Jacquelyn Middleton is the author of contemporary romances, London belongs to me and London can you wait?
She lives Toronto with her British husband and Schipperke dog.
She has spent most of her adult life working in television (at CHUM Television: Citytv and MuchMusic; and at Alliance Atlantis Broadcasting: Discovery Health Channel, Slice, and National Geographic Channel).
She has been writing full-time now for about eight years.
She has won several national writing awards and her works have been published by several of the most popular magazines, newspapers, and websites in North America including USA Today, Canadian Living, Best Health, National Geographic Travel, The Toronto Star, Psychology Today, Reader’s Digest, Chatelaine, Today’s Parent, and Flare.
You have worked for several television channels. Do you think working there impacted your writing?
Jacquelyn: I've spent most of my working life in television broadcasting and production and in a way, I owe it for my career as a writer. Working in TV, I developed an eye for storytelling. When you have to tell a story in one line of copy or thirty seconds of a promo, it's a great skill to have. I also purchased programming for several of the channels I worked for, so I had to know what TV viewers would enjoy.
I actually began my writing career while I worked in TV. I wrote articles for one of the channel's websites and from there, I became a freelance writer and had my articles published in magazines and websites.
Can you give some tips to writers who wish to get their articles published by reputed magazines or newspapers?
Jacquelyn: You just have to have a great idea that's ideal for the publication you want to write for. First of all, I'd say, always do your research. If you want to write for a travel magazine, make sure it's a story they haven't covered recently. Know who their audience is. You don't want to pitch an idea tailored to men if it's a women's magazine.
Once you have a great idea and have written an intriguing pitch, make sure you're sending it to the right editor. Research the masthead of the magazine (you can do this by flipping through issues or looking at their website) and if it's an online publication, see if they have their masthead on the site. If not, check under 'contact us'. In some cases if there's a telephone number, you might have to call to find out who to send your email query to. Most editors prefer email queries. Do not pitch your idea over the phone. That's one way to get a quick "no."
If you don't hear back after a week, send an email follow-up. Always be polite, don't make demands that they answer your query. Editors are really busy and sometimes they will ignore you after several tries (so take their lack of response as a no). If you get an email rejection, bounce back quickly and turn that pitch around and send it to someone else. Always persist! It's the most amazing feeling when you get a yes and your story shows up in print or online.
How did you get the idea for creating your segment, "Authors celebrating Authors"?
Jacquelyn: After reading a great book, I'm often left with an epic book hangover and all I want to do is talk to the author! I have messaged authors at 1am to tell them how much I LOVED their book, so it made sense to take my fangirling ways and turn them into something my fellow readers could enjoy too. I always want to know more about the books and characters I love, and Authors Celebrating Authors was a great way to achieve that. Plus, I'm interested in how other authors work, so Authors Celebrating Authors became a great way to explore the creative process as well.
You have interviewed several writers. Can you give some tips on interviewing?
Jacquelyn: Always be polite. Figure out what you want to know—chances are, other readers will want to know those answers, too. Know your stuff—read their books! If you can make it feel like a conversation instead of an interview, that's always best, I find.
Several writers say listening to music while writing helps them write better. Do you think that's true? Can you share how you keep your environment when writing?
Jacquelyn: I always find inspiration in music, but I don't listen while I write—I can't have any distractions so the TV is off, and I don't hang out with my laptop in coffee shops. I always create playlists for my books (I have links posted on my website) and for some characters. Music helps create a mood and often ideas pop into my head when I'm listening.
Apart from reading, is there any other activity aspiring writers have to do to enhance their creativity?
Jacquelyn: I think the writing process is so individual. What works for me, won't work for someone else. I find some of my best ideas arrive when I least expect it—when I'm exercising, walking the dog, listening to music…activities that allow your mind to wander are often the best activities for being creative.