It is a truth universally acknowledged, that an aspiring author who interviews her writing heroes, must fangirl over said heroes.
I love how meeting new writers always leads to meeting more writers, and before you know it your circle of book friends, supporters, and co-writers grows exponentially.
I had the pleasure of meeting Jean Knight Pace through Teah, my December Author Spotlight. I knew as soon as I peeked into Jean’s bio that we were going to get along. Not only is she absolutely hilarious, but she also is a prolific writer with unique and imaginative stories.
Her book, The Determiner, released just a few months back, and I think it sounds simply amazing. The son of the president, secret super powers, and a White House plot? Sign me up!
Henry will do anything to save his father. Even if it means keeping secrets. Big ones.
Thirteen-year-old Henry Miller knows he’s not typical. And it’s not just because he’s the president’s son. When a mysterious assassin attacks him after school, Henry uncovers a strange power: the world slows down while he speeds up—stronger and faster than his short, stout body has ever been. Trouble is, Henry can’t seem to talk about it. Literally. Or make this new strength happen at will. If he could, he might be able to help some people, and to be seen as his own person instead of just a politician’s kid.
Instead, he’s stuck navigating the daunting world of White House ushers and antiques, maids and security. As if that’s not enough, there’s his fancy new school with its formidable principal and the senator’s snotty daughter. In the midst of it all, Henry feels a little lost and a lot useless.
Until he and his best friend Lucy uncover a plot to assassinate his father.
But the closer Henry gets to finding the assassin, the more he begins to wonder if it’s really the president at stake. Or is his father just a pawn in a chess game where they need to find the king?
Doesn’t the story sound simply amazing and fresh? I had the pleasure of asking Jean my five spotlight questions, and I’m telling you, she’s fantastic. Let’s dig in.
Why do you write?
I write because I love love love words. I like them in short form, in long form. I like to read them. I like to write them. I like to sing them. When I was young, I used to read the names of nail polish colors, which were often surprisingly creative. And sometimes I’d try to think of my own nail polish color names (is that too weird? It’s a little weird…). I’m also a musician and even though I love a lot of different types of music, show music has always been my favorite–partly because it combines music and story! Speaking of music, I remember when my son got into rap music. I thought I’d hate it, but I found that when it wasn’t full of explicit lyrics/sex/violence (he listened to the clean stuff), I actually loved it. It was just poetry with rhythm. Anyway, I’ve written a journal since I was quite young. I just really like to express myself with words. They matter to me (even my love language is words of affirmation). As a writer, I really enjoy carving words into art. It’s a wonderful, beautiful process that is deeply fulfilling to me. So…I write because…words.
What/who inspires you in life (not in your writing, but in general)?
My husband is a huge supporter. And my kids are a big inspiration. In fact, for my first book, my co-writer and I wove the names of our own kids into the character names. We figured that that way, whether the book went anywhere or not, it would be a beautiful tribute to our own families.
What are some of your favorite things?
I love music, writing, reading, hiking, the outdoors, thunderstorms, yoga, animals, oh–and chocolate. Let’s not forget that one.
What would your perfect day look like and how is it different from your actual everyday?
Oooh, good question. My perfect day I would “sleep in,” which means I would sleep till I woke up naturally (which is usually still pretty early), but then I would STAY in bed reading or thinking or writing in my journal. Then I would get up and make a lovely breakfast, which I would eat with my family. Then I would go for a walk. I’d write after that. Then lunch, a good workout, and more writing/working. Maybe a phone call with my sisters. Then dinner that someone else would make for me. Chocolate or a pretty dessert. Then hanging out with my family and singing or playing a game or something else. Then, a hot bath. Then to bed with my husband. In real life, I have teens who have school early. Plus I teach a before-school religious class. So we are up before dawn. Then I go to teach yoga, sometimes do errands. Home for lunch. Write/work in the afternoons (so that part lines up!). Then some days I teach piano. Dinner (I make it, but truly I like to cook, so that’s enjoyable) with my family. Some nights we do hang out. Some nights we run around like crazy people to different activities. Some nights I go for a walk with my husband (and that’s always nice). I DO almost always take a hot bath at night. And sometimes watch something funny with my husband, so that’s a success too. One of my goals this year is to make my ideal day line up with my regular day. In certain ways, it’s not possible at this phase of life, but in other ways, I can take more control of where my time goes. My ideal and real days aren’t totally different from each other, but I’d like for them to be more similar.
If you could invite a group of writers (dead or alive) to a tea party, who would it be?
Brandon Sanderson, Neil Gaiman, Jennifer Nielsen, Jonathan Stroud, J.R.R. Tolkien (he might be a little obsessed, but I can’t not invite him, right?), C.S. Lewis, Jane Austen. And let’s throw Lin-Manuel Miranda in for good measure, shall we?
Like I said, amazing and hilarious! Also, words and J.R.R. Tolkien. I couldn’t agree more.
To sweeten up this spotlight and to celebrate Jean’s newest release, we are running a fun giveaway. You can sign up for a change to win here.
This giveaway includes the following items:
- A copy of her newest book, The Determiner.
- Two fun bookmarks from her Grey series.
- A Part Wolf T-shirt
This giveaway will run until February 28th and a winner will be randomly selected through my VIP Circle by March 2nd. Open to U.S. residents only. Good luck!
Did you like this post? Then consider joining my VIP Circle and don’t miss out on all my additional content (monthly messages, inspirational quotes, bookish recommendations, giveaways, and much more!). Click HERE.
And if you want to collaborate with me don’t be shy. I love to work with fellow writers, spotlight authors, and host writing challenges. I’ve also been known to swap short critiques on occasion. Reach to me here.