Author Q&A – By the Sea

When I finished my first draft I handed it over to some very trusted BETA readers who really helped me make the right changes and corrections to my book By the Sea (hi mum) when my book published I asked my BETA readers if they would kindly ask me some questions to answer on my blog. I’m really surprised by the questions and I’m too excited to get answering. So here we go,

1. What made you decide to write a novel?

Well I have always wrote short stories or I’d always seem to write a few chapters of a story and then leave it at that but after a few family members (who I would hide my writing from) told me I should definitely consider writing to publish, I decided to write for that goal and I have always loved creating stories so it always felt like it was only a matter of time that I wrote my first novel and that’s what I did.

2. What was your inspiration for your story to be based in Cornwall?

For me whenever I would leave Cornwall I felt this invisible tether that was pulling me back into that direction, I always felt that I could always be myself in Cornwall and the beaches and the ocean that is around me fuels my creativity. So giving By the Sea Cornwall, was giving the book a little piece of me.

3. Are the characters in your story based on people you know?

I try to keep people I know out of my stories but you can’t help but give certain characteristics to some of the characters, also I feel like a lot of myself and some of my own characteristics are woven in there with certain characters.

4. Was there an alternative ending in your story?

Yes I wrote it on a bad day and it ended very badly, thankfully I changed it, but then I changed the ending again right at the point of publishing. I always start my stories with the ending but when the end comes it’s always been changed god knows how many times.

5. With two small children where did you find the time to write a novel?

Nap times. 2 AM writing sessions. Haha. Writing with small children isn’t all that hard, the editing/rewriting process was hard to do because of the concentration so that was done specifically during nap times and yes way passed my own bedtime, although it was difficult because I couldn’t just sit and write for hours on end, it made it a challenge. I could’ve quit at anytime but I didn’t and I’m happy I pulled through.

6. How long did it take you to write your book and how was the process?

I started By the Sea on the 18th October 2016 and finished the first draft on the 25th of May 2017 and I published on the 5th of August. My process is really to try to write everyday whether it be only one page or ten, just write and I read a lot which helped me.

7. Are you going to write anymore novels?

Yes I am, I am currently working on two, one another romance set on the Cornish and Norfolk coast and one that will be part of a trilogy.

8. What will the genre of your next novel be?

The novel I’m writing for the trilogy is a Supernatural Fantasy fiction, but I enjoy writing Romance so I’ll be always at some time be writing that genre as well.

9. Who are your favourite authors?

My favourite of all time is Stephen King, not just for his work but his knowledge. I enjoy a lot of authors if they write well and captivate me they’re my favourite even if I’ve only read one of their books.

10. If you could write a fictional story but the character was a historical or famous person, who would it be?

I love this question. It’s proving a little difficult to answer because in my mind I have already created seven stories with a character being someone famous haha. Ok, it would have to be Elvis Presley I would love to write a fictional story and have Elvis Presley as my main character and have him as an actual King.

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I absolutely loved answering these questions, if anyone has any questions they’d like me to answer, leave it in my comments or message/tweet me because I will totally be doing another Q&A soon. Also some exciting news I will be creating a little interview series on my blog…..more information soon!

Peace & Love x

Zoe

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BUY MY BOOK – By the Sea 

13 Things I Remember From My Teenage Years!

Now because you become a teenager at 13 I thought choosing 13 things was very appropriate for this blog post title. I turned a teenager in 2005, the year Kanye West graced us with Gold Digger, The Pussycat Dolls entered our lives with Don’t Cha and Coldplay gave us Fix You! It was also the year we rushed to the cinema to watch Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire & Hitch (I saw Hitch in cinema it was hilarious). The year I turned a teenager was also the year I only watched Mariah Carey’s We Belong Together to see Wentworth Miller and Matthew McConaughey was crowned sexiest man alive alright alright alright!

Now this list may have some things on it that happened before 2005 but for me I only remember myself experiencing them after I turned 13.

1. Myspace.

Seriously though seeing your notification full when you signed in was the best feeling and how the only dilemma ever heard of on Myspace was who will be your top ten friends.

2. Watching The Osbournes

Did anyone really want to dye their hair the same as Kelly Osbourne and that song they made ‘Changes’ TUNE! Haha (by the time I watched this I was watching re-runs)

3. Downloading my entire Ipod Nanos library from Limewire.

Don’t lie we all did it! Haha!

4. Gwen Stefani Solo Career.

B-A-N-A-N-A-S

5. Channelling my inner Avril Lavigne.

Being moody like her in I’m With You video. My Happy Ending would be screamed from my bedroom. Haha!

6. Playing Snakes on the Nokia 3310.

7. Having to keep phones close to send music and photos via bluetooth.

8. Rocking the shell necklace during the summer.

Don’t judge me. Wait I didn’t surf you can judge Haha!

9. Learning the words to Lady Marmalade and killing that Lil’ Kim part.

And Pink’s and Christina’s and the other girl I don’t remember part and yes I know it came out in 2001, deal with it!

10. Being obsessed with Ushers Burn.

11. Crossroads.

I’ll just leave that here.

12. Lizzie McGuire, Kenan & Kel, Sister Sister.

Seriously though the Disney channel and Nickelodeon were awesome back then.

13. Being on MSN like it was my only form of communication.

Anyone else put up a different lyric in their name, just me?

Oh and here is a picture of me at 13 and oh look at that I’m by the sea. Somethings never change!

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Peace & Love X

Zoe

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BUY MY BOOK – By the Sea

The Self Love Tag

When the lovely Tiffany tagged me to do this tag I was so excited to do it, then life got in the way and it got pushed aside a little but I’m doing it now because self-love is important and discussing it for ourselves is important, I’m going to answer each question as honestly as possible and tag 5 lovely peoples at the end to participate –

1. What is something that is getting you down at the moment?

Honestly, my weight. I’ve been on a weightloss journey for a little over a year now and every time I get really into it and determined I end up injured or something else pops up that takes over what I want to do – that’s lose weight.

2. What is something that makes you happy?

For myself (besides my children haha) going for walks along the coast, it just allows be to clear my mind and really let go of tension build up. Watching the sunset also makes me happy, really anywhere close to the ocean.

3. Name 3 guilty pleasures

One huge guilty pleasure of my is soppy, lovey dovey romance movies, they just make me happy inside haha! I could watch them all day and not care but because I’m known for my love of superhero movies and my love for Bruce Willis films I do feel guilty for loving those movies a little bit. My second guilty pleasure would have to be JUSTIN BIEBER (I’m sorry) I just love his music and think he is a great dude, and if I was 19 with that amount of money damn I would have bought a damn shark! Haha. My third guilty pleasure is the Kardashians it’s shameful and embarrassing but keeping up with them is kinda easy when they’re everywhere. (I love Khloe, Kim can suck it)

4. What is something about yourself you’d like to improve on?

My confidence mainly, it’s got better over the past year and since becoming a mother I’ve gained a ‘fuck it’ mentality I like but in cases where I want to do stuff, I’m always second guessing or over thinking and I do the usual ‘I’m not good enough’ so I end up not doing it and I miss out.

5. When was the last time you belly laughed?

It was when my now one year old was about 8/9 months and she was still in our room in her cot, so Nick and I have gone to bed and we’re laying there talking and all of a sudden she farts but not a baby fart, I’m talking a grown man who has been on the drink fart and it made use both laugh so hard. I’ve properly belly laughed since but that’s the only one with a funny story that would embarrass Robyn when she is older. Haha!

6. What is your biggest insecurity and fear?

This might sound strange but I fear losing my ability to do things with my children/family, I often have nightmares/dreams where I wake and can’t feel my legs and it freezes me with fear and I can’t imagine losing that in whatever way (accident or illness), so yea because my mind does that to me in my sub-conscious I fear that.

7. Name a song that always cheers you up when you’re down

OMG there are so many I listen to when I’m down, ok I’m going to go with Whitney Houston – I Wanna Dance With Somebody.

8. Name 3 things you like about yourself

I like my humour I think I’m funny (that’s terrible) Hahaha! I like the ability I have to push myself out of my comfort zone to do what others say I couldn’t. I like my creativeness I suppose.

9. What is an achievement that has made you proud of yourself this year?

I would have to say for myself (that doesn’t include my children) is self-publishing my first novel By the Sea, it was a long time coming and nearly didn’t happen due to paralysing fear but I did it and I’m proud of that.

10. Tell us your happiest memory

I would have to give this one to my child, I have brilliant happy memories all the time but when my children were born happy and healthy that has to rank all my happy memories right?

This was fun, I will now tag five lovely ladies now to do this tag, sorry if you’ve already been tagged. 

I tag Charlene, Jordanne, Katie, Shannon & Zara

Peace & Love X

Zoe

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BUY MY BOOK – BY THE SEA

Bakerdays – One In A Minion Letterbox Cake Review

Have you ever wanted one of the those ‘You had me at hello‘ moments, well I had that moment and it came from Bakerdays and they had me at CAKE!

When bakerdays contacted me to try and review one of their letterbox cakes, I jumped at the chance, I mean who wouldn’t when there is cake involved.

Bakerdays are a business who specialise in making personalised cakes you can have sent right to your door, or the door of a loved one because let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to get one of these coming through with your post.

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When it came to choosing a design for my cake I was amazed at how many I had to choose from that I spent a good 15 to 20 minutes looking through their designs which are all fantastic, but when I saw this One in a Minion cake I knew that was the cake to choose, I was also able to easily personalise my cake with my daughters names. It was fitting as they are obsessed with all things Minion.

There was also a lovely choice of what kind of cake recipe you like. I choose Rich Chocolate Chip. You even have the choice of a Gluten & Wheat free cake and a Diary free cake, these cakes can really be enjoyed by everyone.

When I received my letterbox cake I was that excited about having cake in the house I almost opened and ate it before taking photos for you all to see just how incredible this cake was.

The letterbox cake is designed to fit through any letterbox and be protected, now this package fell 2 1/2 feet which is pretty impressive. Bakerdays informed me that my cake would be perfectly protected and packaged inside that there would be no damage to my cake and there wasn’t.

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Their website told me that my cake would arrive in a protective cake tin which my cake never came in so I was a little disappointed but in my package was many of these little polystyrene puffs (not suitable for children) but with that being my only fault, I could not say another bad thing about this cake and what else I found in my package.

Inside I was nicely surprised when I saw three balloons, two candles and one part blower also a lovely card that Robyn couldn’t keep her hands off.

Bakerdays also told me who it was that prepared my cake which was very nice, being able to put a name to the cake was a nice touch. So thank you Alastair!

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This cake fed four people, two of those people had two pieces. One of those was me and it was amazing, the icing was delicious and the Rich Chocolate Chip cake was delicious, it was very moist and honestly I could have eaten it to myself. My picky 2 year old Mia even loved it and this morning she even asked for more cake, my 1 year old eats every thing and enjoyed this almost as much as Nick and I.

I was so happy with my cake that I feel this letterbox cake is the perfect gift for a friend or loved one. Imagine you have a family member a little too far away, or a friend that has moved but you still want to get them a lovely personal gift, these cakes are the perfect gift (my birthday is in April wink wink) Haha.

They would also make great baby announcement cakes, a sweet ‘Will You Marry Me?’ surprise. I know I would say yes!

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Like I said Bakerdays have a huge range of cakes available with a giant design section that you should absolutely check out here – www.bakerdays.com

I was so in love with my cake that I didn’t want to cut into it. I was happy I did though because it was perfect which was enjoyed by the whole family.

You can also find Bakerdays through Facebook & Twitter.

Official Book Launch – By the Sea

*Edit* I don’t know whether it was the excitement of it all and I’m a totally idiot for not posting my official book launch blog post for you all to read. But here it is now. Enjoy x

By the Sea is a novel written by Zoe Jackson (that’s me)

It’s a story about a young women named Alex, who returns back to Cornwall after leaving seven years before and vowing never to go back. She left after the tragic death of her best friend. 

She returns back to Cornwall for her sisters wedding with plans to leave and travel back to London as soon as she can but then the unexpected happens, an old friend emerges and she is faced with her past and she has no where to run. But then does she want to?

Through the summer Alex is faced with the nightmares from her past that are still haunting her, what can she do? Does she run like she always has done? Or will she stay and find the happiness she never thought she deserved?

That’s another little brief summary (synopsis) of the book, a little different from what’s on the back on my book but I like giving different pieces to entice you all. Even though this story is in the Romance genre I feel like it is different from the average boy meets girls (stick your fingers down your throat) kind of stories. I wanted to write something that was real, a story that held real life raw qualities many people would actually have experienced, this story touches down on mental health, death, guilt and loss and I think that separates my book from some others, but that’s my opinion. You can form your own opinion when you read it yourself 😉

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I am extremely proud of myself for finally self-publishing my first novel, it’s something 10 year old me would be really happy with when she penned her first (disastrous) two paged story.

By the Sea is available on Amazon and on Kindle.

Peace & Love

FEAR. That Four Letter Word is Rather Scary.

It’s one of those feelings that I actually hate, that feeling I have no control over feeling but I do have control over how it controls me. (if that makes sense)

This past month I have felt fear a few too many times for me to be on the edge, sadly I’ve admitted I’ve grown accustom to that feeling that turns my stomach. I feel it in my gut, my chest and my throat. I’ve had many moments like I said this month where this feeling has sat at my heels waiting ready to strike.

I wish I could say that it was something I had been able to fight but I can’t, and I don’t think it will be, fear is a human emotion that at one time in our lives will be felt.

This month I self-published my first novel and let me tell you, I was in a constant state of fear from the moment I started editing it and re-writing it ready to be published, I was re-reading a chapter when I said in my head that I will ACTUALLY publish this MYSELF and I had a slight wave of excitement wash over me but then FEAR came and it rendered me motionless, I felt ill and a little faint.

But like I said earlier I had control over how I let it control me, I didn’t let it stop me from finishing my books editing process, I didn’t let it stop me from actually uploading it and publishing it, and I haven’t even let it stop me from removing it from Amazon and forgetting I ever wrote it.

That fear will always be there, always and that scares me slightly but you know what, I’m not going to let it alter my decisions, choices and actions.

Fear is a natural emotion. It’d be unnatural if I ever let it control me.

Do you feel the same towards fear, or any other emotion you are accustomed to feeling? Let me know, leave me a comment!

Peace & Love x

Writing My First Novel and What it has Taught Me!

Hey guys, so as some might have seen over on the Twittersphere I had finally self-published my novel By the Sea. Self-publishing was a choice I made for this novel but it isn’t my venue for other novels I write in the future, or the ones I’m writing right now. Yes I am writing my second novel. Woohoo! (got to get back to it)

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So I’ve seen many blog posts and articles about what to expect when writing your first book/novel/short story what ever it may be, these posts are telling YOU what to expect but to be completely honest I don’t experience any of them and I didn’t, which actually ended with me thinking maybe I wasn’t a writer but you know what I am a writer and these are the top five things I learned from writing my first novel.

That first draft will be utterly, absolutely, unbelievably CRAP!

NO LIE. It will be, so I would suggest not getting too hung up on it because you will edit this and re-write it over and over and over again until it is perfect and it will be perfect, if you really want to make it the great story you know it can be.

You will have days, weeks, sometimes months when you can’t write!

This is the stage where you could easily give up, throw what you have written to one side (or in the bin) and give up but you should never do that. Those breaks when you have no words and actually consider whether you know any word in the English dictionary, take those breaks and fill them up with other things, go for walks, take photos and maybe explore. Fill yourself with inspiration so when you’re hit with that pen filled with words you will be ready (and it will hit you, usually at one in the morning).

(you may have heard this one) It really is JUST a BOOK!

This may come in with the one above but it really is just a book, just a bunch of words that you have torn from your very soul and put on paper for strangers to read. You have ripped your heart open and wrote with your entire being to produce a story worthy to be read by others and I’m telling you it’s just a book. I agree and don’t agree with this because yes it is just a book but boy is it so much more.

When you begin to edit/re-write and proof read, you will feel like you are on a Waltz with no way off!

You will read your first draft, circle all the grammatical errors, cross out the words that didn’t belong, add the letters you left out and place big red crosses on paragraphs with re-write written in bold next to it. You will think that that will be the only time you will have to re-read and re-write well I’m hear to tell you it ISN’T. You will re-read and re-read your own words multiple times and still find little mistakes, you will close your eyes and see the words you have typed (no lie) but guess what when you get through this gruelling part and you re-read it ONE last time and find no mistakes, you have done it.

Write your first draft for your eyes only!

There’s a Stephen King quote I go by when writing that goes like this ‘Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open’No-one is going to see my first draft, no-one will read it because unless you trust them enough you will be judged on it, it will hold all your mistakes, all your grammar errors and terrible mistakes, that’s when you re-write and make it right for yourself and others to read.

I hope this was helpful to anyone who is looking to start writing their own novel or short-story. Don’t be afraid, just put pen to paper or fingertip to key. Just do it and when it is done you will feel incredible.

My book ‘By the Sea’ is available here on paperback and on Kindle now.

Peace and Love. x