Not sure how I feel about this header font, but on the other hand, it's already there...
On to NaNo. I've done the November version of this fun, tortuous game five times before. When I was seventeen, I wrote a meandering, confusing book about a girl whose sister attempts suicide, winds up in a coma, and begins to haunt her in an ever-more-foreboding manner. She also develops a crush on her sister's older, also grieving girlfriend, and befriends a genderqueer person with possible ties to the other side.
That honestly sums up how most of my work seems to go. Lost, sad people dealing with strange, upsetting things by a.) investigating against their better judgment and b.) finding connection where it seemed impossible.
This year, for the first time, I'm writing historical fiction! And it's slightly happier than it could be! Very exciting. My WIP is called (for now) The Hollow and the Crag. Set in 1932 West Virginia, it follows Pack Horse Librarian Lissy Sharpe as she winds her way through the Appalachian Mountains to share books, folktales, and suspicions of murder with the backwoods hollers in the hills.
I got off to a rather ambitious start, because this was one of those stories that just immediately clicked. I started writing and I felt it, the hum, the rich energy of words ready to fly forth. All of which to say, here we are on July 21 and I'm sitting at 43,000 words with a goal of 75,000 by the 31st. I've got a beat sheet with broad counts, which is the extent of the plotting I am capable of on a first draft, and I've got chemistry, and I've got some very vivid memories of these mountains. But more importantly, for the first time since Scrapetown I feel the true potential of a story—and thanks to Camp NaNo, I'm rolling with it through the harder bits.
Right up front, everybody's got gifs all up in their grills and I am not doing that, but it's not because I don't love gifs, it's because I can only justify so much procrastination before I get back to work. OKAY! Let's do the thing.
Who are you? What's happening?
Hello! I'm Jaq. I'm 26, born and bred in Barboursville, Virginia, now rocking the marketing life about as far as one can get from my (beloved) hometown without leaving the continental US. I like bourbon, fiction with extremely messy moral dilemmas, collecting plants I will never properly harvest, tattoos, cooking, queer cultural discourse, sitting in the sun, sitting in the rain, and horror movies. Also other things but I think that covers the most important stuff.
What is the thing you write?
Generally I write adult fiction, always dark, with a yen for horror and dark fantasy—but always set in a realistic world. I like my streets to feel as real as yours, my characters to be the people you pass on your way to work, only they've got nightmares with very sharp teeth. They're also mostly queer. And probably depressed. I'm interested in how we live with mental illness, how we define our identities against and alongside societal expectations, and how best to kill or become monsters.
How about your MS this year?
Full disclosure: I actually submitted this book last year, too, only it was in a waaaaaaaay worse spot than it is now. It honestly feels like a different book today, after serious edits from esteemed Pitch Wars mentor Hayley Stone and a massive revision thanks to agent feedback.
My Adult Horror novel, Scrapetown, is a ghost story of the American South. Clare Monroe sees the dead in reflective surfaces—and while she thought they were trapped in mirrors, a mutilated body proves her wrong. Stir in bayou witchcraft, bloodbound necromancy, the girl she can't let in, and the boy who won't let her go. (No love triangles, just so we're clear.)
Check out this Pinterest board for a visual introduction!
Why are you cool?
I don't know, but I can make a really excellent cocktail and the best jambalaya in the world. Also I'm extremely open to suggestion, hard-working to the point of sleep deprivation, and am ready to devote whatever energy and pain is necessary in order to make this book a real book that someone else might connect with in the way I've connected with so many. That was a terrible sentence but I'm going to leave it there in the name of sincerity.
An assortment of impressions, anxieties, and positive mantras:
As a LiveJournal veteran, you can bet I'm an expert at longwinded and vaguely personal rambling on the Internet. Now that I'm attempting to be An Author In 2016, I shall use this page to post thoughts I have about various parts of existence.
Sounds easy enough, right?
But for now, I need to make pizza (half pepperoni, half rosemary red pepper) and Earl Grey cupcakes.