This week On The Same Page has the pleasure of interviewing, Jacquese Council-Silvas, author of debut novel, FORWARDS & BACKWARDS.
M.T.: FORWARDS & BACKWARDS. What is the significance of the title?
J.S.: The significance of the Title is related to LIFE. Life is a rhythm of patterns that take you Forwards or Backwards - it's the storms of life that create the stepping stones towards the future (Forwards). There is always a touch of unexpected encounters in our lives, and our futures are based on how we have dealt with those particular times.
M.T.: As a writer, which do you think is most important; plot or theme?
J.S.: The plot of any book must be there...otherwise, what's the point and where is the author trying to go. The plot is what propels the reader - a theme can simply be one's "idea", but it is the plot that will put that idea into action.
M.T.: What is the theme of FORWARDS & BACKWARDS?
J.S.: The theme of F&B is on the lines of "family secrets" revealed.
M.T.: What gave you the idea for this novel? Are the characters based on anyone you know?
J.S.: When writing I try to appeal to a large group of people, and I try to write something that they know something about, hear about or have experienced. The plot is based on a "paternity" issue, and family love - although that is somewhat vague. The depth of my book comes from the "unpredictable" twists and turns. The characters are all fictional. The story however, could be a real one, because I do write from others' life's experiences, and my own.
M.T.: Who are some of the authors who have influenced your work?
J.S.: I owe the thanks of publishing this book to Victoria Christopher-Murray. I have been an avid "closet writer" since early childhood, but it wasn't until I met Victoria that I said to myself "I am going to be an author." I met her three years ago. I love all kinds of reading, and cannot say there is one particular person/author who fed the fire to my passion.
M.T.: How long have you been writing?
J.S.: I have been writing since third grade. I won my first writing contest at that age, and have been writing since then. I have published news articles in Corporate Publishing's, and have done a ton of desk top publishing for the corporate world.
M.T.:Have you ever taken any writing courses?
J.S.: I continuously take writing courses of some kind - gotta stay on top of my passion!
M.T.: Do you plan to write other books?
J.S.: I plan to make writing my career - and drop the corporate day job. ...not there yet, but that's my goal!
M.T.: What do you think of the current state of publishing?
J.S.: I think there is a lot of opportunity for the African-American writer. Do you think it's easier for a new writer to get published by mainstream or harder? I think if there's a drive to succeed, the goal can be accomplished. Harder? Anything worth having isn't going to be easy. It wouldn't be any fun if it was EASY!
M.T.: What have been some of the marketing strategies that you have used?
J.S.: Book clubs, book clubs, book clubs! Fliers, business cards, Internet, Internet, Internet! Visibility, advertising - spend a little money to get a little money!
M.T.: Would you encourage other writers to follow the route that you have gone to get your book published?
J.S.:Absolutely I would! There is a certain amount of risk, but that is part of the territory. The person that invests in themselves, will see it through!