Let’s play a little game… I asked a certain famous person 20 questions. Your goal is to guess who that person is by reading their answers. There is only one rule – you are not allowed to skip ahead and sneak a peak at who it is (because that would just spoil all the fun now, wouldn’t it?)
Ready? Set? Now, go…
Reading! Ever since I could read I wanted to be able to create these stories that had such an impact on me. I remember writing Anne of Green Gables knock-offs as a child, and my heart would fill with longing every time I entered a bookstore. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do (except that brief period I toyed with being a landmine clearer).
I don’t hear voices, although I tend to think in narrative a fair amount, if that makes sense (“She drove up to the coffee shop. The sun hit her face as she got out of the car, mingling with the welcome smell of coffee beans …”). I get a lot of inspiration from my own life, which has been colorful. And then I just let my imagination run wild. I’m constantly asking myself, “What if…?”
I started reading at age 4. The first book I read was probably See Spot Run or Goodnight Moon! But the first book that had a strong impact on me was Anne of Green Gables. She’s part of the reason I wanted to be a writer, and why I’ve always wanted to be a red head (which now I am!).
Oh yes. I would say there is very little in my first draft that makes it into the final draft. I’ve definitely deleted entire chapters – usually at least 10,000-15,000 words gets cut from the first draft, and sometimes that much gets cut again from subsequent drafts. It can be painful, but if it’s not making the story better, I don’t want it in there.
I would place them under fantasy (which is how they’re categorized on Amazon). Technically, to be qualified as YA the protagonist has to be a teenager, and my protag is in her 30′s. But I can see how people think it’s YA – it’s very readable for younger adults and has the same fast pacing as most YA novels.
The YA generation seems to be hypnotized by vampires, werewolves, fallen angels, other mythical creatures and futuristic heroines who break away from the society that tries to control and/or destroy them. Did you purposely decide to go another route when you worked out the plot or have you always been obsessed with Celtic gods and that made you feel compelled to put their fictional (is it really?) history in writing?
I purposefully decided to go another route – I didn’t know very much (or anything, really) about Celtic mythology when I started, but I wanted to do something different, something fresh in the world of contemporary fantasy. And there wasn’t a whole lot out there about the Irish gods, so I thought it would be a good place to start. The more I researched, the more I found that mythology was perfect for the story I wanted to tell.
The first book took me about two years to research, plot, and write, but that’s because it was my first novel and I didn’t know what I was doing! For both Into the Fire and Among the Unseen, I would say I spent about a month researching and then wrote the first draft in the next three months. But by then I had a pretty firm grasp on the mythology in general and just needed to research the book-specific things like the Stone of Destiny and the Book of Kells.
Ha! I can now, because I had to figure them out for the pronunciation guide and for the audiobook. (My audiobook narrator hates me, I’m sure.) The thing is, there is very little agreement even in Ireland regarding how to pronounce them – there are four distinct dialects of modern Irish, and most of the names and words I use are from ancient Gaelic. So when I say at the beginning of Through the Door that you can pronounce them any way you’d like, I’m telling the truth!
I wouldn’t say I toned down the sex scenes, because they were never that steamy to begin with. I started writing Through the Door with a general audience in mind – something my children could read as well as adults – which is why I chose the “fade to black” method. And then I was stuck with it for the subsequent books. But I do have plans for some racier books in the future.
Well, I think anything that sells a lot of copies is worthy of being on the bestseller lists! Of course sex sells, and that’s what the bestseller lists are all about – what sells. It’s not my job to judge others’ reading choice or to say what’s worthy of being on a list.
You admitted that you based one of your characters on Sam Witwer (Being Human). Did you have an actor/person in your life in mind with all the characters or did the rest of them create themselves and live in the mysterious place that is also known as your mind?
I had actors in mind for most of the characters, purely based on their physical description. I based Cedar on Annie Wersching, who played Renee Walker in 24. Maeve was always Julie Walters (Molly Weasley) in my mind, and Nuala was Bryce Dallas Howard. Brigid was a young Anjelica Huston. My own daughters were only 2 and 4 when I started writing, so I based Eden on a mix of my two eldest nieces, who were both 6 at the time. Finn has always just existed in my head, but I imagined Felix (the Into the Fire version) as Alexander Skarsgard.
E-books are real books! But I know what you mean. =) I think it totally depends on whatever the reader prefers. I use both – I love love love having print books on my shelf, but I also love the convenience of having books on my Kindle.
I definitely see a future for print books. I’m not a great forecaster of the future, but I think there are enough people (like me) who love the way books look on a shelf. Maybe print books will become more like collectors’ items, but I think we’re a long way away from that. On the other hand, If we as a society do move away from print books, I don’t think it will be a crushing blow to civilization. Books will still be around, just in a format that is more affordable to most people, and therefore more accessible. And that’s definitely a good thing.
Don’t e-books make book piracy so much easier? Distributing of books on a digital level is spreading like wildfire and authors do not get compensated for those books at all. Have you been a victim of this?
I know my books have been pirated and are available at various torrent sites. And yes, e-books makes book piracy much easier. But I don’t lose sleep over it. I know most people are happy to pay a few bucks to read a good book, and I encourage my readers to loan/share my books with their friends.
What advice would you give to young aspiring authors who wants to start writing? Should they find a publisher first or write the story first and hope that some publishing house will think their work is worthy of publishing?
Well, a publisher won’t even look at you without a complete and very polished manuscript. In fact, if you’re going the traditional route you’ll be pitching your manuscript to agents first, and then if you get an agent they will be the ones to approach publishers. My best advice is to keep learning and keep improving – which means you have to write, write, write! And don’t get discouraged by rejection – we’ve ALL been there. Better to finish something and get rejected than to never finish anything at all. =)
What is your take on fan fiction? Do you feel honored that fans love your work so much that they obsess over it to such a degree that they want to write themselves into the story or do they cross the copy write policy and invade your space as creator?
I love fan fiction! I actually started out writing Harry Potter fan fiction (I’m a Remus/Tonks shipper) before trying my hand at Through the Door. I have a friend who has written some Thin Veil fan fiction, and I was totally chuffed when I found out! One of my goals when starting out as a writer was to create worlds and characters that people would want to immerse themselves in, so I would consider any fan fiction based on my books to be a huge compliment.
Have you figured it out yet?
The mysterious celebrity is none other than…
Jodi McIsaac is the best selling author of The Thin Veil series. She grew up in New Brunswick, Canada (now we know why she is so nice to all her fans). She is married and has two feisty daughters who loves reading their mom’s books. She has been a short-track speed skater, a speechwriter, and fundraising and marketing executive in the nonprofit sector. Then she started a boutique copy writing agency and began writing novels in the wee hours of the morning. (Like there is any other time to write)
Writer’s note: Jodi really is one of the nicest celebrities I ever had the privilege of interviewing. She’s down to earth and she did not let fame go to her head like you get with most authors. She really does care about her fans and treats them like equals. Fans know the difference between a PA pretending to be a celebrity and who’s only interacting with us as some kind of marketing stint. Jodi does not use her fans for marketing, she really does care about her fans and treats them like equals. I just wish more celebs would be like her. We do not owe them, so we cannot force them to reply on our posts and tweets but it is refreshing to see that Jodi takes time out of her busy schedule to mingle with her fans on all her various social profiles. She is a constant reminder that if you acknowledge your fan’s existence (no matter how crazy or obsessed they might seem), they will make sure your time in the lime light is a long and enjoyable one. Thank you, Jodi, for having as much fun as I did during this interview. (ZV)
If you want to become a Fianna and be part of the secret club follow the link – http://www.jodimcisaac.com/#!fianna/c1xss