After yesterday’s book review, VND.com had to get an exclusive interview with Jasemine-Denise herself. I think, when possible, it is good for the reader to connect with the writer and kind of see where her/his thoughts were when writing their novel. It is always fascinating to me to go in-depth like that.
VND: Firstly, Jasemine thank you for taking the time to sit down with me and discuss your latest novel Twisted Illusions. I truly appreciate it.
Jasemine: No problem. I love interviews although I’m terrible at them.
VND: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Jasemine: I’m Jasemine, writing is like the air I breathe. It comes natural. I have a red Mohawk, and I’m a human jukebox.
VND: What do you do when you are not writing?
Jasemine: Well, I’m a professional photographer so I’m taking a lot of pictures as well as blogging and listening to Childish Gambino because his music is amazing.
VND: When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
Jasemine: I first started writing when I was younger, probably around three. I learned to write backwards, cursive first then manuscript. My mom would give us these phonics books while she worked, and she gave me the cursive book first so it was like “bam.” Dad patted her shoulder and was like “good job.” Haha.
I finished my first book the day I graduated from high school. It took 7 months, and I cried through a good four because it was hard being a senior and a writer at the same time.
VND: How did you choose your genre?
Jasemine: Easy. Horror came so natural to me. I like gore, guts, supernatural, paranormal, and uh… I love cops. Not like, real cops, but I love crime drama so when it came to writing about a mystery that had cops involved, you could only imagine how excited I was. All those First 48 marathons paid off!
VND: Where did you get your ideas for this piece?
Jasemine: Twisted Illusions? I think it was based off reality at first. Not that I fell in love with my editor, that’d be dope but the fear of not being able to sell a first book. Mind you, I sold 50 copies of my first book in the first two months but it was the fear that I would fail that drove me to think what would’ve happened. How would I have came back from that?
VND: Do you work with an outline, or just write?
Jasemine: Always outline. I’m talking folders of character onlines, drafts, summaries of each chapter… I couldn’t leave the house without a binder full of napkins of character details and things of that sort. So it wasn’t like an outline, it was more like a Dora the Explorer backpack of stuff.
VND: Can you tell us about your challenges in getting independently published?
Jasemine: Learning to be your own marketer. It wasn’t getting people to hear me, it was knowing what to say. I didn’t know how to explain what my book was about or why people would want it. That was a real challenge for me. I also say all the time how I can’t talk about myself and that’s a huge part of marketing. You’re not just selling your book, you’re selling you.
VND: If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?
Jasemine: No, not really. I sat here and thought about that for a minute and I loved every second of it. The struggle, the understanding, the search and thirst for knowledge, it’s a beautiful mess and I love it.
VND: Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
Jasemine: There’s a moment where a character gets jumped and I had no idea how to write that until I got carjacked and jumped in a Target parking lot. It changed my perspective on the fear and the reality of just getting hit a bunch of times. I cried rewriting that scene in the final draft because I connected with that character. I bled with him, I hurt with him, I was lost, confused and alone just like him and eventually I grew.
VND: What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
Jasemine: Anything with Matthew. I love his personality, and his twisted humor. I really enjoyed writing his thoughts or his back
VND: Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
Jasemine: It’s a trilogy so lucky for me, I get to revisit a lot of these characters again. That makes really happy. I missed them the moment I closed the first book.
VND: What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
Jasemine: Tough criticism is the one everyone says. This book isn’t like the first. The Final Martini was this horrifying, gory, easy to write, novel and this one was a harder, contemporary romantic comedy and I wasn’t exactly ready or accustomed to writing this. So, I was scared and the response I got was about the one I thought I was going to get. Everyone was like “This isn’t what I want.”
As far as compliment, people who read the book in the day is a compliment because it took me two weeks to proofread my book and I remember reading it and going “GOD END.” Not because it was because it was bad but because I was so used to reading it at that point. So when people tell me they read it a second, third, fourth time, I wanna cry really ugly and hug them a lot. That means a lot me.
VND: Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Jasemine: DON’T GIVE UP. EVER. Even when it seems hard, you’re not committing, no one’s reading. Go hard in the paint everyday. Don’t lose it. It’s enough to pen to paper and know that books don’t write themselves. Don’t lose your way. As I say when I close everything, Namaste. In this case, it means the writer in me, recognizes the writer in you.
my suspense novel POINT OF INFLICTION for $1.99.