Jacquelin Thomas is an award winning, best selling author with 50+ titles published. Her books have garnered several awards, including two EMMA awards, the Romance In Color Reviewers Award, Readers Choice Award and the Atlanta Choice Award in the Religious & Spiritual category. Jacquelin was a 2005 honoree at the Houston Black Film Festival for the movie adaptation of her novel, Hidden Blessings. She was the first recipient to receive the Writers Achievement Award at the North Carolina Book Festival in Winston-Salem. She also received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Romantic Times Magazine.
Jacquelin has published in the romance, women’s fiction, inspirational and young adult genres. Her second book in the YA series, Divine Confidential was nominated for a 2008 NAACP Image Award.
Jacquelin is happily married to her best friend and is the proud mother of three children. Jacquelin and her family live in North Carolina.
Her website is currently under construction so her author page on Facebook is the best place to reach her: https://www.facebook.com/jacquelinwrites
1) First, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me! When did you know that writing is what you were called to do? What is it about being a writer that you love the most? What about being a writer frustrates you the most?
I discovered my love for writing at a young age. I was extremely shy and didn’t talk much. Writing became my voice and so I kept journals and diaries. I love the written word whether reading or writing books but it is the creative process that I love the most. I love creating characters and telling their stories. Nothing really frustrates me when it comes to being a writer outside of maybe the business side of writing. I prefer the creative side over business any day.
2) Can you tell us a little about your book(s) and where our readers can find out more about them and you?
I write romance for Harlequin; my young adult and women’s fiction titles are currently published independently. Readers can find them at most online retailers, in the libraries and in bookstores. My latest release is a Christian fiction titled PHOENIX and is one I published independently. PHOENIX is about a young woman whose face was badly disfigured in who looked like an accident is convinced otherwise. She is determined to prove that Pastor McCormick attempted to kill her after exposing his fraudulent schemes.
3) What projects are you currently working on?
I just finished a romance for Harlequin which is set to be released Spring 2021. I’m currently working on book 2 in that series. Independent projects are 2 reprints (The Prodigal Husband and Defining Moments), the third book in that series titled Unexpected Serenity and a fourth standalone project titled Broken. I am also working on a young adult novel.
4) What has been your most significant achievement as a writer thus far? Where do you see yourself within your career in the next five years?
Having published 85 books over a 23 year period is what I consider my most significant achievement. I hope to have 100 plus books published within the next 5 years. I try to stretch myself as a writer with each project and will continue to do so.
5) Do you have a schedule for when you write? Do you outline your novels? How long does it generally take you to finish a novel?
I normally try to write Monday-Friday from 9 – 4 but it’s been a challenge since losing my mother in November 2019 and then my firstborn daughter July 10, 2020. Right now, I write maybe once or twice a week. I do outline my novels and I try to do all of my research before I sit down to write the story. Generally, I can write a romance or young adult novel in 4-5 weeks, but it takes me about 2-3 months to write my other novels.
6) Do you believe that there is ever a point in life where it’s too late for an aspiring writer to become successful in this industry? Do you feel a late start would hinder their chances?
I don’t believe it’s ever too late to follow your dreams. I knew I wanted to be a writer when I was in third grade but did not seriously pursue it until I was 35 years old. For me, I believe I became a better writer at 35 than I was at 16 or 20 or even 25 because of my experiences.
7) Are you an avid reader and have you always been? What’s the first book you ever read that really touched you emotionally and moved you? Who is your favorite author? What book are you currently reading?
I have always been an avid reader. One of the first books I read that really touched me was Jubliee by Margaret Walker. I also enjoyed reading the Underground Railroad Records by William Still. I love historical fiction and nonfiction as well as mysteries, romance and Christian Fiction. I don’t really have a favorite author—too many to name. Currently, I am reading and studying the Bible. It gives me comfort during this most difficult time in my life.
8) How has the current state of the world affected your writing? Because writing is an isolated practice, do you find it easier to deal with quarantine? Has it stifled your creativity or has it made you even more driven to get things done?
The quarantine has truly been overshadowed by the loss of my mother and daughter to be honest with you. However, I have found that I am a bit people-deprived. I’m pretty much a loner and enjoy it, but with the quarantine and everything else—I find that it helps to have someone around from time to time. In terms of writing, I would normally have gotten a lot more done if I were having to deal with the quarantine solely.
9) What are your thoughts about how the publishing industry as it is being represented today? Do you lean more towards traditional publishing or self-publishing as a preference? Does being a hybrid author interest you?
I am a hybrid author and I love it. The publishing industry is ever evolving. I just recently attended an event where agents stated they are open to working with independent and hybrid authors—something that wasn’t really happening before. Also the industry is currently more receptive to authors of color due to recent events. However, I enjoy the fact that as writers we have a choice—we are not looking for handouts or hand ups. We can publish our own books—we just want to be treated fairly and our unique voices heard and respected.
10) I feel like writing is a remarkable tool to help people not only express themselves, but also to cope emotionally and mentally. I know for me I write to be and feel more authentic. What unique quality is there about you, about your art, that you feel represents your authenticity? How does writing help you to be more empowered in your purpose?
Writing is therapy for me. I write about characters who are often wounded emotionally, learning to navigate the world in an organic or authentic way—universal issues that any individual can relate to—often I find answers to questions I may have in my own life by the time I finish a story. Writing gives a voice that can be heard even when no one is listening to me. It is my calling and my purpose.