Pump Up Your Book Chats with Jeanette BakerAuthor Interviews, Featured — By Tracee Gleichner on February 9, 2012 at 2:45 pm
About Jeanette BakerJeanette Baker is the award-winning author of fifteen novels, published by Pocket, Kensington and Mira Books, many of them set in the lush countryside of historical and contemporary Ireland where she lives and writes during the summer months. Her ancestors, the O’Flahertys, hail from Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands located off the coast of Galway. She takes great pride in the prayer posted by the English over the ancient city gates, ‘From the wrath of the O’Flahertys, may the good Lord deliver us.’
Lauded as an author who has created a niche in the world of the time-travel paranormal, Jeanette’s previous stories have all taken place in Scotland and Ireland. Convinced that America has its own mystical elements, she set WITCH WOMAN in Salem, Massachusetts.
Jeanette graduated from the University of California at Irvine and holds a Masters Degree in Education. For the remainder of the year, she teaches in Southern California, reads constantly, attempts to navigate the confusing world of Facebook and, more recently e-publishing, concocts creations from interesting cook books and enjoys the company of friends and her grown children. She is the RITA award-winning author of the paranormal NELL.
You can visit Jeanette’s website at jeanettebaker.com
The InterviewThank you for this interview, Jeanette. Do you remember writing stories as a child or did the writing bug come later? Do you remember your first published piece?
A: You’re welcome. I don’t remember doing much writing at all as a child. Today, there is much more emphasis placed upon writing than there was when I was young. My first recollection that writing could be fun, satisfying and powerful was in my high school journalism class. I wrote a short fictional piece that was, according to the teacher, superior to the others turned in. My first published piece was a newspaper article where I compared a teacher’s first day of school to a soldier on the front lines, humorous of course.
What do you consider as the most frustrating side of becoming a published author and what has been the most rewarding?
A: Frustrating: lack of control over covers, marketing and print runs, books staying on bookstore shelves for a brief 3 months, bookstores closing, men shying away from reading women authors.
Rewarding: Seeing my words in print and my books for sale in bookstores, airports and online, wonderful reviews, appreciative readers, fans, the pleasure of writing a spot on scene.
Are you married or single and how do you combine the writing life with home life? Do you have support?
A: Technically, I’m a widow. My late husband died 6 years ago after a brief and difficult illness. Unbelievably, and unexpectedly, I fell in love again and am now engaged to be married in May. Who would have thought?
In addition to being the author of 17 novels, I am a 6th grade teacher. It’s wonderful to have a steady paycheck and it comes in handy for paying the bills, braces on the kid’s teeth as well as the hope of a secure pension. I’m my own support, financially, but I also have two adult children who have been with me through joy and sorrow every step of the way. My son is beginning medical school in the fall and my daughter, recently married last September, lives nearby. My fiancé is a wonderful man who reads all my books.
What do you like to do for fun when you’re not writing? Where do you like to vacation? Can you tell us briefly about this?
A: Traveling and cooking are my favorite things to do. I love perusing recipe books and creatingsomething delicious. Next on the list, would be meeting a friend for breakfast. I live in Co. Kerry, Ireland during the summer months. My family is Irish and my fiancé has a home there. I do most of my writing in the summer. It’s cool and misty, the tea kettle is always on and the scenery is spectacular. Most of my novels are set in Ireland. Castles dot the hillsides and history calls from around every bend.
If you could be anywhere in the world for one hour right now, where would that place be and why?
A: If I can include a slight blip in time, I would go back 30 years to my parent’s house, specifically their dining room table during the dinner hour. I would revel in their conversation, their affection for each other and their children, and their thoughtful and enlightened conversation. I miss them very much.
Who is your biggest fan?
A: My best friend’s husband, an ex-English teacher and closet writer.
Where’s your favorite place to write at home?
A: My colorful family room, near the fireplace, seated on my tartan plaid couch, legs curled beneath me and my laptop on my lap.
Do you have any pets?
A: I am currently without pets.
Tell us a secret no one else knows.
A: I’m a registered Democrat in Orange County, California. My family calls this living behind the Orange Curtain.
What’s on your to do list today?
A: Teaching compare/contrast essays to my 6th graders and, later, trying out a beef stew recipe from Cooking Light Magazine that features Guinness stout. After that, I’ll fill out the financial aid application for my son’s first year at Pritzker Medical School, University of Chicago.
Now I’ve got a couple of fun questions for you. If Tom Hanks, in the movie Cast Away, unearthed a copy of your book, how would that help him find a way off the island?
A: Tom would become familiar with the spells of Wicca, merge his spirit with the flora and fauna of his island, send his “help” message through fire and water, across earth and air and, soon, rescuers would flock to him.
You have a chance to appear on the hit talent show for authors, American Book Idol, with judges Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, Kara Dioguardi and the newest addition, Ellen DeGeneres, to determine whether your book will make it to Hollywood and become a big screenplay where you’d make millions of dollars. What would impress them more – your book cover, an excerpt or your author photo – and why?
A: My goodness! I can truly say I’ve never had anyone ask a question like this before. I’m going to choose the excerpt, mostly because the people you’ve selected are impressed by talent, not the wrapper and Witch Woman’s cover, gorgeous as it is, is just a cover for the real treat within. So is my photo. You probably know that most authors go all out for their photos, even the casual relaxed photos of men and women leaning against a fence or sitting on the porch. My author photos are beautifully posed, touched up and carefully chosen, but still just a cover for me, the person within.
You just got word that your book has received the 2010 NY Times Bestselling Book Award and you have to attend the ceremony to give an acceptance speech. Anyone who’s anyone will be there and it’s your shot for stardom. What would you say and who would you thank?
A: NY Times Bestselling Book Award – I wish. I would thank my mother, always my mother, for forbidding me to read during the day if the sun was shining outside. I credit her completely because I spent most of my life doing exactly the opposite of what she told me to do. Without her I wouldn’t have become the voracious reader and writer that I am. May she rest in peace.
I understand that you are touring with Pump Up Your Book Promotion in February 2012 via a virtual book tour. Can you tell us all why you chose a virtual book tour to promote your book online?
A: Times have changed and continue to change dramatically. Online promotion is one of the positives. Getting the word out about my books from the comfort of my own home is a wonderful way to advertise. I’m an introvert. Blogs specifically dedicated to writers and readers have made promotion and interaction with readers a pleasure for me.
Thank you for this interview, Jeanette. Good luck on your virtual book tour!
A: You’re very welcome. Thanks for featuring me on your blog. Your questions were thought-provoking and fun. This interview took me longer than most, I really had to think, but I had fun.
About Witch WomanThe first time Maggie McBride set foot in contemporary Salem, Massachusetts she was two years old, completely alone and stark naked. Now, thirty years later, a clairvoyant with a gift for profiling kidnappers, she is back to fulfill a personal quest. Armed with an ancient spinning wheel inherited from Annie McBride, her adoptive mother, she intends to solve the mystery of her sudden, unexpected appearance in The Old Burying Point Cemetery. Her only clue is the recurring dream of a woman from another time, a woman with a spinning wheel, an unusual whistle, and the same genetic mutation Maggie has, one brown eye, the other blue. As Maggie’s spinning improves, her ability to visit the past strengthens and she finds herself being drawn into a world that existed four centuries before, a terrifying world she would have inhabited except for the courage and magick of one woman.
In the meeting room, Inquisitors advance upon Abigail March and her child, Margaret She marshals her powers and channels the forces of nature. The world shifts and blackens. A strange roaring obliterates all sound and the air is thick with smoke. Bystanders are painfully seared, unable to move or breathe. Eventually, the air clears. But Abigail has been only partially successful. Three-year-old Margaret has disappeared through a time portal. For years Abigail searches to recall it. One night as the earth passed between the moon and sun, she is able to slip through the window, but the small community of Salem is no longer recognizable. Abigail turns to her powers and her spinning, sending out her summons to the universe, mindful of her shrinking time table, the enemies who followed her and the narrowing portal that will lead her home.