Writing, Work and Wine with… Jill McDonald-Constable a.k.a Amos Carr

A big warm welcome to this week’s guest Jill, who writes Westerns under the pen name of Amos Carr  – which is no mean feat as she is one of only four female Western writers in UK! Her first book, The Ghosts of Poynter is due out on 30th June (available for pre-order on Amazon now) and her second book, Crazy Man Cade is due for release in October 2012.

Q. Jill, great to have you here. I don’t know a lot about the western genre, so why don’t you start by telling us about your writing?  

A. Well, I will be having two books published this year by the Black Horse Western imprint of Robert Hale. They are both around 50 – 60,000 words in length and should be a good read for any Western fans, old and new. I don’t have an agent, I simply approached Robert Hale directly and to date, getting a contract for my first and second ‘real’ books is my most memorable writing success, a lifetime’s dream come true.

Q. Well done, I’m really pleased for you. Now, everyone is always interested in the one(s) that got away, so what was your most memorable rejection?

A. To be honest, they all blend into one horrible one and I don’t know if I should admit it, but I once sent one to Mills and Boon; they said it was too ‘Mystical’ (read Hippy / New Age) for them, with too much violence. I thought they’d like something ‘different’. Bad move. Don’t do it!

 Q. So can you describe your writing journey to date for us in less than 50 words?

A. In brief? It was a hard, uphill slog, but I knew it was all I ever wanted, so I kept at it. And it paid off in the end.

Q. It certainly has! So what are your top three tips for writers?

1) Never, ever, give up.

2) Treat rejections as a learning process.

3) Mostly, send the right type of genre to the right publisher. It’s what worked for me!

Q. Some good advice there. Now can you tell us about your work? Do you work full-time? What do you love and hate about your work / typical day?

A. I am disabled, and have a husband who has had two strokes, so life is pretty much my full-time job really.  I steal Thursday (when Hubby is at Day Centre) to do most of my writing work (and any other spare moments that I can squeeze from the day.)

A typical day for me is looking after my hubby, our two crazy dogs, myself, and the usual home and garden ‘stuff’ which all other women have to do all the time. It can be tough, but I believe that writing really is a kind of magic. I can escape and be someone else, somewhere else for a while, away from reality.

As for what I hate about a typical day, it’s a strong word and I don’t really do ‘hate’ much. But the one thing I really do hate is what these strokes have done to Cris, how they’ve changed his life, our lives. On a selfish note, if he was still himself, I’d have a lot more time to write!

Q. It sounds like you really have your work cut out for you and I am full of admiration that you look after your husband and do everything else and still make time to write… and to become a published author after all that… Wow! We’ll move onto something easier now. What’s your favourite wine (or drink of choice)?

A. I’m not a drinker now, but I used to be a whisky lover, until the party where I polished off three whole bottles of it and still walked home, with another bottle to have for breakfast.  Then I stopped, I guessed it was time, eh?! Now, I drink Advocaat at Christmas, and Shloer or Diet Coke. (But a good cup of tea is my favourite drink ever.)

I love a good cup of tea myself, especially with chocolate biscuits. Personally I am intrigued by how you stayed standing after those three bottles of whisky, never mind how you walked home! I’d have been under the table.  

Anyway Jill, thanks for stopping by and sharing your experiences with us, and good luck with your books.  

You can contact Jill a.k.a Amos or find out more about her and her books via Twitter @JillMcD-C on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/JillMcDCAuthor or on her lovely website www.womanwholeads.webs.com

Pre-order her first book via Amazon at http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ghosts-Poynter-Black-Horse-Western/dp/0709095422

Don’t forget to check out the next post in this series – Writing, Work and Wine with… Christina Courtenay, scheduled for next Wednesday.

All the best, Nikki 🙂

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