Thursday, January 21, 2016

Interview with author Jacqueline Farrell

Q ~ Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Jacqueline Farrell. I live in the northwest of England with my husband and two sons. My day job is teaching French and English, but I also write paranormal and historical romance.

Q ~ If you could go anywhere, real or imagined, where would it be and why?
At the moment I have a real hankering to go to Svalbard in Norway to see the Northern Lights. Having read about it in Philip Pullman’s book it sounds fantastic.

Q ~ What is your favourite electronic gadget?
Electric kettle – I couldn’t live without tea.

Q ~ Ebooks, paperbacks, or hardcovers?
Having been brought up on paperbacks, I have to say they are still my favourite way of reading, but e-books are a close second. I’ve never really been very fond of hardbacks – they’re usually too expensive and take up too much room in a bookcase.

Q ~ What is your favourite genre to read? To write?
Reading – I have a very soft spot for cop/private detective/courtroom dramas. I’d love to be able to write one, but my brain doesn’t work that way.

Writing - at the moment I am completely immersed in my paranormal romance series, but once that’s over, I’ve had an alternative history novel on the back burner for years...

Q ~ How do you think people perceive authors?
I’m not sure how other people perceive authors but for years I always thought they were a bit strange and that writing was something that wasn’t an entirely respectable career. I still do, to be honest!

Q ~ How did you begin writing? Was there a single catalyst or a series of events?
I always loved English at school and when I was 18 I entered a writing competition. I didn’t win- in fact I never heard from the organisers at all, but it must have clicked some switch inside me because from then on I was always writing (but in secret).

Q ~ What’s the best thing that’s happened since you began writing? The worst?
The best thing was getting the first acceptance letter from a publisher to publish my novel, swiftly followed by a cheque. The worst would probably be a scathing review I got from a writing agency to whom I had sent three chapters of a novel, asking for advice. The reviewer had nothing but scorn for my work, which was bad enough, but I’d paid for it as well...

Q ~ Do you have any writing rituals that you follow? What is your go-to snack while writing?
No rituals, unless you count wasting lots of time on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube etc instead of writing. I fortify myself with lots of tea and toast.

Q ~ Are you a plotter or a pantser?
A bit of both. At the moment I have written myself into a corner with my latest novel and I am having to go back and plot feverishly.

Q ~ What are your five favourite verbs to use during a love scene?
I am useless at love scenes! I tried writing a saucy love scene once and decided the best way to do it was to have a few drinks. I ended up having more than few, spent about two hours at my laptop, giggling and typing and when I went back it the next morning with a rather sore head, discovered that I must have decided that ‘smouldering’ was the way to go. I’d used it indiscriminately as a verb and an adjective and misspelt it gloriously as the writing went on. At one point I’d written ‘smulden’ but I had no idea what the rest of the sentence meant. I’d even written about my heroine’s ‘smouldering breasts’ as well. Nowadays I avoid the word ‘smouldering’ whenever I can...

Q ~ Can you tell us a little bit about your novel ‘Sophronia and the Vampire’ and what inspired you to write it?
I began writing SOPHRONIA AND THE VAMPIRE around my 50th birthday when I realized it was time to come to terms with the fact that I could no longer identify with lissom young twenty-somethings. Evil stepmothers and witches of traditional fairy stories have always been older women and , granted they were usually malicious, cackling old biddies, but at least they looked like they were having fun and they had power which wasn’t something many women had in the old days. So while I was writing I decided to do my bit to reclaim the word ‘crone’.

Q ~ What is your process for choosing character names?
Again I’m not very good at choosing names, but there was a character in Julian May’s Saga of the Exiles whose nickname was Phronsie, which I really took a shine to. Her full name was Sophronisba, which I didn’t like so much, but I found Sophronia an acceptable alternative. Hagen was originally called Alaric, but one of my editors thought there were too many Alarics around at the time, so we searched around for another name and Hagen took my fancy. I didn’t find out about his Wagnerian links until later, but his namesake’s evil deeds do sort of gell with Hagen...

Q ~ What characters did you find yourself especially drawn to and why?
Sophronia is me, only better! I’d love to have her powers, which is why I gave them to her.

Q ~ Do you have anything in the works at the moment? Care to give us a hint about it?
I have just had two historical romances, ‘The Scarlet Queen’ and ‘Dragonsheart’, republished by The Wild Rose Press and now available as e-books with Amazon and other e-book formats. I’m also finishing the final novel about Sophronia and Hagen and hope to have it out sometime in the summer. I also have another historical romance in the works and my alternative history to polish. So I’m keeping busy...

Q ~ If you could give aspiring authors one piece of advice, what would it be?
Write to please yourself and have fun, but keep writing.

About the author:

Jacqueline Farrell is 54 years old and lives in the northwest of England with her husband and two sons. Her day job is as a teacher of French and English. She has been writing since her early twenties and has published two historical romances ‘THE SCARLET QUEEN’ and ‘DRAGONSHEART’ as well as co-authoring a Jane Austen spin-off ‘PRIDE AND PYRAMIDS: MR DARCY IN EGYPT’ with Amanda Grange. She has also written two paranormal romances, ‘SOPHRONIA AND THE VAMPIRE’ and its sequel ‘MAIDS, MOTHERS AND CRONES’.

Follow her on twitter @jacquiefw1 and on her website.

About ‘Sophronia and the Vampire’:

Fifty, English and a professional crone, Sophronia is minding her own business touring America when she is forced to spend the night at a run-down motel on the Californian coast. She’s not expecting much – if the bed’s clean and the toilet flushes she’ll count herself lucky. But unfortunately the motel owner is a juvenile witch unaware of her heritage and in dire need of help. And then the vampires turn up...


  1. Jacqueline, a very interesting interview. Sophronia and the Vampire is already on my read list working it's way to the top. Best wishes for lots of sales!

  2. I can relate fully on your writing quest. I've gone through the same things myself. Good luck on the book!

  3. "Smulden." Maybe it SHOULD be a word! ha! I love writing love scenes, but I hate having them edited - it's so squicky! haha!