Featured Friday! Elle Jacklee
Elle Jacklee, in her own words:
“My professional titles have included software programmer, bilingual sales rep, and proposal specialist. But my favourite title, besides wife and mother, is author. It’s the only one that lets me call daydreaming “research.” My love for the outdoors is my greatest inspiration. I live in Wisconsin with my husband and two young sons, none of whom are in a hurry to grow up, and that’s just fine with me.”
What’s your favourite part of the lifestyle of an Author?
My favourite part about being an author, particularly a fantasy author, is that my office is a short commute to whichever (imaginary) world the story I’m working on takes place.
What made you start writing?
Like most authors, I’ve always loved reading, even as a very young child. It was so much fun for me that I wanted to write stories that I hoped other people would have fun reading too. That’s just as true today as it was when I wrote my first story at seven years old. But now that I’m a grown-up (most of the time), it’s more than that. I was driven to write middle grade books in hopes that they may spark a love of reading in a child that will benefit him/her for a lifetime.
Is there an Author that you consider your inspiration?
Actually, there are many, too many to mention so I’ll just name a few: The first one was Dr. Seuss, then came C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, and Terry Brooks with many others along the way. Later there was, of course, J.K. Rowling, whose own personal story is as inspiring as her talent. And George R.R. Martin’s ability to weave so many storylines into one saga, and do it as well as he does, is not only inspiring, but it’s also proof that it’s possible to have multi-POV and still keep the reader engaged and invested if your characters are rich and fully-dimensioned.
What’s your number one tip for an aspiring Author?
Besides the usual mantra “Write! Write! Write”, I will add that some semblance of an outline is a must. For all the pantsers who are groaning out there right now, hear me out. I’m not talking about an outline that maps out every last detail and that needs to be tens of pages long. But I do firmly believe that you need to have a beginning and an end–and especially a middle!– in mind or you risk adding significant effort reworking at edit time. Also, just having a rough idea of just those three points–the beginning, middle, and end–you may even greatly reduce the dreaded “staring at a blank screen” malady. I think that if you always know where you’re headed, it’s a lot easier to get there, and the easier it becomes to plan your stops along the way, too.
What type of book do you like to read and does this differ from the genre that you prefer to write?
As you might guess of a fantasy author, I mostly read fantasy. But I do venture into other genres every now and then. When I do, it’s thrillers, steampunk, historical fiction, sometimes a cozy mystery, or even chick-lit. It all depends on my mood.
Skye, the Morphiad from my Wunderwood series. His ability to morph into any creature he has ever touched comes along with a unique perspective. I think someone like that, who could literally see things through the eyes of someone else, would have a lot of interesting things to say.
Which book do you consider a must-read?
Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss.
What’s been the hardest edit that you’ve had to make? Why did you want to keep the material in?
I cut a few scenes that were from the perspective of a character who only had those few scenes. I would have loved to keep them in because he was a bad guy, and those characters are definitely their own kind of fun to write. But I decided to cut them because the few scenes I’d given him were not enough to justify adding another perspective into the mix, and though they were fun and I think the readers would have enjoyed them, they were not necessary to the story. So I had to follow William Faulkner’s advice and “kill those darlings”.
Can you sum up your life story in ten words or less?
Creative optimist making every moment count with gratitude and joy.
What’s exciting you about your next project?
I’m working on the third installment in my Wunderwood series, which delves even more into the history of Wunderwood and the main characters’ family’s beginnings. Of course conflict is rising and stakes are higher than ever. Seeing how the characters deal with the conflict will reveal more about them, hopefully deepening the readers’ connection with them. And as always there will be some exciting surprises!
And finally, you have one quote to be remembered by, what is it?
What’s magic is real and what’s real is magic!
Elle loves connecting with readers! She would love you to get in touch any way you like. To help here are some of the easiest: