Sunday, December 2, 2012

Interview and Giveaway with Jacoba Dorothy

Can you tell readers a little bit about yourself and what inspired to write in this particular genre?

My pen name is Jacoba Dorothy. I am a mother, wife and work part time as a teacher. I live in Canberra, Australia’s bush capital, which is freezing in winter, but a lot more pleasant than a lot of other places, in the heat of summer.

When I first began writing I was drawn to the YA genre, as it is the one that captures my interest the most. I enjoy writing through the eyes of a young adult, as it allows you to revisit the complexities of life at an earlier age, when life is just beginning and the future it yet to be determined. There always seems to be an element of hope and optimism in most YA novels which I find refreshing and satisfying as a reader, and now as a writer.

What inspired you to write this book?

My nan, who lived in England, and whom I only met once in my life, gave me a book of poems by Alfred Lord Tennyson, when I was a teenager. I loved the Lady of Shalott poem and learnt it off by heart. So years later, I used that as my inspiration for writing the Eternal Curse Trilogy.

 I love the mystery of the poem. The fact The Lady of Shalott is cursed but doesn’t know by who, or why. I’m also captivated by the mystique and sadness of her life—being trapped away from society. A life only lived through watching a reflection of the world. As a writer, I found all of those themes fascinating to explore in a contemporary young adult novel.

Please tell us about your latest release.

Reflections, is the first book in the Eternal Curse series. It is a story about two sisters who are cursed by their aunt, to determine who will be the next sorceress in their family. Only one can be chosen, and in making that choice, one sister will be isolated, no one will be able to love her, while the other will live a life not being able to love anyone. This first book is written from my main character Jo’s point of view as she uncovers the truth about the curse and her family and attempts to make everything right again.

Do you have a special formula for creating characters' names? Do you try to match a name with a certain meaning to attributes of the character or do you search for names popular in certain time periods or regions?

I actually used the Lady of Shalott poem as the inspiration for some of the characters names, but mostly I used names that I like. For example, James is my son’s middle name and Jack is my son’s actual name.

What is your favorite scene from the book? Could you share a little bit of it, without spoilers of course?

My favourite scene comes near the end, so I won’t share that, as it would be a spoiler. However my next favourite scene is this one.  This is from chapter seventeen. Jo, my main character is listening in on a conversation between James, the boy she likes, and his friend Tobias.

There was a pause before Tobias continued. “How about you, James? Seen anyone over the holidays?”
Another pause and Jo’s throat constricted.
“Not really…”
Not really!!!!
“… I took an old school friend out a few times while I was home but she still liked an old boyfriend in London. So I left things until she sorts herself out.”
Jo clenched the bench while her stomach twisted in knots.
“What if she ditches him? Will you pursue it?”
“Not sure. She’s easy on the eye and I fancied her for a bit when we were at school.”
Jo froze to the spot, the pounding of her heart, blocking out any more of their conversation. An uneasy feeling coursed through her body, making her nauseous.
James mentioned going for drinks with an old school friend when they talked the other day, but she didn’t put it together. Of course James has someone and why would he tell me? He just sees me as a friend. Didn’t he just say that the other day? Why would he think of me any other way?
Jo wrestled with her rational voice but couldn’t stop her reaction. For the first time in her life she’d entertained the thought of liking someone and fantasized they might actually reciprocate. So stupid!
Jo tried to divert her thoughts to making dinner. Mindlessly she shoved pots aside until she finally found a large pot in the back of the cupboard. She pulled it out and banged it on the stove. Next she rummaged through the bags of groceries, not sure what she needed anymore, she just wanted to be busy. The onions had to be sautéed first, so she got them out and began to peel one. It only took the first layer of brown skin, before her eyes began to water. The tears fell unchecked. She put her head back, squeezed her eyes tight and tried to stem the flow.

With the book being part of a series, are there any character or story arcs, that readers jumping in somewhere other than the first book, need to be aware of? Can these books be read as stand alones?

For those that have read a portion of the second book, Shadows, I’ve been told the story can be read and understood, without reading the first. However, I did write the series as a continuing story, not three different stories using the same characters.  Although challenging, I hope I’ve achieved a good balance between catching readers up in the second book, without rehashing too many details.  I guess time will tell when I start getting feedback on the next book. As for the third one, it really does need to be read after the second one and wouldn’t work as a stand-alone book.

Do any of your characters have similar characteristics of yourself in them and what are they?

I’ve been told by a few friends that Jo and I share characteristics. I do like to immerse myself in books, and I was very shy as a teenager, but I certainly wasn’t isolated like Jo.  I had a lot of very nice friends growing up. As for first love, well it was nothing like Jo and James. I didn’t meet mine until I was well into my twenties.

Do you write in different genres?

I would like to. I am half way through another fantasy at the moment, a spoof on an old and well-loved fairy tale.  I have also started writing a fictionalized memoir of my son who has Down Syndrome. I’d love to write a contemporary romance, and maybe when I get really clever I’d love to write a thriller. All things to look forward to. I think it’s good to stretch the writing muscles and dabble in other genres.

When did you consider yourself a writer?

I suppose, on the release of this first book. I certainly see being called a writer different to being called an author.  I heard Stephen King say, when you earn enough to pay your first light bill, you can consider yourself an author. Well I haven’t achieved that goal yet, so something else to look forward to.

What was the last amazing book you read?

I’ve read some really good books, but one of the most amazing novels I’ve read recently would have to be, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne. A very disturbing but very clever YA book. Last year I read The Messenger by Markus Zusak which I absolutely loved, and it’s on my, all time best reads, and must read again, book list.

What can readers expect next from you?

Well, of course the next two books to in the Eternal Curse Trilogy. Shadows should be out in the near future and hopefully Enlightenment will be out sometime next year to conclude the series. And it does conclude, there won’t be any more after the third one, although my niece wanted me to write a fourth one.  I am also half way through writing a spoof on an old classic fairytale called Cold Grey. So, lots on the go at the moment.

Would you like to leave readers with a little teaser or excerpt from the book?

I’d love to. This is from the second chapter:

Jo took a deep breath and sank onto the floor examining her ring over and over. She’d only recently made the decision to wear it on her finger rather than on a chain around her neck. Now she debated if that was such a good idea. She closed her eyes, unable to stop the memories, as a sequence of flashbacks clouded her mind…

Nine years old, sitting on the swing, reading … Kicking her feet into the dirt to rock back and forth … Pulling her ring from where it lay hidden beneath her clothes … Feeling the cold surface of the smooth stone and admiring its layers of purple colouring.
Her attention diverted by the sound of tyres skidding on gravel … a blue delivery van speeding toward the gates … their new puppy, Baxter, racing out the open front door into the path of the oncoming van … Leaping off the swing and throwing her book …
Being frozen to the spot … gripping her ring, pressing even tighter, feeling the cold smooth stone twist away from the silver base … squeezing her eyes shut, bracing for the squeals from her puppy … then … nothing … only a deafening whirring sound, getting louder, and louder.
Forcing her eyelids open … everything moving so fast … Blinking, blinking again as the blue van sped backwards out the driveway … her puppy bounding backwards into the house …
Swaying … grabbing the tree trunk, feeling the sharp edges cut into her hand. Then everything so still …
Running to the house … slamming the front door.
The delivery van speeding up the road seconds later … Baxter safe, scratching on the inside of the front door, whimpering …

Even now, eight years later, it made her pulse race and her stomach churn. As a child it had terrified her and now it seemed like a dream or an over-active imagination. But she knew it wasn’t.

Thanks for having me. Cheers.
Here are some links

Book Trailer for Reflections:

November 30 Guest blog
Reviewing in Chaos   

December 2 Interview
Fang-tastic Books

December 3 Promo

December 4 Guest blog
All Things Paranormal

December 5 Interview
Roxanne’s Realm

December 6 Guest blog
Nomi’s Paranormal Palace

December 7 Guest blog
The Creatively Green Write at Home mom

December 9 Promo

December 11 Interview
Books in the Hall -  

December 12 Promo
Sapphyria's Book Reviews

December 13 Interview and promo

December 14 Guest blog
Lisa’s World of Books

Eternal Curse Series Book One
Jacoba Dorothy

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Taylor Street Books

ISBN: 13: 978-1480058040
ASIN:   B009NY724G

Number of pages: 272
Word Count: 74,621

Cover Artist: Tim Hewtson

Book Description: 

Jo doesn’t know why she inherited a magical ring.

She doesn’t know why her father abandoned her when she was a baby, or the truth about her mother’s death.

Jo doesn’t know a lot about her past. But she’s about to find out.

Nearing her eighteenth birthday, she’s about to discover what really happened to her father all those years ago.

She’s on a new path, a path including her first love, a path that will lead to the truth about a family secret held for generations.

Jo’s about to face her first real challenge. ‘Reflections’ part one, is just the beginning.

About the Author:

Jacoba Dorothy lives in Canberra, the bush capital of Australia. She is the mother of two and works part time teaching children with English as an additional language. Most days she can be found bashing away at the computer, either writing, editing, reviewing great books or face-booking. Oh and of course balancing her time to make sure she give special attention to her husband and family.

The Eternal Curse trilogy is her debut series, the second in the series, Shadows, should be released later this year. And the third installment, sometime next year. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Debby said...

I am always looking for great books for my daughter. I am going to pass this one on to her.
debby236 at gmail dot com

laurie said...

I am always looking for great books for my younger cousins. I am going to pass this one on to them.

Anonymous said...

This book looks good. Jo seems like a good character and I can't wait for books 2 and 3.
steph 0828 at hotmail dot com

Anonymous said...

What a super interview. It's always good to hear about the author of a book, what makes them tick and how they come up with their ideas.
Best of luck with the trilogy.
Must say, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, made me sad.


Anonymous said...

enjoyed the book and it was interesting to hear more about the inspiration of the Author. Just goes to show how the simple gift of a book can go beyond the person who receives it

Jacoba Dorothy said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone.
I enjoyed answering the questions and reflecting on my writing journey.
Cheers once again for having me on your blog. x

bn100 said...

The book sounds interesting.

Sal said...

I have to say that, although I wouldn't normally got for this, this has really peeked my interest.