About the Story:
Just when he thought his life was turning around...
Things haven’t been easy for Jacob Morgan. Persecuted by the ghosts of his past, Jake lives each day just going through the motions, barely getting by. Then Lily Burns comes to town and befriends him. As Jake starts to heal, he begins to hope that he has finally overcome the mistakes and tragedies that have tormented him for so long. But just when he thinks his problems are solved, his past comes back to haunt him, and once again, Jake is confronted by situations he is ill-equipped to handle. Can Jake hold on to the progress he has made, or will the lies, guilt, and secrets he’s tried to ignore shove him back into an abyss from which there is no escape?
The Interview with Jacob Morgan:
Tell me about you. What’s a day in your life like?
Haha! What’s my life like? Because of Lily, thankfully, it isn’t filled with as many ghosts as it used to be. But mostly I wake up, go for a jog up to the beach or by the swimming hole behind Bill’s house. I usually hang there for a bit, just taking life in, you know? Clearing my head and all that. Then I go to work. Some days I run the boats, some days I don’t. Then I come home, grab a drink, play a little guitar.
I like sitting out on the deck. When the sun goes down and all is quiet… Nothin’ else like it. That’s the best thing Lily taught me. That not everything has to make noise – memories, thoughts, surroundings – it can all just be quiet. I love that. Easier to think that way.
If your best friend had to describe you in five words, what would they be?
I don’t really have a best friend, not anymore. Well, I guess if you count my brother, he can be my best friend, right?
If your enemy had to describe you in five words, what would they be?
I’m my only real enemy. And maybe that kid I threw off the boat but I’m it, as far as I know. As far as I know and as far as I care, it’s all me. And I’m not really comfortable describing myself. I think I’m pretty much an asshole. Or used to be. Or still am. I don’t really know. Lily wouldn’t agree with that, Madison would.
Which song sums up your life and why?
I used to connect to that song Hate Me by Blue October. That’s when I was with Madison. Now, I don’t know. I don’t listen to much other than what I write.
What motivates you?
Waking up in the morning. Feeling. Breathing. Strength. Knowing that there is something out there for me. Learning to live, letting people in, remembering what needs to be remembered and forgetting what needs to be forgotten. Acceptance. Forgiveness. All motivation to make me a better person.
Can you tell us a secret about you that few/no one else knows?
A secret? I don’t know. Right after Joey died I sat outside in my backyard with a gun across my lap. Not sure if I actually wanted to kill myself but I wanted to end all the hurt. My dad happened to swing by the house at like three in the morning and saw me asleep in the lawn chair with that old gun. His face scared the shit out of me when I woke up. It was then I decided it would be better to try to live with all the garbage and memories than to ever see that look on his face again.
Describe an incident in your life that’s helped mold you into the person you are today.
I was lost for a long time. First my mom died then Madison happened. That shaped me for the worse. I was nothing but a shell. It was hard to face anything after her. I was a ball of hate. And I hated myself for it. I didn’t know how to change. Then I met Lily. The day I changed her stupid tire was the day I began to live again.
Now? Now I just try to live like she wanted. That’s the only way I know how to keep her. It’s hard but she taught me a lot about living and moving forward. But, man. It’s so hard.
What’s your favorite color and why?
I don’t really have a favorite color. I should probably get one. Lily would’ve liked that.
What are you passionate about?
I’ve found a new passion for my music. I play and play. For the longest time I wouldn’t even look at a guitar. Now if I don’t play every day, it feels like something’s wrong. It’s like breathing.
What would I find in your couch cushions?
The other day I found Lily’s ring. You know those tiny ones that go on the pinky finger? It’s so small. Silver. Tiny yellow stones. Maybe that’s my favorite color. Yellow.
What’s your biggest fear?
My biggest fear is that I’ll forget how to remember her.
Describe your ideal mate?
Ahh. Come on. I don’t know. Everything points to Lily. Perfect. Always will be.
Is the glass half-full or half-empty? Also, what’s it filled with?
Either, depending on the day. Sometimes it’s filled with Jack other days it’s filled with hope. It’s day to day.
It’s 10:00 on a Friday night. Where are you?
If I’m not playing at Billy’s then I’m usually at home. Playin’ guitar, sitting on the deck, sitting on the beach watching the waves. Sometimes I run to clear my head. Nothing spectacular. I still keep to myself for the most part. I’ve let my family back in, every day gets a little easier. Then I take giant steps backwards. Lily wouldn’t have wanted that, though. She’d want me to look ahead everyday. So I try.
He turned to walk back to his truck when she stopped him.
“Hey, Jake! We didn’t properly introduce ourselves. I’m Lily. Lily Burns.”
“Nice to meet you, Lily Burns,” Jake said as he reached over to shake her outstretched hand.
“Nice to meet you, too, Jake. And thanks again for changing my tire.”
“Anytime. You have a nice trip to wherever you are going.”
“I will, thanks.”
Hands in his pockets, Jake walked back to his truck and watched as she climbed into hers. She started it up, pulled into the road, and drove off. It wasn’t until she was quite a ways down the road that he started up own truck, U-turned in the other direction, and headed to work.
The momentary distraction wasn’t unwelcome. The brief encounter was actually quite amusing. Lily seemed like such a breath of fresh air that Jake had made sure he filled his lungs, in case the past came back later to drown him. He was only slightly aware of the tingle he still felt in the palm of the hand she had shaken.
For the author:
Would you like to say anything to your readers / fans?
Thanks for visiting with Jake. He’s a not much of an open book and I know it’s pulling teeth to get to know him. If you’d like to learn more about his story, pick up Three Days of Rain and check it out.
Where can your readers stalk you?
FB – http://www.facebook.com/ChristineHughesAuthor
Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/HughesWriter
Blog – http://christine-hughes.com
As a writer, it can be difficult to find enough time in the day to get everything done. Would you like to share your favorite ‘quick and easy’ recipe?
Besides takeout? Let’s see – I make a great chicken in the crockpot –
1 package chx breast
1 can pineapple (chunk or crushed)
1 jar pineapple mango salsa
Chop jalapeno and place all ingredients into the crockpot. Set on low and cook for 7-8 hours. Serve with rice or tortillas.
Thanks for having me. I love visiting other blogs. I hope people find Jake’s story hopeful and interesting. He was a difficult character to write, and as you can see above, a difficult character to get to know. I appreciate the opportunity to shed a little light on him. Thanks so much Sarah!
I’ve always wanted to write. Ever since I was little, I would craft stories and poems but the idea to actually do it “for real” never really crossed my mind until recently. After sitting on three paragraphs of what would eventually become my first novel, I decided to expand upon what I had. At the time I had no real idea of where the story would go, I just knew I had the time to do something with it.
I hadn’t researched market trends, I had no idea about query letters or the evil synopsis, and I was green on the idea of agents and editors and all this publishing, really. I just wanted to write something I enjoyed. I didn’t plot, outline, or character build, I just wrote. And then an author friend (Shout Out! To Cyn Balog) mentioned that I should take my writing to a conference.
So with the confidence that my novel would surely be welcomed by all who read it, I signed up for as many seminars and critiques as I could. I knew someone would love it. In those two days, I found out I had a lot to learn.
Funny, but as a former English teacher, you’d think I’d have figured out the importance of editing and revision and revising again. You’d think I’d have known that the first draft is just that, a draft. And when the critiques started coming in, I thought I was done for. Not that the premise wasn’t good (I was told it was), not that the characters weren’t believable (I was told they were), but I used too much passive voice, I tense shifted and there were some holes in the plotline.
A few agents really liked it, but the market trend couldn’t support it. Some were not fond of the way I told the story. I queried and queried my way to 57 flat out rejections and a number of partial and full requests that didn’t pan out. But along the way I got some great criticism and pointers and I made the story better. Then, on a whim, I trolled the SavvyAuthors website and signed up for a three line pitch to editor Lauri Wellington and I did a happy dance when she requested my full manuscript.
A month later, she responded that she loved the story and the concept but it moved too slowly but I could resubmit if I revised. I informed her I sent her a revision that was based on the opinions of agents, authors and peers but I had the original (cleaned up, of course) and I was sending it in to see if it was more of what she was looking for. And guess what? It was! One caveat, I had to revise the manuscript into past tense. Easy peasy, right? Wrong.
Revising into past tense from present is line editing your entire novel. And it kinda stinks. By the end, I thought my eyes were gonna start bleeding and pop out onto my keyboard. But you know what? That little “exercise” tightened up what was loose, filled in any plot holes that might’ve still been there and forced me to realize I could be a better writer.
The road to publication can be long. It can be a hop, skip and a jump from your first query. Nothing in publication is set in stone. The market is always changing. And the biggest thing I learned is that it’s all subjective. Agents A-Y may pass but all you need is Agent or Editor Z to believe in you as much as you believe in yourself. And I believe in my first novel. And I am happy that Black Opal Books does too. I hope you do, as well.
Now, with TORN under my belt and Three Days of Rain releasing January 5, 2013, I can honestly say my dreams are becoming reality.