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Interview with Jessica McHugh

You've had 3 books published since 2008, and starting in March of 2010, you will have 7 more of your novels released. How do you get so much writing done?
 
I have a day job, so obviously I don't get as much writing done as I would like. So, in order to satisfying the incessant voice in my head telling me to "write! write! WRITE!", I've become quite adept at multi-tasking. If you would've told me when I first started writing novels I would be working on so many things at once, I never would have believed you. I write everything longhand first, then I type it into the computer, print it out, edit it, type the revisions into the manuscript, print it out again, edit it, send it to my mother to read (yes, you read that correctly. She's a fantastic editor!), make the necessary changes, and then, I submit it to a publisher. The entire process has been averaging about 6 months per book. While I'm writing one story, I'm usually in the process of editing another one, and often times, I'm planning the story I'll be starting as soon as I finish the current one. Wow. Just saying all of that makes me tired. :) It's really, really manic, and if I had kids, I probably wouldn't be able to work like that. That's why I'm pushing myself so hard now to get out as many books as possible because I know I can't keep up that crazy pace forever.
 
What's your typical writing schedule like? 
On weekdays, I get home a few hours before my husband, so I take that time to write as much as I possibly can. When he gets home, I do write a bit, but mostly I just like to spend time with him. On weekends, it's a different story. I will go upstairs into my Writing Hut, put a show or movie on in the background, and I won't come out until my writing callus is flaming red. It sounds gross, but yes, I have a callus on my finger where my pen rests, and I don't deem it a good writing day until the bump is enflamed and covered in blue ink. I do take advantage of downtime at work as well. If it's lunchtime or I'm on a coffee break, people know not to bother me. That's my writing time, and they know it.

Which is you favourite book out of those you've written and why?
It's a tie between "Song of Eidolons" and "Rabbits in the Garden". The latter isn't published yet, but I just finished it earlier this year. The stories couldn't be more different, and the main characters are the complete antithesis of one another but I love them both equally. There was also a lot of fun research in both. "Song of Eidolons" is set mainly in East Sussex and had a lot to do with well-known legends, and "Rabbits in the Garden" takes place in the 1950s on Martha's Vineyard and in Taunton State Lunatic Asylum. For someone who started out doing no research at all, I'm surprised I've gotten so into it over the years. I do sort of miss the "The Tales of Dominhydor" days when I created every single piece of history that went into the world. Although, nowadays when I work on those books, I have to research my own background stories to make sure I'm getting the history right. It'll pay off though when that series starts its release this Fall. 
 
Your books are published by a variety of publishers. Do you have any tips for how to query?
When it comes to selling your stories to publishers, you absolutely have to draw them in immediately. Try writing taglines for your story or imagine how that "In a world..." movie trailer voice actor would sell it, but don't start it with "In a world..." unless it makes sense. :) It's true I have been published by a bunch of different companies, but Reliquary Press who most recently released my novel "From the Herald's Wearied Eye" is also publishing "The Sky: The World" in Fall 2010 and "Danny Marble & the Application for Non-Scary Things". They're a newish company, but they are amazing to work with. 
 
How do you market your books?
I've definitely been utilizing social media networks like Facebook and Twitter, and I'm really just now getting into doing readings and events to promote myself. I actually can't believe how much time I wasted NOT doing those things because not only are they great exposure, but they're really fun too and you meet some amazingly talented people. I do have an Official Jessica McHugh Facebook Page, but there's a mysterious little page on Facebook for someone named Doctor Azaz that your readers might want to check out too: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Doctor-Azaz/117214701632689 All secrets will be revealed...eventually. ;)
 
Where can people find out more about you and your work?
If you want to know about Jessica McHugh and her books, well, JessicaMcHughBooks.com is the place for you!!! That felt like a fun infomercial. :) Other than that, there's my Official Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jessica-McHugh/95113167381 and you can always check out my bibliography on Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jessica_McHugh
 
Anything else you'd like to add?
I would like nothing more than to write full time. That being said, all books by Jessica McHugh are available for purchase across the internet from Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble to Fictionwise ebooks!!!! 
Seriously though, thank you so much for this opportunity, Jo. I've really enjoyed this interview, and I hope your readers have enjoyed getting to know this quirky kid with a writing callus and lots of books written for anyone who is looking for something new and compelling. THINK IN INK.



1 comment:

  1. Hurrah for multitasking! I have a callus like that too. I've always called it my "writer's bump."

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