans? Well, if I do, which I'm not so sure I have, I love them!!! If there is a fan out there who has enjoyed reading my books and they tell me so, either in person or at a signing, I could not feel more honored, blessed, or most notable, unworthy.
What are you working on next?
I am working on many different projects in order to stay balanced on story building. I have so many ideas and not enough time. But I am focusing on Return to The Children's Horrible House and Escape From The Children's Horrible House. I am trying to fit in some of the ideas I have for other books into these two in order to feel fulfilled with exploring those themes.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I love being active outdoors. I love nature, outer space and how limitless the universe is along side our imaginations. I love looking at things from a literal perspective or from a child's curious point of view. I have always been able to walk into a room and spot the one thing that is a bit off and wonder how it came to be. Who was responsible for the skewed non matching decor? And then I imagine the decisions that went into putting something so odd amoung other more predictable objects. Beyond all those writer's thoughts, I love my family and being with them. My children and husband make up a lot of the joy I consume each day. I am over blessed and beyond grateful!
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I have a problem with surfing. I'm addicted to it. I have also been practicing yoga and find great pleasure in the progress I'm making. But as I grow older I am more drawn to writing more than anything. It's weird, I feel so grown up..ewwww...Writing is leaps and bounds more fulfilling than any "hobby" I have had fun doing.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first books I read where the Ramona Quimby books by Beverly Cleary and I loved them! I picked up on the humor at a very young age and have never forgotten those books. I think her writing inspired me because, it seemed so achievable and believable. I tried to include this in The Children's Horrible House. I also loved The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. His books were so well written, beyond what I could ever hope to accomplish, but eternally inspiring.
How do you approach cover design?
The cover was very important to me to be absolutely perfect. I do judge a book by its cover and a lot of times I have bought a book based on how pretty it was. I know, I'm so shallow...but I think if I like the cover, at least we have that in common and I might love the story just as much. I bought a book the other day based on its cover and have been enjoying it immensely. I wanted my cover to entice the potential reader without overselling it either. And FYI, my cover is AMAZING!!!
What do you read for pleasure?
The Outlander Series, I can't get enough!
What is your e-reading device of choice?
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