I'd like to welcome Kristina Jackson onto my blog today. Today Kristina is launching her debut short story collection, Feathers. Exciting stuff!

About Kristina

"One day you will write your own book, just let your heart guide you."

Those were the immortalised words of my teacher in the 5th Year of Primary School; I was 8 at the time. I'd just had a short story published in the school magazine, and won a prize of a book for my privilege. I knew I had wanted to write since I could write sentences. 28 years later I am realising that dream.

I am Kristina Jackson. I am in my mid thirties, wife, mother of two, owner of one dog and slave to two cats. One of my cats, Bono, is my writing companion. He is often found sharing my lap with my laptop or partially draped over the keyboard if I am using the big computer.

I suffer from a condition called POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome) I have become disabled by it, but as physical doors have shut the mental ones opened. Now I have so many ideas, and the ideas are throwing out so many characters who are each threatening to run away with my remaining sanity.

It is anybody's guess where this will now lead.

Briefly describe your journey in writing your first book.

It started at the age of 8, and took 28 years to finish. No seriously, I have wanted to write since then, but has taken me this long to realise my ambition. This first book is an anthology of short stories, because I had too many ideas in my head at once, and need to pin some down, before I could work on my first novel.

What is your latest novel?

Feathers – a anthology of light feel good stories, with a strong message of making the most of life despite adversity.

What inspired you to write the book?

Living with my own illness, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome and the disability it has brought me. Not letting it get me down, even if it has stopped me doing a lot of the things I use to enjoy doing, like walking and dancing. As the physical doors closed, the mental ones opened. 

What’s your favourite part of writing a novel?

Loosing myself! When I write it is just like reading, but more intense, I loose myself into another place. 

Are there any aspects of writing you struggle with?

Editing! The downside to becoming lost in reading, I find myself becoming lost in the story and then have to remember I am looking for the mistakes. 

Where do you get your ideas from?

Everywhere! The thing about having to use a wheelchair, it gives you an excellent perspective to view the world from.  Try it sometime, just sit somewhere, in a busy café, on a park bench, and watch the world go by. You will be surprised what you see. I now have the opportunity to do make the most of it, so I do. 

How long does it take to complete a novel?

Feathers was started on the 2nd of January and completed with editing on the 11th of March. However as they are short stories, this does not count. I have one novel in the pipeline, which is probably going to take two years to write, due to the level of research. However I am hoping my first novel will be out in September, which would be about 6 months.  I guess the upside to having POTS is you have more time to sit and write. That is if I can keep off facebook or forums for long enough. In other words, any length of time.

Did you query agents or traditional publishers before self-publishing?

To be honest, I just did not think about it. 

How did you handle the rejection letters?

I tried selling some of my short stories to magazines and either got no replies or ‘not our sort of thing’, despite researching what stories they had in their magazines.  So I used them to light the fire with. 

What’s your writing process?
Random thoughts of inspiration, often scribbled notes at 4am in the morning, when a bout of insomnia hits. Then sentences or structured ideas follow, normally when soaking in the bath. Once I have enough soggy notes and scribbled notes. I make a coffee and sit down to write. 

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish?

My good friend Sarah Barnard. She set up Ethics Trading as an indie publishing for e-books and it seemed the time was right. In fact I think she had enough of me over the last few years harping on about I wanted to be a writer, she used a variety of methods to ensure I did it. I am grateful to her not only for her friendship, but also for coming up with the idea Ethics Trading, the ability to be an independent writer, but with the guiding hand to help you on the way.  

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Do it! But don’t expect to a Stephen Leather or Saffina Deforges, or an Amanda Hocking straight off. Set yourself targets that are achievable; First sale, first ten, a sale per a day and so on. 

What's next in the pipeline? 

The Fools Journey. This is about someone who spontaneously decides to learn to read tarot cards, and she finds it opens her psychic up. She then begins to use the cards to help her gain insights into her life. Through this she gains an interest in things paranormal. She uses her job as a freelance writer to investigate supposed hauntings and paranormal activity.  See’s if there is any truth or historical significance in them.   You will find ghost, maybe a paranormal investigating team, including a clairvoyant psychic, but most of all you will find Moira, she is a very strong character!

Do you think your books would translate well to the big screen? If so who would you like to see play your lead characters ? 

Not this one no.  Maybe the fools journey. Little known actors or actresses trying to make their way onto the big stage. 

Tell me three random things about yourself.

Rioja is my favourite red wine
I LOVE shoes
I enjoy hugs

What do you do when you’re not writing?

Knit socks, or any knitting come to that but knitting socks is my favourite. I also spin, as in spinning wheels, crochet, sew and read. 

Do you write in just one genre?

No. Feathers is probably more women’s fiction, but The Fools Journey is Paranormal. Who knows what I will come up with next? 

Do you use Social Media for marketing your novels?

Yes. I spend probably too much time on twitter and facebook, so gives me an excuse. 

Who are your writing influences?

I don’t think anyone in particular influences my writing, but some of my favourite Authors are, Terry Pratchett, J R Tolkien, Dick Francis, Agatha Christie, and Ellis Peters. At the risk of being stoned, I am not a fan of horror, or vampire or werewolves, paranormal fiction has sadly encompassed too many of these. I would like to read one that does not scare the pants off of me I am a sensitive soul. 

If you weren’t writing, what would be your favourite job?

Garden Design. I use to do this before I got ill, and loved it very much. But even when I was doing this I was still writing poetry. 

Which five people would you invite for dinner?

My husband. Terry Pratchett, Tony Robinson, Suzie Perry (gadget show, I love my gadgets) Vicki Butler – Henderson (I love cars)

Describe your latest novel in fifteen words or fewer.

An anthology of light feel good stories, about making the most of life. 

What are you reading at the moment?

Strangers from a Foreign land – research

Oh great I can hear voices – Deborah Durbin

Men at Arms – Terry Pratchett

I always flit between books. Research, when I set myself to it. Terry Pratchett in the bath and Deborah on my Kindle 

What three things would you add to your bucket list of things to do.

Be a best selling author – can’t blame a girl for dreaming
Be able to help other people achieve things against adversity. 
Help my kids achieve their dreams as they grow up. 

Do you write full time? If not, how do you balance writing with another job?

I write full time, between being a Mum & Wife. Although unfortunately I do have off days with my health where curling up in a ball is the only thing open to me, but it has to be really bad to stop me writing. 

Do your characters talk to you?

Yes! But they are in general polite and know if I am having a bad day, to go away and leave me alone. 

Have you ever used a friend or foe as a character? 


About Feathers

Feathers, anthology of light feels good stories, with a strong message of making the most of life, despite adversity. There are some with a little light romance some are even amusing.

At the feet of a god – whose feet does Shannon fall at, and where does it lead her?

Spinning wheels are just for spinning – Does anyone still believe in Fairy Tales?

The sands of time – Does Charlotte manage to retrieve her life from the sands of time?

With endings come beginnings – When Graces world falls around her ears, can she strike out and find that beginning?

You can purchase Feathers from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk

Many thanks for your time, Kristina. I really agree with your advice for aspiring authors. Take it one step at a time - don't be impatient. Good things come to those who wait!

Sibel XX