Saturday, May 26, 2012

Author Interview with Jools Sinclair

Hello, Friends!

It is my great, great honor to have author Jools Sinclair stop by the blog today. Jools is the author of the hugely popular 44 series, which takes place in Bend, OR. Her books are INCREDIBLE. If you haven’t read them yet, you can get the first one for free HERE.

Author Interview with Jools Sinclair:

You recently came out with Book 4 in the 44 series, how do you manage to keep the books so fresh and exciting?

Thank you, Allison! As I’m writing the 44 books, there still is a fresh energy to them as I think about the plot and write the dialogue and figure out what the characters are going to do in a particular story.  At this point, nothing seems boring to me or repetitive. It’s great to hear that readers think that too!. Abby’s story is still unfolding, and as long as that is happening, I think it keeps the series interesting. Plus all the new characters add an element of fun or mystery.

How do you continue to write those explosive endings? I feel like you get me every time.

That makes me smile! One of the things I try to do as a writer is keep the reader off balance a little. I know that when I read or watch movies,  that is the state I love and hope to be in. I don’t want to know what’s going to happen and I love being surprised. I love twists and turns and it’s always a goal in my writing to be able to take my readers for a fun ride.Tell me where we find Abby in the fourth book, and where you see her down the line in the rest of the series. In Book 4, Abby is back in Bend and busy creating a life, but by the end of the book she has also made a decision about how she sees herself in her world and who she is. I love that part of Book 4. I don’t want to say too much more, but it’s a pivotal part in her character development. I think as the series progresses, she’ll get stronger and stronger regarding who she is and what she brings to the world.

What inspired you to write the 44 series?

That’s a great question and I’m not really sure how to answer that fully. Bend, Oregon was an inspiration because I wanted to base a series here. I love living here and it’s an amazing setting. Perfect in a lot of ways.

Also, I’ve always been attracted to stories about psychic abilities, ghosts, and paranormal events, either in books or movies or TV shows. I love those types of stories so much and I’m sure they’ve inspired me over the years.

And finally, I guess having had one or two strange occurrences over the years was a bit of inspiration as well.

I’ve noticed that Abby has a very cool music (and movie!) taste. What kind of music do you listen to when you write? Does it play a big role in your writing?

Abby really does have cool music taste and I get A LOT of help with that! Haha! I have some peeps who are really into music and I rely on their expertise. And then, after they suggest something, I’m like, “Wow, that was incredible,” and I start listening nonstop. Case in point: Florence +the Machine, which is my new favorite. WOW, Florence is incredible and her music influenced 44 Book 4 a great deal. Because music seeps into the soul and influences areas that you can’t reach in other ways, I think it’s important to listen to it when I write. I can’t always write with lyrics though. When I’m in the first draft, and struggling, I find myself listening to the song playing instead of the words in my head. But when I’m hooked into the story and doing other drafts, I can listen to anything and everything and I do.

In Book 3, because it’s basically Nathaniel Mortimer’s story, I listened to opera and flamenco music. Nathaniel is very cultured, very serious, and I found that listening to his music put me in his mind and helped quite a lot, especially when it came to his dialogue.

In Book 4, I listened to music that Abby listens to, but later I found that a lot of Florence’s lyrics pertain also to the ghost story that presents itself in the book. In fact, it creeped my out a bit when I realized that so many of her lyrics and songs apply to the ghost story in Book 4, as well as to the 44 series in general.

At what point did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I was about five years old and had written a story about a dragon that the teacher loved and I was so excited about it and her response that I knew I wanted to be a writer then. Ha! I haven’t always written all these years, but growing up, being a successful writer was always my dream. It’s incredible to see it coming true.

What other authors have inspired you?

There are so many amazing authors out there and each one for a different reason. I tend to love writers that make me feel something. The genre doesn’t matter, although the only thing I really don’t like is Science Fiction. Everything else, if it’s written beautifully and it tells an interesting story, I’m in.  

What’s your creative process like? How does the book come to life?

This is such a great question, Allison! This is my process and it never seems to change.I get a few ideas and start thinking about them and talking about them. Sometimes something will strike me, a person I’ve met or a conversation I overheard. Or I’ll have a line that runs around in my head for days. 44 was like that. The line “I know I’m lucky” kept repeating itself in my head over and over and over while I was working on another story. I knew it wasn’t from any of the characters I was writing about at the time, and knew it was for a new book. It haunted me until I wrote it down and promised it I’d get back to it!

Then I sit down for that first draft. Ugh! Hard, hard stuff for me. During this time, I’m forcing everything. Forcing the plot, the characters, the scenes. I want to run from my computer, go clean the house or watch a movie or go for a walk or shop. It’s very hard to sit and write through this part. But…if I stick with it long enough, if I keep chasing that story, which mainly means putting in the hours, then something very magical happens. The story stops running away, turns around, and walks toward me. Suddenly I’m in the flow and the story weaves together, the characters write their own lines. It’s simply magic and one of the most amazing things. This is the time where the twists come in, and the surprise endings materialize, and the characters define themselves. From this point, I’m able to easily work 14 hour days and I often do up through the end until publication.

Bend, Oregon plays such a major role in your books. What are your favorite things to do there?

 Hiking the Green Lakes trail in September, kayaking down the Deschutes River through Old Mill, sitting outside Greg’s Grill in the summer with a tropical drink in hand, strolling along the downtown shops on an  art walk, eating an incredible Italian meal at Trattoria Sbandati, canoeing up at Hosmer Lake, snowshoeing around Mt. Bachelor, hiking along the river trail, wandering around the desolate Badlands, watching the fireworks on July 4th on Pilot Butte, hanging out drinking beer at Ten Barrel or Deschutes Pub, taking long walks up and down the hills of Awbrey Butte.

I love it here.

What advice would you give to other authors writing a young adult series?

Follow your bliss. It’s the best advice I’ve ever heard (Joseph Campbell) and it applies to everything.

If you’re a writer, make sure you love it and that it’s your bliss. Make sure that you love the process, that you love your characters. That your plot gives you goose bumps, that your scenes make your stomach drop in the middle of the night when you think about them. That you shake when write those emotional scenes. That you feel something very special, very intense, very satisfying deep down after putting in a long day with your words.If those things are happening for you, if you are following your bliss by being a writer, then you’re on that golden path and you’re already there. No advice needed. You have it. And you will succeed.

You are my hero, Jools! Thanks so much for stopping by!


  1. Thanks again, Allison! Your blog ROCKS and I had so much fun stopping by!

  2. I am a big fan of the 44 series, I am always ready and waiting for the next book in the series to appear on Amazon. The characters are great and the stories twists and turns are amazing.

    I am a big fan of Jools and her writing style, so much so that I recently contacted her for any advice she would have for a new writer. She was quick to respond with encouraging words. I was ecstatic to see her name pop up in my inbox!

    I found this interview to be inspiring and eerily similar to the emotions that I experienced while working on my book, it brings me immense joy to know that I am on the right track.

    Jools, Thank you for this incredible series, I am ever on the edge of my computer chair waiting for the next piece to arrive!


    1. Hi Stephanie -- thank you so much for stopping by my blog! I am so glad you enjoyed the interview. I also found Jools very inspirational! Her books are so great, and I loved what she had to say in particular about writing and following your bliss.

      Thanks again for stopping by, and happy writing!