Today on ARCBookblog we Jennifer Peacock-Smith, the latest in the series of interviews I have been running. Before we get to the interview, here is Jennifer’s bio from Amazon.
Jennifer Peacock-Smith is an emerging memoirist who writes on her experiences, struggles and triumphs through a difficult but colorful life so far. She shares her time between her homelands of South Africa and Australia when she is not traveling with her husband in all corners of the globe.
Despite a painful and crippling genetic condition she is very active in the writing community. She writes for a number of blogs as well as the world wide publication The Mighty, on Chronic Illness and other topics.
And now it’s time for a few questions so we can get to know Jennifer a little better
Me – Is writing a full-time occupation, or do you have a job that keeps you from it?
Jennifer – I am very spoiled to be able to write full time. I still have things to do, life is so bad at getting in the way, especially when I don’t want it to, but I do get to write on average 3-5 days a week.
Me – What aspect of publishing do you find the easiest?
Jennifer – Oh this is an interesting question. I don’t think that any of it is easy. The biggest thing to get in the way of my writing is publishing and promoting. If anything is easy then it is some of the relationships that I have built along the way. Being in a community of readers, writers (or both) make what could very well be a very lonely process, way more inspiring, encouraging, and enriching. I have to be careful that I don’t put my publishing community before real people sometimes!
Me – What do you find the most difficult?
Jennifer – Advertising myself and my book is awful. Thankfully the response has been wonderful and it is selling itself, but I am not used to self promotion and it feels somehow wrong.
Me – What is your perfect writing environment.
Jennifer – I have to spend much of my life in bed due to health limitations, but I have learnt to make myself quite comfortable despite the pain and I have a little four legged companion who wags her tail madly when it is a writing day. So my bed, my baby and complete silence are the perfect environment for me. I travel a lot with my husband’s work so often those beds are in hotel rooms around the world. Those always make great writing environments as well.
Me – Do you have a process you follow when writing a book?
Jennifer – I would have said no, but in fact it turns out that I think I do. I am a memoirist so I don’t have to think hard to come up with material. I just write and it flows (when it does. When it doesn’t then there is no point in me writing and I give it a break). But when I am on a roll I just write, write and write some more. I get the first draft done in a very short period of time. I like it to be raw and real and to let the words fly. Then I have the tedious task of thinking about it and unpacking it. I am dyslexic and autocorrect hates me, so editing is awful for me!
Me – Would you rather be critically successful or financially successful?
Jennifer – The former for sure. Not because I am generous or kind, but because I have had my voice squashed for so long that my primary reason for writing is to get my voice out there and help others who are struggling with similar issues. But of course the money doesn’t hurt either 🙂
Me – If you could pick 1 celebrity to read your book and give an opinion on it, who would it be?
Jennifer – Oh wow, I am not big on celebrities. But Mary Karr is a well known memoirist who is also a Poet. She is my memoir hero in many ways, although I am yet to read any of her book I’m ashamed to say. But I would love her to read (and love) my books!
Me – Do you find it easy to avoid being distracted when you sit down to write?
Jennifer – It depends on what I am doing. When I am on the first draft and I am on a roll, nothing can stop me. But when I am editing then anything can distract me and usually does.
Me – If you have published already, what has been the most successful technique/site/opportunity for you in terms of getting either exposure or sales?
Jennifer – I published my first book in January, and it has done well so far. Of course I still have a long way to go. The book is on my journey with Anxiety and how I beat it. It is a very practical book and is a so easy to read. So people from all kinds of places and backgrounds are reading it. Life Line have shown an interest and have asked me to share my techniques with some of the counsellors. So that is turning out to be one of my successful techniques. I also blog (a lot) so that is a great way to get word out there as well.
Me – Last but not least, and something a little fun, what is your favourite animal, and why?
Jennifer – I was born in South Africa and elephants have always been my favorite animal. I can never get enough of them and my absolutely favorite place to write, which I have the privilege of doing from time to time, is from a big white hotel bed, with wild elephants out the window.