Today we are sitting down with Jaq D Hawkins, author and blogger. She is going to tell us a bit about herself and her work.
DM: What is the title and genre of the book you want to tell us about?
JDH: My next release is called The Chase For Choronzon. It’s a Fantasy romp about a couple of reincarnated historic magicians chasing a shape-shifting demon who is supposed to guard the ways between the worlds, but has left his post.
DM: Can you summarize your book?
JDH: A zany chase through time and space and between the worlds to put the universe back in order, if they live to accomplish their task!
DM: Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?
JDH: Old school Fantasy fans who enjoy a little comedy with their alternative worlds. The book is fun and sure to entertain imaginative readers of speculative fiction.
DM: How did you come up with the title?
JDH: The chase is inherent in the plot. The story focuses on the protagonists’ adventures through time and space as it takes two unlikely heroes through some harrowing portals and surreal adventures where they meet a variety of bizarre personages along the way on their quest to recapture the demon, Choronzon.
DM: Tell me about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?
JDH: This one is actually my own graphic arts work. I wanted to see the two characters and some representation of the transferences between time and space portals, and this is what I came up with. I’m an old Photoshop addict so it was just a matter of working with images, including one of my own cat.
DM: Who are your biggest writing influences?
JDH: Most of my writing influences have been old Fantasy authors; Anne McCaffrey, Roger Zelazny, Jack Chalker and P.C. Hodgell come to mind. People who don’t mind stretching the imagination for their Fantasy worlds. This particular project, however, has a good dose of Douglas Adams in its influence.
DM: Who is your favorite character from your book and why?
JDH: Alei-Cat has to be my favourite. He’s the reincarnation of Aleister Crowley, who hated cats and actually introduced the name of Chronzon to occult literature, and he doesn’t realise that he is now a cat, despite often showing some very feline behaviour. He’s got a snarky attitude and makes for some good comedy moments, especially when water is involved.
DM: How about your least favorite character? What makes them less appealing to you?
JDH: Ugh, Zara Schlocknasal! She’s a real mess. Luckily she doesn’t feature often in the story and is more an accessory of the seedy side of the pub between the worlds.
DM: If you could change one thing about your novel, what would it be? Why?
JDH: If I wanted to change something about it, I would change it. I’m a bit of a perfectionist and don’t release titles until I have them the way I want them.
DM: Can you give us a fun fact or a few about your book?
JDH: This particular story actually started a very long time ago as a conversation and throwing ideas around on an old BBS system, the precursor to the Internet. Originally it was going to be a collaboration, but the one contribution the other writer sent me showed me that our styles were incompatible and I didn’t pressure him for more, or use the passage he sent me. We eventually fell out of touch, but I wrote six and a half chapters of the book and then sat on it while working on other things for twenty years. I recently dusted it off and decided that it needed finishing, so now it’s due for release this Autumn.
DM: What other books are similar to your own? What makes them alike?
JDH: I already mentioned Douglas Adams. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has a similar level of zaniness and comedic Fantasy. Some of the books of Tom Holt have a similar balance of bizarre ideas mixed with historical facts. Zelazny’s Amber series stretches into the imaginary worlds arena with a similar disregard of Physics and reality.
DM: Do you have any unique talents or hobbies?
JDH: I seem to have an ability to organise people for film shoots. I don’t know where it comes from, but I’ve managed to get two no budget films in the can by bribing actors and crew with cake. One of them, a vampire comedy called Old Blood, is finished and ready for release.
DM: How can we find out more about you and your books?
JDH: The best way is to join my mailing list at http://jaqdhawkins.com/about.html
My projects can also be followed on the following links. I’m most active on Facebook.
DM: What can we expect from you in the future?
JDH: I have a list of projects that are partially finished. A collection of stories about my goblin world is in progress, called Meat For The Storytelling, and more Steampunk books are on the cards, including another one about airship pirates that will have more swashbuckling action in the skies.
DM: What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?
JDH: Tell people. Write a review on Amazon. Talk about it with your Fantasy loving friends! Word of mouth sells books more than any strategy.
DM: Do you have any advice for other writers trying to get published?
JDH: Get savvy about publishing contracts. There are a lot of scammers out there. Edit to perfection. Sloppy books will get you ignored and no, it was never the editor’s job to spell correctly. You should have that as perfect as you can before sending your book to an editor. Make an informed decision before deciding whether to go traditional or indie. I moved from traditional to indie, but I have the skills to do a lot of things myself that many people have to pay for. Beware of any ‘publisher’ who wants to charge you fees. Real publishers don’t charge the authors for ISBN numbers, editing services, or anything else.
If your book is repeatedly rejected, put it aside for three months and read it again with fresh eyes. Chances are it will make you cringe. Fix it and try again.
DM: Can you give us an excerpt from your book?
Choronzon charged through the swinging door into the Gents, followed closely by Alei-Cat who nearly slammed into the door as it was swinging back towards him. The cat manoeuvred around the treacherous door just in time to find himself in an unoccupied public toilet, devoid of any sign of recent occupation, apart from the familiar sound of a toilet flushing.
‘Oh no…’ he said aloud. Karl stepped calmly through the door. Realisation of what had occurred, and worse, what would have to happen next dawned swiftly over Alei’s features as cat instinct receded in favour of his usual intellectual facilities.
‘Yes, my friend, I’m afraid that is the vortex. If we hurry, we may not lose the trail entirely.’
‘I hate water!’ the cat whined.
‘And I’m not much for standing in a toilet and pushing the handle either. Apart from anything else, it’s not very good for my shoes. However, there is no time to lose. It has to be done.’
‘Tell me again why it’s us who have to chase down this renegade demon?’
About Jaq D Hawkins
Jaq D Hawkins was originally traditionally published in the Mind, Body, Spirit genre, but moved to indie publishing soon after releasing her first Fantasy fiction novel. She currently has five novels released and two more in progress, as well as further writings in Mind, Body and Spirit subjects, some of which continue to be traditionally published while others are destined for the indie market.