Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Guest: Jo Sparkes

A brief interview with Jo Sparkes:

How long have you been writing?

Since I was about eight. If squiggles count, since I was four.

How long have you been a published author?

My first book was published a year ago. I’ve been a professional writer for some time.

What titles do you have available?

Feedback  How to Give It, How to Get It. The Writer’s Guide to Spinning Gold. It’s a survival method for turning criticism into career rocket fuel.

And now this fantasy, of course. The Birr Elixir.

What made you choose the subject of this book?
Pure self-indulgence.

I’m paid to write what others want. Don’t get me wrong -- I’m grateful for the work.

But it’s so much fun to just cut loose and write what I want to write. Without permission, without approval, and without a committee review to determine what ought to be most effective for the goal at hand.

Mind you, there’s a ton of editing and criticism that goes into crafting a book. But it’s still my own choices, my own story. Or the characters story, really. They’re the bosses.


Do you have any new titles coming soon?  Will you be venturing into the area of fiction anytime soon?
November is the projected date for the next book in the series. And I have a sort of beach/tropical/supernatural horror, but I haven’t begun that novel.

What is your favourite genre and why?
I vary. What really catches me is a great story, with great characters. For example, I’m not really a big horror person, but I loved the Sixth Sense. It transcends the genre.

What, to you, is the most exciting part of the writing process?
I suppose – and this probably is really weird – I suppose those key flashes during the rewrite. You’ve got the draft done, and after letting it sit a bit, pick it up and read. And you change bits here and there, of course, but you’ll find a whole scene or thread that doesn’t quite work. The gut says it could be better.

And BAM! Marra (the character) hits you with what she really would do – some new idea that deepens the story, that makes it twist and take off in a new direction. And the other characters and plot points suddenly evolve before your eyes.

You walk around grinning foolishly the whole day.

If you could co-author a book with anyone, who would you choose and why?
I love collaborating. Two heads are so much better than one, at least upon occasion.

Perhaps Tom Clancy. I’d love to find out his method, how he works. Or Maeve Binchey. Shakespeare would be great – but I have a feeling I’d never be able to communicate with him.

Where can readers find you on the web? The book details and blurb is there – and other stuff. 

Feel free to include your latest release/promo, and any additional info you might like included! Thanks so much for being my guest.

A well-known Century City Producer once said Jo Sparkes “writes some of the best dialogue I’ve read.”

Jo graduated from Washington College, a small liberal arts college famous for its creative writing program, forgot about writing totally, until she had a chance to study with Robert Powell, a student of renowned teachers Lew Hunter and Richard Walter, head of UCLA’s Screenwriting Program.

She has written feature film scripts, scripts for Children’s live-action and animated television programs, a direct to video Children’s DVD, and commercial work for corporate clients. A featured writer on several websites, she was a member of the Pro Football Writers Association and (very unofficially) the first to interview Emmitt Smith when he came to the Arizona Cardinals.

Jo served as an adjunct teacher at the Film School at Scottsdale Community College, and even made a video of her most beloved lecture.

Her book for writers and artists, “Feedback How to Give It How to Get It” has received glowing reviews.

When not diligently perfecting her craft, Jo can be found exploring her new home of Portland, Oregon, with her husband Ian, and their dog Oscar.

Her latest book is the fantasy, The Birr Elixir.

You can visit her website at or connect with her at twitter at 

 About the Book:

Marra had never heard of Birr Elixir.

But when Drail of the Hand of Victory saw the words in an old book, she found herself agreeing to make it. Even lacking the right ingredient.

And after drinking it, the Hand of Victory defeated a Skullan team, something no one had ever done before. Now Drail walked the path his grandsire had walked, and Marra was offered a place as Brista, his potions mistress. She doubted her ability, but took the chance to escape her slave-like existence.

When she found a way to wake the mysterious sleeper, Marra wondered if she deserved the title after all.

But with Tryst's waking, ill luck and bad things suddenly dogged their tracks. Drail, being a man of action, saw only the good in people. Marra lacked his faith, but was frozen by her own timidity. When the time came to confront these enemies, would Tryst stand with them or against them?

Would it make any difference?

Purchase your copy at AMAZON    

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