What have you had published?
Under my real name, Jackie Papandrew, I've published two humor books called Days of Derangement and The Desperate Dad's Guide to Getting Some. These two books were based on my humor column, which ran for several years in about a dozen newspapers. Most of these newspapers were smaller, community publications, but the list included larger newspapers such as The Oklahoman and The Tampa Tribune. Under my pen name, J.D. Brick, I've published one novel so far. Tangled Up in Blue is the first in a New Adult romance series called Ikana College.
What genre(s) of book do you write?
I write humorous non-fiction and contemporary romance.
What inspired you to write your first book?
I've been writing as a journalist, technical writer and humor columnist for many years. I'd always wanted to write a novel, but somehow never got around to doing it. When my husband and I sold the business we'd spent 10 years building and my children went to college, I finally decided it was 'now or never' and sat down to do it. I've long been a romance reader and especially enjoy the New Adult category, so I decided to try my hand at it.
How long did it take you to write “Tangled Up in Blue”?
The idea first occurred to me about a year ago, but I only worked on it sporadically until about four months ago. Then I focused as much of my time and attention as possible on writing and revising it. So I'd say it took roughly four months. There were still days when I could not work on it at all, but that's a fair estimate of the time it took.
What is the working title of your next book(s)?
Shelter from the Storm is Book 2 in the Ikana College series. I'm writing that now. Book 3 is tentatively titled Never Say Goodbye. I'm also working on a work of historical fiction called Hearts on the Ground and another contemporary romance (with a main character in her 40s) called Curve.
When and why did you begin writing?
I've been a voracious reader since I learned to read. I majored in journalism in college and spent years writing all kinds of non-fiction, including news, technical and business writing, as well as the humor column I started when my children were small. I used to write stories as a child and somehow always saw myself as a writer.
Do you self publish your books or go through an agency?
I self-published my humor books and Tangled Up in Blue.
What part of writing books do you find the hardest?
The necessity of focusing solely on the writing and not being distracted by all of the others things that so easily claim my attention. Without the discipline of the daily or weekly deadlines that you have in journalism, fiction writing requires a tremendous amount of self-discipline.
What do you do in your spare time?
Read! It's my favorite thing to do. I'm also a devoted, if often unsuccessful, gardener. And I love to dance when I can get my husband to go with me. I also love spending time with family and friends.
Who is your favourite author?
That's always such an impossible question for me to answer. I discover, and re-discover, authors all the time that I fall in love with. Some of my current favorites include Anthony Doerr, Gillian Flynn and Leah Raeder. Annie Dillard and Edward Abbey are a couple of authors (both of fiction and non-fiction) I don't see mentioned very often but that I return to over and over again.
What’s your favourite genre to read?
Again a hard question to answer. I read in almost every genre and enjoy great writing wherever I can find it. But I do love historical fiction and literary fiction.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Don't do what I did and put off writing fiction for years if it's something you really want to do. Find the time, somehow. Write every day. It's the same advice you'll see over and over again, but it's so true. Just do it. And another nugget of truth that's become a cliché now, but is absolutely vital: Read. Obsessively, constantly, in a wide range of genres. Read the best writers and soak it in.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I'd like to thank you for interviewing me and to thank any readers who might see this. I'd love to hear from anyone who reads Tangled Up in Blue. Let me know what you think.