JACKIE CASTLE: YOUNG READERS ARE LOOKING FOR AN EXPERIENCE
Posted by Ognian Georgiev
Jackie Castle is our next guest. She is a teacher, who wrote “The white road Chronicles”. Her last book Caprtures was just published so we will take a closer look on it. Something more, Jackie is the perfect person to ask about the kids and their love of reading, because she works with them daily. Enjoy!
– Jackie, what is your last book Captured (A White Road Tale Novela Book 1) about?
– Captured is the first of three novellas in the White Road Tales prequel series…
When Tarek’s family is taken prisoner by the conniving, self-proclaimed King of Racah, they make a pact to lay low and do whatever is necessary to survive until they devise an escape.
Despite Tarek’s efforts to follow his parent’s orders, he has no choice but to save the Princess from making a life-threatening mistake. And despite his best efforts, he can’t help when he loses his heart to the enchanting and lonely Princess. Unfortunately, Tarek is in danger of losing more than just his heart. He might lose everything if their secret is found out.
– How you decide to write the story?
– Captured is my first attempt at writing a novella. I wanted to try my hand at writing a short piece. They don’t take long and are easier to edit and get ready for publication compared to a full length novel. I decided to write this particular story to go along with my novel series, A White Road Chronicles which now has three books published. There should be a total of five or six.
– What was the biggest challenge during the write up process?
– Keeping track of the different story lines, especially once I go into different points of views in the latter books of the novel series. Along with that, editing is a big pain. I get so fussy with this part, it seems to drag on forever before I feel ready to hit the publish button. Then after, I still find mistakes. It’s maddening.
– Tell us something more about your main character? Is it close to someone from your real life?
– I’m not sure where Tarek came from. At first, I wasn’t going to keep him in the series, but then he kept popping up and soon began to take on a strong personality. So he gets to stay. For now.
– How much time you need to finish the story and to publish it?
– Wish I could actually get a book done in a month like some authors boast about, but that’s simply not realistic for me. I like to eat and see the sunshine. And shower, and stuff. So, with that said, I’m doing well to get a novel length books written and done in four months. In between these I like to write short fiction and enter flash fiction stories to keep things fun.
– Your The White Road Chronicles are very popular; please describe the three books of the series that are already published and do you plan some more?
– Think Wizard of Oz meets Narnia and you have the gist of The White Road Chronicles. There is a spiritual element to the series similar to Narnia, if the reader chooses to see it, but the story itself is about Alyra’s journey to freedom and finding out who she really is.
Alyra makes friends during her journey home which includes a warrior, a centaur and a wisdom keeper. Each friend helps her along on her way. The proceeding books deal with her and her friends embarking on their own quest and learning how to use their talents.
I love the world of Alburnium and have grown to adore each character. The stories are fun, yet I think deep enough for people to find a take-away value in them. I’m planning for there to be at least five books, and the novellas.
– Who are you?
– Great question. I’m a wanderer, who is getting through this life, chasing my dreams and doing what I love the most in this world which is writing. I’ve wanted to do this since I was in elementary school and now I am. I couldn’t be happier and I love where my own path is taking me at the moment.
– What are your writing habits?
– I get up early in the morning and after checking email and doing a bit of social network/ goofing off, I settle down to write while my mind is fresh. I’ve just went through a major life change by taking on the care of my elderly mother, so I’ve had to start working around her schedule a bit. But I did it when my children were little. I wrote when they slept and learned to not let circumstance dictate my creativity.
I want to be a writer, which means I have to write. So I do.
– Are you satisfied by the sales of the book and do you plan another one?
– Well, Captured just came out and people are used to the novels, so sales haven’t quite taken off yet. But the series is doing well, though I’m eager to see the books continue to prosper. I understand this isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. I’ve taken the route that requires a lot of work and great patience and I’m good with that. Still, I’m happy to see my sales steadily increasing each month.
– What are you doing to promote by the best possible way your book?
– What I’ve found works best so far for me is to blog … unfortunately, I’m way behind on this because of life circumstances beyond my control. And I’ve found, my sales have sagged a little. Blogging, talking about what’s going on with my books on my social networking sites, sharing bits of dialogue or a favorite line I wrote that day, these things seem to keep up interest in my stories.
I also do paid advertising, but reserve those for when my sales are down a little.
– You are a teacher, what is your opinion on current educational system in USA?
– I wish we’d ease up on teaching to the standardized testing. There’s a lot I’d like to see done a bit differently, but over-all, teachers work hard and those I’ve worked with in the past really do have a heart to help students succeed. What we need most is more good teachers who are gifted in engaging children.
– Why the young kids prefer to play on computers instead of reading books?
– Well, a lot of kids love the computer games, but there are still many who love to read. That’s why I write for a younger age group. They are die-hard fans for the books they love and I think that’s awesome.
Maybe if we could add a joy stick and some noises to books, then those who love the computer games would read more, I don’t know. As Indie writers, we have to opportunity to think outside the box, to try things that publishers aren’t willing to invest money in. I’m thrilled to see how books for youngsters are more interactive. I love finding mid-grade books that offer websites where readers can explore more about the story world and characters. What J. K. Rowling is doing over at Potterworld is simply amazing.
Readers, especially young readers, are looking for an experience. As writer’s we need to continually brainstorm and tryout new ways we can engage readers. I also host a book blog where I introduce newer books for children and even teens. I don’t review books, I look for activity ideas parents and teachers can use to help children become more engaged in the stories they read.
We need to find ways to keep reading fun, to make our stories a fun experience readers will want to explore more and return to often. I’m always open to new ideas if anyone has any. =)
– You are saying that “you are looking for the extraordinary in the ordinary”. What is the last extraordinary thing that you witnessed?
– I find sunsets extraordinary. I find when I plant a garden and actually get produce in return it’s simply amazing. I lost my wallet during my vacation and the person who found it was willing to mail it to my home, and actually did. I was staggered by that, just as I was when my mother was in the hospital and I’d made a joke on facebook asking if pizza places delivered to the ER because I was hungry. Soon after my phone was blown up by people willing to make the drive to bring me something to eat at 9:30 in the evening.
There’s a lot of bad in this world, but real bravery is taking on the challenge to purposefully find the good- and it’s there, I promise. Even if the good is something as simple as a child bringing you a flower because they thought it was pretty and they like you, or someone offering you change when you don’t have enough for the soda machine. We encounter the extraordinary every single day, but often overlook it in our rush to get through this life.
Anyway, that’s what I think. =)
Interested in her books? Well, you may order them below
Illuminated: Book One (The White Road Chronicles 1)
Luminosity: Book Two (The White Road Chronicles 2)
Emanate: Book Three (The White Road Chronicles 3)