Interview with Barbara Jaques

What motivated you to become an indie author?
The mainstream world of publishing has narrowed, rather like the film industry. The vogue is for dead-cert money spinners. No one appears to want to test ideas or expand the market; taking a creative gamble and seeing if it pays off seems to be a thing of the past. Nowadays, unless the genre is very clear and specifically commercial, forget finding the more regular sort of support. Fortunately, the emergence of independent publishing platforms has allowed for greater expression once more.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
For me, writing is like painting: shape it, colour it, give it mood with subtle shade; perhaps re work it or throw it away and start again with a new canvas. The process of creation is wonderful.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has a broad base so work reaches across the globe. As a set up, it is very easy to use, and what I really like is how flexible the whole thing is. If I want to give away my short stories I can. I don't have to sign up for any exclusive deals in order to do so.
What do your fans mean to you?
The question, I guess, is really how much value do I put on support? It is a very lonely road without it. I am eternally grateful for every positive comment received.
Who are your favorite authors?
I did not have a favourite author until last year, when quite by accident I discovered Zola. I told someone recently (in a bookstore) that he was my comfort read and I still do not understand the look I received. He created beautiful images and pushed boundaries. I admit I do occasionally skim the odd description - even Zola should have known better than to give three full pages over to a description of an orangery, whatever his reasons!
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
With my family
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
By chance, or through friends.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I wrote many as a child, though I drew pictures more than I wrote. The oldest story of mine I have found was written when I was around 11. Almost an entire family was dead within a page, but the bereaved child protagonist still went out with friends, and sort of ' got on with it'.
What is your writing process?
For novels and short stories I wait for an intriguing idea, for that unusual question: what if this happened or that happened, what then? I am always making notes, regardless; little one-liners or observations that might be useful. And I edit. I enjoy going back over the first draft many times, deleting or adding, tweaking and so on. Then the work is ready for my editor's eyes, and she has sharp ones.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first story I can readily recall was Bimbo and Topsy by Enid Blyton. It was a very simple tale of a puppy and a kitten. They were always getting into scrapes, but what stood out were the simple yet evocative descriptions. I can still picture the gravy and biscuits, dashed on the floor of the larder in a tasty mess. Lucky Bimbo and Topsy!
How do you approach cover design?
I employ a designer.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
The Brothers Grimm complete collection; always my favourite as a child and I still love the tales.
The Testament of Gideon Mack, by James Robertson. Imagine meeting the devil.
Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen. She does handsome and aloof rather well.
La Bete Humaine, Zola, my introduction to this great writer.
The series - Number One Lady's Detective Agency, Alexander McCall Smith. So easy and funny.
What do you read for pleasure?
Classics mostly.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
My phone using my glasses.
Published 2017-05-15.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Series: A short story. Price: Free! Words: 2,720. Language: English. Published: May 2, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Humor & comedy » Black comedy
A short tale of threading lives and private stories where not everything is as it seems.
The Cult of Following Book 3
Series: The Cult of Following Trilogy. Price: Free! Words: 77,690. Language: English. Published: March 13, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » Satire
In the final book of The Cult of Following trilogy, Percy Field at last finds direction, deciding he has nothing to lose by sharing the opinion of those in awe of him. Raised up to the highest of heights, Singapore's five-foot way is a hard place to fall.
Party Bus
Series: A short story. Price: Free! Words: 6,640. Language: English. Published: October 11, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » Black comedy, Fiction » Literature » Literary
What sort of party starts at 8am, includes the young, the old, and strangers, and begins on a bus in a supermarket carpark?
The Cult of Following, Book Two
Series: The Cult of Following Trilogy. Price: Free! Words: 80,280. Language: English. Published: March 21, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » Satire, Fiction » Humor & comedy » Black comedy
After stepping far beyond the warm-beer and soggy-chip comforts of England, Percy Field has finally accepted his lot. While the move to Singapore was everything Percy expected, in this new place was both inexplicable and unexpected. But life for the disagreeable expat is not destined to be easy.
The Cult of Following, Book One
Series: The Cult of Following Trilogy. Price: Free! Words: 80,650. Language: English. Published: January 4, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » Satire
Misanthrope, Percy Field, is completely at ease amongst his reserved middle England community. However, if he is to rescue his floundering marriage he must follow his wife and her job to Singapore. Percy’s new home is exactly as he imagined it to be: too hot, too humid, an annoying place where even his habitual comfort of picking fault doesn’t provide consolation, until friendship comes his way.
West of Eden; A Dedicated Tale
Series: A short story. Price: Free! Words: 3,330. Language: English. Published: November 4, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » Satire
Two small English cities battle it out, in a short tale of personal rivalry and obsession.
Anita Smith.
Series: A short story. Price: Free! Words: 2,500. Language: English. Published: July 25, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » Black comedy
Life is a bus journey. Or is it a lottery, where you select your own numbers or even make a random choice? Whichever, the odds do not change. What does matter, however, is what you do with the ticket. Anita Smith left hers on the bus.
Sterling Close
Series: A short story. Price: Free! Words: 4,670. Language: English. Published: July 5, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » Black comedy
Sterling Close is the short story of a tiny community and their very particular, and rather unexpected, tastes. From the author of other unexpected short stories, novelist Barbara Jaques.
Love of Grace and Angels
Price: Free! Words: 76,930. Language: British English. Published: February 12, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
Set in Bath, England, Love of Grace and Angels is the tale of a delusional stalker who believes he has fallen in love, and those lives touching his.
Series: A short story. Price: Free! Words: 2,060. Language: British English. Published: February 2, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Supernatural
An unexpected turn of events for a young mischief maker, forces him to take a different view of his best friend
The Front Door
Series: A short story. Price: Free! Words: 2,380. Language: British English. Published: January 23, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories, Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
An unexpected tale of opportunity in the rental market. Inspired by Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Roald Dahl.
The Last Tiger
Price: Free! Words: 100,370. Language: British English. Published: December 25, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
Environmentalist Felix and his young granddaughter Bee witness the kidnapping of 10 year-old Tuan, sole survivor of an indigenous tribe wiped out by disease. The Last Tiger follows Tuan and Bee as they grow up together in England under the harsh spotlight of celebrity. A compelling story of love and friendship in all its guises, of difference and acceptance, of betrayal and forgiveness.