Date Published: May 27, 2014
Sixteen year old Emma Cartwright runs away from her family’s South Carolina rice plantation after a slave is beaten to death. Determined to join the fight against slavery, Emma enlists in the Union Army disguised as a young man. Nothing could prepare her for the sacrifices needed—and for falling in love for the first time.
Is There a Message in Your Novel That You Want Readers to Grasp?
Hopefully, there are a few messages that come through. The most obvious being that every issue has two sides, and while the solution to a problem may seem obvious, respect and communication are key to working through complicated matters. And I hope that younger readers may notice that love and falling in love isn’t just about those warm and fuzzy feelings, that true, genuine love is deeper than just a physical attraction.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Nation, the biggest challenge was finding a balance between the on-goings and
details of the Civil War with Emma and her challenges. I wanted to stay true to
the history, but not bog readers down with too much. At the same time, weaving
in meaningful touches of the past was important, and hopefully gives the story
better dimension. Plantation
How many books have you written and which is your favorite?
Plantation Nation is my second novel. My first was O! Jackie, a fictional take on Jackie Kennedy and her private life. I followed O! Jackie with The Kennedy Chronicles, a series of short stories about Jack and Jackie before they were married and before ‘Camelot’. Each tale has a special spot in my heart. They have to. As a writer, you spend so much time in the story world that you’d better love what you’re working on—and I do, every time.
If You had the chance to cast your main character from
who would you pick and why? Hollywood
I think the most obvious pick of who should play Emma Cartwright would be Jennifer Lawrence. She’s definitely the got-getter / action type with a softer side. That’s Emma. Plus, if you look at the cover for Plantation Nation, the girl depicted there looks like Jennifer Lawrence. A pretty sweet coincidence.
When did you begin writing?
Like most writers, I began when I could put pen to paper and construct a story. Not that those early tales were any good, but hey, practice is everything. I wrote “Mrs. Jackson and the Genie” in fourth grade, and I’ve been working on my craft ever since. I also think most writers are compelled to write; we just can’t help it, gotta do it!
How long did it take to complete your first book?
The first book took a solid nine months. Plantation Nation took about the same. Part of the reason is the research involved and going back and forth from writing to research. I would love to be a writer who cranks out three books a year. Three QUALITY, reader-worthy books. Maybe I’ll get there or get closer one day.
Did you have an author who inspired you to become a writer?
Mary Higgins Clark was a big influence for me. I discovered her when I was in middle school, loved her stories and everything about her writing. And let’s hope I can carve out a writing career and booklist as successful as hers.
What is your favorite part of the writing process?
I’m an idea person! I love, love, love playing ‘chess’ with the plot and characters. So mapping out the story, doing a rough, ROUGH outline of the book, I love it! And then writing it, connecting the pieces…WOW! That’s my drug.
Describe your latest book in 4 words.
Teen fights for equality.
Can you share a little bit about your current work or what is in the future for your writing?
I’m working on several things: another short story, a novella, and a novel. Right now, no guesses as to which one will be first to the finish. I do have two more books in mind for Emma and her family, but they won’t be out for a while. So in the meantime, I hope readers stayed tuned!
Her newest release, Plantation Nation, follows the journey of Emma Cartwright, a 16 year old Southern girl who disguises herself as a young man and joins the Union Army.
Visit her sites, OJackiebook.com or Mercedesking.com . Contact her at Mercedes 'at' ojackiebook 'dot' com. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.