Jacqueline McMahon – When Love Won’t Die

What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.

When Love Won’t Die is my first published suspense thriller. I’m currently finishing the sequel and also have two-thirds of another suspense novel, unrelated to the first two, in the works.

Here’s a blurb about the book:

Eleanor Bennett has an idyllic life. Married to a handsome and successful lawyer, she spends her days writing novels in their beautiful Victorian home, nestled onto a picturesque piece of property in the country. As a bestselling author, Eleanor appears to have everything.

But what no one knows, not even her husband Michael, is that Eleanor hides a dark secret, one she vowed to take to her grave. Unfortunately, for Eleanor, some secrets refuse to remain hidden forever. With the arrival of one individual from her past, Eleanor’s world is about to come crumbling down around her.

Tell us something about yourself.

I co-own a performing arts studio in Thunder Bay, Ontario Canada, where I teache singing, drama and musical theatre. I am also responsible for writing 6-8 original playscripts every school year for the studio’s drama department. Although I majored in music in university (voice/piano/composition), my first love has always been creating original stories, so it’s no wonder that much of my time is spent writing novels and plays. I also enjoy singing and bringing musical entertainment to many seniors’ homes in my hometown as well as mentoring adolescent writers.

What inspired you to write this book?

Suspense has always been my favorite type of book and in particular, the novels of Mary Higgins Clark. I was hooked on the genre as soon as I read “Where are the Children?” and over the years began plotting and writing my own suspense novels.

How did you choose the title?

The title, When Love Won’t Die, just seemed natural based on the plot. It’s implications, I think, provoke just enough curiousity to make someone at least pick up the book and read the blurb, which I hope then convinces them to read the book.

What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?

The biggest obstacle in getting this book published was getting someone to actually request a full manuscript and read it. But I know breaking into the publishing business would be difficult, so I accepted all the rejections as stepping stones to what I believed would eventually lead to an acceptance.

It’s also very difficult to make the time to write, research, revise and market while owning a business, but organizing the writing tasks into my daily schedule ensured that I could see the project through to the end.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?

As a child, I enjoyed making up stories to entertain myself and my playmates. At age fifteen, I applied for a neighborhood news reporter column for my local paper and seeing my regular bi-weekly column in the newspaper really inspired me to keep going.

Do you have any writing rituals?

I do my best work in my pjs with a cup of black coffee by my side. I also like to begin every new book in a fresh notebook, using pen and paper to map out an outline, create some character sketches and figure out the main plot points before actually going to my computer to write the first chapter.

How do you come up with the names for your characters?

I visualize my character and who I think they might remind me of and usually the name comes fairly easily after that.

Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book? What?

Absolutely! I learned that you have to just get the rough draft down and then go back and tweak and revise to perfect it. I also learned that there are a lot of people out there, in critique groups and working for the publisher, who have great suggestions. You can never be close minded to what they have to say if you want your manuscript to be its absolute best.

If you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently?

I would probably send simultaneous queries, where allowed, to make the process go quicker. I would also go back and use critiques from my first book that applied to my second manuscript.

What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors?

I love reading suspense books and my two favorite authors are Mary Higgins Clark and Stephen King. I also really enjoy children’s books and especially enjoyed the entire Harry Potter series. Vivid writing, where I can visually watch the plot unfold, keeps me turning the pages.

Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?

I’m working on two suspense books at this time. One is a sequel to When Love Won’t Die, called Amorous Obsession, and I’m excited to re-visit these characters because I feel that their story isn’t quite finished yet. The third book is another suspense novel that takes place just outside of the city where I live and my heroine for this new book is a singer, something I wanted to include in a heroine at some point.

What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?

I think you have to ask yourself, “How badly do you want it?” and then perservere. It won’t be easy – that’s a given. But it IS possible. You have to be willing to work hard and to accept rejection. If you really believe in yourself and your writing, then how can you not keep going?

Who is the perfect reader for your book?

I believe that my book appeals to the adult female reader the most because of the story lines and because I’ve chosen to make the main character of every book a woman.

Where can readers learn more about you and your book?

Currently, my book is offered on my publisher’s website as well as three other sites, in e-book form. Once I sell enough e-books, the book will go into print. I’ve received some amazing reviews so far and have blogged a great deal about the entire process at:
http://dramaquill.wordpress.com

The book can be bought at Amazon.com