As you know, I don’t usually promote authors whose books I haven’t read. So why am I making an exception in this case? Easy. For one, Ms. Jones’ book touches on a topic I, too, have had my both active and passive experiences with, and about which I, too, have written a book: depression. Two, just like me, she has chosen the fantasy angle to approach the topic, to somehow explain what is going on in a depressed mind by means of fantastical representation. And after having read a few of the reviews her book got on Goodreads, I was more than convinced that I needed to promote her work. In fact, I’ve added it to my (admittedly considerable) to-read pile, so will be able to give you a review of my own soon.
Now, let’s ask her a few questions.
Who are you?
My author name is H.M. Jones. I’m an author of fiction, mostly fantasy, and poetry, fairly non-fantastical. I am also a community college teacher of English writing, an editor, the website moderator for Elite Indie Reads, and a full-time mother of two smart preschoolers.
Where are you?
I hail from the Pacific Northwest, Washington state to be specific, and am happy to live here forever.
How are you?
I am tired and busy but in love with all my various pursuits, and wouldn’t change a thing, except, perhaps, a wider reading audience.
Which book do you want to talk about? Tell us briefly what it is about.
Monochrome is probably my most popular book. It is a book that delves into the mind of a woman undergoing severe postpartum depression, which seems rather dark, but there is a lot of lightness and love in the book, too.
It is set in the world, Monochrome (a fantastical representation of the depressed mind), and is about Abigail’s, the main character, journey of self discovery, and her fight to regain her family.
Why did you write it?
I started this book in late 2010 and continually edited and sought out advice and edited it again, several times until, finally, October 2013, I decided it was ready for release.
Tell us about your main character. What does he/she look like, love, hate, dream of? What qualities/flaws/principles does he/she have?
Abigail is a stubborn, loyal and strong willed, but she is also very selfish and lives too much in fantasy. It is her flaws that cause her to think about leaving the world, that thrust her into the dark world of Monochrome, but it is her stronger, more prominent good qualities that allow her to see her life as beautiful and to fight for it.
Is there a song you’d associate with your book?
There are a few songs that I would listen to when I needed inspiration. Pink’s song, Sober, Blue October, Hate Me, and a little angry Pantera, as well. They are all dark, but the first two are also self aware, and critical, which really portrays the tone of Abigail.
Is there a message in your book? Do you want your readers to take something home?
I do want to help people with my writing. I don’t write to be famous, that is. I want those who have experienced depression or marginalization or addiction to be honest about themselves, their good points and flaws. It helps when a character is able to see herself, open and flawed, and able to display some truly terrible thoughts. It makes her relateable, imperfect, and could inspire introspection in readers, I think. Actually, many of my readers picked the book up not expecting to like it, as dark as it seems it might be, but loved that it was sprinkled with hope, lightness, love and even a little faith. Many of them suggested that it got them thinking about their life’s memories, and how precious those memories are. I feel very humbled by such wonderful feedback, especially after getting frustrated with the publishing process.
Which target audience do you write for? What do you think makes your book especially appealing for that audience?
Any audience who likes to think. It has been labeled a thinking person’s novel, and I agree with that label. Men and women of varying ages have enjoyed the book, and promoted it relentlessly. Those who suffer from depression, are poetic, romantic souls, or like dark fantasy should like the book, but it seems to be reaching beyond a specific audience, which is probably why publishers had such a hard time with it. They told me that I was a very good writer, but that they did not know how to market my book. Since I want anyone to enjoy my book, regardless of the boxes marketing allows for readership, I am happy to say my target audience is undefined.
Why are you a writer? Were you born to be one, did it just happen, was there some moment of epiphany…?
I have loved reading and writing, and have done both daily since I was nine or ten. I was a late bloomer with reading, but once I got the hang of it, I decided I would never, ever stop, and that I, some day, would inspire others like my favorite authors inspired me. I hope that, some day, readers will see me as their J.K. Rowling, Tamora Pierce, Dickens, Tolkein, or Donne. All of these writers opened my eyes to a different world, equality, singular characters, beauty and darkness and poetry in complex ways. The practice of contiunal writing and reading has lent me with a natural ability to spin a yarn. It does not make me perfect, however, or unique. That takes a little more time. I believe it is 3/4 cultivation/practice and 1/4 editing.
Who is your biggest supporter?
My self-pub friends, wonderful author-friend, Dennis F. Larsen, is probably the most supportive, great guy an author could have. Look him up. He’s a great dude and wonderful writer. Jean Sheldon authoress and fantastic writer, has read and reviewed my poetry, which is so sweet of her. And reviewers and authors: T.L. Searle, Elle Jacklee, Mark, Bev Stout, Jon Goemets, and several bloggers, reviewers, etc. who have become my biggest fans. My sisters, mother and father-in-law are my marketing agents (unpaid but enthusiastic). My friend Lyndsay, who first got my book into the library system in Saint Louis. Tomi Whalen of the Kitsap Regional Library. And a few local bookstores: Poulsbo Bookstop and Eagle Harbor Book Co. bought books from a little known author. My husband, however, takes the cake. He supports me, edits me, and encourages me when I am down. I am so grateful to be married to such a lovely friend and accomplice. I am a lucky, well supported girl.