We all have our insecurities and weaknesses, and for me, my weakness was spelling. In one particular bad experience, in primary school my best friend and I used to co-write books together and I had left my written chapter opened on my school desk when I left the room. When I returned, a sum of my classmates had gathered around my table and were openly mocking my work. I felt like I was stupid and was so embarrassed I couldn’t find the courage to share my stories anymore. In some ways, that bad experience became a blessing in disguise. Lucky my self-esteem wasn’t damaged enough to stop writing all together but my mind set changed. I hoarded my work and started writing for my entertainment only. And working alone allowed me to develop my own unique voice and writing style.
Through out of high school I continued writing little bits and pieces and got myself into a writing program where they publish student’s work into a local magazine. I didn’t win any prizes from it or get ‘discovered’, ha ha, but what I did get more encouragement from my teachers and built my confidence. Suddenly, I felt like I had something no one else had. I had my own imagination, and years of living inside my own worlds. It didn’t matter that I struggled to spell, and at this point Microsoft word with spell check was invented, so I was able to write on the computer and have it correct my mistakes automatically.
When I was seventeen years old, I was sitting in my philosophy class learning about Descartes and his theory of consciousness when the idea for my first novel, My Demonic Ghost, came to me. Originally the question to spark the series was ‘how do we know we’re not being tricked by a demon God?’ and so my first working title was, My Demonic God. But of course, it was changed into ghosts due to the heavy ghost involvement. I worked on the Banished Spirits novel for years, taking influence from stories and characters I love such as Casper the Friendly ghost and Peter Pan. I continued to write every chance I got, even taking my novel to schoolies with me and writing in-between visiting the beach and partying with my friends. (I really did this, I have pictures, ha ha.)
I applied and got into a creative writing course at RMIT, but didn’t pursue it beyond one year. Instead, I took night courses for creative writing at Box Hill Institute and I absolutely loved it. My teacher was very supportive and so were my fellow classmates, all of which were coming into the class with their own individual style and goals. Suddenly, publishing felt like a very real dream for me.
By the time I felt comfortable with looking for publishing houses, I was about 21 years old. An old primary school friend took me to a local author’s book launch and unfortunately it wasn’t a great experience either. I will never forget how small that author made me feel, it was like I became this smell she couldn’t get rid of. I asked her for advice, she didn’t want to help. Now I’ve always made sure I offer every aspiring writer help when asked. I would never want to make anyone feel like the way I did.
I had no luck in finding publishers in Australia so instead I followed the advice of getting my manuscript professional edited. I sought out publishers and editors over in the United States, and found a publishing house called Staccato Publishing. Heather Savage was the head of the company, and instantly became my mentor. She was incredibly helpful and would answer my 1001 questions through back and forth emails we sent to each other over the next few weeks.
While Staccato was editing my manuscript, I decided to start advertising my work on Deviant Art to see what people think. The first time someone favourited a page of my novel I ran around the house cheering. Readers started commenting on how much they enjoyed the snippets I showed them, and to help further my reach, I would commission artists over Deviant Art to draw my characters and promote the series through art. It worked quite well, because suddenly my characters weren’t just a lump of words on a page. They had faces, and attitudes and souls. They were being recognised before anyone had even read anything and people wanted to know more.
When Staccato Publishing finished editing my novel, they returned my work with an offer for a publishing contract. The day I got her email I broke down into tears. I was at work, and my father (who is my boss) had just about walked out of the building when I came running after him. I showed him the offer of representation and collapsed to the ground with happiness. My Demonic Ghost was alive. And suddenly, I was a new budding author.
I flew over to Minnesota and stayed with my publisher the following year, where she took me to my first local book signing and then down to Kansa City to attend RT Convention. I was still this fresh kid from Melbourne Australia, and sitting in a room full of accomplished authors, agents, publishers and publicist felt incredibly intimidating.
I was lucky enough to sit next to a kind accomplished author who taught me how to engage with readers and how to sell my work. I think I spent the majority of my time just watching those around me. They inspired me, and taught me so much about the publishing world, both the good and the bad.
During my four years of writing professionally I have been nominated for countless awards, have successfully won two awards for two difference series, I’ve had bestselling ranks and have developed a strong relationship with all sorts of readers, writers, bloggers, publishers and editors. Even with all my success, I am forever being pulled back into my younger mindset of not being good enough. I believe a lot of artists have this issue, and it’s not one that can be easily ignored or fixed.
Looking back over my story, I can say now my bad experiences have helped me grow ten times more than my good experiences. It has taught me to be true to myself, to always be willing to help others and, most importantly, to continue learning and growing.
About Time Weaver
Time Weaver: Heart of Cogs (Time Collector #1)
by Jacinta Maree
Publisher: Ragnarok Publications
Publication Date: February 21st 2017
Genres: Steampunk, Supernatural, Young Adult
I have a clock for a heart…and the man who put it there tried to take it out.
Time Collectors are modern day genies capable of exchanging wishes for time. Elizabeth Wicker lives within a steampunk world riddled with the supernatural. Among the stories of witches, Bacts, and other monsters, Time Collectors remain as the greatest hushed secret among the noble families. They are temptation’s greatest tools. A contract with a Time Collector is a guaranteed death sentence, and for some the price isn’t worth the prize. But when Elizabeth is struck down by a fatal heart attack, she finds herself trapped beneath a Time Collector’s blade. With no time left to offer, she makes a desperate sacrifice for a second chance at life. If there’s only one truth, it is a Time Collector will always come back to collect.
Born in Melbourne Australia, Jacinta Maree considers herself a chocoholic with an obsession with dragons and Japan. Published in 2012 to USA publisher Staccato Publishing, Jacinta writes a variety of genres from YA paranormal, steampunk, horror and fantasy. Winner of 2014 Horror of the year and best selling author, Jacinta writes to answer all of her absurd questions and to explore themes and characters not often seen in main media.