Sunday, April 29, 2018

Indie Author Interview: Jeannie Chambers

Indie Author Interview with Jeannie Chambers - Author of the Mid-Grade Sci-Fi Novel Tunnel of Time.

Jeannie Chambers's goal is to write stories that make you think without being taught, and tickle your inquisitive bones where the only way to satisfy the itch is to read more and more.

Interview with Jeannie Chambers

Author Jeannie Chambers
Author Jeannie Chambers
Alan Kealey (Indie Author News): What is your (writing) background?
Jeannie Chambers: I completed a course from The Institute of Children's Literature in 1991. Writing for Children and Teenagers gave me great insight into the industry and I got great feedback on things I'd written. In 2004, I co-authored a book with my brother, Steven. Tiny Hootie and the Hidden Treasure was published using Lulu. I wrote a short story published in the Mountain Laurel Magazine with the title The Miller Cabin. I write a real estate investing article on a rotation basis in a local newspaper, The Highlands Newspaper, and a gardening article under the moniker The Accidental Gardener for the Laurel Magazine, a regional magazine. I was also very grateful to be included in an anthology from the Highlands Writers Group in 2017.

"My main writing influence was my father."

Who are your favorite writers, your favorite books, and who or what are your writing influences?
I'll start with the last part. My main writing influence was my father. He told me stories when I was little, and taught me the art of being a casual observer-sort of stopping to smell the roses, if you will. What I didn't know until after he'd passed away, is that he wrote lots of stories and poetry when he was younger and wanted to write a novel, or two. My older brother, Steven is another influence. I wouldn't call him a muse per se, he was more of a brother with a prodding stick in his hand, or a broom to sweep away my procrastination tendencies. Another influence is being a member of our local Highlands Writers Group. Just a great bunch of people-some are published, others aren't. Favorite writers are hard, and there's not enough time to list them all. I've 'met' a lot of writers over the last few years through social media, some of whom have inspired me to keep going. A very short list of my favorites are: Alex Kava, Lisa Scottoline, Patricia Cornwell, Sue Grafton, Agatha Christie, Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary, James Patterson, Michael Connelly, Sheila Roberts, Brenda Novak, Susan Wiggs, LJ Sellers, Diana Gabaldon, Sandra Brown, and so many more. Some of my favorite books: To Kill a Mockingbird (Lee), The Outsiders (Hinton), Outlander series (Gabaldon), Chronicles of Narnia series (Lewis), Wrinkle in Time series (L'engle) and of course, The Bible, which in my opinion is the greatest book of all time.

When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?
I think I've known since about the eighth grade in junior-high school that I wanted to write. I wish I'd kept some of the stories and poetry from way back then. As far as being a writer, I think that light bulb started shining in the early 80’s when my girls came along.

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I wish I did. I do remember one of the first characters from a story written for The Institute of Children's Literature. Harry Hopsalot.

Tell us about your writing process. Do you have a writing routine?
Most of my creativity happens early in the morning. If I can carve out two-three hours, I can expect one good hour of writing.

Please, describe your desk/workplace.
My desk is in a separate room in my house. I use a laptop, and have a desktop too.

"Making the time to write is probably the hardest."

What do you find easiest about writing? What the hardest?

Making the time to write is probably the hardest. I've learned you can't say 'finding the time', because the time is there already, but I have to sometimes make myself get started. The easiest part about writing is when the characters start talking with each other. Writers joke about it, but it's really true when we say the characters say things we never knew was coming. I'm so glad I can type relatively fast, because I want to catch what they're saying so I can get it all down.

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
When a reader contacts me/approaches me to tell me how much they enjoyed reading the book. Some have sent pictures, and I will cherish those for a very long time. Also, the friendships I've made through writing have touched me deeply, some feel like family to me.

Jeannie, please tell us a little about your Time Travel Novel Tunnel of Time.
Timeless meets The History Channel through the eyes of the three Hitt sisters: 12-year-old Gracie, 10-year-old Lizzie and their 7-year-old tag-a-long sister, Reba Dee. After a freak accident while on a country fair ride, the Hitt sisters find themselves all alone in the Tunnel of Time. Normally, the Tunnel of Time carries you through a tunnel stopping at different stations to hear automations recite tidbits about their historical characters. After the accident, the automations are eerily quiet on the inside of the tunnel, but when the girls try to leave the tunnel using the EXIT door by each exhibit, they find themselves in the time and place of the real characters. They meet Alexander Graham Bell, Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan, Martin Luther King, Jr, Thomas Edison, and several other important people in history. Along their journey, they not only get to talk with people of the past, they discover more about each other as well.

Tunnel of Time (Jeannie Chambers)
Click to Read an Excerpt

What inspired you to write the book?
Tunnel of Time was a 2013 NaNoWriMo project, a writing challenge to write 50 thousand words in November. The main three characters were inspired by my three oldest grandchildren. At the time, I wanted to write something to inspire them and others adolescents to read more, and to read about people and/or things that really happened. History wasn't a favorite subject in school for me, and as I got older I realized if it had been more animated it would've been a better learning experience. I went to Walt Disney World in the 80's and saw an exhibit about time. While we sat still, the stage moved through different time periods. I guess I've always remembered parts of that exhibit, but I knew I wanted my characters to have a more active role-I wanted them to experience the past first-hand.

Who do you see as your target audience?
Middle-grade, which is usually ages 8-15. I've had plenty of adults tell me they enjoyed the book too.

"I could travel anywhere in the world I wanted - just by reading a book."

What makes your book special?
When someone first told me "So, you've written a time-travel, science-fiction book." I answered, "Yeah, I guess so. I mean it IS traveling through time, but not in a sci-fi kind of way, because this could really happen." OK, well I guess that was another instance of my characters talking to me, so I quickly edited my response to something like, "Well, it seems like it could happen, it sure was real to those three girls." My parents always told me that I could travel anywhere in the world I wanted just by reading a book. I don't think my book is any more special than others, but hopefully it is the kind of book that will whet the appetite of young readers to make them want to read more.

How would you describe the success of your self-published books so far?
My book was published by an Independent Press, Red Press Co. and I'm very happy with the sales I've had so far.

"Read, read, read [...]"

Can you give some advice for other Authors regarding the writing process?
Just keep writing. Join writers groups, associations, and social media platforms that puts you in the same room (physically or virtually) with other writers. Read, read, read what others are writing, especially but not exclusively in the genre you're writing.

Are you working on another book project? Can you tell us a little about it?
Yes. Another NaNo project- this one actually came before Tunnel of Time. The working title is Mirror, Mirror and the main character is a 16-year-old girl. It's not really a time travel, in that the characters don't physically leave their time period,but it does involve different time periods. It's set in 1985 in a small southern town.

Where do you see the book market in 5 or 10 years? Will there be only eBooks and will book stores disappear like record stores disappeared?
A few years ago, I was worried about eBooks replacing paper books, but not anymore. I think there will be an Indie bookstore revival of sorts, and the big stores like Barnes & Noble and Books-a-Million will stick around as well. The threat, if any, is Amazon. I'm as guilty as the next reader, but I always make it a point to go into and shop the brick and mortar bookstores. What I'm also seeing are other stores adding books to their inventory, and believe me if a reader goes into a store, they'll find the book department even if it's just one shelf.

"[...] nothing compares to holding a book in your hands."

What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have a Kindle that I love, but I hardly ever use it. My Kindle app is on my iPhone and iPad, so any book I have is within my reach. I love having a book 'on-demand', but to me, nothing compares to holding a book in your hands.

"I plan to write full time- that would be a dream come true."

Do you write full-time or do you have a day job? When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
My husband and I own a real estate and vacation rental business in a small, but bustling mountain resort town. Even though we are considered a seasonal town, our business is open year-round, and we are busy all year booking reservations and selling real estate.
If I ever retire, I plan to write full time- that would be a dream come true.

How can readers connect with you?
I'm all over the place, and I love to connect with readers!

Thank you so much for your questions, I look forward to connecting with you soon! Happy Reading and Enjoy the Journey!

Thank you very much for the Interview, Jeannie.

About the Book Tunnel of Time

Tunnel of Time (Jeannie Chambers)
Click to Read an Excerpt

Do you think it's possible to be one place one minute, and then a completely different place the next?

I'm talking a REALLY different place.

My name is Gracie Hitt, and I did just that along with my sisters, Lizzie and Reba Dee. A normal Saturday at the County Fair turned out to be the most extraordinary time of our lives.

"Praise for Jeannie Chambers and her excellent writing. An outstanding story, full of interesting facts and a plot to immerse the reader in a fantastic journey across time." - Reader Review (5-Stars)

Links to the Book

Link to the Paperback Tunnel of Time on Amazon

Link to the eBook Tunnel of Time on Amazon

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