Inside A Beautiful Mind – E.C. Jarvis

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Good Morning Everyone and happy Friday once again.  I know that it has been a few weeks since we have shared a coffee together but I am back and ready for some fun. This week on Inside A Beautiful Mind I am going to be chatting with the wonderfully talented writer E.C Jarvis.14423593_10153975376195857_612973656_o

KADE: Good morning E.C., Thank you for being here today. So now that we have our caffeine ready, let’s get right to it and tell the readers a little bit about your new book?

E.C: I have just released the fourth and final book in my steampunk series, The Destiny. It is the story of a girl who think she’s fallen in love but learns very quickly that things aren’t as rosy as they seem and she goes off on a big adventure to try and fix a growing list of problems. I think (hope) that book four ties the whole series up nicely.

KADE: That is so exciting, I know the first book was awesome so I am very excited to see what you have done with the crew from ‘The Machine’. So tell me, what inspired you to write your first book?14409258_10153975378570857_878413080_n

E.C: A short story prompt on writing.com. It was really just a throw away idea. I’d been playing around with stories for years, a couple went into large(ish) word counts, but I wasn’t really committed. With this one, I had enough of my writer friends telling me it was part of something bigger and pushing me to continue (and demanding to read along as I wrote it) that I just kind of kept going.

KADE: I am so glad that you decided to pick it up and run with it. Is there anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

E.C: It’s 100% imagination. I have never flown in a pirate airship, nor blown up a government building… I suppose the cat in the story is quite based on my old boy Charlie. He was a very intelligent cat, just like Imago.

KADE: Ah, then you must love Charlie to pieces because Imago is such an interesting little piece of the story and I suppose if it were from life experiences, we might be having a completely different conversation. I know that you have written a few but what was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

E.C: I wrote the series ending way back when I was part way through book two. I had such a clear idea of where the whole story would end up and that has remained the same up until I got to that part. It was comforting to have a specific moment to work towards. I can’t reveal what happens or who it happens between because spoilers, but it’s a very satisfying conclusion to the series.

KADE: Well then, I look forward to jumping in and finding out. I know everyone has a way of choosing a title for their books but I am wondering how did you come up with yours?

E.C: The title goes along with the theme of the series. The Machine, The Pirate, The War, and The Destiny. I find it helps to have titles that give cohesion to the whole.14409001_10153975377890857_88555081_n

KADE: That makes good sense. Through your writing career, what has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

E.C: I recently heard that my writing lacked depth. I wasn’t sure how to take that as there was no real constructive element to that comment that I could take and learn from. The majority of readers have been complimentary. The best compliment I get is when a person goes on to read the next book in the series, which is indication enough that I have done a good job.

KADE: True, I agree. And obviously you are doing a great job keeping the readers happy. When you sit down to write, do you have any unique or quirky habits?

E.C: All my habits seem perfectly normal to me! I do like to listen to some form of instrumental music when I write (music with singing in is distracting). There is no glamorous setting, it’s me curled up on the couch in my pajamas with the laptop on my legs typing away.

 KADE: I would say that is a wonderful ‘quirk’ to have, jammies rock for writing. What’s the strangest thing you have ever had to research online for your book?

E.C: The function and construction of nuclear fission reactors. How helicopters work (the physics involved). Parts of the body where a person can be shot and survive for a significant amount of time without medical attention. Sword fighting. Crossbow operation… the list goes on!

 KADE: That is a wide range of abnormal web surfing for sure. Can you give us an interesting fun fact about your book?

E.C: I always struggle to name characters. When trying to name a certain character I was sat at work (I work as an accountant) and I had to raise an invoice to a Mr Holt… the name kind of stuck. I smile every month when I have to invoice Mr Holt.

KADE: Oh, now that is fun. But once you hear the right name you must use it. When you write do you work with an outline, or just write?

E.C: I’m not a plotter, but as the series grew I got into a habit of doing a form of outline. I had a list of story points for each chapter that I was aiming towards during the writing of book 4. I always prefer writing without restrictions more, as I love to discover the path as a reader of my own book.

KADE: Sounds like a system that has been working out quite nicely for you. Your writing is wonderful. Would you mind telling us about your experiences in getting your first book published?

E.C: One part horrific, three parts fantastic. I made the mistake of trusting the manuscript to a very new publishing company. They did put the book out and I did learn a lot from them but they have turned out to be an awful company who do nothing other than mess authors about. My contracts were cancelled and I self-published the books myself and I’m much happier for it. I will never submit to a small publisher again.

KADE: Yes, I can completely understand where you are coming from. But at least you have taken away some important knowledge from the experience and that is priceless. Congrats on getting it out there on your own steam, good job! When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

E.C: I started writing seriously in January 2015. The book was finished in May 2015 and published in November 2015. The contract was cancelled in December 2015 and I republished in January 2016. That was quite the whirlwind journey.14407548_10153975378120857_67919545_n

KADE: Oh my, yes. That does sound like a lot to juggle in one short year. Impressive though from an outsiders point of view. Now how did you decide the genre you write in?

E.C: I’m a fantasy girl. I get bored when I attempt to write anything based in the real world. I enjoy the world building, the rule bending and the fitting of characters into a new setting. I also can’t deal with putting effort into making my setting geographically accurate. If I say there is a coffee shop at number 16 on Bond Street in London, you can bet your bottom dollar that someone would complain that no such shop exists – and I can’t deal with those sort of people in a reasonable manner.

Fantasy allows freedom for the imagination to run wild and that’s the feeling I need to have when I write. The more my mind feels constricted, the worse my writing is.

KADE: You are a girl after my own heart. I love how you have totally done just that and the best part is, you do it well. Where do you get your ideas?

E.C: Physically? I get a lot of my major plot points figured out during a shower or on my drive to/from work. Metaphysically? Who the hell knows. I’m a daydreamer, my mind is giving about 30% attention to reality and 70% attention to fantasy at any point. People often start speaking to me and I find my mind drifting away to somewhere else. Apologies to my friends, colleagues and husband, they must think I’m awful.

KADE: Haha you are a lucky person to be able to have such a wonderful gift, that ability to daydream will keep your writing well from running dry. We all have people we aspire to be like or look up to. Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

E.C: Growing up I was oddly influenced by Spike Milligan. I loved his whimsical poetry as a child. I can still quote from his version of the bible and his books about his time serving in the military are fantastic reading. I love to inject humour into my stories wherever possible, so I’m naturally draw towards writers who write with a degree of wit to their voice. Terry Pratchett is another. Recently my writing is influenced by Lindsay Buroker, she is certainly someone I look up to and aspire to.

KADE: Wonderful choices. As an experienced writer, do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

E.C: Don’t make excuses for not writing. If you don’t feel passionate about it then you won’t succeed. Write all the time, even if you think it’s shit. You have to write the shit in order to find the sparkling gem hidden somewhere in the middle.14454700_10153975378315857_471529186_n

KADE: I love that! It is a very visual and effective way of tell us all to keep your pen to the paper. What is your favorite quote or saying?

E.C: I always turn to George Bernard Shaw for great quotes, the very best is:

People who say it cannot be done, should not interrupt those who are doing it.

KADE: Oh I am going to keep that one. I love it. Now for some silly stuff. Tea or coffee?

E.C: I’m a Brit, so tea of course. Absurd that you’d even ask, quite frankly.

KADE: Hahaha Sorry, apologies. I should have known better. J Sweet or salty?

E.C: As much as I like a bit of salt on occasion, I have a sweet tooth.

KADE: Now that we have picked your brain, how about sharing some of your book with us. Maybe a passage that will give us a glimpse into the world you built.

E.C: “Will you agree to return to the brig and spend the time not causing trouble?”

“I will agree to that,” she said. Seeing as he hadn’t defined what he meant by causing trouble, it didn’t worry her too much. Their definition of trouble might vary markedly. She stifled a grin as he exited the room and led her back along the ship.

“I will question the others,” he said.

“Of course. You’ll find they’re a generally nice enough group of men. They won’t fear your torture threats. You could try offering them a nice lunch, they’ll be more amenable to your questioning.”

“Are you suggesting I offer treats to my prisoners?”

“Yes.”

“You are an odd woman.”

 

KADE: I can’t wait to get this book, it sounds just as awesome as the rest. Now let’s give the readers some info on what is the best way to stay in touch with you and where to learn more about your books?

E.C:

Blog: www.ecjarvis.com/blog

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/E.C.JarvisAuthor

Goodreads author page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14441226.E_C_Jarvis

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/ECJarvis

Twitter: https://twitter.com/EC_Jarvis

KADE: All fun thing must come to an end but I would like to say a heart felt thank you to E.C. Jarvis for letting us  have a glimpse inside her creative process and for taking the time to hang out with me today. And a big thank you to all of you readers out there for taking a moment to support your Authors.

If you or any of you know of someone who would like a few minutes of limelight on Inside A Beautiful Mind with me, please email me at kadecook.author@gmail.com and place Author Interview in the topic space.

Enjoy your Friday folks, you are awesome and please remember to be kind to your Authors, leave a review. See you next week, Peace!

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Today is the day…launch day.

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It is Thursday morning, September 15, 2016. Launch day.

I am trying hard not to overthink anything, to smile and drink my coffee through the jitters vibrating throughout my soul. Slowly breathing in and out, steadying the façade of calmness on the outside.
Six bells will come tonight whether I am ready or not to receive it and I know this.
It has been a long 2 years coming for me to get to this point and at a few moments, I wondered what it would be like to get here. Well today I know. It is such an incredible surreal feeling that all I can do is just exhale.
I don’t know who will show, or what will happen but I do know that I made it, ready or not. I am here, book in hand and awaiting what the universe serves me with a smile.
Dreams do come true, you just have to believe in them and more importantly, you have to believe in yourself. Always, even if no one else does. It is your dream, so defend it.
Big hugs to all and
Cheers from the Shadows,
Kade

Inside A Beautiful Mind – Natasha Jackson Arnautu

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Good Morning Everyone and happy Friday once again.  This week on Inside A Beautiful Mind I am going to be chatting with a talented writer Natasha Jackson Arnautu.

KADE: Good morning Natasha, Thank you for being here today. So let’s get right to it and tell the readers a little bit about yourself ?

NATASHA: I’m N.D. Jackson but you can call me Natasha or Tasha. I am from Chicago, born and raised, but I call Germany home for now. Right now my life is writing and traveling, two of my favorite things to do. I like being in different places and learning about different cult14124199_1085943811494125_1552808768_oures, meeting new people and seeing their history. It’s what allows me to give my characters depth and makes their stories so interesting. I love politics, romance and true crime and if I could figure out a way to incorporate them all into every novel I’d be over joyed. People interest me in a hands-off kind of way. I prefer to watch and see how and why people do what they do.

KADE: I love that. I have to admit I like to people watch as well. I find it fascinating. So with that said would you mind telling us a bit about your upcoming book?

NATASHA: My upcoming novella, Mint Juleps & Moonlight Melodies is the 2nd book in the Rebel Girlz series. This is Marilyn’s story. She’s a budding romance writer using her summer in New Orleans to live life passionately. She meets Zack (Taz from book #1’s roommate) a musician who shows her what she’s missing. It’s music, fun, steam and yes, romance.

KADE: What more could a girl ask for, you have my attention. So tell us, what inspired you to write your first book?

NATASHA: The first book I wrote is still sitting unpublished and needs to be edited in a bad way. The first book I wrote that was published was Cordially Invited and I was inspired because I am a total political junkie. One day I was digitizing my old paperwork and I came across this final paper I wrote on death penalty my freshman year of college and there was yet another news story on a botched execution. From there, the story was born. A party planner gets a job creating lavish Gatsby style parties for each execution…makes sense, right? 14171957_1087634667991706_1665586452_n

KADE: Oh wow, not that does sound like a perfect set up for a wonderful story. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

NATASHA: Not really and yes. Let’s say Cordially Invited is how I sometimes picture things working when I’m at my most cynical.

KADE: Ha ha, yes I am sure it is. We all have a bit of darkness within us that rises to the surface once in a while. What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

NATASHA: I liked coming up with the different methods of killing them. I wanted a way that was grotesque and deplorable enough to be ridiculous against the designer clothes, jewelry and gourmet food being served.

KADE: Hahaha I totally get it. I like how you think. How did you come up with the title?

NATASHA: After I had the character of Lucky all fleshed out and wrote the scene on her choosing invitations it was clear…Cordially Invited.

KADE: Very cool. It is nice when things fall into place. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

NATASHA: The toughest criticism is something you can’t explain without seeming petty. They feel a part of the story wasn’t fleshed out as they would have liked and bash you for it. You want to say “if you’d read page 246 closer you’d know!” But you can’t do that so…it sucks. The best compliment is when a reviewer says “I want to live in Mustang Prairie,” that’s nice.

KADE: Yes, one of the unfortunate truths of being a writer is that you can’t please everyone but luckily, the compliments far outweigh the bashers especially that one. That is wicked. So tell me, do you have any unique or quirky writing habits?

 NATASHA: I don’t know if their unique or quirky, but I like to do my dialogue aloud sometimes…using voices. Only because I despise wooden dialogue and I write day and night so sometimes I just need a back up. My husband sometimes thinks I’m crazy but I get pretty good feedback on my dialogue so it’s a win.

 KADE: Too funny. I think voicing it out loud is only proper. How else are you going to know if it sounds right unless you hear it? And I find it helps with the flow as well. Now I have to ask, since you mentioned about your interest in different killing tactics of your characters, what is the strangest thing you have ever had to research online for your book?

 NATASHA: For Cordially Invited I looked up all the ways the state has killed people throughout history, even the botched ones. Most of the ones in the book were my own twisted creation but I’d definitely be in trouble if someone peeped my search history during that time! I even spoke to a few corrections officers who worked on death row in my home state, Illinois.

 KADE: Ha ha I bet but it must have been pretty interesting to talk to a live person about those kind of things. The officers must have been able to give you some incredible insight as well. Can you give us an interesting fun fact about your book.

NATASHA: Madison Madigan is based on a woman who was quite a well-known politician when I was growing up. They even have similar names and…mannerisms. But I’m not telling!

 KADE: haha Ok, I won’t ask which ones. J Now when you sit down to create your stories do you work with an outline, or just write?

NATASHA: Yes. I do both because an outline is my good intentions of being a good girl and following the story as I envisioned it, but the characters get involved and the story unfolds on its own and the outline becomes a pretty distant memory. I love to have it anyway because sometimes you get stuck and your outline buddy is right there to remind you.14123958_1085944024827437_33097282_o

KADE: Yes, the characters do seem to do that to a perfectly fine outline. But sometimes it is best just to let them have their way. It definitely makes the story come to life the way it is supposed to be. You mentioned that your first book is not published. Can you tell us about your experiences in trying to get your first book published?

NATASHA: I went the whole traditional route for years. My very first novel is still unpublished but I tried for 2 years to get someone to look at it and nothing happened. Once I moved to Europe my husband and one of my clients convinced me self-publishing was the way to go. There are more expenses involved and it all falls to you, the author. But plenty of people have read my books who might not have otherwise.

KADE: Well I think you made the right choice for your book. It is a shame to make a story sit on a shelf when so many readers would love to dive in and bring it to life. When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

NATASHA: Like most authors, I’ve been writing since I was a kid. I’ve been working as a writer since my college days when I did book, movie and album reviews for magazines. My first book was finished in 2008 and I sent it to agents and publishers alike. I decided to explore other avenues than political satire and wrote my first romance in 2013.

KADE: Sounds like you have had quite an intriguing beginning to your career. How did you choose the genre you write in?

NATASHA: That was easy. Politics was and is my first love, although these days it’s more of a love-hate thing. So my first two books I wrote were political satire, which even in the best of times isn’t really going to make a career. After digitizing all of my writing from childhood in preparation for my move to Europe I found a few early romances, I decided to put my new Kindle to use. I started to read more romance books and fell in love with the genre all over again. Now you can find me writing political satire as well as romance with some politics.

KADE: That is wonderful. I am sure there is probably a lot of stories floating around in your mind. Where do you get your ideas?

NATASHA: Everywhere! For Feels Like Love all I had to start was Sadie. Her history and her life all came together before I had a partner for her or anything. I had to build the story around her. But Cordially Invited came about due to my passion about and frustration with how the death penalty is applied in the US. The places I’ve been, people I’ve met or even a short phrase will spark an idea.

KADE: Sounds like you are just brimming with passion. What an amazing world you must live in, no wonder you are a writer. Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

NATASHA: My biggest influence is probably Jane Austen because she’s amazing. Unlike many of her contemporaries she had this fast paced wit that was centuries ahead. Like Shakespeare, Austen gave him a great appreciation for words and how a phrase said one way is totally hilarious but another way is just…blah. But when I decided I was going to write instead of staying in politics, I found a kindred spirit in Christopher Buckley. No one does political satire quite like him.

KADE: Excellent point! Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

NATASHA: It sounds trite, but don’t give up. The truth is that not giving up was what made all the difference. It took me months to get the first few reviews for Conflict of Interest and I wanted to cry. But I was already working on A Little Bit In Love and I’d met other authors who encouraged me, sent me to bloggers and Facebookers who reviewed my work and gave me a spotlight to interact with readers. It’s hard and hellish at times, but I write all day for work and it’s great to know I have my own writing waiting for me at the end of the day.

KADE: I think your words are wonderful bits of advice. So many people ‘give up’ before the incredible feeling of finishing. Yes writing is hard and painstakingly long but it is worth it in the end. You must have a favorite quote or saying…any chance you want to spill?

NATASHA: That’s easy, Ralph Waldo Emerson. “What you do speaks so loudly, I cannot hear what you say.”

KADE: I love it. This is such a true statement and I guess this would be why you and I are such fans of people watching. Alright I have to know, Tea or coffee?

NATASHA: Yes! But I have coffee almost everyday so…fresh ground coffee, please and thanks.

KADE: I am in one hundred percent agreement with you on that. Good answer ha ha. Sweet or salty?

NATASHA: Salty, for sure.

KADE: Good stuff. Ok, so we are nearing the end of our lovely chat, would you mind sharing with us a passage that will give us a glimpse into the world you built?

NATASHA: Sure! Here’s an excerpt from Cordially Invited

Taryn sat in her broom closet of an office staring at the blank computer screen, the only thing new in her office by the way, trying in vain to write a job description for Post Conviction Event Coordinator without saying what the chosen candidate would be expected to coordinate. She had no idea what this person would do let alone what qualifications they should possess. Unable to come up with anything, Taryn lifted herself up and marched to the Warden’s office. “Mr. Templeton, what exactly will this new Coordinator do?” 14171957_1087634667991706_1665586452_n

   Warden Templeton looked up, annoyed. “They will do exactly that, coordinate events that happen after their convictions, Taryn. But we need someone with real experience or the Governor will have all of our asses.” He raked his hands through his slightly wavy hair and looked at what he thought was a mighty fine ass, if she would remove the stick from it.

   Taryn, used to his histrionics, shrugged. “Fine. I’ll send you the final copy for approval. Whenever it’s ready.”

   “No need to do that Taryn. You’re capable of doing this without me aren’t you?” He gave her that phony manipulative smile she’d caught him practicing in the mirror and that’s when she knew the Warden wouldn’t hesitate to use her body as a shield if this thing went to hell.

     “Very well, sir.” She turned and walked through a doorway about six months past due for a paint job. She felt his eyes on her backside—they were perpetually glued to it—and slowed down allowing him a satisfyingly long gaze. When Taryn wanted something, she wasn’t above a low-cut top or a snug dress to do the trick. She was beautiful and she knew it. Being both smart and beautiful, thank you very much, Taryn had no problem using her beauty if results would be produced quicker than using her brain.

Back at her desk in the pitifully small office supplied by the Warden Taryn finally got to the business of writing the ad.

Lincoln County Bureau of Prisons seeks superbly organized event planner comfortable with dangerous felons and death. Must be ready to dive right in and put on post conviction events for the whole family. Bring own splatter guards. Send cover letter, resume and recommendations to Taryn.Micklesby@lcbop.gov.

Upon a closer glance, Taryn decided to go with a job ad slightly less…straightforward.

Lincoln County Bureau of Prisons seeks highly qualified and experienced event coordinator for full-time position. Must be results oriented, efficient, and understand the true value of confidentiality. Seeking a star among stars. Send cover letter and resume to Taryn.Mickelsby@lcbop.gov.

Taryn sent the posting to online job boards and the Classifieds section of local newspapers. The Warden’s father was a crime reporter for The Lincoln Courier Gazette, and he insisted the Bureau did their part to keep the newspaper industry alive by placing job ads. Although she never received any qualified applicants from the newspaper, Taryn placed ads just as he’d asked. This time however, she’d use what little power he’d given her, to help a friend.

 KADE: Oh that does sound like she is going to stir up some trouble, I love it. So let the awesome readers out there know what is the best way to stay in touch with you and where to learn more about your books.

NATASHA: Blog: https://ndjacksonwritinstuff.com/

Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/MustangPrairieBooks

Goodreads author page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8574243.N_D_Jackson

Twitter: @ndjaxn_author

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1iESd8T

Other: Pinterest: https://de.pinterest.com/objection21/mustang-prairie-girls-cocktails/

KADE: Just want to say a HUGE thank you to Natasha for taking the time to hang out with me today. And a big thank you to all of you readers out there for taking a moment to support your Authors.

If you or any of you know of someone who would like a few minutes of limelight on Inside A Beautiful Mind with me, please email me at kaybee.cook@gmail.com and place Author Interview in the topic space.

Enjoy your Friday folks, you are awesome and please be kind to your Authors, leave a review. See you next week, Peace!