Terry Jackman’s debut novel is Ashamet, Desert-Born, an adventure fantasy in an Arabian Nights world – or is it? (oh, Terry is really Teresa but NOBODY calls her that) Otherwise she’s a mild-mannered English lady living in a pretty village, not so far from the Manchester United stadium, with an ancient cross, cobblestones and a duckpond. Don’t believe her? Check the wiki entry for Lymm, or http.lymm.com or www.lymmvillage.co.uk/blog and see for yourself?
Well, that’s one version.
The other Terry, apart from being an English teacher who grew up in a house without books, was once the best qualified professional picture framer in the world. Which led to articles, seminars and guest appearances, and ultimately into fiction.
And if you think that’s odd ask her how she sold her first three articles, and how Ashamet got published!
Thanks for letting us interrogate you! Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to why you wanted to be an author?
I’m sure there are people who actually decide that but honestly I just needed to write. In fact my first articles were my way of finding out if I could write anything worth reading. I hadn’t planned on getting sucked into more for another ten years. I always wanted to write fiction. I just got delayed enroute.
Tell us (we won’t tell promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be? I mean what are the perks and what are the demands?
The perks? You can live inside your head for hours, days, years, where all kinds of fascinating things and people have sneakily taken up residence. And you get to meet great real people, both readers and writers.
Demands? You need to get all those fascinating things and people onto a page, before they nag you to death!
Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like?
I went traditional. Some of my best friends have self-published successfully but I guess I don’t have that degree of confidence, or nerve. Getting paid has always been my way of checking that what I’ve written is good enough. I’m not sure I’m the best person to ask about the nitty gritty of it though, since for me it was enormous fun from start to finish.
Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you?
Happily my family have been very good about my continual absences from their lives, to the point of humoring some strange woman who actually can’t concentrate on writing if they’re too near. I think that says it all.
Do your pets actually get their food on time or do they have to wait until you type just one more word?
No pets these days, I’m afraid, but my husband has learned to cook a lot more than fish fingers.
Are your plants actually still alive?
Ah. Only if I put them next to a water tap, thus reminding myself to water them. Occasionally.
In writing your book, how did you deal with the phone ringing, your family needing dinner or your boss calling you saying you’re late?
Um. I have been known to ignore calls, helped by the fact there’s 1] an answering machine and 2] the few people who know my mobile number also know it’s wise to text. And I usually leave early for work, so I can read or think on the bus then grab a coffee in town and work on, with one eye on the clock and less distance to cover. And did I mention my other half can cook?
What was the craziest or insane thing that happened to you in the book publishing process?
Oh that’s SO easy. As you may have gathered I love writing, but I’m not good at submitting. I sent Ashamet out twice. One UK publisher held onto it for a year, the other said it was “too difficult to market”. Ah, I thought, it’s not good enough then, and shelved it. Yes, I know one is supposed to send and send and send and… but I didn’t.
Only then Dragonwell Publishing heard about it from someone else and asked if I would be “interested” in sending them something! Instant panic and emails to friends, the best of which replied, “Stop panicking woman, just send it!” and so Ashamet was sold, in ten incredible days. Truth really can be stranger than fiction.
How about the social networks? Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid?
I like talking to people, but I don’t enjoy selling ‘me’, so a lot of my interactions are with people I already know, like the British Science Fiction Association where I coordinate the writers’ groups, and swap crits, or NorthwriteSF, which is a face to face group for published writers (something I couldn’t do when I started out). Or even reading stories for Albedo One magazine in Ireland and giving some feedback. I guess I like to pay forward.
I like to follow discussions too, on Facebook or LinkedIn, but otherwise I think my favorite social media is now face to face at conventions. I’ve met some lovely people that way, and listened to and taken part in some great panels. (I’m actually a pretty good moderator, being a nicely balanced Libra type.)
Book sales. Don’t you just love them (or lack of?)? How are you making the sales happen for you?
Since Ashamet is my debut the only answer I can give to this is: I’d love some. I do know some people have pre-ordered, which feels wonderful, and yes, I will be pushy enough to mention the date in my regular page in Focus magazine. After that… a Brit publisher had very kindly invited me to read as a guest at one of their own launches in July, and another has offered to add copies of Ashamet to their dealer table. (See what I mean about lovely people?) But honestly I’m really crossing my fingers and hoping that enough people will read it and give favorable reviews to spread the word. I’d far rather have other people say Ashamet is worth reading than claim it myself.
What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?
Scream, as in bad? The last time someone asked me that question I chose the remark “There’s no demand for it”, which I always heard just after I’d asked for something! But about this, I don’t think I can complain at all right now. So far for me the whole publishing experience has been a lot more fun than I expected. I might have muttered something unladylike when we had to scrap the original cover art quite late in, but then I think the new version is even better – so who’s complaining?
Okay, too much sugar for you today! Here’s a nice cup of Chamomile tea and come on over and sit under the cabana and watch the waves roll in. Now…can you tell us what you love about being a published author and how all those things above doesn’t matter because it’s all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldn’t have it any other way?
I love that I’ve achieved this goal, and that someone loved Ashamet enough to ask for it.
I love having a publisher who discusses everything, and an editor who kept making me laugh and wanted words adding rather than taking out.
I love the idea that other people, I hope, will enjoy reading Ashamet, Desert-Born as much as I enjoyed writing it.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Title: Ashamet, Desert-Born
Author: Terry Jackman
Find out more on Amazon
A desert world. A warrior nation that worships its emperor as a god. But for Ashamet, its prince, a future filled with danger...
Ashamet is confident his swordsmanship, and his arranged marriage, will be enough to maintain the empire’s peace. But when a divine symbol magically appears on his arm, closely followed by an attempt on his life, he no longer knows who to trust. Worse, the strange attraction he feels toward a foreign slave could be another trap. As events unravel, too fast,Ashamet must find out if this innocent young male is a tool for his enemies--or the magic key to his survival.
"Ashamet, Desert-Born" is a debut adventure fantasy with an exotic Arabian-style setting and elements of same-sex romance.