Author Interview – Jessica Bacho
Sarah: My name is Sarah Johnson and this is my interview with Jessica Bacho, is that how you pronounce your last name? Bacho?
Sarah: Bacho, OK, sorry, Bacho, alright.
Note: from the interviewer (the “ch” is pronounced like the “ch” in Chuck)
JB: That’s OK.
Sarah: Ok, um this is our interview transcript, um, you mentioned that you wanted to write romance stories that feature the racetrack world. Are you going to use both male and female drivers as the main characters?
JB: Yes! Um, racing has always been a big part of my life, and I could never find books that featured that world. So, I decided to write my own. I do plan on featuring male and female drivers throughout the course of my series. There weren’t many female drivers when I was growing up, but there are so many today! Not in NASCAR, unfortunately, but at local dirt tracks and it’s important for me to represent that. I want folks to see themselves represented in my work.
Sarah: That’s good, great. That does sound interesting. Uh, you also mentioned you like to add playlists to your projects, and my, uh, the first novels that I self-published I actually did soundtracks for. So, that’s out on my, I don’t know if you seen that on my other site, but I do have it for that. Um, what kind of music do you like to listen to, and does the music reflect what you are writing?
JB: My playlists are full of songs from various genres from rap to oldies, to country, to boy bands like One Direction. Um, the last playlist I put together, ah, for the novel I drafted last fall, featured artists like Sturgill Simpson, um, Taylor Swift, Jason Isbell, Harry Styles, and the Allman Brothers. And I look for songs that set the mood or theme for certain scenes. And I find that a playlist will also tell my brain that it’s time to write. Which is super important for me.
Sarah: Do you listen to…right…Do you listen to music while you are writing too?
JB: I do, um, I do.
Sarah: I know that I can’t, but I’m curious.
JB: Oh, yeah. Um, I, I do, it has to be…I try to look for stuff that kind of sets that mood or tries to evoke that feeling of what I’m trying to capture or just something that kind of puts me in that space. Uh, you know, there are certain things I can’t listen to while I write. Um, I can’t listen to Broadway. I, I love like Hamilton and I love it so much that, especially with that piece because Lin-Manuel Miranda is such a strong poet as he writes, and so I find that if I listen to that, um, my writing will start to rhyme a little bit more and just kind of falls into that sort of world. So, that’s really, that’s helpful when I’m writing poetry, but with fiction for me, I don’t want that.
JB: So, I really just try to set that sort of mood. Um, yeah.
Sarah: When I tend to write, it has to be quiet. I’m listening to a little bit of music every now and then, but most of the time it has to be quiet. Ok, um, I noticed that you are an adjunct (mispronounced), adjunct instructor, and team lead in English for SNHU. Um, what does this job entail, and does it help you in your writing?
JB: Yeah, so, um, I’ve been an adjunct since 2005, and I started out at two local community colleges. I teach everything from developmental writing to creative writing workshops. Um, and in 2014, I started teaching for SNHU. Um, as a team lead, I am a mentor instructor. So, I visit their courses, um, observe their teaching, their grading feedback, and I offer ah, feedback, or guidance to them. No matter what I’m teaching, it involves a lot of prep work, so creating videos, course material, grading, responding to emails.
Um, but all of that and spending so much time providing feedback to students has absolutely helped me in my writing, in the writing workshops I take. Because, I think, I hope, I’m able to focus on giving constructive, actionable feedback to writers. I try really hard to separate the writing from the person. Um…
JB: It’s also, teaching’s also helped me learn to navigate the challenges of working with people, with writers who don’t respond well to feedback, or who take everything personally. Yeah, it’s been a, it’s been a…(unrecognizable)
Sarah: Right. Uh, What is your writing schedule like?
JB: Well, um, one challenge is that a lot of my creative energy is drained by my teaching. Um, so, by the end of the day, I, I don’t have much left for myself. And for a long time, I let that get to me, and I felt pretty defeated. Um, but then I just decided to just do what I can. So, I decided that every day at 5 o’clock, I would hold a Creative Happy Hour. And I had to spend that hour writing, editing, planning, or just doing something related to my writing. I put on a writing playlist and I get to work. And not having the huge expectations of my productivity during that hour has made a huge difference, and I’ve been able to consistently stick to that schedule um, Monday through Friday ah, for a few months now. Weekends are trickier, um, so if I don’t write, I don’t worry about it.
Now that we’re heading into summer though, um, and I have some more concrete goals um, related to my writing, I might institute a word count schedule, um, but we’ll see how that goes.
Sarah: Yeah, um, can you tell me a little bit about what your first book will be like? Who your characters are? What their story is?
JB: Sure, um so, my first book centers on Brady Swift, and he is a 20-year-old who is starting his first season with NASCAR. He’s been racing his whole life, um, but once he finally has that NASCAR contract in front of him, he wonders if it’s really what he wants. So, he hires his best friend Missy to be his assistant, and they navigate that first season together. Um, Brady makes some serious missteps along the way, and she, Missy has to both help her friend and uphold her responsibilities to the team at the same time. And they also find themselves falling for each other, which kind of complicates the friendship and the working relationship at the same time.
Um, I have the first draft finished, I finished that in the fall, but after some feedback from my SNHU peers and um, professors, I’ve decided to completely rework the outline and write the second draft this summer. Um, the feedback was incredibly helpful, and I’m really excited about what the second draft holds.
Sarah: Are you writing this story for your thesis?
JB: I think so. Um, I had another, when I started the program I had another idea kind of related to this, and for, for one of the classes, it might have been the 514 Genre class or something like that. I had a write a scene and I had this new idea and I just could see these characters so clearly um, that I kind of just ran with that in the fall. So, I, I think I am going to work on this for the thesis and that original idea will be the second book in the series.
Sarah: OK, cool. Sounds wonderful, it was great talking to you. And again, this is my interview with Jessie Bacho.
JB: Thank you.
Sarah: Thank you.