I really loved this book. It is a genuinely inspiring, emotional and engaging, well written book. It will make you think about your own life after you finish reading it.
In my own case, it caused me to reflect on how much I have to be thankful for. I’ve attached my review at the end of this feature. Yes, this one is 5 stars.
But the interview first. Hello Mrs. Jackson, welcome to my blog.
Please tell my readers, how did you become a writer?
Somewhere in my fifth grade school year, I wrote a play for three friends and myself, all on my own for a school assignment. In reflection, it seems really hilarious now. My ‘co-writers’ were quite glad when I volunteered to write the play by myself (how little did I know at the time).
Picture in your mind a young girl about 9 years old, using an old manual typewriter, not knowing how to type, and using old style carbon paper between layers of white paper. That was a recipe for disaster in 1969. Needless to say I had many errors and with carbon paper the copies underneath were even worse.
We performed our skit and so many people laughed at our pathetic yet humorous play. I wrote short stories growing up and kept journals, however books were really my thing. It seemed like every time I turned around I was obtaining a new library card due to the current one being stamped complete. Diving into a good book made any day perfect and you would be surprised at the number of books I read over and over.
I drew paper dolls and clothing for them, and using watercolor as my medium when painting scenes, especially flowers. I continued with art in high school exploring a wide variety of arts and I loved it! The creative side of me loves to be an amateur “shutter-bug” and we actually have an online art gallery. In college I went into the sciences of all things and received a Bachelor’s degree in the Science of Nursing. My nursing career was highly successful and I hung up my nursing hat in December 2012.
How did you come up with your stories?
My first book happens to be a memoir. I knew I would write a book eventually back in 1990. That year was a rough one for me and my family personally, and I’ve kept journals most of my life. I had many stories to tell but I wasn’t quite ready mentally or emotionally, in going headlong into a 376 page book.
When 2013 rolled around, I knew then that I was going to put words and stories from my journals into digital format. The hardest and most difficult part initially was actually going into and reading my journals from 1989 – 1990 as my first book is Non-Fiction/Spiritual in nature.
I knew my book had to be written and I knew the many messages in my book needed to be published, so that hopefully I could help others through difficult times in their lives or the lives of others they knew. The timing was right as I had left nursing in December 2012. My first book was extremely difficult since the stories were real. Some days I could write one sentence and then I was done for the day. Other days I could write more.
You have created great characters. Which one is your favorite?
My favorite character is from my first book, When Angels Fly, and that character is Eli.
Even though Eli was only five years old, the strength he bravely showed was amazing!
I am still in awe of him and what he endured, most without complaint. Readers will see why when they read this book.
Who would you cast to play the characters in a movie?
I have no idea regarding casting a five year child, yet I do have a few ideas for someone to portray the character of Sarah. An actress in Kansas City, Andrea Dover, could pull off the character of Sarah quite well. I have seen some of her acting, and I know her personally. I know she can portray Sarah quite well. ***** Star Moment!
Oh yeah, lest I forget, my co-screenwriter and I, have about twenty minutes of screenplay left to write!! We have several producers interested already! We shall see where this goes…
Are you like any of the characters (and how so)?
I am like the character of Sarah, since she is based on me. Because life happened, Sarah happened, and so we are linked for eternity.
Were the plot and subplots completely planned from the start or did they change during the process, and if so, how?
“When Angels Fly” is a memoir, and this story actually has three beginnings. Once a reader starts to read, they will see why this book actually had to have three beginnings.
Initially, journal notes from 1989 through 1990 were put into digital format.
Once we started when Sarah was just as small child, around age six, we knew that more than one beginning was necessary.
What is your main reason for writing?
Sarah had a story that needed to be told, Eli had an amazing story to tell, and it just needed to be done. Many tears flowed, and the days were hard, indeed, but really, this memoir was written so that others could be helped in so many different ways.
In essence, “When Angels Fly” is a true story of survival fraught with tragedy that will hold your soul.
In utter sadness, great hope and faith grows.
This is the inspirational story about a woman who was able to rise above an extremely abusive childhood and later marriage, to learn faith, love, and motherhood from her own son’s courageous fight with cancer.
It provides an illuminating example of how women who are in physically, mentally and emotionally abusive relationships can successfully escape even in the most challenging of times. It also warns of how the actions of medical professionals can be a soothing balm or a deadly arrow.
The story draws the reader into the life of a mother and her wonderful little boy who is strong beyond his years and who leaves a lasting impression on all who knew him.
What are the best and the worst aspects of writing?
We love creating and writing a story that we think people will like or that we think will be helpful for children to read and learn. Creating digital pieces for our books is a new love.
Finding time to write, on some days, is the only downside. During the writing of “When Angels Fly”, on really tough days I wanted to just stop, and sometimes I did for a week or so.
Yet I knew in my mind that I needed to finish my book and get it out to the public. I knew all along what the beginning, middle and end would be and I wondered about publishing my book as well. Now that my book is published, I feel a deep sense of peace within myself.
How do you balance marketing one book and writing the next?
Having a blog, and social media account helps quite a bit. We try to balance our social media with our family and friends, and other authors and readers alike. When we do a book signing, or we speak at a Chamber of Commerce, we will bring copies of all of our books so that potential readers can peruse through them at their leisure.
We have a small notebook and we write down ideas for stories, then we write the story, and finally, the graphics are created. One day may be mostly spent with some marketing and family time, and on days when my husband works, I create the graphics. Since we are a team, this works well for us.
What do you do when you don’t write?
We love, love, love Jeeping in the Colorado mountains! Did I mention we love Jeeping the trails of Colorado? Traveling is something we enjoy immensely, and we take a zillion pictures!
Who are your editors and how do you quality control your books?
Thus far, “When Angels Fly’, has been our only book that required a line editor, and Stacy Juba is excellent! Since we design our own graphics and covers, we have full control, and everything is 300 dpi if not higher.
How have you found the experience of self-publishing? What were your highs and lows?
I won’t discuss our first indie publisher as that was such a bad deal. Since then we have published everything else on our own. Having full control is a big plus!
What do you like best about writing? What’s your least favourite thing?
Bringing characters to life is so rewarding! I don’t have a least favorite, yet.
What is your advice to new indie writers?
Write from your heart and just do it!
Who are your favourite independent writers?
Susan Vance and Max Bear are wonderful story tellers. I admire them.
Who are your favourite authors?
I have so many that my list would go on for pages!
What is your favourite book?
That depends on what age we are discussing. As a child, I loved all the Nancy Drew, Little House on the Prairie, Dr. Seuss, Cherry Ames, Dick and Jane primers, well the list is endless there as well. I adore Regency and Victorian era romances and sci-fi.
What book are you currently reading and in what format (e-book / paperback / hardcover)?
What makes you laugh?
Our family is so funny, and especially our new grandson, and our backyard wildlife.
What (not who) would you like to take to a lonely island?
I would take a shawl, for protection at night when it is cooler.
Who would you like to invite for dinner?
David A. R. White and his wife, Andrea Logan White ~ they both believe and are inspiring persons!
Summer or winter?
Ice cream or cake?
What would your friends say are your best and your oddest quality?
Best would be sincerity and oddest? Well I am odd to them all of the time!
What can you tell us about your other books?
I always thought I would be a one book author. After our first book was published, we started thinking about other books. We have a bunch of backyard fox squirrels that do funny things and we decided they needed to be in a book. So we put them into a picture and text book detailing a little about each of the United States National Parks.
We didn’t stop there though, and next came two different comic books using the same squirrels, followed by a coffee table book, containing full color graphics of our paintings, photographs, and digital art pieces.
We thought we were done, yet a cookbook came along soon after. We totally thought we were done writing books but then, our daughter and her family stopped by, and they have a cute little long-haired female dachshund and a light bulb turned on!
Now we have published two books in a ten book series geared for children, involving that little dog and some of our squirrels, fully illustrated, and teaching lessons along the way. Our most recent book is the aforementioned, “Suzy Has A Secret”.
Wow, what an eclectic bit of writing you have done!
Let me ask about music. What song would you pick to go with your book?
I am not sure as yet.
It’s a hard choice to make nowadays, with such a wide variety of songs to choose from. So, how do you handle criticism of your work?
We use it positively, as a way to become better authors. It helps us improve.
- Jackson is a retired registered nurse; a member of the Catholic Church, and has taught kindergarten Catechism; she has worked in various capacities for The American Cancer Society, March of Dimes, Cub and Boy Scouts, (son, Noah, is an Eagle Scout), and sponsored trips for high school children music. She loves all forms of art but mostly focuses on the visual arts; as amateur photography, traditional, and graphic art as her disabilities allow.
- Raymond is a member of the Catholic Church, and has helped his wife with The American Cancer Society, March of Dimes, Cub and Boy Scouts, and sponsored children alongside his wife on music trips. He devotes his spare time to fishing, reading, playing poker, Jeeping, and travel adventures with his wife.
Links to Social Media:
This is a very emotional story, as I said in the introduction. One look at the cover is enough to tell you to get some tissue, because you will not be able to hold back the flow of emotion. That is one of the key elements of this book, namely, its intimacy, its humanity.
Some of us lead charmed lives, where misfortune completely avoids you. Others, like Sarah, the story’s protagonist, find misfortune following them around like a shadow.
Sarah shows remarkable resilience as she deals with the circumstances of her life. As I read, I couldn’t but help ask myself, just how much resilience and courage I would have had if I were in Sarah’s shoes? Honestly, not much.
The strange thing about my reflection, however, is that I was wrong.
In my own life, I have experienced the loss of three family members to cancer. There, I said it. In three generations, cancer has come calling, to take a loved one away. And each time, my family has fought the good fight, maintained our faith in God, smiled and laughed when the sun was shining, and cried our tears when the inevitable came.
What this book does, in the end, is to make readers aware of how lucky we are, how much we have to be thankful for, and suggest a way to live our lives in a way that the departed family members would be proud of our efforts.
Finally, to my mother, my sister, and my nephew, Annette, Emma, and Bryan, I know you all are in a better place, and I hope what I am doing with my life is making you three proud.
I would recommend this book for anybody who is going through a difficult time. Not just medical related, or health issues, but any hard time. If this book does not open your eyes to let you see just how blessed you are, nothing will. Wait a minute. Why wait? There is no reason to wait. Or, maybe you know someone who would appreciate this book. Give it to someone who needs it: a friend, family member, colleague. Highly recommended.