Today I am so pleased to welcome Jeff Jacobson to Joyfully Jay. Jeff has come to talk to us about his release, The Boy Who Chased After His Shadow. He has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving him a big welcome!
Jeff has written some questions and answers to share with us today!
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Everything takes longer. Everything. Practice building endurance. Writing is like running a year of marathons. Use deadlines, because they give you a target to shoot for, which will make you write, but don’t assign any meaning to it whatsoever when you miss a deadline. You will miss deadlines. Everyone does. Instead, take stock of why you missed the date, what you might want to change, and then recommit.
Also, there’s this idea that everyone has a novel in them. I don’t think that’s true. They might have the potential of a good story in them, a seed, but the hard part is in the crafting of the darned thing, the seemingly endless work of getting through paragraph after paragraph, edit after edit, not in coming up with a bright and shiny idea for a story. That’s easy. All this to say, don’t worry about sharing your ideas and talking about them with others. As a matter of fact, talk with others as much as you need to. You’re an extrovert who has chosen one of the introverted art forms. Having conversations with others will help you. No one is going to steal your ideas and write “your” novel. Thieves will discover soon enough that a story doesn’t write itself. Legit writers will craft their own stories that don’t have anything to do with yours.
What do you do when you get writer’s block?
I make myself work on something else, usually in a different genre or style. Refraining from writing tends to send me into more self-doubt, which adds to writer’s block. One time I was stuck on an essay that I was working on; I took a break and wrote a quick little poem to keep my mind active. I ended up liking the poem so much that I entered it into a local contest and won a prize! Ironically, I don’t think I ever finished the essay, and I can’t even remember what it was about. But that little exercise freed my mind up enough to engage creatively again.
For me, writer’s block doesn’t look like a blank screen. I can fill a screen with blather. Where I get stuck is not liking anything that I’ve written, which leads me to coming up with four to five different versions of the same thing.
What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
Because this book is number 3 in a series, my goal was to create a compelling next installment that picked up right where the big drama of book 2 left off. I wrote books 3, 4, and 5 as one big, nine-hundred-page chunk. After that, I had to go back and find out where to break the book up, and then make sure that book 3 could stand alone. The original nine hundred-page manuscript had its own dramatic build and climax; I had to make sure that book 3 had its own arc, and that I could carry off books 4 and 5 in the same way. In other words, it wouldn’t have worked for me to take all nine hundred pages and just divide them up into thirds, then publish those as books, without creating new arcs, new builds, new climaxes, etc.
Feedback from my early readers helped me to see that the pacing of my first draft of book 3 was off; I had too much excitement in the beginning, which was a carry-over from the climax of book 2, while the ending just fizzled out. I had to do a big rewrite, including writing a brand new beginning and a brand new ending. Daunting, to be sure, but I think the results are so much better than my first draft. Thank God for extra sets of eyes!
What’s your core motivation in this book?
My core motivation is to show that my teen protagonist Charlie isn’t doing as well as he’d like to be doing. And by that, I don’t only mean his constant lament that he wishes things would slow down, that he’s in over his head, etc. The kid has to deal with the fact that he’s a witch, has been forced out of the closet, has witnessed murder, and is pitted against a group of evil witches. He isn’t taking stock as to how this is affecting him (he can’t see that far ahead as a teenager). He thinks that he can handle his own negative self-talk (which, unbeknownst to him, is being influenced by evil witch Grace), and that if he could just get some sleep and hang out with his boyfriend more, all the creepy residue will just melt away. My motivation is to show that over time both his will and his integrity are weakening.
If you were stuck on a desert island all alone with only three things, what would they be?
My partner Terry, the kindle app on my phone, and a jump rope. Romance, reading, and relaxation through exercise – now that would be a divine way to be stuck on a desert island!
What If an Evil Witch Was Controlling Your Thoughts Without You Knowing?
Soon after being whisked away to Seattle to live with an aunt and uncle he barely knew, Charlie Creevey learned that he hailed from a family of witches. After settling into this unfamiliar life, his feelings toward his new friend Diego Ramirez began to grow into something more serious. And if that wasn’t enough, he failed to stop the nefarious witch Grace and her cohort from using the dreaded deathcraft and killing his mentor Malcolm.
In Book 3 of this riveting series, Charlie discovers that Grace has gone into hiding and is acting behind the scenes. Able to influence minds in ways that were previously unheard of in the witching world, Grace compels Charlie to unwittingly do things like taking on the bullies at Puget Academy and lying to his family. The more Charlie believes he is acting of his own accord, the more Grace secretly rebuilds her strength and plots her comeback.
Will Charlie ever be able to overcome Grace and her coven? Or is Charlie destined to live life as a gay teen witch, shrouded by the evil veil of the deathcraft? And can he ever share his secret with Diego—or will he have to keep his identity as a witch hidden in the broom closet forever? Find out in The Boy Who Chased After His Shadow.
Jeff Jacobson was born and raised in Seattle and graduated in 1991 from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Wash., with a degree in Asian studies and a minor in Chinese language (Mandarin). He works both as a coach and a trainer of coaches, and is passionate about how evolved leadership can help transform organizations, their clients, and even the world.
The Broom Closet Series emerged from a challenge/dare after Jeff Jacobson criticized other books for how they depicted witches (“Windswept hair… spells, always in Latin…” no, no, no). The friend he made these comments to called him out on his critique, noting that the authors wrote their books, not Jacobson’s. Could he write his own witchy books? In 2008, Jacobson decided to find out.
Already top sellers on Amazon, The Boy Who Couldn’t Fly Straight and The Boy Who Couldn’t Fly Home chart teenager Charlie Creevey’s double coming out – as a young gay man, and as a witch. He lands in the hamlet of West Seattle and becomes part of the local coven, which he needs in order to fight off Grace, a murderous villain who’s killing teens to fuel her power and control. Jacobson picks up the thread yet again in The Boy Who Chased After His Shadow as Charlie’s feelings for classmate Diego Ramirez deepen, and Grace’s pitiless murders terrify and threaten the community.
Jeff has brought a $25 Amazon gift card to give away to one lucky reader on his tour. Follow the Rafflecopter below to enter.
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