Fellow writer and blogger, Jina S. Bazzar, is the imaginative author of the Roxanne Fosch series.
She’s also a mother, a baker, a chocolate fiend, a coffee enthusiast, and an occasional poet. A wanderer in this vast world, she’s another body with a passion for the written word. There is no boundary she can’t or won’t cross, and no limit she can’t push. As Jina avows, her mind “is my passport, my thoughts my mode of transportation”.
A little background: Jina was born and raised in a small quiet town in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where she experienced a happy and fulfilling childhood. And like most writers, her love of books began at a young age . . . but, unlike most authors, she never aspired to become one.
Thankfully, she did, however . . . so let’s learn a little more about Jina the writer.
How do you get your creativity to flow (mine’s a few blasts of caffeine, LOL)? What motivates you to keep writing?
I need that caffeine to simply function on a daily basis, so I’m not going to count it. My imagination runs wild when I’m doing household chores, baking, listening to loud music, or even exercising. Basically, I need to be doing something. As for what motivates me, I guess it’s the same thing that makes me reach for a book – the need to put things behind and go elsewhere. It could be escapism, but it’s also the pleasure of imagining and exploring endless possibilities. And when I have that first draft, messy as it is, the sense I’ve accomplished something is great. I love patting myself on the back 😉
A common but significant question: what, or who, has inspired you the most as a writer?
I’m not really sure. I’ve read so many books, I’ve admired so many writers, I can’t say one or two have inspired me. To be honest, becoming a writer was a surprise, even to me. When I first began writing, I had absolutely no desire to let anyone read it, much less get published.
Do you have any writing idiosyncrasies? If so, what?
Not really. I’m the kind of writer who lets the story be guided by instinct. I don’t pause to correct mistakes or plug in holes (though if I decide something in the plot should change, I leave a note between parentheses on the current page). Once my muse slows, I might go back a chapter or two and try to kick start the lazy beast. It usually works, but if not, I get to tidy up some plots. When I’m done with several drafts, and the story is more or less smooth, I like to go back to the beginning and turn on my screen reader to automatic. It’s amazing how many things you can catch just by the way the story flows.
If you had the opportunity to live anywhere in the world—real or otherwise—for a year while writing your next book, where would that be and why?
Somewhere where it’s quiet, the weather is moderate, and nothing requires my attention. If you know where that is, let me know!
What do you believe is most important to a story: dynamic characters, intriguing or exciting plot turns and twists, superior dialogue, or spectacular locations/backgrounds?
I think a great book needs all the above. But if I were to choose, I’d say great characters and a great plot are crucial.
Do you have a preferred genre to read and write?
Fantasy is my favorite, and so far, all my published works lie in that area.
Which of your Roxanne Fosch covers do you like best?
They’re all variations of the same cover, with different fonts and coloring, so it’s hard to choose.
On a similar note, which of your Roxanne Fosch books is your favorite?
Heir of Ashes took longer to write, and I can honestly say I have entire scenes memorized – that’s how many times I read it. Heir of Doom has all the scenes and actions I wanted to write for Heir of Ashes but that wouldn’t make sense as a first book. And Heir of Fury has the romance, the friendship, and all the truths. I’d say we have a tie.
What about your favorite character in the series?
I’m assuming the main character doesn’t count? I’d say Diggy, Vicky and Zantry are my favorites. They all have a special place in my heart.
Please share how you came to write this series; where did your inspiration came from?
Heir of Ashes began as a pastime project, something I felt compelled to do when I was in a reading slump. No book I picked was the right one, so I decided to create the right one for myself. It was clunky, full of holes, bad grammar and typos and flat dialogue. When I picked it up to read, the plot held me, and I began making changes and fixing mistakes. By the time I was on the sixth or seventh draft, the story sounded good, but it was still clunky. The first chapter I wrote for Heir of Ashes is now the third, while the third was the first. The last few chapters didn’t exist either, as well as some chapters in the middle. It took years for the story to resemble a book. I’d pick it up, fix a chapter, a scene, or add something new to the story, then put it away for months. And then, one day, I picked it up and found that the story was better than some of the books I read. And that’s when I decided I was going to get it published. I actually believed all I needed was send my query off and the publisher would be dying to publish my book. And when I discovered publishers didn’t accept unsolicited manuscripts, I only shrugged and looked for the most famous literary agency (because you try the best first, right?) and queried exactly one agent. When that didn’t work, I queried another, then ten or fifteen more. Sadly, they all rejected my brilliant work, so I put it aside. It took me a few months before I pushed up my sleeves and decided I’d do it myself, and here I am.
What would you like others to know about Jina the writer . . . and Jina the person?
Hmmm. The writer in me is actually outgoing and enjoys interacting, while Jina the person is an introvert who’d rather stay isolated (I’m fairing pretty good with the pandemic, by the way). We’re both persistent. In my day to day, if there’s something I want, I’ll keep at it until I get it done. The writer in me is the same, I’ll keep pecking until I get the writing done. In my day to day, I’m a multi-tasker, able to stay attentive and observant while doing other things (I.e., keep an ear out for the mischief the kids are causing while talking, listening to music and so on); but the writer tends to shut everything down when working on a book. My thoughts are never linear, meaning there’s usually a bunch of things going on in my head at the same time. The writer is the same, able to listen to multiple voices at the same time, pick up conversations and follow it down the line, discarding it if it clashes with something in the plot, all while typing. Because of that, if I stop or get interrupted, I tend to completely forget my thoughts.
And that made me sound completely insane, I know 😉
Disclaimer: If I’m crazy, it’s because my kids drive me crazy and I’ve memorized the directions without their help, and not because of the voices!
If you haven’t read any of Jina’s books, I highly recommend them. They’re “fantastically” fantastic—taking you to another realm for that much-wanted, much-needed escape.