My recent book is a re-release of the first book in my second romance trilogy published by Kensington. Being With Him comes out September 7 in mass market. It is the story of two people who have felt different and “other” all their lives, who manage to find each other. And then the fun begins!
Tell us something about yourself.
I have been reading longer than I have been writing, but writing comes in a close second. My first novel Her Daughter’s Eyes was published in 2001 by NAL (Penguin) and it was a culmination of years of publishing poetry and short stories and taking many, many writing classes. I am a professor of English at a community college and I teach novel writing at UCLA Extension.
What inspired you to write this book?
My editor Kate Duffy, who has since passed away, brainstormed with me one day, and we came up with the idea of orphans. My two characters are—literally and emotionally—orphaned, and when they connect with each other, they finally feel whole. Of course, then they have a whole kettle of fish to deal with, but at least they have found each other.
How did you publish this book? Why did you decide on that publisher?
Kate Duffy bought this book as an idea. I’d already published three books with Kensington, but when she received the entire manuscript, there were things she did not like. I basically had to go back to the beginning and rewrite it, using her advice and guidance, and I think I came up with a better story because of all the extra work.
How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?
My mother was a librarian, and I loved books so much that I knew I had to write one for myself. I thought that stories were the greatest thing of all.
What do you believe is the hardest part of writing?
I think that editing and revising using critique (whether from an editor, agent, or reading partner) is the hardest part of the writing. The joyful get-it-all-down stage is over, and now it’s about the nose to the grindstone. I find each page of this kind of writing more like a puzzle than writing per se, but it’s what makes the writing better.
How do you do research for your books?
I like to go where I’m trying to write. Being With Him is set, in part, in San Francisco. I live close by, and my then boyfriend (now fiancé) drove around where I thought Mila grew up. I found the street, the house, and sat there and took some notes. If I can’t travel, I Google whatever I can, too.
Did you learn anything from writing this book? What?
I learned—again—that if I am not communicating, then I am not doing my job. I learned that I can see things that my readers need further clarification on. Kate and I were able to get this story streamlined, and I once again realized that it sometimes takes a village to write a novel!
What are you reading now?
Freedom by Jonathan Franzen.
What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Why?
My favorite author is Jane Austen, but I fell in love with Justin Cronin this year. Mary and O’Neil is wonderful.
Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?
My next book is in the hands of an editor right now. It’s entitled Swimming Lessons, and it’s the story about one long summer, where a 15-year-old girl must learn to live without her father’s guidance.
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
Keep trying. Don’t get discouraged, and make sure whatever you send out into the world is the best it can be.
What are you doing to promote your latest book?
Writing these interview answers! Guest blogging on many different sites. Reading in LA and in the SF Bay Area.
Where can readers learn more about you and your book?
I have a web site: http://www.jessicabarksdaleinclan.com and a blog at: http://www.redroom.com/author/jessican-barksdale-inclan