When asked how she got started in writing, Jacqui Jacoby looks a little confused. “Actual writing? You mean like pen to paper?” she wants to know. “Not until about 1989... April in fact. My son was eleven months old, my daughter about three. I’d been out of school for a year and a half and I was going a little batty. So, finally, I began to write down the stories that had been playing in my head.”
Back in the 70’s when they still called Junior High, Junior High and not Middle School, Jacqui used to take TV series she liked and rework the characters and plot, maybe kill someone off, add someone new. Today this is called ‘fan fiction’ and is a popular form of Internet entertainment.
But when Starskey & Hutch was still on the air and Shaun Cassidy was the heart throb of the day, it was just sorta weird. “My problem was--and still is, in fact--” says Jacqui, “is that when I work dialogue, my lips move. Sometimes I even talk to myself and use hand gestures and facial expressions. My kids know that when they see me doing this, don’t bother me. But back in the 70’s... it was just strange. Try sitting in gym class with your lips moving and see if everyone around you doesn't move three feet away!"
These days, Jacqui spends five days a week at her computer, creating her stories and writing her articles. “The most fun, though, is the research,” she says. “ I’ve worked with rock bands and spoken to the CIA to get info for books. One of the reasons I’ve been taking martial arts for so many years is because I can’t stand heroines who are weak and sniveling. I don’t mind a hero showing up in the nick of time to save the day, but I want the heroine to be able to take care of herself. Or how about she shows up to save him?! That works for me!” she says.
Currently working on a paranormal set in Hollywood, California, Jacqui spent the first week of October in the LA area, researching the book. “I went to the old Hollywood Memorial Park [now called Hollywood Forever] where Douglas Fairbanks and Rudolph Valentino are buried. My girls were with me so it was a great day out... just me, the daughters and a graveyard!” Jacqui laughs.
A graduate of UCLA, Jacqui currently lives in Northern Arizona. The whole family is studying for their black belts. "I think it was 1998. I decided I wanted to be Xena when I grew up and enrolled myself and my two eldest kids into a local Tae Kwon Do class. Now we all do some form of martial arts."
Does she do it just for the books? No, she admits. She does it because it's fun and the whole family is involved. And there's something cool about beating up inanimate objects after a rough day.
Books, fitness, and family; reading from right to left. That’s how Jacqui likes her life. “I write on a regular schedule because it’s what I have to do to stay fulfilled. I am, however, very aware that my kids won’t always be at home and there will be more time later to put in more pages.”
With the oldest kid heading for college soon and another who isn’t far behind, it’s easy to see where more time will be freeing up. Why not just wait? Why not write when the kids have flown the nest?
“Old or young, my kids need their mom. And I need the time to write in order to stay sane. It’s a matter of balance,” says Jacqui. “I have to balance work with family, with housekeeping, with personal time. Just like a ton of other working mothers. And I love it. I’m happy.”
As far as Jacqui is concerned, that’s all that matters in the great scheme of things. Being happy is what you do every day.