Interview with Jolie Jaquinta

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
When I was in Middle School decided to take a creative writing project to extremes. He wrote a 30 page science fantasy story and I wrote a 14 page poem about an epic sea voyage. I was kind of nervous when I got a "see me" note on my paper, but it was because the teacher was confused that two such mediocre students suddenly excelled. He went on to become musician and Goth icon Sam Rosenthal, while I'm now self-publishing my new works.
What is your writing process?
I don't write books so much as build worlds. They often come, Athena like, full grown into my consciousness, And any given world has its stories to tell. Far more than I have time to fully write. For every story I publish I usually have another three or so more fleshed out and begging for time. I can't choose. I want to write them all! Normally I let my reader's interest drive which get developed next.
How do you approach cover design?
As my writing is very dialog based, I often let my covers be equally driven by the characters. But a simple character depiction isn't rich enough for something as representational as a book cover. Taking inspiration from Hindu religious art, I try to make the details of dress and accoutrements relevant to the character's story or personality. I start by making a few sketches and then hand them over to someone who is far more artistically inclined.
What are your three favorite books, and why?
Perhaps it's clichéd, but The Lord of the Rings is the top of my list. I read it at a very formative time, and it is somewhat the pinnacle example of a story driven by world building.
C.J.Cherryh's Rimrunners is something I got back to again and again. It's very tightly written. She says so much by saying so little. Her mastery at hinting at background details, past events, and off-stage characters is amazing.
Almost any epic Fantasy by Michael Moorcock. They're all formula fiction, and mostly the same, to the degree that he's totally open and in your face about it. But I'm sucked in every time and that takes expertise.
What do you read for pleasure?
I enjoy character driven science fiction. Hard is nice, but realistic science takes a back-seat to realistic characters. Having two daughters, I like strong female protagonists. But genuine ones, not just male stereotypes who have had their gender pronouns changed.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
The market is constantly changing. And, as a self-publisher, you have to constantly change your approach. I've done promotional videos, game tie-ins, and interactive forums. What seemed to resonate most has been doing in-persona interviews with characters from my books on bulletin boards and in chat.
Describe your desk
A clean desk is an empty mind. Therefore mine is baroque with clutter! There's my computer, dual monitors (one for writing, one for research), my mouse on my rosetta stone mousepad, little ornate boxes, small Lego creations, anime figures, chestnuts and bolts to fiddle with, cuneiform tablets, crystal globular cluster paperweight, little carved cats and a steel camel. You get the picture.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. As a native living in a tourist area, you get a keen insight into both sides of things. Those who are served and those who serve them. When I travel I'm almost as interested in the people behind the place as the places themselves. I find it important in my writing to pay attention to the detail of who makes what you see possible. They often have their own stories to tell.
When did you first start writing?
I dabbled in it a lot during my school years. But it was mostly after college that I started more serious writing. I was in an APA for a year where I had to write every month and that really solidified my ability to produce. Since then I've been writing more and longer works.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The biggest blocker to my writing career has been having a day-job that I'm pretty good at. It's kind of hard to walk away from that when you have a family, mortgage, and other commitments. I do have time to write, but that's not enough. Courting publishers and agents, being seen in the right places by the right people, and all that you have to do to get a contract is not something I have time for. Being an "indie author" lets me bring my work to the public without having to jump through all those hoops. It's really the only option I have with the time I have.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love to see characters come to life. Like Pygmalion, I carve my characters as best I can to my vision. But at some point some goddess leans over my shoulder and breathes life into them. They start thinking for themselves in ways I did not anticipate, and conspire with other characters with their own plots and objectives. In the end I feel I am more of a journalist capturing their adventures than an author creating them!
Published 2014-11-20.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Black Warrior
Series: The Six Books of Magic. Price: Free! Words: 76,320. Language: English. Published: February 4, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Fantasy » General
Winter, bastard of a dead War God, fostered at birth to a hostile country to account for the war crimes of his Mother, comes of age in a world torn apart by the wars between gods and men. Can he find the way between them with on foot on both sides?
White Mage
Series: The Six Books of Magic. Price: Free! Words: 76,300. Language: English. Published: July 30, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
Bianca always knew that the power contained in the Six Books of Magic would put the Empire of Romitu into conflict with the Gods themselves. She's dedicated her life to a giant magical construct called The Ævatar. There's much to learn to avoid going insane or losing her Soul, and the Gods grow bolder every day. Can she unify her kingdom's resolve before the Gods can agree to take action?
Red Queen
Series: The Six Books of Magic. Price: Free! Words: 64,580. Language: English. Published: November 21, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
Reluctant successor to the throne of Romitu, Jesca is unable to pass it on to any of her fiercely loyal Generals. She faces a bitter insurgency that won't end. Incredibly powerful magic that has made the gods her enemy. And a prophecy of the end of the world. With no solution to the succession in sight, she must face and solve these problems herself.
The Astoundingly True Tale of José Fabuloso
Price: Free! Words: 56,180. Language: American English. Published: October 12, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera
(4.80 from 5 reviews)
Take a stripper, a crazy pilot, an ace accountant, an alcohol obsessed engineer, and a mysterious curmudgeon. Place in a small stolen ship and agitate with stalkers, assassins, and lots of espresso. The result is the Astoundingly True Tale of José Fabuloso!
The Three Little Minecraft Pigs
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 2,380. Language: American English. Published: August 18, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Fairy Tales & Folklore / Adaptations, Fiction » Classics
A retelling of the classic children's tale in a Minecraft setting. If your young child is obsessed by all things Minecraft and demanding bedtime stories about their favorite blocky characters this is for you!
The Raider's Lament
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 39,150. Language: American English. Published: August 13, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
No honest business is ever conducted at an L3 point. But the crew of The Raider's Lament make a living doing jobs that don't fall into normal categories, require no questions asked, and are often just one side, or the other, of legality.