Today is a day of firsts and seconds. First we have our first Get Jack’d three way with two of my favorite indie authors: The Queen of Darkness and Fire (Shea MacLeod) and the Queen of Witches (Heather Marie Adkins). Where should I start? Should I just swoon, being among such insanely amazing talent? Here’s what I should do – stop yammering and start discussing!
JW: Let’s just get wild up in here, toss out all the rules, and play like we own this bitch. I wanna start by saying having friends like you in the crazy indie world makes this ride amazing. I can’t imagine tackling such a giant without you. They say inspiration can come from any source, but what they never knew about that was when you put together the hearts, minds, and souls of writers the powerful force created is unstoppable.
Imagination is not only a powerful force, it’s an amazing tool and one I find so few people take advantage of. In a strange, twisted sense, I was lucky that my childhood was so filled with trauma and drama as it caused me to spend a good amount of time alone. That time alone worked those memory muscles like a bad actor working a prop. And now, as an adult, my imagination is constantly at work. Many non-writing peers look at me as immature, childish at times, or (when I’m working my “horror muscles”) just plain wrong. But that’s what happens when you try to force a square peg into round hole.
SM: I couldn’t agree more, Jack! Friends like you and the lovely Heather make this journey truly extraordinary.
Imagination seems a short commodity these days. I remember when I was about 6, the vacuum tubes (whoa, dating myself!) in our TV blew. Right in the middle of the original Battlestar Galactica (I was so in love with Apollo). ACK! Tragedy. Worst of it was, my dad refused to replace either the vacuum tube or the TV so, horror of horrors, NO TV!
I was already very much a book lover, but my reading ratcheted into high gear. And with it, my imagination. Oh, the stories I’d come up with in my head. The adventures I’d live. In fact, it got to the point where my parents worried I’d lose touch with reality. Lol
Unfortunately, that has yet to happen. 😉 My head may be in the clouds, but my feet are still firmly in the corner. And if anybody tries to stick this girl in a round hole, well, like the movie says: “Nobody puts Baby in a corner.”
HM: Imagination is definitely not something I’ve ever had in short supply. I spent my time home alone from age 10 to 16. My mom is a police officer and had taken a mid-watch position at that point in my life. She’d always been really overprotective—I wasn’t allowed outside. No one was allowed at the house while she was gone. Just me and the puppy. But, it wasn’t too terrible, because it was at ten years old that I started to write. I’ve never cared for television, and there’s only so much Super Mario Brothers a girl can play… 😉
I wrote my first novel. About a girl who runs away from home with a strange guy. They have a lot of sex. The conclusion that I draw from it now is that I was completely messed up in the head. And possibly still am, which is why I still write about sex. And death. (Excuse me, Freud is knocking.)
Sometimes, it really does feel like we’re unstoppable in the indie world. When people come together, like we’ve done in the Indie Eclective, more happens. More good juju. More mojo. More… words with the letter “J”. There is something absolutely priceless about having people to turn to when the going gets rough or the sales skyrocket. It’s nice to know there are others who are going through the same things, feeling the same emotions—because let’s face it: writers are completely neurotic.
JW: What? Me? Neurotic?I’m okay. I’m okay. I’m okay. Sorry, had to say it three times or I wouldn’t be okay. Unfortunately, TV has always been that ubiquitous “thing” I called upon when my brain needed to be shut down. I spend every waking hour of the day cranking my brain up to eleven – without a means to shut it down, I’d be wearing a pink straight jacket (with black piping and buckles) in a goose-down room. My primary means of shutting the ol’ thinker down requires me to be on my bike zipping around the trails. That’s not always an option and so TV becomes the next in line.
And besides – without TV there would have been no Buffy and without Buffy, there would have been no Firefly. That, my lovelies, is a sad, sad world I want nothing to do with.
One of the issues surrounding indie authors that ALWAYS shocks me is how many are out there that don’t seem to get it. This is a vast ocean we are in and if we spend our time paddling with one arm and pointing at only ourselves with the other, we’re going down. We need one another to survive. The way I see it is that the indie movement is only as strong as its weakest link. If we want to survive, really survive, then we need to help one another – not just say “Like me!” over and over and over and over and over. When I was asked to join the Indie Eclective, I could not have been more thrilled. Not only was I being asked to join an amazingly talented group of writers, I was being accepted as one of their peers. Wow…what a smack in the face with a satin, elbow-length glove!
SM: Jack, have you been in my closet again?
I admit I love TV, like whoa. Some of my best ideas come from TV. One of my WIPs was inspired by a Discovery Channel episode about 2000 year old Caucasian mummies found in China (long before white people were supposed to be there). But don’t think I’m all cerebral and stuff. Um, no. I, too, have a weakness for all things Buffy and Firefly. Wants I should quote you some Mal? No? Sigh.
But I digress (again).
I truly believe the key to my sanity as a writer (as well as a great deal more inspiration) has been the fabulous people I’ve met on my journey. Writers like Dave Gaughran, Mark Williams, LM Pruitt, and most especially my lovely, lovely peeps at the Indie Eclective.
Being a writer can be a lonely thing. I think it’s critical to have people around you, both physically and in the aether, who support you, cheer you on and for whom you can do the same. It feeds your soul.
What I really wish is that I could meet you all in person. So, I’ve set my Evil Minions working on a teleportation device so we can have coffee together. They assure me it will be ready within the next 100 years or so.
HM: 100 years? Negative. You must to get Evil Minions working harder and faster. I needs to meet Shea. And please—you guys took that pink straight jacket from Michael Jackson’s closet, don’t lie.
It is amazing how lonely it is to be a writer. Like Shea mentioned recently in an interview, we spend so much time inside our own minds that we forget the real world needs our attention too. I can’t imagine trying to write with a family; it’s hard enough with a boyfriend, even when he’s so patient with me while I’m actively ignoring him.
Do you ever feel like you’re two different people? Not in a the-voices-in-my-head-say-so way, but meaning, I am the Heather in reality—with a family, friends, job, pets, etc. But then, I am also the Heather online—with a separate set of friends and another career. It doesn’t mean that online-Heather is a different person than offline-Heather, but that it FEELS separate. Or am I the only one wearing this kind of straight jacket?
Speaking of without TV (and I agree, a world minus Buffy and Firefly would be horrific)—I do believe I have found my NEW Buffy. “Once Upon A Time”, anyone? Beautiful. Compelling. AMAZING. In every decade, there is a chosen one… It alone is show that Heather obsesses over…
JW: It is a lonely life. I get so lost in my head and in the worlds I’ve created it can be a bit scary. I think about either what I’m writing or what I’m going to write next all the time. Inspiration comes from everywhere and everything so I feel like I have to be tuned into that self all the time – just in case. Thankfully there are people in my life that understand not only how this whole writer thing works, but how I work. I’m a bit loony. I look through a very dark lens most of the time – a lens that would frighten most people. Those around me have, mostly, grown used to it. Fortunately, for them, I don’t share everything…otherwise they’d be joining me on this sinister hayride.
Current television that I obsess over? Well, there’s:
- True Blood
- Big Bang Theory
- American Horror Story
- The Walking Dead
Sure there are other shows I like, but they don’t actually fit into my “obsessed” list. Personally, I want a television channel dedicated strictly to sci-fi and horror. What TV really needs? A series based on Shero. Now THAT would be fabulous viewing.
But then … I’m loony. Probably certifiably so.
SM: Loony? Yeah, you and me both, Jack. And most definitely certifiable. Freud would have a heyday in my head. Did I ever tell you about the time I dreamed of Vampires from Outer Space? No? Well … oh, I’ll leave that for another day, another book.
Didn’t we have one of those scifi/horror channels? I believe it was called the Sci Fi Channel. Until big business got its sticky fingers in the pot and decided they’d make more money doing reality TV. (Back away from the soapbox.)
I haven’t seen Once Upon a Time. Apparently the UK hasn’t seen fit to bring it over. Grr. But, I’ve got a few other current TV obsessions. The Walking Dead, Bones, Fringe, and True Blood are definitely among them. I’m saving The Walking Dead episodes so I can have a marathon. I also nom over Drop Dead Diva, Criminal Minds, and Terra Nova. I know, I threw a bit of a wrench in there with Diva. All this hard-core scifi/crime and I toss in a glittery, feel-good, girly show. What’s that about?
Well, because there are many sides to the Queen of Fire and Darkness. 😉 And one of them is Glitter-tastic. I love that Drop Dead Diva is all about embracing yourself as you are. No excuses. No changing to meet others’ expectations. I love that the message that comes across loud and clear is that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. Something I try to get across in my books.
Which sort of brings me back to the two separate Shéa’s. 😉 Oh, yeah, definitely. I’m a total introvert with extrovert tendencies. I’m wickedly dark and sparkly bright. I’m snarky and loving. A head-in-the-clouds writer and a feet-on-the-ground pragmatist. None of us are just one thing. That’s what makes life so much darn fun. That and the voices. 😉 Ahem.
It’s so easy to get lost in the worlds inside my own head or online with my writer peeps. When you find someone who really “gets” you, it’s pure magic. And I definitely have found my own little village who “gets” me.
There is a real world out there, however, and I draw as much inspiration from it as I do from TV shows or my own brain. Kabita Jones (From my SUNWALKER SAGA) is a real person. Well, her name isn’t Kabita Jones, but that character was drawn from someone I know. Personality, mannerisms, everything. There’s a scene in Kissed by Fire totally inspired by my visit to Hadrian’s Wall with my mom and dad (In fact, it was my dad who suggested the scene. Go, Dad!).
And, heck. I live in LONDON! Who wouldn’t get inspired by that? Every location I’ve set my books in, so far, has been somewhere I’ve visited. So, travelling for me is like breathing. Just as long as I have my phone along so I can stay in touch with my peeps! 😉
Also, I’m cracking the whip over the Evil Minions. They’ve cut the time scale on the teleportation device to 20 years. We’re “discussing” the matter.
HA: I’d give anything to travel more. Unfortunately, oil prices have skyrocketed and flights from the US to anywhere outside of the US have reached epic proportions. Once you’re IN Europe, it’s cheaper to get around there—it’s just making that first ocean crossing that knocks a thousand bucks from your wallet.
Travel is a great way to find inspiration. I kept a detailed journal of my exploits during the month I backpacked Ireland and it is going to be turned into a Young Adult novel next year 🙂 I’d love to do more travel and keep more journals, but alas, poor. I can’t currently afford even a vacation to Indiana, much less overseas. Life is not good at the moment.
I always have this nagging feeling that there is something better for me. Somewhere else I am meant to be, something else I am meant to do. I have so much unhappiness wrapped up in my job and I feel so stagnant in the city where I was born and raised. I don’t want to stay here—hell, I want to live in Ireland, but that’s probably never going to realistically happen. So at this point… Anywhere but here.
JW: I find getting lost in the worlds inside my head is so much safer and more enjoyable than is the real world. Besides, in that world inside are people like you, who beg for me to come out and play – straight-jacket and all.
SM: Heather, take it from someone who knows, you’ll be surprised at where life leads you. I never imagined I’d end up living in London. Yet, here I am. If I’ve learned anything, never say never. And Jack, us straight-jacket types exist in the real world, too. You should come out and play more often. 😉
HA: I probably would still be stuck in my mind-world if not for the Indie Eclective 🙂 Nothing could be more amazing than having friends like Shea and Jack! Now, to figure out how steal their straight jackets…