1. Please start by telling us a little bit about yourself. I am a born and raised Georgia girl. I have been a waitress, a bank teller, a speech writer, a barn manager, a retail manager, and a web developer. I’m currently a mom, a high school equestrian coach, a communications director, and an author. And… I love the color green.
2. When did you know that you wanted to write professionally and how did you take the leap to get into the business? Writing is something that simply wouldn’t leave me alone. It’s a way I sort out my thoughts, organize my life and, as crazy as it sound, get the voices and pictures out of my head. Once they come to life on paper, they generally stop harassing me while I’m trying to do other things. After I had my daughter, I started working from home. But I needed something more – something that was mine. So I decided to give writing a space on my priority list for one year, and revamped a first-draft I’d written a couple years prior.
3. Can you tell me a little bit about your book and what inspired it? Tanzy’s voice has been in my head a long time, I’ve just been on the hunt for a journey she’d agree to take. I had a dream one night about ancient Egypt, and a girl locked in a cell beneath the sand. She was guarded by these big (very attractive) men, who I could tell were afraid of what she’d be able to do should she get loose. And I was standing beside a girl they couldn’t see, who pointed to the girl in the cell and said: that’s me. When I woke up I wrote down everything I could remember, and then thought: how the heck am I going to get a girl on a horse farm to ancient Egypt?
4. What do you hope that readers take way with them after reading your book? Two things. First, I believe in a strong, independent female lead character. This world is hard. The relationship you have with yourself is the only one you’ll have to live with forever. So don’t wait for someone to validate you and what you want. Second, I like to explore the gray area between good and evil. That part of Tanzy’s journey will be revealed more in the next two books. I can tell you that the sequel takes quite a dark turn… it’s been a blast to write.
5. I find it interesting to know what environment authors find most productive… Do you use a pen and paper or laptop? Quiet room at home or bustling café? Basically, what gets your creative juices flowing? I have a two year old and two other jobs, so I can’t be picky anymore. I make whatever setting I’m in work – be it the dashboard of my car in a parking lot or the food court at the mall. Ideally, I like to sit in my office because I have lots of notes tacked to the wall, but my schedule doesn’t always allow it. I do like to have hot tea at the ready, and a pencil and paper. I think better when I can doodle or hand-write ideas.
6. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment? Although story and writing go hand in hand, I would rather someone criticize the story than my writing. I’ve worked really hard to make my writing something that would make my grandmother proud – a woman in post-World War 2 America who raised a family instead of pursuing her long-shot dream of becoming a journalist. That being said, I have received criticism from readers who were unhappy about the way Moonlit ends because they didn’t realize that it’s the first book in a trilogy. It still stings, but I can understand their frustration. I want to tell them that Tanzy has a long way to go and a lot to do before her journey is complete. Luckily, so far all of these people have still said they’ll read the series, so that’s a silver lining. The highest compliment I have received came from my editor, who said that she loved the prologue to Moonlit so much that she read it out loud to her family.
7. What book is currently on your nightstand? And who are some of your favorite authors? I am currently reading “The Host,” by Stephenie Meyers. On deck are: “Replacing Gentry,” by Julie Ford, and “The Scorpio Races” by Maggie Stiefvater. I wish I had more time to read! I feel very behind. My favorite authors include (but are not limited to!) Khaled Hosseini, Walter Farley, and Amy Greene.
8. What do you like to do when you’re not writing? I ride as often as I can, and I spend a lot of time outdoors with my daughter. We find bugs under logs, stomp around in the creek, work in the garden. We like to be outside.
9. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers? Personally: Do not ever quit. Never. Life will give you a thousand reasons to give up, but if it’s something you truly want, keep pushing. Professionally: get eyes on your work. Make sure a handful of people you really trust have read (and torn apart) your work before you submit it to an agent/publisher, or self-publish. Your mind is an incredible instrument, and will fill in gaps you left behind and auto-correct word mistakes, etc.
10. What can we expect from you next? I will be published again this fall in “Indiestructible,” which is a collection of essays from writers who published with small publishers (like me) or self-published. 100% of the proceeds from “Indiestructible” will be donated to BuildOn, a not-for-profit group that is working to end the hand-in-hand cycle of poverty and illiteracy. I’m also nearing completion of the sequel to Moonlit, and then will begin work on the third and final book of the trilogy once we’ve finished overview edits of the second book.
11. Do any animals share your life? Please tell us about them. I have a Shepard-mix dog named Charley Brown, who I found in an animal shelter (please adopt and rescue!) I’ve had him since I graduated college. He’s moved with me all over Georgia, gave me the go-ahead to marry my husband, and is now the most fantastic baby-sitter ever. And I’ve taken on a project horse for the spring named Cooraine. She’s gigantic, and she’s the sweetest thing on four feet. Her owner is a competitive rider at the University of Georgia, and she’ll go back to her this summer. Since I work on a farm, I’m around horses, dogs, cats, and chickens several days a week. I am thrilled that my daughter will get to experience farm life at such an early age.
And now for a little bit of fun:) This or That?
Coffee or Tea? Tea!
Sweet or Salty? Mmm both. Have you ever melted caramel Hershey Kisses in a bag of hot popcorn? I’m just saying…
Beach or Lake? Beach
Winter or Summer? Summer. No such thing as too hot
Cats or Dogs? Dogs
Zombies or Vampires? Vampires – but the Buffy the Vampire Slayer kind, if I get the choice.
Country or City? Country
Shower or Bath? Shower. I like the idea of baths, but I’m usually bored before the water fills up.
Morning or Evening? Morning. Sunrise is my favorite time of day.
M&Ms or Skittles? I am actually allergic to red food coloring, so I have to really REALLY want either. But when I’m having a moment (and have Benodryl nearby) I would say M&Ms
Trains or Planes? Hmm that’s tough. I like the idea of a long train ride but I’ve never done it. BUT you can get off. So I’ll say train.
Comedy or Drama? Probably drama. My sense of humor can be hard to please sometimes. But I’ll obsess over a well-done drama.
Age Group: Young Adult
Publication Date: April 16th, 2013
Available Formats: Paperback, E-Book
Eighteen-year-old Tanzy Hightower knows horses, has grown up with them on Wildwood Farm. She also knows not to venture beyond the trees that line the pasture. Things happen out there that can’t be explained. Or undone. Worse, no one but she and the horses can see what lurks in the shadows of the woods.
When a moonlit ride turns into a terrifying chase, Tanzy is left to question everything, from the freak accident that killed her father to the very blood in her veins. Broken and confused, she turns to Lucas, a scarred, beautiful stranger, and to Vanessa, a charming new friend who has everything Tanzy doesn’t.
But why do they seem to know more about her than she knows herself?
The glow from the barn quickly dissolves into the inky night. Not a shred of it accompanies us past the mangled gate. But the dark offers little relief from the shadows that plague me in the light of day.
The full moon casts a blue glow over the rolling field, making the dark places that sway in the steady breeze look alive. I release the breath I’d been holding as we near the riding ring. Hopewell stands still as I lean from the saddle to let us through the gate.
Once we’re closed inside the safety of the lit arena, I take a quick scan of the tree line. The woods and their shadows are still.
“Paranoid,” I say, unwilling to admit to myself that it sounds too much like a dare as it drifts across the empty pasture.
I cluck to Hopewell and he strikes off in a floating trot. He stretches his neck and lets out a snort. We track a figure-eight pattern across the broad arena and then I move him up into a canter. His three-beat gait feels like flying. My eyes close in bliss as we sail down the long side of the ring. And then, a break in rhythm. The next two beats come too fast and his typically light step pounds at the ground. My muscles clench, locking my seat into the tack, and my eyes fly open.
His pulse skyrockets, thumping through the saddle. I search the dark in a long sweep, anxious to catch sight of something I can define scurrying in the brush. But the field is empty.
“I don’t see anything.” Panic raises my voice to an unfamiliar octave and every muscle tenses with adrenaline.
Suddenly, he charges for the railing, twisting his head so far to the inside of the ring that I can see the rolling whites of his eyes.
Whatever is scaring him is in here with us.
I brace myself in the tack and chance a look behind us. Horror charges through my body as I lock eyes with a dark, ghastly creature slinking along behind us. It lowers its saber head and opens a pair of wide, capable jaws. My breath stills in my throat as it lunges from its crouch. Hopewell spins and bucks, kicking the beast square in the chest and throwing me onto his neck.
Don’t fall! I cling to his mane as I try to right myself, but I can’t get my feet back in the stirrups.
Hopewell leaps into a gallop and races toward the end of the ring. The distance between us and the fence evaporates in seconds. I push him forward, silently begging him to ignore the routine barrier. He powers off the ground and sails over the rail. I sit up as he lands, and steer him towards the barn.
Without warning, he leaps sideways tossing me airborne. I cry out as I land hard back in the saddle.
Another animal races toward us from the side. The first creature is closing in from behind.
Georgia native Jadie Jones first began working for a horse farm at twelve years old, her love of horses matched only by her love of books. She went on to acquire a B.A. in equine business management, and worked for competitive horse farms along the east coast. The need to write followed wherever she went.
She currently coaches a hunt seat equitation team that competes in the Interscholastic Equestrian Association, and lives with her family in the foothills of north Georgia. When she’s not working on the next installment of the Moonlit series, she is either in the saddle or exploring the great outdoors with her daughter. Moonlit is her first book.
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