Please welcome Author Jaci Wheeler to THE KATY today!
Jaci Wheeler lives in the Central Valley of California with her husband and two precious kids.
Her love of literature began in Jr. High when she was introduced to Lowis Lowry’s books. Since then she has had a passion for writing Young Adult books, and creating strong female leads. When she’s not writing she is advocating for Autism Awareness and involved in the deaf community.
Her favorite things to do are play with her children, craft with her friends, sleep while her husband watches movies and indulge in her favorite addictions: Coffee, candy and shoes.
How did you decide to become an author? Any books, movies, or people that inspired you to pursue your dream?
I never saw myself as an author to be honest. I didn’t even like reading until I discovered The Giver in the 8th grade. Lowis Lowery helped show me the joy in finding other worlds, and unlocked my imagination with that book. After that writing was always an escape for me. Anytime things got to be too much to handle I would slip into another time or place through my writing. It wasn’t until after I was married that I started to write again. My husband enecouraged me to write a book, just for fun. Which I did. I had no intention of ever publishing United at all, but after my husband read it he decided it needed to be published so he self published it, and I was picked up by a small publishing company soon after. United was the trilogy that really showed me that I could be an Author, and I haven’t stopped writing since.
Are you a plotter or a panster? Or a planster?
I am 100% panster. I like the idea of plotting, I’ll even outline now and again, but it never matches the book that I write. I always find that plotting a book will block me. I get a general idea of how I want the storyline t go, and I’ll make notes in my note book but then I just sit down and write and let the story flow out of me and lead wherever it may.
What draws you to writing Dystopian fiction?
There’s something so raw about Dystopian that I love. It starts off showing you that the world and people are flawed where most other genres tend to shy away from the twist until the end Dystopian always starts with it which draws me in. I love the idea of creating something flawed and then working my way toward a solution.
How do you think being a parent of special needs kids has helped or changed your writing?
I’m not sure I could have written anything worth reading before I had my kids to be honest. My kids may sometimes make life more difficult but they have opened my eyes to so many things. I can write with more detail and awareness now than I ever could have before. My characters are more complex usually because I’m thinking about my kids. My character Wes in United was written based on my son and another little boy I used to teach. My sweet kids have opened my eyes to the fact that there is no such thing as normal. People are all different and unique and my writing reflects that because of my sweet babies.
Why do you think people are drawn to science fiction?
I personally am drawn to it because it’s one of those things where it could happen. I think as people we are curious beings and the thought that something very possibly could happen but we aren’t sure if it has or will is enough to draw us in.
What scientific advancement do you feel is right around the corner?
Oh Geez, this question ALWAYS freaks me out. I have a bit of conspiracy theorist hidden deep down I think. Obviously technology and computers are going to continue to rise. I think it’s only a matter of time before technology takes over completely. The wishful side of me is hoping that cures are going to be on the rise, my hope would be that cancer will find a cure very shortly, but that could just be wishful thinking.
Do any of your characters represent you as a whole or someone you know? Or are they qualities you admire in others?
All of my characters have a small part of me. I try and give at least one all of my good qualities…and others get all of my bad. Very rarely do I write using other people. I feel it can get messy once authors start emulating actual people. The only time I’ve done this was with my special needs characters because I want them to be based on truth.
If you could live in any book for a week, which one would you choose and why?
Oh my goodness this question is killing me! I find escape and comfort in books and there are so many I wish to live in. Could I pick 7 different books for one day? 😉 Hmmm, if I had to live in one book for a week I guess I would pick Anne of Green Gables. It has always been a favorite of mine from the time I was a child until now. I could imagine exactly what it would be like to live on Prince Edward Island, and I could practically taste the plum pudding and raspberry cordial. Plus all the other books I would choose I’m pretty sure my feminist side would have me kicked out or killed within a few hours! 🙂
Are there any genres of literature or movies that you won’t read or watch? What’s your favorite genre to read/watch?
I’m an avid reader and LOVE most genres. I’m not a huge fan of Romance or demon or dark spiritual type stuff though. I do have many friends who write romance whose books I love, but personally 100% Romance just isn’t for me. As far as movies I would say the same. I’m an action girl all the way. In whatever I write or watch I have to be entertained from the start. If a movie or book as too much talking or back story I will lose interest. Or f it’s too creepy…I love scary but the exorcist type stuff…um no thank you!
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
The best advice I can give you is not to get too caught up on your story. I’ve met so many amazing aspiring writers who struggle with writer’s block so bad that they get stuck on a story for years. If you like to write and it frees you then just write. It can be one story, it can be many. Write where the story takes you. Don’t get so caught up in finishing one story that you miss all the many others that are just waiting to be unleashed. I have no less than six to eight stories going on at one time.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
Mostly clean. My kids adore making messes of themselves and anything they can touch. I also love cooking, and crafting. When I am stressed my favorite thing to do is make a fancy meal and I usually end up baking or making jam for everyone I know.
Anything else you’d like to add?
This have been so much fun! Thanks so much for having me and for the fun, unique questions!