Young Adult and Middle Grade Fiction author, Jacci Turner, is the definition of a true and passionate author. The published author of six years loves bringing fantasy into real life, aiming to “infuse reality with hope” in each and every story she pens. Her love of books, people, and life shines through her words, both spoken and written. Jacci graciously took time out to speak with Booked for Review about her passion and her work thus far.
B4R: Had you always aspired to become a writer?
Jacci Turner: I never aspired to become a writer – I actually wanted to be an actress! As I got older I realized how time-consuming theater can be. I then realized that I had to make a decision, and I decided that I wanted to do something different.
B4R: Why Young Adult and Middle Grade Fiction? Why not adult fiction or any other genre?
JT: Because children can still see magic. I love how open kids are to things, and that opens up so many creative possibilities.
B4R: What inspired you to write Bending Willow?
JT: Around that particular time, The Hunger Games was out and was really popular. A friend of mine had kids who were too young to read the series. I remember her saying that she wished that there was a series for younger children that also had a strong female lead character in it. This got me thinking, and that is where Bending Willow came from.
B4R: Did writing Bending Willow teach you anything about yourself as a writer?
JT: It taught me that I love a good challenge and it clarified my passion for turning real-life stories into a sort of fairy tale.
B4R: You also are the author of a book called Cracker. I read that you said Cracker was “scary to write” – could you explain why you felt that way?
JT: I believe that racism is a topic that needs to be discussed. It usually only takes me about five months to complete a work, but I took it slow with this one – I worked on Cracker for about a year and a half. I knew the book would probably step on some toes, but I really wanted to discuss it. Ha.
B4R: What kind of feedback did you receive from readers of Cracker?
JT: I received a lot of great feedback. “Wow” and “My eyes were opened” were the main comments I received from White readers. Of course there are always a select few who have something negative to say about it, but overall I received really positive feedback.
B4R: Is there one book you have written that is your favorite or closest to your heart?
JT: Bending Willow is closest to my heart because the characters are so real, yet they still managed to have some sort of adventure.
B4R: If you could meet one author, living or dead, who would it be?
JT: I would like to meet Madeleine L’Engle, the author behind A Wrinkle in Time. She was an amazing writer. She also wrote Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art, which helped my writing. As you get older you forget that writing does not always have to be logical, and she reminded me of that in the book.
B4R: What advice would you give to other budding writers?
JT: Find a writer’s group and get into a critique group. Doing that was the best thing that ever happened to me. You will make so many connections and people are always so supportive.