Interview with Jean McNamara

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Absolutely! It was a great piece of ghost story, a short story for college and it was just a few pages, but it started me on the path to where I am now. "A Fog Comes Calling" was the name I gave it and I got an A+, which thrilled me like nothing else. It was like I caught a writing bug that's never gone away in the years since.
What is your writing process?
Living in the Pacific Northwest, we have the freshest air even in the bigger cities, so I like to sit outdoors with my laptop and breathe it all in before I even start writing. I always make sure to have some "creature comforts" with me, like my coffee and my favorite blanket wrapped around me so I'm cozy in our cold weather. I plug in headphones and blast my favorite music as I'm writing, because the songs I listen to inspire me as well.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Oh, yes! Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott. It's still my 'go-to' in times of stress and I usually read it all the way through at least once per year. Sometimes more, but the way Alcott wrote was directly from experiences in her own life and the characters just reach into my heart and reside there. I related a great deal to the times she lived in and the societal clinches placed on women in that time. She was a feminist before it was cool to be one and way ahead of her time.
What do you read for pleasure?
Anything by Kathy Reichs, Maya Angelou, or Alcott. I've read so many types and genres it would be impossible to list them all, but when I need a guilty pleasure, I read Shiloh Darke's series of her take on Beauty and the Beast. Awesome reads!
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I prefer Kindle and I can even use it on my android, so it's flexible and convenient.
Describe your desk
My desk is actually my bed! It's a queen-size Tempurpedic and I love it so much I stay in it more often than not when writing. If I'm not outside on the porch with my coffee and whatnot, or if I'm writing at night after the kids go to bed, I'm on my Tempurpedic. It's funny because I have two couches, and a "real" desk, but never use them! I prefer comfort over anything else when I'm writing. My life is so busy and hectic that I take any and all opportunities to recline and write in comfortability.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up mostly in Mid-California, on the coast. Santa Cruz, which is on the Pacific Ocean, was only 20 miles from home, so I would get to go to the Boardwalk anytime I wanted almost! The seals come up under the piers where all the tourista shops are now located, and I would go there to just listen to and watch them. The peace and calm the ocean brings me clear my mind well and so when I write, to this day, I love having sounds of the ocean around me. I do my best writing remembering those lovely seals and the sunsets. I even got to watch "The Lost Boys" being filmed there when I was 18, met Keifer Sutherland and Corey Haim back then! I doubt they'd remember me, but all around the beaches at that time was a calm, quiet after everyone had left that was just all-encompassing and cleared away any negativity or junk in my head so I could write well.
When did you first start writing?
When I was about eight, I was put into "special classes" extra and outside of my regular ones for "gifted children". It was called MGM, Mentally Gifted Minors, and I was put there because of my supposed IQ being well above the norm at that time, something like 130 I guess. In any case, those classes taught me calligraphy, writing, Shakespeare, Tolstoy, etc. And I loved it! We were allowed to write anything we wanted and since Star Wars was out and a big hit back then, I wrote a lot of sci-fi fantasy stories. That was the first time I wrote anything of my own volition and my friends and teachers supported me in those efforts. I also got extra time for decoupage, laminates, wood working, etc. But of all those things, only my writing and my calligraphy are still with me--but I'll never let them go!
What's the story behind your latest book?
As with many authors, some of it is actual experiences I've had, but most of it is just a story I've had clicking around in my brain for years but never seemed to find the time to write about it. There will be four books total in the series, and while much of it is fictitious, I've taken experiences from friends, co-workers (former), and even from news articles. In "Black Rising" there is a story about a train car full of illegal aliens that were shipped across our borders and died in those containers--that came directly from a real news story from a year or so back that I saw featured on "The Hunt With John Walsh" last summer. It dovetailed nicely into the story as a quick overview and gave me extra ideas for the book.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Getting my feet wet as a first-time author was a scary proposition. The task seemed really daunting: I was told get an agent. Others said no, don't, they just take too much money; still others said I didn't need one, just submit it myself. Well, that's like going in front of a judge without a lawyer; judges don't want to talk directly to clients, they want to talk to lawyers because lawyers speak fluent Law! Then a friend told me about Smashwords and I thought I could handle a small dip in this large pool better if I had some anonymity, one amongst many, and thicken my thin skin slowly enough to where when I really write the BIG ONE (and don't we all want to do that?) I could handle any haters better. We'll see!
What are you working on next?
The sequel to "Black Rising." We're not done with Clarissa or her family just yet! I'm also working on a book of poetry under another pseudonym as well as an adult erotica novel. Not a "Fifty Shades" by any means, but that was inspired by a beta-reader friend I know who read "Black Rising" for me (editing purposes) and when she got back to me told me I should write erotica based on the love scene in "Rising". I don't know if I'll actually publish it, but the sequel to "Black Rising" i hope to have out by June, just in time for my mother's birthday!
Published 2015-02-09.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Mama Lisa'a Tribe
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 85,870. Language: English. Published: June 12, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Women's fiction » General
These are the stories of a mother, her two children, and the many others who come to call her home their safe haven, and a worthy woman “Mama". Come follow them through an engaging story of love, life, and the meaning of family, as they all learn how to live life and be happy together…and sometimes apart. Updated and revised for content, with a new ending!
Black Rising
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 98,870. Language: English. Published: February 9, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Spies & espionage
Clarissa Black is a retired FBI Agent who is drawn into the spy world when her ex-husband goes missing. She must aid the NSA to find and rescue him to save the lives of herself and their children and keep a special hard drive out of the hands of a dangerous drug cartel. A hard drive that would give them enormous power and cost the lives of Americans everywhere.