JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Ann Simon, author of Jaguar Sees: The Lacquer Box
(self-published on Kindle)
Claire Milton lives in Moscow with her husband, Jack Bowden, a scientist working in support of the Nuclear Threat Reduction treaty. Restive on returning to Russia from the States, she hopes to calm herself on the plane with a meditative trance — a Shamanic journey — which is anything but!
She and her spirit animal, Jaguar, are attacked by gruesome animals, and Claire awakens, puzzled to find bloody scratches on her arm. Back in Moscow, Claire buys a lacquer box at the craft market. All of a sudden she finds herself the target of a group of thugs. Why are they after the box?
Claire joins Jack on a business trip to Irkutsk when she discovers a thumb drive in a hidden compartment in the box. It contains files listing stolen tactical nuclear weapons for auction.
With their only contact in Irkutsk deathly ill, Claire and Jack set out into the Russian bor, a pine forest, in an effort to stop the thieves. When they become separated, the only thing Claire has to rely on is Jaguar, and Jaguar isn’t even real – or is she? And, real or not, will her help be enough?
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the inspiration to write Jaguar Sees: The Lacquer Box?
Ann Simon: My husband collected Russian lacquer boxes when we lived in Moscow where he worked on nuclear safety. One day, he made the comment that it would be a cool mystery if one of boxes was coded for nuclear smuggling. That’s when the story line for Jaguar Sees exploded into my brain.
When you’re an ex-pat spouse in a place like Moscow, you have time. Lots of time. That’s the good news and the bad news, because when you get zammed with an idea to write a book, you have TIME to write the book. Then, of course, you HAVE TO write the book.
JP: What sets Jaguar Sees: The Lacquer Box apart from other books in the same genre?
A.S.: Well, there are no other books in this genre — not that I can find, anyway. It’s a cross between the international thriller, Archangle and the spirit animal populated The Golden Compass.
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that led to Jaguar Sees: The Lacquer Box getting out to the public?
A.S.: I have to say that it’s been a challenge for me to market my book. I’m new to this whole publishing/marketing game, and the book doesn’t have an easy-to-place niche.
I’ve told everyone I know, of course and used the social media sites. I printed up little cards with the book’s information, and I try to work up the nerve to hand them out. I’ve participated in Twitter’s Sample Sunday, and I keep the cover image and link on my blog page. I do an appreciable amount of guest blogging, and, as you can see, I’m doing this spot.
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take you to start and finish Jaguar Sees: The Lacquer Box?
A.S.: I’ve never had difficulty with the creativity part of writing — ideas flow pretty readily. In fact, the real problem is STOPPING the ideas from coming at inopportune times, like the middle of the night I carry paper and pen with me at all times, so I can jot down ideas. Other than that, it’s having the discipline to sit myself down every day and write.
The best advice I ever got was from author Austin Comacho. When I complained that I didn’t have TIME to write, he told me, “Don’t try to set aside hours to write, just write two pages a day. You can write two pages a day, can’t you? Well, two pages is easy — and extends itself to the exact amount of time you need daily. (Thanks, Austin!)
Jaguar Sees took about a year and a half to reach completed form. I think now that I’ve written one novel, a second would take about a year.
JP: What’s next for Ann Simon?
A.S.: There’s a sequel to Jaguar that’s been floating around in my brain for a couple of years. It is based on earthquake disasters. I should have written it two years ago, and I would have been considered prophetic.
The link to the e-book, Jaguar Sees: The Lacquer Box is http://amzn.to/hUuFdS