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J. Wachowski

J. Wachowski writes stories, screenplays, school excuses and anything else that pays.

She lives with her family on the midwestern edge of civilization, but is often sighted lurking at jwachowski.com.

Please tell our readers and members a little bit about yourself?

I grew up in Chicago. I’m a sturdy Midwesterner. I have one of those faces that seem familiar—people always smile at me and say, “I know you…don’t I?”

You have a new release coming out with Carina Press. How was your experience with this new ePublisher that is a division of Harlequin?

Incredible. This is the leading edge of the publishing industry. A lot of smart people–visionaries and risk-takers–are working on this new company. I’ve already learned so much, everything from marketing through social media to specific process skills related to the collaborative nature of the electronic medium. This is my first book, so I’ve also learned the fundamentals of polishing a manuscript for publication, as you would with any publishing house. I feel lotto-lucky to have had this opportunity.

What other projects do you have in the works?

I’m working on screenplay right now. Rewrites on a novel will be next.

What inspires you? What were your writing influences?

For big picture inspiration—my muse likes me to get out of the house. Change of venue, some people watching, that always gets my brain cooking.

When I need crank-it-out, scene-by-scene inspiration—I hop in the shower and warm my head. This started back in college. I always reviewed for tests in the shower. I think better under water.

My biggest writing influences are my parents. They modeled a love of books. When I was in kindergarten, my Mom built my Dad a bookcase that took up an entire wall as an anniversary gift. That sucker was filled to overflowing with every kind of book.

Consequently, I read everything. Non-fiction. Fiction. Literary and popular. The London Review of Books and SmartBitches. Never enough time to read everything I’d like.

What helped you make the decision to become a romance writer?

This is a great story. It sounds like I made it up, but it’s true!

I was attending a writing conference in North Carolina. I had been selected for a special “master class” in writing with a famous literary type. Picture a dozen, edgy, serious people in black, clutching espressos.

The teacher ended our first lesson by telling us in all seriousness that we could expect to have one book published, but due to the fickle nature of the industry, our second book would never do as well as the first and our careers would probably be over after the third. “It’s a numbers game,” he said. Everyone nodded. We were dismissed for a coffee break.

Fighting a headache and a growing sense of malaise, I wandered into a panel discussion on popular fiction. Two romance writers, one mystery and one fantasy writer.

I listened to them say things like: “I’m so lucky!” “My office is in a closet. And I get up every morning at five a.m. and I write before I go to work. It’s great.” “Writing keeps me sane and happy.” “I still can’t believe it when I get a check. They pay me money to write!”

Wow.

I decided right then, I wanted to be with these people. Most writers feel compelled. I respect the ones who can also feel, and express, the joy of the work.

Being a writer is a Zen Koan—a puzzle that embodies two contradictory thoughts. You need to feel so compelled to tell the story that no one else matters. And you need to feel compelled to make your story understood by others. I think of it as: playing alone, with others. Learning to balance those two contradictory positions is the hardest thing for me as a writer.

Although spelling and punctuation are a close second.

What is the biggest misconception about romance authors that you’ve come across?

That they are stupid. Although, “misconception” isn’t a strong enough word. It’s really plain-old, ugly, bigotry.

Do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring writers?

“Sit vis nobiscum.” (latin: May the force be with y’all.)