Welcome, J. M.!
A Little About
When Brenna learns her mother is missing in an alternate reality called Linneah, she travels through a portal to find her. Against her will. Who knew portals even existed? But Brenna’s arrival in Linneah begins the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy, including a royal murder and the theft of Linneah’s most powerful relic: the Sacred Veil. Hold up. Can everything just slow down for a sec
Unwilling yet left with no other choice, Brenna and her new friend Baldwin (Um, hello, Hottie!) pursue the thief into the dangerous woods of Silvastamen and beyond. Exactly what Brenna wanted to do for her sixteenth birthday. Exactly. When they spy an army marching toward Linneah, Brenna is horrified. Can she find the veil, save her mother, and warn Linneah in time? And more importantly, why on earth doesn’t this alternity have Belgian waffles?
Author's Rating: PG
Ten Things You Should Know
About J. M. Hackman
When I was five years old, I penned a very short story (it’d probably be considered flash fiction now), about ice cream-making elves. I was obviously inspired by Keebler.
2. At what moment did you feel like you could say, “NOW, I'm an author?
After I started Spark. It was my fourth novel, but my first YA speculative attempt. At a conference two years ago, one of the speakers talked about taking yourself seriously as an author. I hadn’t been; writing was a hobby (but a time-consuming one!) When I moved into the mindset of “I am an author,” it changed my writing habits and my view of myself. Even though, at the time, I was unpublished, I continued to work at the craft, striving to be better. That makes someone an author, regardless of whether they’re famous, published, and prolific, or unknown, unpublished, and slow.
3. What is one of your favorite/go-to writing resources
That’s a tough one. I’ve got several, but my favorite is The New Age Baby Name Book by Sue Browder. I use it for creating character names, cities, rivers, mountains, etc. It’s full of unusual, but intelligible, names. (I hate reading names like King Dpuvnyr. My mind doesn’t know what to do with it!)
4. Do you write using a keyboard, pen and paper, or both?
I usually write with a keyboard. I resort to pen and paper only when my computer isn’t available. But I have to revise longhand. For some reason, I don’t see the mistakes on a computer screen, so I print out the draft and revise the hard copy, then enter the changes to the file.
5. What project are you working on now?
I’m working on Flare, book 2 of The Firebrand Chronicles. I’m not sure how many books will be in this series, but I’m certain of at least two more. Right now, I’m doing a lot of revise, revise, revise.
6. Do any of your characters sound/look like famous actors in your head?
I had trouble finding an actress who looked like Brenna. But Sara Helwe Digital Arts | Fine Arts, Photography and Design did an awesome job bringing her to life! Baldwin looks like a young Robby Ammell, an actor. (The DUFF, The Tomorrow People, and others). And Talus Trennen sounds a lot like a young Alan Rickman: suave, articulate, and very condescending.
7. What is one of your favorite beverages/snacks while writing?
I try to drink a lot of water. I know—that’s boring! But when I need a pick-me-up, I drink Coke Zero and snack on dark chocolate M & Ms or honey-roasted peanuts.
8. Do you keep anything special on your desk when you write?
I have two dragons perched on top of my printer that hang out while I write. One is Ember, a statue-like sleeping dragon. The other is the stuffed dragon I won during your Meet The Author Facebook event! I named him Spark.
[Aw, how cute!]
9. Describe your writing space as it is right now. What would be your ideal writing space (if it's different from this)?
It’s a roll top desk wedged in a corner of the dining room. The printer sits on the top next to the phone. Computer cords erupt from the side of the desk in a wild tangle. Sad, but serviceable.
My ideal space? It’d be at least twice as large as my current set-up and situated on the coast of the Outer Banks with an oceanfront view (you said “ideal” ...). Actually, I’d love to have a separate room as an office. My desk would be a large shaker-style L-shaped desk with lots of room for my reference books, printer, laptop, and of course, my dragons. Maybe I could hang some framed fantasy art prints on the walls for inspiration. A big cork idea board would hang next to the computer. And I’d need a massive floor-to-ceiling bookshelf to hold all my TBR books. Oh yeah, and a mini-fridge stocked with Coke Zero!
10. Do you have any other creative outlets besides writing?
I have many interests, but limited time and money! Still, I’m always doing something creative. I’ve done cross-stitching, sewing, candle-making, scrapbooking, card-making, stamping, jewelry design, fabric painting, and floral arranging. The ones I return to again and again are sewing, card-making, and jewelry design. The sewing is a necessity, since cosplay outfits are encouraged at the Realm Makers conference awards dinner. The card-making and jewelry design are just for fun. I’ve even had a few jewelry designs published!