It is my great pleasure to welcome Jordan Hallak of JordanElizabethBooks.com today.
Hello, I’m so glad to meet you! Tell us a bit about you where are you from and other than writing what else do you enjoy?
I’m from Central New York. Other than writing, I love photography and painting. I’m not too good at either of them, but I still love to practice.
How did you start writing? What was your inspiration to create?
I have told stories for as long as I can remember. I’ve always been so passionate about books and reading them made me want to create my own stories to share with the world.
Who is your favorite author, is there anyone out there that inspires you?
My favorite author is Maria V. Snyder. She’s an inspiration to me and a beautiful person. After reading her novel POISON STUDY, I emailed her about how much I adored it. She actually answered! Since then, we have communicated regularly. She’s helped me to navigate the publishing world and we’ve even gotten to do an author event together.
What genre do you enjoy reading? What’s your favorite book and why?
I will read anything I can get my hands on! Right now I’m into young adult historical fiction. My favorite book is POISON STUDY. The characters and setting are captivating. I’m fascinated by the job of a poison taster.
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
I think more about how I will market my books and I’m more worried about what people will think. I used to write for the joy of writing, and now I find myself second-guessing a lot of scenes.
If you’ve published a series, what is the series about?
I currently have two series out. One, Treasure Chronicles, is about an alternate Wild West. A young man named Clark drinks a potion he thinks is absinthe, but it gives him the ability to raise the dead. The other series, Return to Amston, features the same setting as in the Treasure Chronicles, but each book stars a new character and a standalone plot.
What was it like creating back to back stories that link?
I wrote all of the Treasure Chronicles in a row. I didn’t want to forget what the characters felt like or create any discrepancies in the setting.
Have you ever thought about writing in a different genre? If you could what genre would you like to dabble in?
I would like to write contemporary romance. So many people romantic books and use them as their get-away.
What has been your most proud moment as an author?
At a book signing, a little girl (not even my intended audience) came up to me to say how much she loved ESCAPE FROM WITCHWOOD HOLLOW. She had read it 3 times!
Was there ever a time you wanted to pick up your laptop, and then launch it out the window with frustration?
No, haha. I’m not a thrower. If I feel stressed, I listen to music or swing on my swingset.
Are you a “plotter” or a fly by the seat of your pants “pantster” as a writer?
I can’t plot at all! If I try to plot, it kills the enjoyment of the story.
Am I the only one who gets hung up on commas? Do they make you go blah! when you’re writing?
I love commas. They’re one of my grammar specialties. Unless I’m typing too fast and don’t hit the comma hard enough, my commas are good in all my drafts.
What three tips would you give any aspiring writer?
Never give up. Write what you want, even if that genre isn’t selling well right now. Listen to your editor and learn from your mistakes to make your writing stronger.
What are you working on now? What will you release next?
My next book is a young adult fantasy romance that releases March 9. ROGUE CRYSTAL is about family, civil war, and aliens. I decided to write an alien book and this is that one.
So… where can we get your books?
They are all available on Amazon, and most are also available on Barnes & Noble.
How would you define what being a successful writer means?
I look at success in two ways. First, there’s the money way. In that sense, being successful means you can quit your day job and write full time. The other way to look at success is to consider your joy. Does writing make you happy? Do you smile when you see your books? If yes, then you are a success.
Does a big ego help or hurt writers?
It can hurt how other writers see you. I know a few authors who only brag, and it turns me off. Bragging has never helped anyone anywhere.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I only do research if I’m writing about a historical time period. I don’t plot, so when I come to a historical part, I’ll jump to the internet to check my facts.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
I do read them. The good ones make me smile and the bad ones make me cry. I collect the bad ones, wait a few days, and then go back to see what I can learn from them. If the review isn’t constructive, I toss it aside.
What was your hardest scene to write?
The historical scenes are all pretty tough. I’m a stickler for facts, so I try my best to get everything exact.
What’s your writing schedule like? When do you find time to write?
I write whenever I came. Usually, I write at 7 or 8pm once my son goes to bed.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I’m friends with quite a few other writers. We help each other by staying grounded and sharing tips or websites.
What would you like readers to know?
It takes a lot of work to write a book. You lose track of your social life and time. When an author gives you a free copy, treasure it.
How have your family and friends accepted your career as a writer? Are they supportive?
My parents are the greatest. Whenever I come across a new opportunity for a book signing, they are right there with me ready to go.
Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
It is half and half. The characters in my fantasy book are based on real people more than my contemporary stories. It’s funny because the story that is closest to my real life, GOAT CHILDREN, contains the most made up people, yet everyone thinks they’re all based on someone true. The conversations and emotions are real; the people are fictional.
What was the inspiration for your latest work of fiction?
I got the idea for SECRETS OF BENNETT HALL from Hyde Hall in Cooperstown, NY. It is a beautiful mansion you can go through with a guided tour. If you’re in the area, you must go to it, if only for the spectacular view of the lake.
Where would you like to travel to and why?
I would love to travel across America. This is my country and I want to see as much of it as I can!
Tell us about how you develop your characters?
They come to me as I write. I use a baby name book to decide on the name, but other than that, I don’t plan them out. Each new sentence brings them more to life.
Which one of your characters is your favorite and why?
Amethyst Treasure. She was such an outrageous delight to write. I never knew what she was going to do next!
Jordan, thank you so much for taking time to do this author interview with me. I wish you very much success with your new book Rogue due to release March 9, 2018.