Location: Florida / U.S.A.
Question: How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing since I was just a little girl, but started writing novel-length fiction about a year ago.
Question: What was the name of the first book you ever published, and when was it published?
The name of my first book is "The Last Navigator". I published it in May of 2013'.
Question: Was this book published by a publisher; or did you self-publish?
I chose to go the self-publishing route with "The Last Navigator" using Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) program.
Question: Tell our readers about this very first book. (For example: What was the inspiration for writing it, and what was it about)?
My inspiration to write "The Last Navigator" came from experiences I had while participating in a graduate school course in Hawai'i several years ago. While visiting the School of Social Work at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa, we learned of the Navigators, and of Nainoa Thompson, one of the few remaining true navigators. The Navigators are a group of people who use natural elements, such as the stars, the planets, the movement of the waves and clouds, to find their way in the ocean. The title, "The Last Navigator", was inspired by the Polynesian Navigators and, although it is not about them, the Navigators in my book do use the stars to find their way. I pulled from elements of the Polynesian Navigator traditions to write "The Last Navigator" and develop my characters. The storyline and many of the characters were also shaped by my background as a social worker and my desire to learn about and understand the human condition.
In writing "The Last Navigator", I wanted to create a story that pulled from my experiences in Hawai’i as well as from current societal and personal life themes. Themes such as the empowerment of women and the hardships of single parent households are evident in the book. The main character in "The Last Navigator", Lani, is a young female whale who dreams of being more than average. She wants to make a difference—and she does. In developing her character, I wanted to empower young women to follow their dreams and not simply conform to the norms of this world. Lani is shaped by her life experiences and her relationships with other characters, such as, Mother, and Kilo, and even the zany character of Manny, the sea turtle. She learns through trials and overcoming obstacles that she can indeed reach for the stars and achieve great things. My hope is that in reading "The Last Navigator", some part of Lani’s character will resonate with each reader. Whether that resonance is found in her search for life’s meaning, or her desire to go against the grain, I hope she will touch the hearts of readers young and old.
Question: Can a person still buy this book? If so, where?
"The Last Navigator" is definitely still available for purchase on Amazon.com. You can use the following link:
Also, I am currently working on making a print version available for purchase through Amazon. I’m in the final stages of proofing the print copy and hopefully will have it available for purchase in the coming month.
Question: How many total books have you published?
I’ve published only one book thus far, but I hope to be publishing more books and short stories in the near future. I have a short story that is published and available to download for free on Smashwords called:
"The Woman in the Zebra Hat"
"The Woman in the Zebra Hat" is a short and sweet story about a girl who dreams big and discovers true happiness in unexpected ways. It’s a tale of dreams, love, family ties, and self-discovery. "The Woman in the Zebra Hat" is the perfect “lunchtime” read.
Question: List all of your titles
The Last Navigator [Kindle Edition] (2013)
The Woman in the Zebra Hat [Smashwords Edition] (2013)
Question: Any future writing projects in the works? If so, tell us about it, and any pertinent dates to go with it.
I have several “works-in-progress” that will be coming out soon. The first one is the companion novel to "The Last Navigator" called, "Through Ryan’s Eyes". It is a companion novel, rather than a sequel, because it tells the same story as is told in "The Last Navigator". The difference is that the story is told through the point of view of Ryan, an important character in "The Last Navigator". "Through Ryan’s Eyes" gives a bit more background to "The Last Navigator" and gives a different perspective to the story, replete with different life experiences and trials. Whereas, "The Last Navigator" is aimed at an audience of middle grade readers, "Through Ryan’s Eyes" is written for a young adult audience. The writing is a bit grittier and it will resonate with a different subset of individuals who have experienced hardships in life and managed to overcome obstacles. The target release date for "Through Ryan’s Eyes" is November or December of this year.
I have been working on a novella called "Waltzing with Raindrops", which is a story of a young woman who returns home to care for her ailing father. It is a romantic tale about a Daddy’s Girl who finds love when she least expects it. My hope is that it will combine a little steamy romance with family struggles and the loss of loved ones in a story that tugs on your heart strings and makes you smile, laugh, and cry. I’m not sure when this one will be complete and released, but hopefully by the beginning of next year (maybe even Christmas, if I work really hard).
Finally, I am working on my own story of adoption, family relationships, struggles, joys, laughter and tears. It may take me a few years to write this one but I have started the journey.
Question: What is the title of your current book, and tell us a little about it.
The book that I’m currently working on is "Through Ryan’s Eyes". It is the companion novel to "The Last Navigator" and it is written from the point of view of Ryan, a pivotal character from "The Last Navigator". The projected release date for "Through Ryan’s Eyes" is November or December 2013.
Below is a brief blurb:
Ryan Watterson, the owner and operator of a whaling fleet in southern Japan, is on top of the world. Whaling season is in full swing and Ryan’s father gets a tip from an old friend. Being in poor health, he enlists Ryan to captain the fleet and venture into unknown hunting waters. Ryan proudly accepts the offer to take the control of the esteemed Watterson Whaling Fleet. Leaving his beautiful wife, Mary, and his infant daughter, Sarah, behind, he embarks on a journey that will lead him far from the comforts of home. When the Sweet Sammy burns and sinks into the Pacific, a stranded and hopeless Ryan is befriended by a whale named Lani who changes his life forever.
Last question, if someone comes across this article and reads it, what would you like to tell them about why you think they should try reading your book or books? ()?
If you are looking for stories that will touch your heart, I would definitely recommend both "The Last Navigator" and "The Woman in the Zebra Hat". There’s a little something for just about everyone in my stories so I guarantee you won’t regret reading one or both. The books are easy to read and are great if you are young or old; or anywhere in between.
Anything else you'd like to add that I didn't ask you, but you would like to share with our readers?
A few random facts about me:
1.) I was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
2.) I love wedding cake, country-fried steak, and college football (especially, LSU football).
3.) I should have gotten a degree in graphic design because I love Photoshop, Flash, and InDesign.
4.) I never, in a million years, thought that I would grow up to become an author.
5.) I was adopted.
6.) Follow me on Twitter @JGMcNease