I love writers, all of us, but I especially love writers who are also my friends beyond our books. Jennifer Sable is one of those folks. She and I went to high together . . . . and I’m so thrilled to be sharing her interview about her first book and her experience as a writer. Definitely check it out.
Tell us about your book.
Separation Point’s tagline tells it so much better than I do – “Flight was her first love. Could she handle another?”
And I should let the back cover blurb tell you a little more – “Airship captain Effone Pacifica knows how to keep her cool. But when she’s sent on a secret joint mission with blue-eyed carrier captain Trace Fortis, she finds her heart in unknown territory. As things heat up, strange acts of sabotage threaten her ship and close-knit crew. Can she trust her heart with everything on the line? With her instincts pushed to the limit, she nearly loses everything.”
Separation Point has an interesting origin story in that it started from an Internet meme. The post said something like, “The object to your right + the first word in the title of the last movie you saw = your airship captain name.” Well, I thought iPhone Pacific was a weird name, but I wrote it down anyway and stuck it on my monitor. A couple of weeks later I’m still staring at this sticky note and after I played with it for a bit, Effone Pacifica was born and living in a small room at the back of my mind.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
For me, the better question might be what don’t I do. I have a million hobbies including photography, warm glass, woodworking, looking at interesting rocks, and extreme cat petting – and those are the ones I do every day. I also occasionally sleep or wash the dishes.
What made you believe you could write a book? How did you dispel doubt as you wrote?
In the times when I’ve questioned my career choices, my mom’s refrain has always been, “Write a book. I love the way you write.” So, it was partly my mom who made me believe I could write a book. It took twenty +/- years for me to listen to her, but, you know, better late than never. Also, from now on she is allowed to say “I told you so,” whenever she talks to me. I can’t give any advice on dispelling doubt. Doubt is my constant companion, and I have yet to shake it off.
What is more difficult – drafting or revising? Why?
Revising. Definitely revising because I like to do things right the first time. I spent twenty years in live entertainment before I gave up all the glamour, and the thing about live entertainment is that you never have time to do the job twice. In most cases, you barely have time to do the job once. In writing, that extreme pressure isn’t there. It’s taken me about three years to adjust.
What is your favorite part about being a writer?
I love the fact that my office is approximately thirty seconds from my bed. I take myself out to lunch at this fancy place called “The Refrigerator” everyday – also a mere thirty-second commute. The absolute best part is that my office mates, Inkblot and Ember, sit with me and alternately purr and snore through the day. They are the best co-workers I’ve ever had!
What is your least favorite part about being a writer?
This is a good question because there’s no part that I particularly hate. To be honest, it might be the crushing isolation. If my husband is traveling, it is possible for me to go for a whole week talking to no one but Inkblot and Ember who, despite their inherent beauty and charm, are lousy conversationalists. There was one occasion that I actually started talking to the Roomba.
What are a few of your favorite books of all time?
How much space do I have? Oh, okay, just a few of them then… The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgeson Burnett. When people ask this question, TSG is always at the top of my list. Then there’s the Dragonriders of Pern series by Anne McCaffrey as well as The Rowan and Damia also by Anne McCaffrey. I’ll round out the list with The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. LeGuin. I should re-read the entire Earthsea trilogy soon, come to think of it.
What are some things that get in the way of your writing? How do you move them out of the way?
There are the practical things that get in the way, like dish washing and mopping the floor. I just put them off until I use up all the paper plates and I’m up to my eyeballs in cat hair, then I think about hiring a maid. Then I do it myself.
There are the physical things that get in the way, like cats. In her old age, Inkblot has become a serious lap cat. I deal with her by picking her up from the floor after she’s pierced my leg with claws. I hold her for a little while, just long enough to remind her she doesn’t like to be held, then I put her in her cat hammock where she drifts off to sleep and snore.
What’s the best writing advice you ever received?
Probably something like “Just do it. Just sit down and write.” If I listen to the voices in my head that constantly tell me things like, “You’re a fraud!” and “You’re not a real writer until you’ve gone on book tour!” and “Eat lunch!” then I would never, ever get anything done. Except, perhaps, lunch.
What’s your philosophy and practice about reading reviews of your work?
I don’t yet have a policy in place since, as of this writing, I have not yet received a review on the Internet. It will physically hurt the first time I get a bad review. I know that much. But I’ll get over it, I think. Probably…
A long time ago in a faraway land the person now known as Jennifer Sable was born into a family of two loving parents, a sister to fight with, and a cat named Milkshake. Her first short story about cats battling mice appeared on the refrigerator at home to rave reviews. She decided that wasn’t enough and thus jennsable.com, @jennifersable, and her Facebook page came to be.