7 Questions With Author JAKe Hatmacher
Meet JAKe Hatmacher – Yes, the first name is spelled with three capitals and one lower case letter. What makes him special? He likes all the arts as well as the healing arts. He also appreciates that all of us are all molded by our experiences and like our fingerprints we all are different; different in how we express ourselves, how we feel about things, what turns us on and what turns us off. And we all want to be appreciated and understood. He hopes his stories speak to the values he has mentioned above.
For the ones of you who are new to my blog, I’m Esther Rabbit, writer, content creator for authors and massive nerd. If you’re interested to know all the tips & tricks surrounding the process From Writing To Publishing Your Novel, you’re only a click away. For writing and marketing tips consider subscribing to my YouTube Channel.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I’d have to say I’m both, but probably lean more toward the plotter. Let me explain, especially to those that do not know the terms. With the novels I have written I carried the crux of the stories with me for years, so when I started to write I had a good picture of where I was starting and where I wanted to end. So, to me, that would indicate my being a plotter, right, as that would be a plot outline, but only sort of.
Why? There are many roads that can get you where you want to go. You just have to find the right road that gets you to your destination the best. Just think of it like your GPS. Do you take the most direct route or take the scenic route? Do you take the highway or the backroads? Sometimes the enjoyment you can create by throwing in some side-action, sort of like a roadside attraction, can enliven a story.
Add some interesting history, surreptitiously for those not inclined to read history, and you can even enlighten your reader. So, even though I had the basic starting point for where I wanted to start and where I wanted to end, it took a bit for the pieces to fall into place. That’s why I like to say that my stories were created somewhat by the seat of my pants (pantser), but not fully.
The characters I eventually decided on to carry out the plot first needed to be picked and their ages, occupations, and relationships with the other characters needed to be thought out. And that thinking process needed to continue throughout to create an interesting story. There were several if not many times when I needed to sit back and ponder the next move so the story could move logically forward. I certainly didn’t want my readers to be scratching their heads wondering how the story arrived at where it was
How does a day in your author life look?
I have to first admit that writing is not all I do. My main occupation is as an Obstetrician and Gynecologist. I’m retired from that profession now but the stories I have written have emerged from the things and events I experienced while performing my responsibilities.
I’ll isolate what my days look like as they pertain to writing, because that is not a daily occurrence. Caution, not writing daily may not be the best thing for someone who makes their living solely with their writing, although I would also say caution not to waste your time if the juices aren’t flowing at least a bit.
If you’re lucky like me and the stories just spring into your head, i.e. I didn’t have to will them into being, your day is then filled with the fun of deciding who your characters are, and in “are,” I mean everything about them, their ages, social status, interactions, etc., and deciding what path(s) they will take to get to the end. Usually, a lot is not accomplished or written in one day. Sometimes you write a lot and then decide to scrap much, if not all of it.
Remember when I said that you might take one of several paths to get where you want to go. Well, sometimes those paths turn into dead ends – it seems like you’re fighting your way through thorns and thickets only to not find the light at the end of the tunnel. That is, the story gets stalled as you’ve left yourself no way further way to proceed.
That’s when I often need to pause. For me that often would include either taking a long hot shower or pouring myself a bourbon and Coke and sitting on the deck overlooking my back yard. Both those things helped to conjure up new pathways, new interactions of the characters, in order to spur the story forward to its destination. Often the destination is the end of the scene, the chapter, but in the long run it was toward the end of the entire story.
Oh, and let’s not forget research. Whenever I write, I like to write within the facts. Although I may write fiction, there is much of fact within and I don’t like to present to my audience something that isn’t truthful unless I warn them. In my books I do include some fantasy, but I indicate that in the foreward to the story.
Lastly, I don’t want to forget, when I’m in the midst of writing a story, even if I’m not actually writing I’m still thinking about it. It’s hard to let the plot rest even in your down time. I’ve awakened in the night thinking about nuances to add and new twists to explore when I return to my computer.
What’s your definition of the first draft?
That’s pretty easy… or maybe it isn’t. It may seem obvious that when you get done with the entire story the first time, that is your first draft. It is unless you’ve been editing all along. And when I mean editing, I’m not speaking of just fixing grammar, sentence structure, misspelled words, and how the text looks on the page.
I tend to edit even the story line as I go along. So, my first completed story has been modified constantly. In my mind it has already gone through repeated changes, multiple drafts.
That doesn’t mean when I read it in its entirety after I think I’m done that I don’t go back and fix things that I didn’t like or didn’t think flowed well.
After I’m satisfied to a great degree with how I have finally written it, it is then time for me to have it read by someone else, and that someone else also is charged with recommending edits if needed.
What would you do if you wouldn’t be writing?
Is that like, “What would a woodchuck do if he couldn’t chuck wood?” I guess it is!
Well, I believe I partially answered that under the first question, but since I am retired now and I don’t write all the time, I have many interests. If I’ve wondered what other occupation I might like to pursue, those would be many, too. Realistically, in terms of occupations, I’ve thought about architecture, landscape design, breakfast short-order cook, working owner of a southern beach short-order restaurant, artist, and laborer at a plant nursery.
Chances are I won’t be taking on any other occupations, but you never know. As concerning my interests – they would include art and painting (oil and acrylic currently), some stained-glass work (currently doing a series of stepping stones based on photographs I’ve taken of flowers in my gardens), staying fit (usually ice skating and hiking), playing sports, outdoor games, and indoor games, but not video games. Give me a board game anytime! I also enjoy intriguing movies and series.
Books need to pique my interest. That is, I don’t read everything, and I don’t enjoy everything I read. And warning, I’ve learned my lesson not to judge a book solely by its cover. I have several incompletely read books collecting dust lying around my house. Since I brought up covers, can I tell you that the covers of my books attempt to give you a hint of what is in my stories? I guess I just did.
How do you imagine your target reader?
That’s a very good question.
When I wrote my first book, I was more concerned with writing it as well as I possibly could. I wasn’t thinking of who would want to read it. I certainly did wish everyone possible would read it. So, I wrote it and then had to try to find a way to have it published. After researching publishing companies, agents, and self-publishing online I finally decided to self-publish. That was another learning experience. I simply threw the book into the mix with all the other books that were out there.
I did this through Amazon self-publishing and then used Creatspace for the print-on-demand version. I did this because I knew of the Amazon platform and what I heard was the widest online library and sales of online ebooks.
The only targeting I could think of doing was by use of Amazon’s categories wherein you classify your book by genre, and other sub-categories. The choices for me weren’t simple in that my books span different genres, but I picked some and lived with my choices, changing some of the categories over months to see if any worked better to draw attention to my book.
When I say my books span different genres, they can fit into young adult (YA), Coming of Age, Fiction, historical fiction (somewhat but not exactly), women’s, and they include some paranormal, some spiritual, and fantasy. Oh, and did I say some psychology? You see, it was not easy for me to decide. It wasn’t until my second book went on a blog tour that it was pointed out to me that my books would best be described as Literary Fiction. That was all well and good, but when I looked to see what most people read “Literary Fiction” was not one of the genres listed.
So, what was I to do? Wanting to be as pure to what I was writing as possible I eventually listed the books as belonging to Literary Fiction, unfortunately knowing full well that they would not be found as readily as something that was listed as say, “Young Adult.” In case you want to know, my main characters, my protagonists, are all young females – remember me telling you my work was as an Obstetrician and Gynecologist and served to set the stage for my writing.
Getting back finally to target reader – I would like to think my stories are pertinent to all. Maybe not to children, but to all that have at least gone through puberty. They are certainly pertinent to all that have a relationship with love interests, family members and friends, or those who struggle with acceptance, finding their true calling, or finding some sense in their lives.
Is there anything you learned from reader reviews?
1. Many are very concise.
2. There are readers who construe the meaning or reason of a story much differently than the author’s intent. The story can resonate differently from reader to reader, which makes sense since we all bring our own storied lives into them when we read.
3. Opinions on quality can vary widely.
4. It is from one review that someone told me that the cover sways which book they will read next. I was surprised until I took a FB poll and found that to be rather true.
5. Be careful when asking random people to read your book and give a review because if the book is not in their wheelhouse genre it can influence their review negatively.
Tell us how you’d spend your time if you went on a date/adventure/meeting with your favorite fictional character.
This will be fun!
You obviously would have to know the character. Let me tell you it is Eryn, from my second novel, A Secret Lies Deep. I’m going to assume I know very little about her before we go on this date/adventure/meeting. Some people have said I’m a romantic. Perhaps I am. Perhaps it is just as much my appreciation for beauty and art well done, as I am drawn first by what catches my eye.
That can be a subtle or quirky beauty, a pretty smile, or something else that speaks to me. I’d want to get to know her, so to me that would be a date where we could both comfortably talk – I sure would hope she likes to talk. I would like to know what she does and what she is interested in and I would hope she would feel free to ask me the same things if she desired.
Based on what I learned I would ask her what she would enjoy doing for the day or night, depending on the time of day it was. I would find out that she works as a living history museum registrar, an assistant to the curator, and that her major interest is in the last half of the 19th century as well as early part of the 20th century. If she wished to explore something new in her interest or wanted to show me things I’ve not seen, I would be more than happy to have an extremely knowledgeable guide take me on a tour.
If she preferred to defer to me, I might consider a walk on the beach if there was a beautiful sandy one nearby, or a hike in the woods, or a walk through a botanical garden where we could appreciate the beauty of nature. If the weather was not conducive to the outdoors, I might consider a movie, one that we would both agree on, or possibly a hockey game if we were lucky enough to live in a city with a franchise.
Luckily Eryn lives near Dallas, so that would be possible. Anything she didn’t know about hockey I would try to explain to her just as she would teach me what she knows about her favorite time in history. Anything else, as long as we both agreed, would be icing on the cake.
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And check out Lost in Amber: An Out Of This World Paranormal Romance if enjoy girl power, adventure & a toe-curling love story.
She just wanted to mope over her breakup but the universe had other plans for Zoey Mills.
Read the full blurb here.