Today I'd like to welcome author J.C. Welker to the blog! She's best known for writing and producing the documentary short films focusing on homeless Iraq vets and LGBTQ+ issues in the military, which were selected by the North Texas Film Festival and featured on CURRENT TV. Her debut novel, The Wishing Heart was released on May 1, 2017 from Entangled Teen.
Hi, J.C.! Congrats on the release of your debut, The Wishing Heart. Can you tell us a little about the story and what inspired it?
Thank you for having me. The premise of the story came about quite clearly, of a girl looking for love and healing through stories and magic. It is, in many ways a reflection and metaphor of some of my own experiences growing up, at a time where I felt invisible, unloved, and like the character I looked to stories to fill that hole.
The main character, Rebel, is clearly very close to your heart, but sometimes those characters are the most difficult to write. Did she give you any trouble?
Rebel has a gift for trouble. However, I think because I hold a special bond with her it was easier for me to find her voice than it was for the other characters. Granted they were all stubborn, and at times were much more involved in flirting with each other than focused on sticking to the story line.
As a writer of fantasy, I’m always interested in world building and The Wishing Heart looks very unique in that respect. What kind of atmosphere were you aiming for when you created the setting for this story?
One of the themes I’ve always loved within the fantasy genre is the idea that beyond the world we see there is a hidden one. A magical one of dread and wonder. And in this hidden underworld Rebel discovers is as dark and dangerous as the real one. Where all the mythical beings in stories she’s collected, from magicians to werewolves, just may be more real than not. It’s a world where magic reflects our inner battles. That one can either let the darkness swallow them, or they can feed the light.
If The Wishing Heart had a theme song, what would it be?
This one is hard, but while editing I listened to this song on repeat: True Colors by Zedd/Kesha.
What part of the writing process do you find most challenging and how do you tackle it?
Revisions. Especially when your editor says something needs to be rewritten and you haven’t a clue how to fix it, or you have to cut out 10,000 words. But ultimately you find what works and the story molds into what it needs to be. It always does in the end.
As all writers know, stories are built on drafts. From conception to publication, were there any surprises or things that changed in The Wishing Heart?
Overall the plot remained the same so there weren’t many surprises, but there were some scenes that were cut or revised. Mostly it was the characters that were built upon, and grew stronger.
In addition to being a writer, your bio lists you as being a fashion designer, a graphic designer, and a filmmaker! How important do you think it is to have multiple creative outlets?
Extremely important. Creating for many artists and writers is a way to make sense of the world around you, especially right now with what is going on in our country, and when you have more outlets it helps in finding your own voice in it, making the world a little brighter.
What has been your most rewarding experience as an author so far?
Growing up I never had queer stories to cling to. So being able to know that somewhere someone will read my words and it will give them hope, that maybe my book could help make someone’s life more bearable is truly rewarding. Stories can be healing, and my wish is that this one finds the hearts who need it. So they know they are loved.
What’s one steadfast piece of advice you would like to give to other writers working toward publication?
Even amongst rejections persist to speak your victory. One of the best quotes I ever read on persistence was that the only difference between a published author and an unpublished author is that they never gave up. Every rejection helps you grow and become stronger. All it takes is that one “Yes”.
I want to thank J.C. for taking the time to share her experiences, her book, and the thoughtful reminder that persistence truly is the key to success. Be sure to add The Wishing Heart on Goodreads, or order your copy of J.C. Welker's exhilarating f/f fantasy RIGHT NOW from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or through your local indie.
If you connected with any of J.C.'s interview, please be sure to head on over to Twitter to tell her so at @jcwelker. For more, check out her author website at jcwelker.com.