Saturday, April 14, 2012

Interview with Jaq D. Hawkins, Author of The Goblin Series

Jaq is one busy soul with many irons in many fires.  She's published a number of books and dropped by to tell us a little about herself, her books and offer a few words of advice to writers seeking publication.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
Jaq D. Hawkins
I've always been a writer. It became a serious life goal in high school, when I was 14. I started learning about the writing business then, but I had a fairly mobile life that has had me living in more than one country so I spent many of my 'practice' years having adventures that would eventually add to my experiences to draw on for my fiction.

When were you first published?
I settled down and started serious writing in the late 1980's. I started with articles for occult magazines as an editor asked me to write something specific, then had my first book ready for publication in 1994. It would be two more years before I found the right publisher for it. After that I churned out several more books including the Spirits of the Elements series which formed much of my early reputation. Then the first goblin novel assaulted me and demanded to be written in 2004, which distracted me from my other writing. I've been writing fiction ever since, with a small hiatus for filmmaking which I blame on the goblins.

You’ve produced a fair number of books over the years.  Do you find yourself gravitating to any particular themes in your books?
Somehow Alchemy has a way of getting into my books as well as film scripts. There are few exceptions, it didn't get into my first Steampunk book, although it may well sneak into the sequel.

At what point in writing a novel do you know that it’s a stand-alone story never to be revisited versus a book that will have sequels?
Within the first two chapters. When I started writing Dance of the Goblins, I had no specific plan. Then I started taking notes for the sequels, and by chapter four I knew it had to become a film. The Wake of the Dragon (Steampunk) demanded just one sequel. The Chase For Choronzon which is an unfinished Fantasy book will be stand alone. Technically all my books are stand alone as each provides a full story that can be read individually, but the sequels start their stories at some time after previous books in the series and use some of the same characters.

What do you find is your primary motivation for writing?  Is it different than your motivation for publishing? 
As I said, I've always been a writer. I started my first autobiography on notepaper with a pencil when I was six. It's just part of who I am. Publishing is a two-fold motivation. I like to share my stories, and I would like to make at least a meagre living from it so that I don't have to interrupt my writing time with a day job.

When writing a novel, what comes easiest to you and what is the most difficult?
Until recently, fight scenes were a bit of a struggle. I seem to have cracked that with the battle in Demoniac Dance (first sequel to Dance of the Goblins). The rest is fairly easy. I sit down to write in the morning and the next part of the story just comes.

How long, on average, does it take for you to go from idea to completed manuscript and what is the process like for you?
It varies. Dance of the Goblins took me over and I kept adding to it every morning before work and every afternoon when I got home for four months, then it was done. Wake of the Dragon was similar although it fit into the once a day writing slot I've established. Demoniac Dance and Chase For Choronzon were both about six chapters in when something else required my attention, then I went back to finish them. I would say four to six months active writing time goes into each book.

What is the highest praise you could hear from one of your readers?
Simply that they enjoyed it enough to want more. I love going back to my goblin world. Like Count Anton, I'd love to be able to stay there, but we cannot. 

Is there a book you’d love to write, but know you never will?
Not really, I take notes when ideas occur and keep writing, even if filmmaking slows the process.

What’s next on your plate?
Having just finished Demoniac Dance, I'll be putting some serious time into film editing which is needed but I will be slowly working on a book of short stories related to the Goblin Series which I can use for freebies and introducing new readers to that world. I will also make slow progress of The Chase for Choronzon for a while as the third goblin book nags at me. Eventually it will win.

Can we expect anything more from you this year or next?
Demoniac Dance will be available in April, the publisher is only waiting for the cover art now. Wake of the Dragon should also be out within the next couple of months. Meat for the Storytelling, a book of short stories related to the Goblin Series will be finished and released by August and The Chase For Choronzon should be out by the end of the year. Power of the Dance and the sequel to Wake of the Dragon are still in early stages, but I would certainly expect them to be finished and released by sometime in 2013.

Who has had the biggest influence on your writing?
The two authors most responsible for my need to have a Fantasy world of my own are Marion Zimmer Bradley because of her Darkover books and Roger Zelazny, author of the Amber series. Anne McCaffrey added to that with her Dragonriders books.

Can you reveal a "secret" about yourself that almost no one else knows?
I'm a Scorpio, I don't give away my secrets any more than the goblins do. ;)

  • Color: Deep wine red
  • Number: 11
  • Season: Autumn
  • Food and/or beverage: Mexican!
  • Song: I have broad musical tastes, but I'll choose "Airship Pirates" by Abney Park as that inspired my Steampunk novel.
  • Movie: Yellow Submarine
  • Book: Besides my own? ;) David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

Do you have any recommendations or advice for writers who aspire to be published?
Study the business side of writing and develop a thick skin. Most of all though, make sure you've got a perfect manuscript format and edit out all those typos and other anomalies. Get someone else to read specifically for them. If you're lazy, get another job, this isn't an easy ride.

Where can we find your books?
The easy way is to go to my own website but current outlet links are:
Amazon (US)
Amazon (UK)
Hard copy

For my Mind, Body Spirit books:
Chaos Magic Series
Spirits of the Elements Series

There will be some new links soon as Paganarchy Press is about to re-issue Dance of the Goblins and will release Demoniac Dance in both hard copy and electronic formats, but the Smashwords link above will lead to the E-books and any other information will appear on my website.

How can we follow you?
Author Website
My Blog

Thank-you Jaq for stopping by and chatting!


  1. Very interesting blog. I'd love to read more, there are so many things that interest me.
    Loved this post!


  2. Great interview! So much talent in one post!

    1. Thanks, Ashley. I'd love to be as prolific in my writing as Jaq is. She's quite the creative type, no?

  3. Thanks for the kind comments. Demoniac Dance and a Steampunk title called The Wake of the Dragon have been released since this interview. More will be coming. :)

    ~ Jaq