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Jacky Dahlhaus Author Interview

by Shaun Griffiths

Jacky Dahlhaus is an Aussie girl who was brought up in Holland. She is a bit of a gypsy having moved house 13 times. Unlucky for some, but not for Jacky! She lives in Scotland where she and her husband are currently renovating an historic property and breathing new life into the building. She started writing in 2015 and enjoys entertaining people through her books. She has also embarked on a film producing career where she writes, produces and directs some of the short stories that she has written.

Do you have a day job? How many hours do you aim to write per day or per week. Are you writing continuously or take a break between novels, I guess Part 3 is in the pipeline ?

Nope, I don't have a day job. I am a lady of leisure. I do take breaks between writing my books as we are also renovating our 1896's Old Schoolhouse, all by ourselves. As my bedroom is finished I will allow myself to start writing part 3 of the trilogy!

What first attracted you to write Vampire novels? Are there other genre's you like to write in eg. Romance or even Non-Fiction or do you feel your calling is horror?

I started writing the Succedaneum books after a dream I had. I do love a good vampire movie; Buffy, Underworld, Slade, etc., but will settle for any good action sci-fi or fantasy too. Can't wait for Warcraft to come out in the cinema. I am not so much a fan of horror as I think there is too much suffering and fear in the world already. I like my books to be an escape from reality, with a good ending.

Do you keep track of things like word count or page count per writing session for goal setting? What do you feel helps you to achieve your goals?

I don't keep track of what I write per day and I don't have any goal setting. I go with the flow; sometimes I do nothing but write during a day and then there are days when I don't write a single word. Weekends are the worst as I have to be sociable with my family, although they are very tolerant if I'm 'in the mood.'

How do you deal with writer’s block, or the inner critic that many writers experience during the dark times?

When I get stuck I do the 50/50, phone a friend or ask the audience thing. When I had to find an escape route from a military compound I gave myself the option of a glider or a helicopter. I asked my family, but they didn't have a clue either. So I finally got the courage to phone a flight centre and they gave me the answers I needed. I don't get real writer’s block, not yet. I still have so many ideas in my head.

Have you any experience in Traditional Publishing as well as Self Publishing? What would you say creates the biggest workload on you time or the biggest headaches, after your manuscript is written?

I haven't been lucky to find a publisher so have been an indie publisher so far. I have written to only four publishers, of whom two have replied, albeit negatively. So I think I have a better chance doing it myself instead of trying to find a publisher who doesn't really do much more than I can do myself. But I would swap as soon as somebody offers me a good contract! My biggest headache is trying to re-invent the wheel, to find out what the best strategy is. And advertising relentlessly (which I don't). I'm not a person to thump my chest and am not a very persuasive person. If I ask somebody if they want something and they say 'no' that's it for me, discussion over. I find it emotionally exhausting to keep putting myself in the spotlight. I don't mind chatting, but that is something completely different.

Thinking of things like cover designs, pricing strategies, release / re-relaunch dates, how would you advise new authors to tackle these?

New authors should contact OSFARG! Get busy preparing your book's release before actually putting it out there. I didn't and it doesn't work. Only with a lot of help can you make a difference. Get it right the first time! Saves a lot of headaches... And get Photoshop, it's fun and amazing what you can do with it.

Have you used a Launch Team or Street Team for you book publications? Do you see value in them?

Like I said, I just threw my book on Amazon and... nothing happened. Only now do I realise the importance of a launch team behind you. This is something that may be somewhat of a hurdle when you're a writer, as it's often a bit of a lonely existence, but you need it.

What are your feelings about Free Book promotions, essentially giving your work away for free as part of a Marketing Strategy?

I don't mind giving the first book away for free for certain short periods, but only to get more people interested in buying my second book. As I put a lot of effort, time and money into my writing I find it annoying that this has to be the way, but what can you do? There is so much choice out there, you have to do something to get read. I don't expect to get rich from my writing and I am lucky enough not to need an income, but I would at least like to get my money back so I'm not a burden on my family.

Do you have any thoughts on the current criticism of Amazon listed Best Seller status and their lack of transparency of how eBooks are ranked.

I recently got very annoyed with the fact that when you search on 'highest star rating' books you have to compete with a myriad of books that have only one five-star review. I think Amazon should compensate for the amount of ratings too. Obviously books that have forty-five five-star ratings are a lot better than those with only one (not that I have forty-five ratings).

What is the best piece of advice that you have been given regarding your writing career, or what one piece of advice would you give to someone starting out on their writing path?

The best piece of advice I received was 'write it down!' What I would advise to others is two-fold; 1) 'get an editor/proofreader,' as nothing is as annoying for a reader as stumbling over grammatical mistakes and typos, and 2) get a launch team!

Books

Releasing A Vampire (Suckers Trilogy Book 0)

Jacky Dahlhaus

£0.99

Settle into a cozy corner and find out in this novelette how the deadly 'Succedaneum' virus was created. Who engineered it and what was it supposed to do? How did it escape into the world?
What is Kate, the main protagonist of the Suckers Trilogy, doing when it happens? How does she deal with her perfect world falling apart?

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Buy at Amazon

Living Like A Vampire (Suckers Book 1)

Jacky Dahlhaus

$1.99

Staying alive is hard in a world full of bloodsuckers. What do you do to survive?
Kate has just begun her new job as a high school teacher and is looking forward to living her suburban dream life. All her hopes and dreams turn into smoke as a virus turns people into vampires, roaming the world in packs and killing everybody they can get their hands on. Kate has to pretend to be one of them to stay alive. When she accidentally bumps into a handsome sucker who then mysteriously disappears, surviving is no longer the only thing on Kate's mind.

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Buy at Amazon Kobo

Raising A Vampire (Suckers Book 2)

Jacky Dahlhaus

$0.99

Who is friend and who is foe?
Kate and her little family lead an extremely quiet life. This life is thrown into chaos when the true identity of their daughter gets out. Can Kate keep her family and her wits together?

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Buy at Amazon Kobo Nook

Killing A Vampire (Suckers Trilogy Book 3)

Jacky Dahlhaus

$0.99

The past is back to haunt Kate. Will her partner survive this evil?
Kate thinks her relationship is on the rocks because of her past infidelity. She's wrought with guilt and wants nothing more than her missing partner back. When the police don't believe there's foul play at hand she's on her own to find him. A horrifying parcel on Kate's doorstep brings the situation to a whole new level. The police are now willing to help but can't due to lack of evidence.

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Buy at Amazon Kobo Nook

I blog on jackydahlhaus.wordpress.com about myself and about my writing experiences. Every Friday I do a Lessons Learned about my writing and on Wednesdays I tweet an update of my Writers' Corner Flipboard magazine. Those are the few things I do like about advertising myself.

This year I also started a filming group to expand into screenwriting. We turn the flash fiction I have written into shorts. I write, produce and direct, next to trying to fabricate a website, so it can be a bit hectic sometimes.

Oh, and I have sent my un-edited first draft of my first book to Peter Dinklage when he was filming GoT - Season 6 in Ireland last year, but never got a reply. Probably because it sucked (pardon the pun)!

Hope this is food enough for thought,
Jacky D.