Readers, here's another author who is new to this blog.
Welcome, April. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
I think a bit of me shows up in each one simply by pulling them on for size when writing them. Their circumstances and personalities are clearly not mine, but I’m sure I show up here and there because as I learn about them in the writing process, I’m also learning about myself.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I started playing the drums at age 41.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I’ve written off and on most of my life, my first story being a picture book called Skits Spooky Halloween at age ten. But it was about fifteen years ago that I started to work seriously at it, and once I did, I was hooked. Even when I’m not at the keyboard, I’m writing in my head.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I love to read inspirational fiction, contemporary fiction, and the occasional sci-fi and fantasy novel. And young adult fiction. Pretty much … fiction. All sorts. I’m a voracious reader.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I live with a chronic illness that has forced me to take huge steps back in commitments. I try to prioritize by what I can do every day, knowing that if I do too much one day, then I won’t be able to do much the next. My having to do this has helped my kids learn how and when to say no to activities, too, so the whole family has learned we don’t have to do it all and be it all. Doing nothing here and there is perfectly okay—in fact, I recommend everyone try it!
How do you choose your characters’ names?
I try to get to know my characters pretty well before deciding on a name. This involves my talking to them over a period of days and asking them deep questions. Then I research name meanings and see what fits.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
I love being a mom. As far back as I can remember, I’ve wanted children. I’m a homeschool mom, too, which allows me the opportunity to spend loads of time with them and get to know them on a deeper level.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
An orca. They’ve always held a mystique for me. They’ll interact with us, but just as easily eat us. They’re powerful, bold, graceful, and demand respect. Although … I really don’t like the taste of fish. So, a steak-eating orca. I mean, if we’re going to fantasize, I’m going to eat steak.
What is your favorite food?
Um … see number eight?
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Honestly, my biggest road block is my health. I have CVID a primary immune deficiency disease that makes it so my body doesn’t build antibodies to colds or infections. Because of this illness and its associated severe fatigue, I can’t write every day. So I have to find ways to cut in my writing time the best I can. I’ll plan for a week with no activities so I can get to the computer and tap it out, and I’ll inevitably come down with a cold. So instead, I’ve learned to take each day as it comes and get in an hour or two or six as best I can and be satisfied with that.
Tell us about the featured book.
Jasmine is a survivor. She’s lived through the abuse from her father, running away at age fourteen, and living on the streets. Now she counsels at-risk young women—giving them a second chance at life. But when her mother dies, can Jasmine go home again and face all she’s forced herself to forget for the last twenty years? Or will the past she has long forgotten take over her present once again?
Please give us the first page of the book.
The cold from the linoleum floor cut through Jasmine’s jeans as she sat with her back braced against the hospital wall. Her eyes sagged closed as her mind whirred from exhaustion and worry. Sleep beckoned, and strange images flitted through her mind, flashing in odd synchronicity with the flickering fluorescents overhead.
Someone jiggled her shoulder, pressing down, squeezing. Survival instincts kicked in, and she reached back to draw her knife from the waist of her pants. When her fingers came up empty, her other hand came around and snatched the throat of her attacker. Her foggy mind engaged as her assailant choked out her name.
Jasmine’s eyes widened in recognition, and she released her grip. Officer Banner sank back on the floor, scooting away from her, rubbing his throat, and coughing. She ran her fingers through her hair and avoided eye contact, hoping he wouldn’t ask for an explanation. There wasn’t one—none worth giving. He should know better than to touch someone who was asleep.
“What’s going on?” Jasmine stood on shaky legs, glancing toward the hospital room door. She tucked a loose strand of black hair behind her ear and stretched.
Open mouthed, Officer Banner stared at her. “I was going to tell you she’s awake.” He continued to rub his throat.
“Good.” Avoiding his stare, she hurried toward the room. Before she could enter, his partner came out.
“Officer Gerry.” She greeted the female officer with a nod.
“Jazz. Did you see what happened?”
“No, I found Misty outside our complex. I’d just finished a late dinner when I heard her scream, and I ran out. She’d been beaten, and by the time I got out there, she was unconscious. I called an ambulance, and we’ve been here since waiting for treatment. What time is it, anyway?”
Ned Banner glanced at his watch. “Zero-four-hundred.”
“Has Misty said anything about the attack?” Jasmine caught the look Gerry shot to Banner.
“She’s probably been raped. That’s what the doctor thinks. But she denies it and won’t let them test.”
Jasmine swallowed away the anguish. “I’ll see if she’ll talk to me.” As an at-risk women’s counselor, she’d faced this situation many times, but it never got any easier.
Leaving Banner and his partner outside, she walked into the room. Misty lay on the hospital bed, shivering, her arms pulled tight against her chest. She stared out the window but didn’t appear to see anything. The rails of the bed were up, reinforcing the appearance of her helplessness.
“Hi, Misty.” She moved around to the other side of the bed. At least they’d given the girl a private room. Jasmine put her hand on Misty’s shoulder, causing her to jump. “It’s okay, it’s me, Jazz.”
“Jazz.” Misty focused on Jasmine for the first time.
They’d met when Jasmine visited the jail a year ago. Back then, Misty appeared older, more sure of herself. Today, without the hardened look in her eyes and gaudy makeup, she seemed much younger than her eighteen years. Tears streamed down her bruised cheeks and over her split lip.
“It’s okay, you’re safe.” Jasmine held her tight, feeling Misty’s body shake in her arms.
Powerful! How can readers find you on the Internet?Readers can follow my blog at http://aprilmcgowan.com, follow me on Twitter at @aprilkmcgowan or find me on Facebook at http://on.fb.me/15thKYy
Thank you, April, for spending this time with us today.
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Jasmine - paperback
Jasmine - Kindle
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