Interview with Jacqueline Levine

What is your e-reading device of choice?
I read everything, from articles to books, on my iPad mini - it's just totally changed my life.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I think Goodreads giveaways and advertising campaigns have been the most effective. I'm currently working with Xpresso Book Tours, and Giselle, the site owner and manager, is fantastic to work with. I'm looking forward to seeing results from that partnership.
Describe your desk
My desk is, like me, a hot mess. Papers piles, knick knacks I don't need but can't part with, lotions, and, of course, makeup. Always makeup.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in different parts of Westchester County, NY. I think the types of families and neighborhoods in that part of New York are so varied yet hold many of the same values and funny, quirky "New Yorker-isms." The areas in which I was raised were heavily influenced by Italian-American, Irish-American, and Jewish-American cultures, which contribute in large part to those quirky-New Yorker-isms that come out in my narrator's voice at times, like calling someone a schmuck, or everything being "freakin" or "friggin" stupid/crazy.funny, or telling someone to "get the hell outta here" in casual conversation. I think the emphasis I place on traditions and family throughout Spiral reflect these cultures as well.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I've been writing for years, bu I never really took finishing a book, let alone publishing it, seriously. To me, becoming a published, nationally-recognized author was something as rare and unlikely as becoming an A-list celebrity. My father, who was my biggest cheerleader, was the driving force behind me turning to self-publishing. Throughout my youth, he encouraged me to keep writing, and he even referred to me as "my daughter, the writer." After losing him to brain cancer in 2011, I was devastated. I turned away from writing for the entire time he was sick and even about a year afterward. One day, I reconciled myself to find the strength to write AND finish a book. But I knew I couldn't stop there. I was not going to let anyone tell me that I couldn't be an author, not when he told me for years that I could and one day would be. I had to publish my work, if for no one else but my father. It wasn't easy, but with a lot of time and late nights, I made it happen. I love the control being an indie author gives me, and I love how much I've learned about creating an online presence and marketing. I can't say I wouldn't love to be picked up by a publishing house, but this still gives me the pride to be able to say, "We did it, Daddy."
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love being able to share my work with others. I love when people say, "I totally could see that happening" or "I've had a family member like that."
What do your fans mean to you?
My fans - those few and brave souls who would consider themselves my fans - are everything! They are the best! I love that they're excited for book 2, I love that they love the characters, and I love that they are as addicted to celebrity gossip as I am!
What are you working on next?
I am in the process of completing Twist, the sequel to Spiral. A little darker, a little more mature, a lot more pages. It is told from dual POVs, with Cherie getting her side of the story in. I've been working on making Part 1 of the book as exciting as Part 2, so I've been dragging my feet a little on preparing it for final editing rounds. It's coming out really, really good though, and I'm so excited to release it!
Who are your favorite authors?
As a full-time elementary teacher and a part-time adult, I'm all over the place with my favorite authors: Jerry Spinelli, Gillian Flynn, Jod Piccoult, Anne Rice, and Lenore Look. I know - a very eclectic collection.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The fact that I have one and only one chance at life and need to make every day count.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Everything - shopping, spin classes, tanning, cooking, "spa days," happy hours, work....you name it, I do it. That's why it's taking so long to write the sequel!
Published 2014-10-11.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.