Jacqueline Jules is the author of the poetry chapbooks, Field Trip to the Museum, published by Finishing Line Press, and Stronger Than Cleopatra, published by ELJ Publications. Her poetry has appeared in over 100 publications including Spank the Carp, The Potomac Review, Gargoyle, Soundings Review, Main Street Rag, Christian Science Monitor, Innisfree Poetry Journal, Red Booth Review, Gravel Magazine, OffCourse, Third Wednesday, Imitation Fruit, Connecticut River Review, Pirene's Fountain, and The Poetry Friday Anthologies. She is also the award-winning author of 30 books for young readers including the Zapato Power series, the Sofia Martinez series, and Never Say a Mean Word Again. You can visit her online at www.jacquelinejules.com
Writing has been the focus of my life for so many years that I honestly don’t know what I would do with myself if I didn’t write. Every career and life choice I’ve made has always included time and space for writing, even if it wasn’t fulltime. I feel very lucky at this point of my life to be a full-time writer with books under contract, books coming out, and poems scheduled to be published. Writing gives me joy and purpose. I love to arrange and re-arrange words. On an average day, when I don’t have other commitments, I start working around 8:30 a.m. and quit around 10:30 p.m. I do take exercise breaks, housework breaks, food breaks, etc. but I spend the majority of my free time, either researching or writing. I wouldn’t do that if I didn’t love it so much.
What other creative activities are you involved in?
I enjoy singing and occasionally dabble in simple songwriting. I’ve written songs to go along with some of my children’s books to sing with students at school assemblies. For example, this song to promote my book Never Say a Mean Word Again. http://jacquelinejules.com/youandi.htm
Who is your favorite author and why?
I always cringe when someone asks me for my favorite. Maybe I am a fickle person but I never have an absolute favorite of any one thing for too long. I am very fond of the poetry of Linda Pastan, Billy Collins, and George Bilgere. My favorite nonfiction books are Finding Joy by Daniel Schwartz and anything by Malcolm Gladwell. As for fiction, I read one novel after another, and my favorite is usually the last one I truly loved, which at this moment is Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Sáenz.
Tell us about the mechanics of how you write.I don’t write a formal outline but I usually write stream of conscious notes before I actually begin to write. Following the words as they ramble through my mind often leads me to my first line. If I am working on something that requires research, I do a separate file for research notes, recording tidbits that capture my imagination. Most of my work requires online research of some kind, even if it is only an image to look at for inspiration. The Internet has made my writing process faster as I spend less time sifting through my bookshelves. However, I still use print sources sometimes.
Finally, what do you think about Carp, the fish, not our website?
Not too long ago, I visited a fabulous aquarium in Toronto where visitors walked through glass tunnels while huge fish swam overhead. I can’t think of fish now without visualizing those graceful creatures gliding through the water. A carp is golden in color and can grow quite large if you believe the images brought up by a Google search. Thinking of carp makes me long to go back to an aquarium and gaze at giant scaled bodies floating in the water on quivering fins.
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