Interview with Jillian Kleine der Lowe
Why did you choose to write this particular book?
I feel like this story chose me. I’m a vessel to tell this story, almost like automatic writing. I was shown a glimpse of what was, what is and what could be.
How much of the book is realistic?
Even though Wicked is a fantasy, some elements are very realistic. The CIA really did have a Project Stargate that researched military application of psychic abilities. The Otherkin community is very real and vast. The locations in my book are described as how they actually are. All of the locations visited on the Earthly plane really do exist.
Can you tell us about your main character?
Sev is an amalgam of many goddesses and spirits that all share similar energies. At her core, she’s very driven by a strong set of values. She cares deeply for other people. Her biggest strength is her sense of humor and her uncanny was of perceiving things. She loves Luc and is completely enamored with him, as he is her. They’re completely devoted to one another.
Have you included a lot of your life experiences, even friends, in the plot?
I haven’t really included people I know so much, although certain elements of Luc and Michael are based on my husband. I went through a period in my life from 2008 - 2012 where a lot of my friends passed away and for the first time in my life, I knew what it felt like to be sad. Before that, I had never really experienced loss or sadness. I handled it all very well. I also endured a few major betrayals during that time and they influenced certain elements of Wicked.
Have you developed a specific writing style?
My writing style is definitely campy, goofy, irreverent, offbeat, quirky, satirical and witty.
Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it?
I did learn many things. I was not looking forward to formatting in Scrivener, but it turned out to be so easy. I’ve learned a lot about other people. Like, writing and publishing this book really did teach me who my real friends were, because they were supportive and happy for me when my book was published.
Do you have an organized process or tips for writing well? Do you have a writing schedule?
When I’m working on a novel, I write all day, seven days a week. My process starts out with putting together a playlist of music and listening to it. While listening to my playlist I daydream up the whole story. Then I use Astrology for Writers and Tarot for Writers by Corrine Kenner to do a loose outline that’s usually a page long. Then I just start writing and it all flows very naturally.
Tell us about your new book? What’s it about and why did you write it?
Lured, the sequel to Wicked, is much darker and more introspective. While still being just as comedic and having the same level of twist and turns. Wicked was about initiating action. Lured is more about reflection and moving on from the past. All of the characters will be back… Sev, Luc, Leon and Ace. I’ve also added in a few new characters that are deliciously dark like Cain and Vlad (who was the historical basis for Dracula). Lured also delves deeper into the back story and the whole shadow government storyline figures much more prominently.
What kind of support, if any, have you received from friends in the writing industry?
I do have friends in the industry. Some work for publishers and others are consultants. Some are designers, others do marketing. They’ve all been very helpful. I’ve not really asked for their help, except to let me know what they think of my advertising copy and stuff like that. Or if someone gives me a price quote for a service that sounds really unreasonable, I’ll check with my friends to verify if my suspicions about unrealistic pricing are accurate or not… They’ve helped me from getting scammed.
What other jobs have you had in your life?
My first job was when I was in high school and that was at a bookstore, of course. When I graduated from high school, I worked in IT first as a Technical Analyst and then as a Systems Administrator before deciding to go to college and pursue my dream. My very first start in publishing was actually as a model. I modeled for various magazines. Yet, I found that I really wanted to be admired for my mind and not for my appearance. So, I started working at publications as a Junior Designer and worked my way up to Creative Director before switching to Advertising, Marketing, Promotions and Public Relations since those were a much better fit for my outgoing personality.
Do you intend to make writing a career?
Yes, I intend for writing to be my career while still focusing on art and filmmaking as well. I originally went to school for film. Wicked started out as scripts for a sitcom. I ended up falling in love with publishing. But, I’d still love to turn the Seven Deadly Sins series into a visual format for cable or television.
15 Things You Didn’t Know About Jillian Kleine Der Löwe
1. I’m highly educated. I graduated with my BFA in 2002 after receiving classical training in Computer Animation, Film, Graphic Arts, Studio Arts, Visual Arts and Visual Effects.
2. I won a Pen & Quill Award in 1999, for outstanding writing for a comedic short. It was a student film. My short film was then endorsed by the City of Miami’s Film Office and shown at the Miami Short Film Festival. Since then, I’ve worked on several film projects as a/an actress, assistant director, director, producer, production manager, screenwriter, script supervisor, etc. Wicked originally started out as a script for a sitcom.
3. My writing style has been influenced by BritCom’s.
4. My parents thought that I was reading as early as age three, but I had merely memorized all of the books they read me word-for-word. We now know that I have an eidetic memory. I read my first book all by myself when I was only five years old. I was reading on a 12th grade reading level in elementary school and on a college reading level by the time I was eleven.
5. I was telling stories before I even knew how to read or write. By the time I could write, I started writing short comedic scripts that I directed and performed in with my family and friends.
6. I’ve been interviewed many times by the Broward-Palm Beach New Times, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and WNSU 88.5. I was almost always interviewed because the people I was consulting for were too introverted to feel comfortable with performing interviews, so I did their publicity for them. Although, recently, I’ve been doing my own interviews about my writing and my book.
7. I’m very happily married. My husband and I are still head over heels in love and completely enamored with one another after 11 years. We’re proving that an ENFP and ESTP can have a fulfilling relationship. Oddly enough, my favorite characters in movies and tv shows are always ENFP’s (because they remind me of myself) and ESTP’s (because they remind me of my husband). We have three girlie feline minions. We love them and consider them our babies. My husband is their daddy and I’m their mommy. And we believe they really see us like that.
8. I have the soul of a jovial artist. I’m a creator. The Goddess creates and since we’re created in her image and she’s a creator… We’re all creators and can make miracles with our works (no matter what they are). I’m still devoted to my arts, crafts and making music; just as much as I am devoted to my writing. I’m reteaching myself how to play the guitar left-handed. I’m left-handed and was originally taught how to play right-handed. I’m much better left-handed.
9. I love using the Tarot when plotting my novels. I’m really into Tarot art and I’m familiar with hundreds of art-styled decks. I’m designing my own Tarot deck.
10. I received an offer to host and produce a supernatural reality television show by a network found my appearance and charisma to have a very strong appeal. I produced a promo, which hopefully I will be allowed to show the public soon. I’m putting a new team together, since my former teammates moved out-of-state. Then, we’ll be shooting the pilot.
11. My EQ, IQ and Mental Age are really high. My EQ is 180 (out of 200). My IQ (which I recently had retested) is 160. My Mental Age is that of a 60 year old and I’m turning 34 next month.
12. I care deeply about animals (especially cats), nature and people. I’ve volunteered at several animal shelters. I’ve also volunteered to help clean up the environment. I’ve also volunteered at Outreach Programs that helped disadvantaged youths. I do prefer donating my energy and time, rather than money since I have complete control over how my energy and time are being used. With money, you never really know.
13. My very very very first job in publishing, in a kind of round-about way, was as a model… In the late ‘90s.
14. I’m very close with my family and friends.
15. My family has descended from nobility/royalty. Our ancestral seat is Brederode Castle in the Netherlands.
10 Things You Didn’t Know About Wicked by Jillian Kleine Der Löwe
1. The book is based on dreams that I’ve had, starting when I was 11 years old in 1991. However, I added my own voice to it and turned into into a comedy. The dreams were very emotastik.
2. I’m a medium, psychic, psychopomp, shaman and walker between worlds. I first astral projected in 1991, around the same time that the dreams started. I’ve actually communicated with all of the spirits in my book. I portrayed them all as accurate as possible. I don’t honestly know how I’ve had the time to astral project with everything else that I have going on in my life. I especially knew that I had to get Luc right, because he had such a bad (and very undeserved) reputation. I told him that I’m his new PR girl… He agreed. He’s just way too introverted to set the record straight himself. That’s where I come in. I think that part of him has a little chip on his shoulder because of the way he’s been perceived by others and he’s secretly grown to love the “part” he plays because he’s a bit naughty and does really enjoy pushing the envelope.
3. The character of Ace is an amalgam of many female spirits that all have similar playful energies.
4. The name of my main character, Sev, is the given name of a daughter that my husband and I had during a past life. The name given to Sev at the time of her birth, Princess Aubreana Fáid-Nuada, was my name during my very first past life. My younger brother in this life, was my twin brother during that life, Prince Írael Fáid-Nuada. He and I are still incredibly close and still share the same bond we had then.
5. Much of the back story in my series, is based on events that actually occurred during mine and my husbands past lives. We’re lucky enough to remember all of them… The good, the bad and the ugly… Since all of that shaped us into the glorious people we are.
6. Wicked is first and foremost a comedy.
7. I listened to lots of gothic punk while writing Wicked. Mostly the Sisters of Mercy and the NIGHTCHILD.
8. The song on my book trailer was done by the NIGHTCHILD specifically for Wicked.
9. I designed the cover for Wicked and wrote all of the advertising copy myself. A few of my friends in publishing evaluated everything for me and they were blown away.
10. People have responded very well to my characterization of Luc. Even very conservative Christians have e-mailed me saying things like, “Even Lucifer deserves redemption. Thank you for helping me see him in a new light.”
Why Book Covers Are So Important
Book Covers are one of the most important things when it comes to successfully selling a book. The idiom about judging a book by its cover, usually denotes a persons physical appearance and demeanor. We do, as a society, judge people by their appearance. If I meet a new woman and she’s dressed nicely and has groomed herself… I’ll respond to her better then I do to someone who looks like she just rolled out of bed and threw on whatever jeans and a t-shirt were most likely laying on the floor. Psychological studies have proven that we respond to 80% of what we see (what someone looks like), 15% of what we hear (what someone sounds like) and only 5% of what is actually said. Looks are extremely important.
We respond to book covers the same way. Which is why, book covers need to look professional. Covers of indie novels, need to be able to complete with whatever is coming out of the Big Six.
Since we really do judge books by their covers, not only do you need an attractive cover… You need a cover that fits the content of your book. You wouldn’t put a colorful and cartoonish picture of fluffy bunnies on the front of a horror novel. Not unless the book happened to be titled the Attack of the Colorful and Cartoonish Fluffy Bunnies. A potential reader needs to be able to see a cover and get a feel for the novel.
It is also extremely important to find images that have not been used before, so that you have something that looks incredibly original. There is a drawback to using stock. Most stock is overused. If you use stock you run the risk of your cover being one of these types of covers: Clichés, Clones, Copycats, Deja Vu’s and/or Dopplegangers.
I’m writing book called Design For Authors, which will educate and inform authors as to how they can design their own covers. Coming from a background in Art & Creative Direction, I designed the cover of my novel Wicked, all by myself.
A Day in the Life of Jillian Kleine Der Löwe
I typically wake up at dawn and practice my bellydance for anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. Depending on the weather, I also take a walk outside and listen to music that inspires my writing. It’s been really cold lately, so I’ve been forgoing my walks outside. I usually eat a healthy breakfast that consists of cereal, fruit, or oatmeal and juice (Florida orange juice or V8). I have a “ritual” that I perform every morning where I do my hair and makeup. I have to spritz on a little bit of Marc Jacobs Daisy Eau So Fresh. It’s so bubbly, feminine, radiant and uplifting. It’s like a bottle of flowers and sunshine. It’s like my personality in a bottle, so I love it. I check my e-mail. I spend most of the morning and afternoon writing. Then I spend most of the evening working on my art, writing for several websites and working on other projects. I also set aside time everyday to help my colleagues, family and friends out with anything that they might need help with. I tend to get requests to help with graphic arts, proofreading and writing. I get into bed early, so that I can wakeup early the next day. I usually fall asleep watching BritComs.
My Publishing Journey
I guess it really all started in 1985. I saw an interview on television with George Lucas. He was talking about making Star Wars. Before that I thought that movies just were. I didn’t realize that there was a whole process that went into making them. I was only 5, so it’s understandable why I thought that. Yet, from the moment I saw George Lucas talking about the production process, I knew that was what I wanted to do. I started writing scripts and performing them with my family and friends. I was first published in elementary school and then again in high school. I started modeling during my junior or senior year of high school, that was my first exposure to the publishing world. I stopped modeling because I wanted to be recognized for my mind and not my appearance. So, I focused on my schoolwork. I went to college. I was accepted to Grad school for art, but I’ve not started yet. I’d really like to teach both art and literature. I worked in the South Florida indie film community, but there was no money in it and it wasn’t going anywhere… Because I would work on all of these other peoples projects for free, just because I loved film. Yet, when it came time for them to work on my projects… They’d all disappear. And then I felt very dejected, because some of my ideas were stolen and turned into successful projects that I had nothing to do with and I hadn’t received any credit. I became very wary of sharing my ideas, except with the people I was collaborating with. I fell back on graphic arts. I worked my way up to Creative Director and VP of Art & Design within the publishing world, before switching to the communications end. I did advertising, marketing, promotions and public relations. I ended up working for Kim Weiss, the Director of Communications at HCI. I just fell in love with publishing and decided to publish my scripts as novels. I had been working on collaborative teams, where nothing was getting done since the other people weren’t as dedicated to the work as I was. So, I struck out on my own. It all happened rather quickly once I struck out on my own. Rather than spending months trying to get other people to work with me, while nothing was getting done… On my own, I had Wicked written and edited and the cover designed within a few months time. The first edition was published in July of 2013. People have already been calling me the bastard love child of Da Vinci, Douglas Adams, Monty Python and Shakespeare… Because of my wit, the fact that I have so many skills and since I’m good at writing a balance between high comedy-low tragedy and low comedy-high tragedy. Although comedy is my preference. And I also invent things as well. The rest is history. Hopefully, the next part of the journey will entail me paying it forward and helping other aspiring authors get published.