What did you want to be as a child? Was it an author?
When I was little, I wanted to be a horse. When I got older, I wanted to be a palaeontologist, but dyslexia meant I had little hope of ever spelling a dinosaur's name right, much less the word 'palaeontology' (I had to use spell check for both of those, BTW). I ended up working as a model for a few years, married a polo player, and travelled all over the world. I had lots of free time, so I wrote articles and short stories for magazines. One of the short stories turned into a seven book time travel series about Alexander the Great and the rest, as they say, is history!
What does a day in the life of Jennifer Macaire look like?
Right now, it's fairly calm. I have a part time job as a receptionist/assistant for an orthodontist, so I'm in an office 4 days a week. I also work as a translator/information researcher for a scientist. The rest of the time is spent reading, writing, and trying to get some exercise at the local public pool (I love to swim). My children are grown and have 'flown the nest’, so I'm learning to cook for two instead of five!
What do you use to inspire you when you get Writer’s Block?
Coffee, and a walk – I love to take walks in our town. I have a wire-haired dachshund called Auguste, and I take him everywhere with me. He's quite old now (13) and getting blind and deaf, so our walks are getting shorter and slower, but when he gets tired, I can put him on my shoulder to carry him. (He likes that so much, I think he just pretends to get tired now.)
What book would you take with you to a desert island?
Can I cheat and say my kindle? I have hundreds of books on it, and I am never without it.
If at first you don't succeed, try, try again!
Coffee or tea?
It depends what time of day it is. At night, herbal tea, but during the day, coffee.
Best TV or Movie adaptation of a book?
Game of Thrones – fantastic.
Do you plan your books in advance or let them develop as you write?
I plan and outline and research for ages before writing.
What does the act of writing mean to you?
Much pain and frustration – and joy, and laughing about my mistakes with my editor, and panic when sales slump and delight when they soar – the usual, I suppose! It's a way to get use of my over-active imagination too.
Have you ever had a character take over a story, and if so, who was it and why?
When I started this series, it was supposed to be a short story. But Alexander the Great literally took command. He kidnapped Ashley so she was stranded in the past. I couldn't leave her there like that – I had to find out what happened.
Which one of The Road To Alexander’s characters was the hardest to write and why?
The easiest was Alexander – he was larger than life, heroic, vain, and confident. Those kinds of characters seem to write themselves. The hardest one was Ashley – she's a modern woman transported into the past and trapped there. She was cold, aloof, felt superior to the people from the past, and everything she did turned out wrong. She went to the past sure to win a prestigious prize and got kidnapped; she fell in love with a legend but is his third wife, people want to get her out of the way (and she's clueless about that), and she's walking a knife's edge because if she changes history in the slightest she risks the wrath of the terrible Time Senders, and she'll be erased.
Which character in any of your books (The Road To Alexander or otherwise) is dearest to you and why?
Ashley – for all the same reasons as above, because she manages to survive, she learns to open up, to fit in, and to trust and fall in love – not an easy feat! I was proud of her!
Do you have stories on the back burner that are just waiting to be written?
Yes, I always have one or two I'm working on. Right now I'm researching and notes are piling up!
What has been the hardest thing about publishing? What has been the most fun?
The hardest thing is actually getting published – wait, no, I take that back. The hardest thing is promoting the books afterwards. It's hard work, but it's not disagreeable. It's just that you go from the creative process (plotting, writing) to a more practical process (looking for a publisher, writing queries, waiting for rejections or approvals, getting promo packages together, which takes a lot of time, especially when you're dyslexic – argh – I keep spelling things wrong and getting links mixed up!) But it's all fun, and I love it, and I do it for such a small gain I must be insane, lol.
What advice would you give budding authors about publishing?
See ‘my favourite quote’ above. It's true, just keep trying. Put your rejected first manuscript in a drawer and start a new one. Rinse and repeat. Finish what you start, don't be afraid of rejection, everyone gets rejection slips, even the author of Harry Potter got a ton before someone finally published her story. Write – but even more importantly, read. Someone once said ‘reading and writing go together like breathing in and breathing out’.
What inspired you to write such a unique story such as The Road To Alexander?
My mind wanders at night when I'm in a sort of half slumber. Being insomniac is good for the imagination. I was doing a "What if" game, and "What if Alexander didn't die?" occurred to me, and then "Wouldn't it be fun to send a journalist back in time to interview him?"
Your top five authors?
My favourite authors change all the time – but right now, here are my top five:
Book you've bought just for the cover?
I think it was The Cobweb Bride, and that was a fantastic book.
Tell us about what you’re working on now.
I'm working on another time travel set in the time of the Crusades, and a YA book (also time travel) about a parallel world where the Greek and Nordic gods are still around.
Thank you so much for having me on your blog!!