JACOB MILHOUSE, an On the Horizon Writer
(artwork by Jacob's brother)
Could you tell our readers something about yourself: your age, what you write?
I am 17-years-old, and I write a lot of different things. It’s hard to pinpoint a specific genre. My primary focus as of now is edgy urban fantasy, bridging the gap between YA and adult fiction. I’m becoming of age, and I’d like my writing to do the same so my readers—regardless of their ages—can witness the growth as well.
What first motivated you to move from reader to writer?
The number one reason: my highly overactive imagination. I was the kid growing up with too much creative energy, and I had no way of letting it out. It even came to the point where I acted the ideas out in my head, which amounted to some seriously embarrassing moments. I’ve always been a reader so one day I decided I’d give it a try. It worked perfectly so I kept at it.
Do you have a favorite writer who you feel has influenced you? Maybe a friend or a teacher? Someone who’s really supported you.
I have a lot of supporters ranging from friends to classmates and teachers to family members. The main people are my 6th grade teacher who introduced to me the world of publishing. I learned I could turn the stories in my head to books, and turn that into a career. Second, is my older brother. Artistic ability runs in the family, and he’s one heck of an artist. His drive to make his dreams come true inspires me to do the same.
As far as favorite authors go, I definitely have to say Kelley Armstrong, James Patterson, Ellen Hopkins, and (of course) J.K. Rowling. Each of them have kept me absolutely enthralled with their storytelling, and I can only dream of captivating my audience like they have captivated me.
I know you've completed your debut YA urban fantasy novel. Could you tell us something about it?
Oh, the big plug, lol! I’d love to tell about my book.
Split is a novel about a vampire-witch hybrid named Sage McHale who has a killer split personality—literally. Not only is she a criminal for being interbred, but now her alter-ego has murdered a supernatural political heavyweight. To make matters worse, her boyfriend is a psychotic terrorist, the people who she’s been hiding from her entire life are on their way to capture, if not kill her, and the secret weapon everyone keeps going on about is her. With blood on her hands, a sardonic alter-ego in her conscious and two warring enemies pursuing her for leverage against the other, Sage must choose a side in an upcoming war where she is the ultimate weapon.
Where do you think your ideas come from? I find this so interesting because your a teen writing for teens.
For Split, I wanted to do something edgy and supernatural, and walk the thin line of being risqué. I love my YA novels, but sometimes I have to venture over to the “older” books to be thoroughly entertained. I don’t think I’m the only teen seeking more interesting themes in books, so I decided to kind of merge YA with adult fiction.
I’m easily inspired when it comes to ideas, but I wanted to keep what I stated above in mind. Music definitely fuels my imagination as well as movies that I think have a great idea but wasn’t carried out as well. I can take the smallest of details, brainstorm, and birth a new idea.
We met on Inkwell, a community of writers. How do you think working with other writers has helped you?
It’s given me a sense of comfort as well as the need to persevere in my writing career. The road to writing and editing a novel can be a lonely one, not to mention looking for an agent and a publisher. It’s comforting to talk things out with other writers who are going through the same things. It makes me not feel so alone on the journey. Oh, and it definitely makes you want to perfect your craft!
Social networking is such a huge part of our world and you being a teen are right in the thick of it and all its changes. From a young perspective, how do you think this helps a writer and/or hinders them?
The benefits: having all the needed resources for educating ourselves on the publishing industry and how to get an agent, etc., via the internet.
Drawback: With FaceBook and Twitter and MySpace, technology really distracts us from everything when the one thing we should be doing is writing! I say it from personal experience. It takes discipline to know when to lay the cell phone down, stop texting, and start writing.
Well said, Jacob.
As a young reader, are there any subjects that you think are taboo for a YA manuscript? Any subject matter that you feel needs to be addressed more?
Well, it depends on what kind of YA manuscript it is. I actually love books with taboo topics as well as the bold authors who discuss them. Sex, drugs, and violence of any kind are the main taboos. Parents don’t want their teenagers reading these things! As a young adult, I feel as though we could learn the consequences of these actions through the books we read. Plus, we're growing up, and not oblivious to these things. We know what is happening and reading a book won’t magically force us to do the acts we read about.
I'm sure the readers are as inspired as I am listening to your younger view of writing and the world of publishing YA. Thank you Jacob.
Although, Jacob doesn't have his blog up and running yet he's been working on it. I'll highlight it for him and all of you when he's ready.
Thanks for reading and supporting young writers Alleywalkers and visitors alike.