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Author Interview - J. W. Goodwin

My guest this week is author J. W. (Jessica) Goodwin.

Hailing from a small town in Northern Ontario, Jessica found inspiration for her debut novel on her grandparents farm.

Please read on to learn more about J. W. Goodwin and her writing.

About Writing/Books/Being an Author

1. Do you remember the first book you read that had an impact on you - in what way and what was the name of that book?

The first book that’s had an impact on me is a toss-up between Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators series and Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. The reason I’m conflicted is The Three Investigators was the first series of books that I enjoyed reading as a kid and showed me that there are books out there that I can enjoy. As I’ve mentioned in other interviews, I was and still am a very picky reader. Harry Potter on the other hand was the first book I delved into and I was always impatient for the next release. Harry showed me that books can be exciting and worth the time to read. Being interesting to read may not be a big impact for most people but to a child who hated reading, it meant everything in the world.

2. When did you first realize you wanted to write?

When I was in grade 9 I would tell my best friend, at the time, stories about a show we’d watch together. I think she said that I should write them down though I can’t remember totally because it’s been quite a while ago. I did put the stories I was telling to paper and the rest, as they say, is history.

3. Who is/are your favourite author(s)?

At this particular moment in time, my favorite author is Holly Black and I’m super excited about the book that has just come out. Got it on reserve at my local bookstore even. In the past I’ve loved books by J. K. Rowling, Rick Riordan, and D.J. MacHale.

4. What is your favourite thing about writing? What is your least favourite thing about writing?

Hands down, my favorite thing about writing is telling the story for the first time or even the second time. I also love creating the characters because I’m an artist as well as a writer so everyone gets some concept art. Well, everyone except the antagonist. For some reason I’ve never gotten around to doing concepts of them.

My least favourite thing is editing since it’s just perfecting what I’ve already done. I’d rather use the time to create more stories but I know I can’t share those stories unless I’ve ironed out the wrinkles.

5. Where do your ideas come from?

My ideas usually come from dreams that I’ve had but, sadly, those have become few and far between as of late. I’ve been learning to come up with more while conscious but they’re never as good as the ones that happen in my sleep.

6. I’ve often found that creative people have more than one talent, what is yours?

As I’ve mentioned, I’m also an artist. I focus mainly on the anime art style but I’ve dabbled in others. I’ve posted some concept art I’ve done for By The Light of a Darkened Forest on my website if anyone would like to take a look. They’re a bit dated and I’ve certainly improved in the past 3 years and can do better now but that’s like any skill. It always gets better with practice.

7. When you create characters are they completely made up or do they resemble or remind you of people you know?

It’s a bit of column A and a bit of column B. Most of the characters are made up but a few of them are/were inspired by people I’ve known. Christopher Ashmore is heavily based on my grandfather and his wife, Jocelyn Ashmore, was influenced by my late grandmother since going to their farm had always been a magical experience for me.

8. Have you ever created a character “out of thin air” only to run into someone in real life that

reminds you of that character either in personality or their features?

Not so far but that would awesome if it ever happened.

9. How do you come up with titles for your books?

They usually come to mind while writing with the exception of By The Light of a Darkened Forest. That title came from a poem I wrote in high school or earlier. Which reminds me, I need to find that poem again soon.

10. What are you working on now and can you tell us about it?

I’m trying to work on the second book of the Love’s Choices series but I’ll be honest, I’m having a hard time with it. Unlike Evelyn, the next protagonist is incredibly stubborn and hard headed. Unless I’m writing the story exactly how she wants it, she doesn’t let me continue on. She’s rather rude like that but I do love her spirit.

11. Have you won any awards for your writing/books and if so what?

That would be the dream but, unfortunately, I haven’t yet.

A Little More Personal

12. What is one thing you haven’t done but would like to do?

Is completing the next book a good answer? I’m joking, well sort of, I would like to finish it in a shorter amount of time than it took the first book.

13. Have you ever experienced something weird you could not explain?

Normally I just go through life without any big surprises. Boring, I know. There have been a few times as a teenager that I’ve had déjà vu after dreaming about something a few years prior then actually doing it in the same way later on. Other than that, I don’t get to experience the weird stuff.

14. What is the strangest thing you have ever eaten?

I’ve tried many foods since becoming an adult and I’ve convinced myself to try anything once. The weirdest thing I’ve eaten is octopus. Normally texture doesn’t bother me but the rubbery feeling of having a tentacle in my mouth was wrong. Unfortunately I couldn’t finish eating it.

15. Do you have a favourite vacation spot? Where?

I love camping. Living in Canada, especially in Ontario, gives me plenty of opportunity to go out and sleep outside. Normally my family goes to Marten River Provincial Park but we’ve been exploring the other parks in the recent years. So the long way to the answer is my favorite vacation spot is any spot that I can set up a tent.

16. Can you tell us about one of your favourite childhood memories?

I can’t go into detail because I have a horrible memory but it would be a tie between going for tractor rides around my grandparents’ farm and feeding wild rabbits in the forest with my pépère (a French way to say grandpa). I miss doing both of those things but unfortunately my pépère had passed away nearly three years ago and my other grandpa can’t walk anymore. Guess those things will only be memories now.

17. What makes you happy?

Many things make me happy. The sound of rain on the rooftop. Pretty things that sparkle and shine, this includes glitter and sequins or even the sun’s reflection off lazy ripples in the water. Catching a glimpse of a wild animal, though longer glances are way better. Cookies or other baked goods. I could go on but that may take a while.

18. If you aren’t writing (or doing anything associated with writing), what are you doing?

Working but I think that’s standard for everyone. In my down time I also draw and journal. I also play video games though they usually take up a bulk of my time if I’ve found a good one. I’ve tried to justify the time I used by doing reviews on the games I play on my blog but sometimes I go overboard and get lost in the game for a month.

19. Have you ever met anyone famous – who?

The only famous person I’ve met is Lawrence Gowan. It was brief because he was signing things after a concert I attended but it was awesome to meet him since I love his music. I even had my favorite CD signed with a part of my favorite lyrics. It was great!

Jessica’s Links.


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