February 13, 2011

Interview - Jessica Barksdale Inclán

Hi guys, today I bring you the first interview of this blog, with Jessica Barksdale Inclán.
Jessica's debut novel Her Daughter's Eyes was a final nominee for the YALSA Award, and many of her novels have been published in several languages. A recipient of the CAC Artist’s Fellowship in Literature, Jessica teaches literature, creative writing and mythology at colleges, universities, seminars and workshops throughout the U.S. A full-time writer, she lives in Oakland, California. For more information on Jessica, please visit www.jessicabarksdaleinclan.com.

Also, read my review of her novel Being With Him, here.

- Why have you gone Indie - the short version? (long version here, on her guest post)

Bottom line for going indie is that I think I have stories to tell that are worthwhile to tell--and yet, they don't have a platform or a niche or a certain market demographic.  I feel that others might like them, and it's fun to be involved in formatting and finding a cover, things I don't usually get to have much say over in traditional publishing.

- Your books, in 140 characters? Something that's common to all or most of them.

In all my books, I have characters who have issues and who want to learn to get over the problems those issues cause them.  They are usually successful.

- How many of them are anyways? And how many are you writing/planning right now?

I have six indie books available from Amazon.com and Smashwords.com.  I am currently writing for traditional publishing right now, but I have potentially one additional book that might go indie by the end of 2011.

- Do you have a favorite among your own books?

My favorite is always the manuscript I am currently working on.  I have to be in love with it!  The others are like children who have left home for college.  I still  love them dearly, but I don't have to think about them 24/7.

- Do you trust your publishers in other languages? How is the "quality check" on those cases?

I am relatively literate in  Spanish, so I was able to read my Spanish translations.  The Dutch, Portuguese, and Czech translations, however, are impossible, so I just have to have faith in the translators.  I haven't had any quality control, though I did speak and email with the dutch translator of Her Daughter's Eyes and One Small Things.  She had a lot of questions to ask.  I suppose I should be worried that the Portuguese and Czech folks never checked in!

- What are your favorite scenes to write?

I don't think I have a favorite scene to write, but I can tell you that the scenes I don't like much are the scenes that transition, the summary scenes, moving characters from one place or time to another.  I try to make them short and effective.

- Do you read much? What kind of books do you usually read?

I've just finished books by Julia Glass, Bill Bryson, Anita Shreve, and Jasper Fforde.  I pretty much love fiction and engaging non-fiction, such as what Bill Bryson writes.  I think I read a bit more literary than genre, but a good romance is great now and again, too.

- Have you ever wanted to be a writer? When did you start writing "seriously"?

I have always written--little stories when I was in seventh grade and up--but I started taking classes and working hard on poetry and fiction in 1993.  I feel I've been working on my professional career for about that long.

- Do you outline your stories or they just flow and if you need, you go back and change stuff?

I do a little outlining, but then I just go forward, letting the story take it's course.  then I often go back to change, edit, revise.  I have a favorite outline that I teach all my students.  It's the "20 Things That Have to Happen" outline.  I think about my story and write 20 things I think have to happen.  I let this list change and evolve as the story does, but it's nice to formulate some ideas.

- Do you relate more to any of your characters? Why?

Most of my main characters have some relationship to me in terms of personality or character--or maybe job.  But I think I understand them all, even the "bad" ones.

- Which gender do you feel it would be a challenge to write?

I've had male main characters, and while I don't think it is harder to write male, I don't have as many males as females.  So I guess that I would have to say I find it harder to write male.

- What inspires you? And how's your writing environment - music, place, etc.?

Good writing inspires me.  And when I'm inspired and have a story to tell, I just sit down every morning and write.  It's the only way to tell a story:  tell it.

Thank you Jessica for being so nice and open with us, I'll have some insights about that portuguese translator for you soon enough ;)