Interview with Jackie Davis

What do you read for pleasure?
My reading tastes are varied - here are a few of my favourite authors: Ian McEwan, Tim Winton, Jane Hamilton, Lloyd Jones, Dylan Thomas and Annie Proulx.
Describe your desk
My desk is my dining table - sanded down and limewashed to a beautiful blonde finish. It overlooks the stunning harbour in Wellington, New Zealand, and while I'm thinking, I can look out over the water and be inspired.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in New Plymouth, a small city in New Zealand. It is unique in that it's a coastal city, with a snow-capped mountain only a few miles away. Those extremes of geography provided an amazing backdrop to my life. My ebook 'Breathe' is set in New Plymouth and I think I evoke that environment well.
When did you first start writing?
I've always written. My sister recently reminded me that when we were small children, we would play schools, and she, being the eldest sister, played the teacher. She would ask us to write stories that she would read out, and she was always impressed by the quality of my stories.
I've always written for my own pleasure, and I am thrilled that I can now pass on that joy to my readers.
What's the story behind your latest book?
'Breathe' is the story of an unnamed protagonist, who returns to her home town of New Plymouth, a coastal city in new Zealand for the funeral of family member. She recalls her childhood, and how her relationships with her siblings, and most especially, her disturbed mother, has shaped and affected her as an adult.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
'Breathe' was first published in hard copy by Penguin Books, and was a critical success. It sold well, but like most works of contemporary literary fiction, it went out of print after a few years.
I wanted the book to live on, and publishing through the platform of indie publishing was a natural transition.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has made epublishing an easy process. They do all the background work - setting up my webpage, distribution and all I've had to do is upload my manuscript and cover and there it is!
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Definitely being able to create new worlds that my characters inhabit and live in. I love seeing them interact and act in ways that I hadn't imagined. One of the characters in 'Breathe' does something so shocking, that once I'd written that scene, I had to sit back and process what had just happened to him. At the start of the writing session, I had no idea that would be the outcome. My characters literally take on lives of their own.
What are you working on next?
I'm currently putting together my second novel, 'Swim'. This was also published by Penguin Books and is out of print. Time to see it come back to life!
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I love going to the theatre, which fuels my other literary passion - writing and directing plays.
I also love to garden and cook the vegetables I have grown.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I don't remember the first story I wrote, but I do vividly recall the moment when I knew that I had a talent for writing. I had written a story at school, that my teacher graded 21 out of 20. She wrote that she knew it was an unreal score, but she found my story so moving and technically perfect, that she had no choice but to give me that score!
What is your writing process?
I would like to be systematic and have a proper schedule, and maybe one day I will. At the moment, I catch snatches of time when I can. Once I'm at my desk, I put on a CD (old technology I know), and write until the CD has finished. That gives me about 750 words in one session!
How do you approach cover design?
The cover has to evoke the mood of the book and give away enough of the story to invite the reader in.
I play around with the layout until the cover feels balanced.
Getting the cover right is a really important part of the whole process.
What do your fans mean to you?
My fans are like my friends - I've had such wonderful letters and emails from people who have been moved by my books. What an honour that is!
Published 2018-02-26.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Breathe
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 45,020. Language: English (New Zealand dialect). Published: February 15, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary, Fiction » Literature » Plays & Screenplays
(5.00 from 1 review)
'Is it true that every breath contains a secret?' This is the mantra of the members of a dysfunctional family, who amidst childhood games, make-believe and classical music, dream of a normality they have never known. 'Breathe' was first published by Penguin Books (NZ) Ltd in 2002.