Selkies' Skins

Selkies' Skins
Current book in series Temple and Skinquest. Enjoy Castle and Well from Amazon, B&N and Smashwords while waiting for that and the prequel's audiobook "Pearls of Sea and Stone: Book of Seals".

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Author Interview: Jessica Baumgartner "My Family Is Different"

Pre Interview Questions:
a) What name and gender are being used to refer to you? If they do not match your birth name and gender are you open about it? You do not have to disclose legal/birth name and gender, but if you want it mentioned you write under an assumed identity or have more than one identity you work under for this industry that can open up new lines of discussion.


b) Are you an author, poet, illustrator, editor, game writer, game creator, publisher, or multiple? If you have multiple roles in the publishing community then which ones are they? If you have multiple roles feel free to answer each question with sections for each role.

Author, poet, editor

c) What books, games, or other publishing related projects have you been involved in the production of?
Author of 2 children’s books: The Golden Rule & My Family Is Different / 1 science fiction series: Embracing Entropy (which is currently out of print and being revamped) / and numerous short stories 1 of which was featured in the Chicken Soup for the Soul Book: Inspiration for Teachers. I also do freelance editing work and assist the editor of Me First Magazine.

1. What got you interested in (writing/illustrating/editing, etc)?

I love stories. Ever since I was little I was making up my own worlds and getting people to laugh at true tales of my silliness.

2. What company or companies are you doing work for/with?

I do a lot of freelance work but my involvement with Me First Magazine has been incredibly rewarding, and my technical writing keeps the bills paid.

3. What projects are you currently working on?

I’m always juggling different manuscripts. I’ve been working on a non-fiction piece about when I moved to L.A. to be a singer for a while now, but also have a new middle grade children’s book I’m diving into, and a mad-scientist story involving a veterinarian.

4. Do you have any future projects in mind to take on?

Every day I have to fight with new ideas and see which ones stick around for future endeavors. I’m constantly scribbling down new ideas to plot, and researching non-fiction topics that matter most to me.

5. What is your favorite project?

That’s like asking which of my children I love most. I can’t choose between them. I can say that one of my newest unpublished short stories, “Forgotten Voyage,” was such a big part of me that I’m hoping it finds a home soon. It’s a classic hero story with a dark twist that poured out and reads real smooth.

6. Is this career something that you always wanted to do?

Not at all. Haha When I was really young I wanted to be a dinosaur. When I realized that probably wasn’t an option (one can still dream) I switched from veterinarian to singer to sculpter to you name it. And I worked in a lot of the fields I dreamed of. I was a veterinary assistant, a travel agent, a clothing store manager, a receptionist, and so on. All that experience piled up and pointed me in my true direction: writing.

Don’t get me wrong; I always loved writing and telling stories. I just didn’t think it would be a viable career. That was reserved for old cranky drunk men, or so stereotypes suggested. I’m glad that was wrong.

7. Do you find it difficult, or find some aspects more difficult than others?

Yes. I have sent out over 100 submissions already this year with only a few acceptances. That’s the life of a writer. The more lucrative the market, the more heartache you get, but I’m fully committed. It takes a lot of spark to keep burning through the publishing industry.

8. What is a normal day like for you? Is this your side job or main job?

My weekdays are very structured. I get up early, spend time with my kids getting them ready for the day, exercising together, and having breakfast. Then my husband takes over and I go to the office to write until my lunch break. I usually record ideas, poems, or blogs on my phone as I drive to the park to play with the kids at lunchtime. Then I come back to the office, write some more and head home to cart the little ones to practices and rehearsals and somehow squeak dinner, reading, and outside time in there. Once they go to bed I make time for the hubsy, but then I do some writing, outlining, or brainstorming.

The weekends are the opposite. Less structure, more adventure. We go hiking, swimming, camping, hit up local events, or bombard family, play music, dance, and run around having as much fun as we can. I also sneak in writing when everyone’s asleep on the weekends.

9. How do you manage balancing this with family and any other work you may have?

Very carefully. haha

10. What hobbies do you have?

I love to play guitar, sing, dance, swim, hike, garden, play with animals, pretend I can draw and try new things.

11. If you could be anything in the world besides this, what would it be?

A mermaid. Or a dinosaur. A MER-DINO!

12. Do you feel that school helped set you up toward following this path in the publishing industry?

Yes and no. In school we read some pretty standard books. Some were great, but a lot of them bored me. I hated Lord of the Flies and Romeo & Juliet. They didn’t say anything to me about myself or the world I knew. BUT I spent a lot of time in the library just closing my eyes and running my fingers over rows of books until I stopped on one. I loved that game. I would read the back and if I liked it I would check it out. I also had a couple of teachers who really encouraged my love of writing and reading. One suggested I become a writer and I laughed at the idea. How silly of me.

13. If you could go back to school is there anything you wish you had paid more attention to?

Math. It’s the language of numbers. I’m dyslexic so numbers and letters like to play tricks on me. I struggled with it pretty bad until I had a great math teacher in college. He really taught me how to train my brain and get to know numbers.

14. What advice do you have for the next generation?

That’s a hefty order. Haha I guess it would be: Read old books. Classic English Lit always revives my faith in humanity because 50, 100, 200… even 1000 years ago people were complaining about the same things: crooked politicians, the state of the education system, the future of the world, and financial woes. No matter how bad things seem, we’ll be okay.

15. What advice do you have for your age peers that may also want to take part in the publishing industry and specifically with your area within it?

Do the work. No one is ever a perfect writer. Keep learning. Go to workshops, find a mentor - surround yourself with writers, agents, and publishers. Listen to them and let your work grow. Be realistic about your goals and work hard.

16. Is there anything else that you’d like to add that we didn’t discuss?

Everyone is a writer nowadays but fewer people are reading. If you really care about literature and word art, support more authors.

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