I’m so pleased today to be with Jan Sikes, author of Ghostly Interference. Welcome Jan.
Thank you, Judith lovely to be here.
Please tell us, how did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
That’s such a great question, Judith. I was so green writing and publishing my first book. I knew absolutely nothing about self-publishing, but I had a story that begged to be told. The editor I hired was not a professional, but I didn’t know that at the time. The first clue should have been when he consistently misspelled my name. So, two years ago, I pulled the book down off Amazon and re-edited it. I was ashamed to have my name on that first version. It was not an easy decision, but my reputation as an author had started to blossom. I had learned so much in the process of writing four books. So, while it was not easy, it was worth the effort. That year, “Flowers and Stone” was chosen as the book of the year by the Rave Reviews Book Club, a large international organization.
So, in answer to your question, writing that first book was a huge learning curve. Not only the process of writing, editing, and publishing, but marketing about which, by the way, I knew nothing. I joined various writing organizations in Texas and learned more about marketing through conferences and connecting with other authors.
What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
The most difficult part of my artistic process is time management. Finding and allocating dedicated time to writing is hard for me. The story ideas flow, and especially when I keep my mindset in that creative vein. Transferring the story I see in my mind to the written word is sometimes challenging. I tend to be wordy and end up cutting lots of extras from the manuscript once I finish and go back to clean it up. But by far, the most challenging aspect of the artistic process is dedicating time to it and sticking with that no matter what. I am very OCD about my Email Inbox and can’t stand for it to be over twenty-five or thirty. So, in the process of cleaning out emails, I can lose precious time going down rabbit holes.
The other thing that I sometimes struggle with is research. I get impatient when I can’t find what I need right away. But, with the new story I’m working on, I visited a local horse sanctuary, and that kind of research was fun!
Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
Not necessarily. I like to leave small hints about future events in the story, but not so much that the reader can guess. (Or at least that is my goal.) But I can’t say I’ve hidden secrets that would be hard to find.
What was your hardest scene to write?
By and far, the most difficult scenes for me to write are sex scenes—the scenes when they’ve moved beyond kissing and are now in the bedroom. There is a fine line between a well-written sex scene and erotica, and mostly it’s the language. I took a class on writing sex scenes a couple of years ago, and the instructor said, “If the sex scene you are writing doesn’t turn you on and get you hot and bothered, most likely it won’t affect your reader.”
I thought that was a pretty good gauge. Mostly, I focus on the emotions of the lovers rather than the act itself. Sex scenes can be a great way to show more about a character. It can show insecurities or, on the flip side, ego. I like to use sex scenes to advance the story, especially in a romance.
What did you edit out of this book?
Really, not much. Mostly just my wordiness. Learning to say more with fewer words is my goal. Substituting powers words is the key. I can’t say I’ve accomplished it yet.
Have you ever had reader’s block?
I think we can all say we’ve experienced times where the ideas didn’t flow, but somehow I never think of it as reader’s block. I think of it as a dormant time when things need to simmer on the back burner or seeds need to germinate. During those times, I find that watching movies, listening to music, walking on the treadmill, or reading always helps me get back on the right track.
Jag Peters has one goal in his quiet comfortable life—to keep his karma slate wiped clean. A near-miss crash with a candy apple red Harley threatens to upend his safe world. He tracks down the rider to apologize properly. Slipping into a seedy biker bar, he discovers the rider isn’t a “he”, it’s a “she”, a dark-haired beauty.
Rena Jett is a troubled soul, who lives in a rough world. She wants no part of Jag’s apology, but even while she pushes him away, she is attracted to him. When he claims to see a ghost—her brother—can she trust him? And could her brother’s final gift, a magical rune stone with the symbol for “happily ever after” have the power to heal her wounds and allow opposites to find common ground—perhaps even love?
BOOK TRAILER LINK: https://youtu.be/NHaLVSe_flI
BOOK PURCHASE LINKS:
JAN SIKES: SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS
http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00CS9K8DK (Author Page)