Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Inquiring minds want to know...who is Jackie Castle?

Julie: Inquiring minds want to know...who is Jackie Castle?

Jackie: Wow, that’s a loaded question, isn’t it?

I’m just… me.
I have two children that are nearly grown. A dopey dog named Banjo that’s a beagle mix of some sort. My husband and I will be celebrating our 29th wedding anniversary this year.

I’ve worked as a hairstylist, a daycare teacher, then later I worked with special needs kids in an elementary school.  I attended college after my son was born and ended up with a degree in Rehabilitation counseling. And through all that, writing has woven itself around all my jobs and brought me to here: being a full-time author.

Other things I enjoy doing when I’m not writing: crocheting, reading, jewelry making, painting and drawing – though now I’m learning how to paint picture on my computer using Photoshop. From that, I’ve started doing covers for friends, and myself.

Gracious. You are quite the creative soul. Why do you write?

Because when I was in the 6th grade, I wrote my first real story. My teacher asked if she could read it to the class during our quiet time. It took her a week to get though my mystery story.

What amazed me was everyone listened while she read and they were always eager to hear more the next day. They really seemed to enjoy my story. When my teacher finished reading it, she told the class that she expected to see one of my book in a bookstore in the next 20 or 30 years.

From that moment on, I knew what I was meant to do. And even though I’ve tried doing other things – things that earned better money, I always found myself back at the computer, typing out a story that was plaguing me. The years that I didn’t write, I felt as if something was missing.

When I write, I feel complete. I’m at my happiest. And even if I never make a lot of money on my books, I have no doubt that I’m using the gifts I’ve been given to the best of my abilities.

Any letters I get from readers, or any nice reviews are all whipped cream on my chocolate fudge sundae. I love story. I love reading them and I love even more creating them.

So that’s why.

What a cool story. Kudos to that forward-thinking teacher. You write in several genres. What led you to do that?

I’m not sure. I love fantasy the most, but people seem to enjoy romances. I liked the ones I read and started praying about which direction to go in after I finished my fantasy series.

An idea came about a Southern girl named Haley Isabelle Madison, who inherits her family farm in Michigan. It’s a kind of a humorous fish out of water type of story.

I suppose the idea came from the fact that my husband is a Michigan Yankee and I’m from Southern California. And my family were all from Texas, which is how I ended up here when they decided to move back home. He moved down to Texas for work. I’m not a fan of Michigan winters, but I love the summers. And I love the small town his family lives in.

After I wrote the first book, Snow Belle, I still wasn’t sure if I should fork off from writing fantasy. I have a readership in that genre. Again I prayed about it and ended up with several book ideas for the Madison Creek series. I sure don’t want to waste good ideas when they come so easily. I made some notes and now I’m working my way through the book ideas.

However, I also have a new fantasy series idea in mind, too. Ah, so many stories buzzing around my head, so little time.

So, there you go. That’s how I ended up writing in different genres.

I understand the mind buzzing thing. But not everyone can put them into writing as you do.That takes talent. How do you develop your storyline?

Well, if I’m writing one of my fantasy stories, I’ll go with the Hero’s Journey plotline, if I feel it fits. And that plotline actually fits a lot of stories, fantasy or otherwise.

I also use a Three Act plotline that I got from a Scrivener template created by K.M. Weiland from her Structuring Your Novel books.  

I do like having a guideline to go by. I don’t always write a story in chronological order. I get scenes here and there and like to have a place where I can jot down ideas as they come to me. Which is why I love working in Scrivener so much.

However, my outlines are not written in stone and I often end up deviating from them as the story comes alive for me and my characters begin acting of their own accord. So, in a way, I’m a Plotter who is also a closet Pantser.  Which basically means, I set down my guidelines of how I want it to go, then hang on for the crazy ride my stories usually take me on.

Ah, I can relate! I'm a panster who also plots now and then. It obviously works for you because your books are intriguing and keep the reader's interest. Tell us about your series?

Well, earlier I mentioned my Madison Creek Bed & Breakfast series. They are sweet contemporary romances written from a Christian perspective. Snow Belle starts off the series with how Haley Madison meets her handsome Yankee, Ethan Winters. From there, Haley and Ethan appear in every Madison Creek book, even the novellas, but each of the following stories are told from the viewpoints of new characters.

Each book is a standalone. Haley and Ethan’s story is a common thread that progresses through the novels which will take you through their first year together. The novellas happen at different times and focus more on the town of Madison Creek.
The White Road Chronicles fantasy is a six book allegorical tale about a young girl in search of the truth. She’s been captured by the evil ruler who is attempting to take over the land of Alburnium. The first book is about her journey home and the friends she meets along the way. Think of the Wizard of Oz meets Narnia, with a dash of Pilgrims Progress and you have my book.

The following books in the series follow Alyra and her friends as they go out and try to help King Shaydon band the kingdom together to make a final stand against the evil ruler Darnel. There’s dragons, trolls, centaurs, warriors and other neat characters. Some you’ve heard of before, and some you haven’t.

Both sound interesting. How to choose? I know our  readers are pondering that question, so give us a short blurb...

From The White Road Chronicles:
Welcome to the kingdom of Alburnium
If the Wizard of Oz swept you away and Narnia enchanted you, then follow the White Road Chronicles for a new kind of adventure.

Illuminated: Book One- begins with a girl in search of the truth.
Alyra, mockingly known as Princess, was captured at an early age by the evil ruler, Darnel, and brought up in the dark land of Racah. Now, at the age of seventeen, she considers herself nothing special. She has no recollection of who she is or where she came from. Her hope of ever finding freedom dims.
Until the messenger arrives. Until he brings to light the meaning behind the medallion she's kept hidden. Until she accepts the blinding truth.

Now she flees for her life.

Alyra's journey leads her down a narrow road with strange traveling companions. Together, they encounter a kingdom where nothing is what it first seems.

From the Madison Creek Bed & Breakfast series:

Welcome to Madison Creek Where Northern Hospitality Meets Southern Comfort
A Contemporary Inspirational Romance

Haley Madison packed her big dreams and drove to the Arctic. Well, all right, so it’s Madison Creek, Michigan. But for a Texas gal, this frozen land ought to come with a sled and huskies. If it wasn’t for her family’s rundown property, she’d have stayed where the sun shone bright and warm. However, she has grand ideas for her inheritance even if the town has thrown up their objections to her plans.

Ethan Winters hated going home and admitting failure. Sure, he has a special talent with the violin, but he has bigger ambitions than playing at the local bowling alley. And then there was the idea of facing his father. No, he wasn’t ready to go home just yet. He veered off the interstate and drove to a little town named Madison Creek. Maybe his luck would change.

When the southern Snow-Belle literally blows him off the road with her rogue snowblower... more than just his luck will change.

I know I'm intrigued. Thanks for letting me interview you and telling our readers all about your books.


For a free copy of her fantasy book, please leave a comment. Minimum of five comments to qualify for a drawing.

You can visit Jackie Castle's website at and follow her on Facebook:


Jackie Castle said...

Thank you so much for having me, Julie. =)

Renee Blare said...

Hi Jackie! Welcome to the Diamond Mine. :) It was great getting to know you.

Terry Palmer said...

What a great interview about her life and writing. Hope you don't mind my reading in. She commands a great style. I'm wondering what fantasies are on the horizon?
Author Terry Palmer

Renee Blare said...

Don't mind at all, Terry! Glad you enjoyed it. LOL

Ann Ellison said...

Enjoyed the interview and the book sounds like a good one.

Jackie Castle said...

Thanks to all who stopped in. I do have some new fantasy ideas in the making. I'll be posting more about it on my website and newsletter. =)