Interview With An Author: Cortina Jackson

What got you into writing?

I wrote my first book when I was in the 4th grade. I always loved storytelling time, and I developed quite an imagination in grade school. It led me to writing very interesting stories for my friends, and for fun.

What is your favorite book and why?

Honestly, I have not read in a really long time, I have been busy in school and work and do not find the time to read for pleasure.

Tea or coffee?

Definitely coffee, it is a comfort drink for me.

What got you into your particular genre of writing?

With fiction, I am allowed to be creative and use my imagination to paint the picture of what is in my mind as vivid as possible. I can see it clearly, and I want the reader to see what I see. Therefore, fiction thriller was an easy genre for me. I also, enjoy thriller and horror movies, so this also sparked my fascination for this genre.

Why do you love writing it?

It is a fun to create a twist in the plot that keeps people second -guessing. I enjoy the thrill of a great plot. I guess I love writing it, because I enjoy watching it.

How many books have you written and what are they?

I have actually written two, but have only published one.  The first one is an adult nonfiction about infidelity through my eyes. As I have worked with many married men, and learned what they did, how they thought, and how they behaved, when not in the presence of their wives. I did not publish it, because I did not know how it would be received. The next one, I poured my heart and soul into, and was most proud of. I thought that if this one did well, I could eventually introduce the unpublished one, after I established myself.

Is there anything controversial or different about your writing?

Yes, I think that my writing could be construed as controversial. Because, I want the reader to see what I see when I am writing my story, I write very candidly. If I am describing something sexual in nature, I want the reader to feel as if they were there. If I describe the details of a murder, I want it to be told as if they are standing right beside the murderer. I think that my writing can be described as “head turning graphic,” read at your own risk!

How do you manage your time? Is it hard balancing your writing life with your working life?

It is extremely hard to balance all of the elements in my life. I work a full time job that consists of 12-hour shifts, 10am-10pm, so my entire day is shot. I work at a juvenile detention center, so I must focus on my job, which can be very stressful at times. I also go to school full- time online, as I am working on my second Master’s degree. However, online is a lot more consuming than going to class, in my opinion. There are lengthy assignments every week. Then, I must market my book on my days off, and try to schedule speaking engagements, interviews, social media etc. I have two sons, who I must make time for; and somewhere in my 3 days off, I must find rest, which rarely happens. It has been this way for a year now. I just take small bites off a huge elephant. I get as much done as possible, and during any down time at work, I try to sneak a little homework in. It is very hard. I hope that my book will become a movie, and it will all change for me.

Do you have a writing space? Tell us what it’s like.

I set my space up with a small light that overlooks my computer keyboard. On a little table next to my computer, is a small table where I set one bottled water, and one cup of coffee. I have a small fountain that I plug in so that I can hear the trickling of water.  I burn essential oils, and I set the music channel on Spa Jazz. The scene must be set this way, in order for me to write productively, during my writing periods.

How do you keep motivated?

I pray a lot. There have been so many times that I wanted to cry and give up, but then I think to myself, if I give up, then who will carry me? No one, there is no one; so if I fail, then I have failed myself. I pray and get back in the game.

What did you struggle with the most when writing your new book?

I struggled with writer’s block. Things would go really great for a while, and then I would finish a chapter, and think to myself, “ok, now what?” I had to walk away from it, and gather inspiration from watching movies, doing a lot of people watching, and reading. Later, after a difficult period in my life, the rest of my book came to me in dreams. I would wake up and write about what I saw in the dreams, and I was able to finish.

Do you have any hints for my readers about writing?

Yes, begin to think about marketing your book. Begin to form networks before finishing. You will need help when it comes to getting the book in the hands of the masses, and networking will certainly help you. Take your time and develop a good story, if you struggle with writer’s block, it is ok, take your time, it will come to you, but don’t rush it or your readers will be able to tell.

Is there anything that you wish you had known before you started your latest book?

I wish that I had joined a writer’s forum, and began networking. I am in many writer’s groups and chatrooms now, and I learn a lot of information about great websites to go to, publishers, writer’s contests etc. It is so helpful getting insight from 50 other people who may struggle with the same issue that I do.

You have a new book out what is it about?

The book is entitled “On Earth As it is In Hell” The book starts out with a conversation that takes place in Hell. Satan gives orders to demons, imps, and all of the other inhabitants in Hell; directing them to go to Earth through portals that lead directly to homes, schools, police departments, record companies, everywhere; and wreak havoc in the lives of people on Earth. People are already experiencing disappointments, depression, suicide, abuse, job loss; all kinds of turmoil. The assignment, directed by Satan himself, is to go directly to people that can be influenced, so that their souls can be claimed for Hell!

It is a fictional thriller about three characters who experience such tragedies. Their lives are relatable, and their experiences are graphically told. With all of the Hell on earth occurring these days, the one place that one can expect to find refuge is the church. But what happens when the church is in direct correlation with Hell? What unfolds as the church is found to be built atop portals to Hell; as demons enter into the services, the pastors, and the people seeking solace? What happens as the inhabitants of Hell enter into unsuspecting people, places, and things? What happens when they enter marriages, jobs, record companies, police departments, and political offices? Is there an end in sight?

An agenda is about to be introduced, Satan is wringing his hands with delight as new world agendas are exposed. In great detail, the layers of the character’s lives are peeled away, revealing graphic circumstances that will change them forever; for there is a worst fate that could be faced.

However, the story does not end without the deep, dark, underworld being revealed. Does Hell exist? Who is worthy of its torment and destruction? In this tale, you may be surprised! The story will captivate you, encompass you, and almost consume you, before releasing you to your own thoughts; which may be scarier than fiction. Life is scarier than fiction; the fate of the world is scarier than this! Riveting, intriguing, controversial, terrifying? Hell…Yes!

How did you decide on cover art? Did you consult with a designer or is it all you?

I knew what I wanted the cover to look like; Earth on fire, or the world in some sort of peril. I looked through some images, and saw exactly what I wanted, it was perfect; because it was the image that I had on my mind.

Any links or websites that you would like my readers to visit?

Definitely visit my website, at www.cortinajackson.com

Also, my book trailer can be found on YouTube by typing,” On Earth As It Is In Hell” by Cortina Jackson, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VFHK-Mvt90

Or it can also be found on my website.

Also, go to my link on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/author/cortinajackson

I can be found on LinkedIn and Twitter @tinathewriter.

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