Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Jacqueline Howett Interview

Description to The Greek Seaman novel by Jacqueline Howett.

Katy is just married to Don, her Greek merchant seaman, but now she asks herself what's she's doing traveling the high seas with him. Hadn’t she gone to Greece on tour in a ballet as a dancer? Little do they know a smuggling ring is also on board for this ride on a diamond run. After hurricanes, explosions and threats to sink the ship also happen they must try to save themselves.

Getting to know the smugglers, the Arabic and Pakistani deck hands and Don, the Greek Seaman is an exciting sea adventure with enough suspense and romance that will make you laugh and cry. It will take you on a voyage to experience the magnificent soothing wonders and beautiful scenery at sea, with dolphins, flying fishes, and take you through storms and hurricanes where Katy finds herself navigating through it with a seasick crew. From Piraeus, Greece, your visit the ports of Lebanon and Libya and enjoy the exotic magic of the bazaar. The bond between Don and Katy, in their ordeal at sea makes this a memorable story.

1: What is the most productive time of the day for you to write?

The morning with a good cup of cinnamon and cayenne spiced coffee. I usually carry on until four or seven. If I’m lucky, I’ll try to fit in another session until around ten thirty and start all over again.

2: Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer? 

Laptop, but I jot down on many note pads my random thoughts. I place also the date on those notes.

3: What do you draw inspiration from?

Not sure. Whenever the spirit moves in me, I guess. I can be anywhere and I just never know what is going to trigger off.  It might be a bird in flight, the skies changing pattern or maybe a simple hello or a strong emotion, or something on the T.V.  I am just the empty vessel being used. I sit out on the porch and carry my notebook or take a mini notepad or a piece of paper and pen in my pocket and walk along the beach to reflect at times.

4: Do you set goals for yourself when you sit down to write such as word count?

     I use too. Now it’s all good just getting some down each day. I will do a word count at some point, naturally built into me now, but it’s not so much the word count anymore, it’s the flow of words that have become more important.
5: Are you a published or a self published author and how do you come up with your cover art?

I am self published under Elivlio Publishing. I do the cover art my self. Being also an abstract artist, I like to keep my book covers looking a little more arty than the usual. I use a basic graphic program and play about merging images that are my own and then distorting them. I know they could probably look more pristine, but I like them and such is art. I try to base the cover on what reflects in me the mood of the story up to a point. The girl in the book cover to The Greek Seaman is me actually, staying true to the story of being a seaman’s wife in my teens.

6:  What drives you to choose the career of being a writer? 

God knows. But I remember being about eleven on a school outing to a Museum in London and when we got to the printing machines and rubber letters under those glass cases, the hairs on the back of my neck and my body stood up, like I had some familiar but long lost connection to them, and I was the last to leave the hall like a ghost had taken me. About nine I loved listening to the children’s story hour on the radio, and much younger, I would have to read to my younger brother. Later I wrote poems and stories and at eighteen I knew I was going to write very seriously and told everyone so. After some living life in a major way and forgetting all about writing for a time, I woke up one day in bed, and said I’m a writer. I said it over and over again and jumped out of bed with excitement and went hunting for my old stories, then left the world and went off to become a hermit, writing novels, short stories, poetry, articles, Plays. I also created art and stopped listening to rock and roll for a time, and took up the violin and dabbled with the piano, Spanish guitar and flute.

7: Do you own an ebook reading device? 

Not yet, I am using the Kindle PC Apps. It still has a pink background and you can adjust the light and the flap on laptop helps also.

8: Who are some of your favorite authors and what are you reading now? 

Influences came from biographies, and many of the classics. Wordsworth, Coleridge, the Persian and Middle Eastern Poets, Kurt Vonnegut, Mary Renault, Oscar Wilde, Euripides, Henrick Ibsen, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Gustave Flaubert,  Shakespeare, Homer, Steinbeck, William Golding, H.G. Wells, D.H. Lawrence, John Milton, Shelly, Robert Lewis Stevenson, Rudyard Kipling, Daphne Dumaurier, John Paul Sartre, Hermann Hesse, E.M. Forster, Mark Twain, Charlotte Bronte, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, George Sands, Sylvia Plath, Edga Allan Poe, Chaucer, John Milton, Arthur Miller, Chekhov, Aeschylus, Euripides and Faulkner, Siddhartha, Chaucer, Hemingway’s -the old man and the sea, Kahil Gibran, Short stories of Guy de Maupassant,  Oh-so many authors I have forgotten I have read. Now I have many new books from new authors on my PC Kindle library I would like to read. I like to read a variety of fiction authors, but nothing too gory. I don’t have any real favorites at this time. It needs sorting out. It’s a new process. There’s just too many, especially now when it’s easier to know authors on Facebook or over at the Amazon forums and on their Blogs. I have books thrown at me all day. I leave that as a job for general readers. It really is a matter of personal choice.  I’m just starting to read all over again. I have three/four books I’m presently reading on my Kindle PC. Coombes Wood, by Lisa Chingley. The Apothecary’s Daughter, by Julie Klassen, Blood Ranson, by Lisa Harris, and Summer at Willow Lake by Susan Wiggs. And I have just picked up Bridge to Happiness by Jill Barnett. There are many on my to-read list at Goodreads too. I’ve got some catching up to do, and I wish I had the time to read more.

9: What do you think of book trailers and do you have any plans to have any? 

They are cool, but I don’t find myself opening them up very much when it comes to books for some reason. I have a video up at this time only with me reading excerpts from my novel and there’s a unique video I have linked to my book up on my blog giving the impression of my having a trailer. It’s by Nikos Xilouris, called, Once upon a time, translated from the Greek language. Nikos Xilouris dedicates the Greek song in the video to all Seaman’s wives. It’s perfect as a kind of trailer for me, as it shows various merchant ships or tugs in a storm at sea, Nikos’s video at sea is only a baby storm in comparison to what I experienced in a hurricane as a Seaman’s wife. I found it on YouTube next to my own video chapter excerpt from The Greek Seaman. Yeah, I might try looking into book trailers later. Right now I’m too involved in other areas of books to have an objective viewpoint on how well they fit in with the book world. I also have a video of me reading on my Smashwords page for my book. I guess if someone did a trailer for me, it would be cool. I just don’t have the time right now to focus on doing it myself, unless one twisted my arm. This story takes place at sea. I guess if someone did it a little like The Perfect Storm, or if I negotiated with Nikos to use parts of his video.

     10: How did you come up with the title of your latest book? 

      It went through a few changes with different names before finally settling on The Greek Seaman. My first husband was a Greek Chief officer/Captain and I was a once a Seaman’s wife, and that in itself speaks volumes which I will not elaborate on too much here today, as this is a work of fiction.

11: What are you working on now that you can talk about?

Cass, is what follows, and is a much longer novel. In fact, it went up to a wild figure of 375,000 words. I have since cut it down to 90,000 words. It may be two books, or one short version then a longer version. Not sure yet. I hope to publish in the winter of 2011 or at the beginning of 2012 the shorter cut version. Cass takes place in London, Paris, Egypt and Greece. How much gets cut we shall see. There are several shorts or novellas in between coming, then a third major novel that only takes place in America, I’m already 50,000 words into it, but I don’t have the title set as yet. It has been through several title changes, and then there maybe another novel entirely different after that. I have already started on it in between moments, and it has really kind of taken me. This book will flash back and forth from Tibet and America. I have also published Amorphous Angelic, Selected Poems, from its print version into an eBook, and The Secret Passion of Twins, a short story is also an eBook on Amazon- Kindle and with Smashwords. And although I wrote The Secret Passion of Twins as a short story originally, I can see it taking off also as a novel. I am working on bringing forth another poetry eBook, titled, Sands of Time. Its book cover can be viewed on my blog. And lastly there are several plays I have written that might, yet, see the light of day, a few children’s books, a cook book, and I have always wanted to do a coffee book of all my Fine abstract art. Who knows, there might be a few other surprises.
Jacqueline has been writing since a child. At sixteen Jacqueline Howett began her own travels of the world as a dancer, and at eighteen began writing living at sea while married to a Greek chief officer/Captain. After her adventures as a seaman’s wife, London, Europe & America became Jacqueline's playground.

The changing scenery in London, from the late seventies to the mid eighties with the novelty of Arabs giving out easy money while they became educated had followed, but the left over stench in the air of the Iran war made many flee to the suburbs of London or the countryside. Heavy metal bands, drugs, the AID scares and the confusing beginnings of the first computers taking over, that empted the paper shelves to discs were all part of the horrors that made her flee to the mountains and lived in a village in North Wales where she continued to edit the novel, Cass. Again, she had to flee from there, due to the Welsh politics of the time, which were burning the British bought homes. Who knew? Since 1989, she continued her writing living in the U.S.A. After living in Maine, Florida and California, she became a US citizen in Tampa, Florida, in April 1993. There after she settled in Maine for twelve years and returned to Florida to live in 2002. Jacqueline is also a Fine Abstract Artist.

 To Buy The Greek Seaman  novel – Amazon: $3.99
The Greek Seaman - Barnes and Noble.
The Greek Seaman – Smashwords. Book and a video excerpt.

My Blog with all video, tidbits and the updates:

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