All, Interview

Author Interview: J. M. Hackman’s Spark

Happy Tuesday, Reader Friends!!

Today, I’m interviewing the awesome J.M. Hackman as she talks about her debut release, Spark. Fantasy fans get ready!

About the Book


From the back cover: “Brenna James wants three things for her sixteenth birthday: to find her history notes before the test, to have her mother return from her business trip, and to stop creating fire with her bare hands. Yeah, that’s so not happening. Unfortunately.

When Brenna learns her mother is missing in an alternate reality called Linneah, she travels through a portal to find her. Against her will. Who knew portals even existed? But Brenna’s arrival in Linneah begins the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy, including a royal
murder and the theft of Linneah’s most powerful relic: the Sacred Veil. Hold up. Can everything just slow down for a sec?

Unwilling yet left with no other choice, Brenna and her new friend Baldwin (Um, hello, Hottie!) pursue the thief into the dangerous woods of Silvastamen and beyond. Exactly what Brenna wanted to do for her sixteenth birthday. Exactly. When they spy an army marching toward Linneah, Brenna is horrified. Can she find the veil, save her mother, and
warn Linneah in time? And more importantly, why on earth doesn’t this alternity have Belgian waffles?”

Purchase: Amazon, B&N, Kobo

Add to shelf: Goodreads


Thank you so much for joining me. I’m excited to talk about your debut novel, Spark. Care to tell us where it fits in the genre world and how you came up with the premise?

Thanks so much for having me visit, Toni. Spark is a YA fantasy with a touch of romance. It’s written with a Christian worldview and is a pretty clean read. (PG rating)
After reading the Harry Potter series and the Percy Jackson series, I wanted to put my own spin on the genre with a female protagonist. It was so important to create a character girls could relate to. Brenna struggles with ADHD, but her struggles, mistakes, and failings don’t define her. Her talents and gifts are what make her special—just like every other person on this planet.

Love that you’re giving us a femal protagonist and one that has ADHD too! This is book one in the Firebrand Chronicles. Will Brenna be featured as the lead in Book 2, or will someone else take the stage?

After playing around with the idea of different leading characters, I decided to keep Brenna as the lead. I’ve grown extremely fond of her, but she still has a lot of growing up to do. 🙂

Yay! I like when series continue with the same lead. Gives us a more indepth view. 🙂 Since a lot of this book takes place in an alternate universe, do you have any world building tips for authors looking to write in the Speculative genre?

Keep a notebook with all the information handy – similar to a character sketch. Spend some serious time thinking, then outlining and describing. Examine things like religion, government, traditions, socioeconomic status—how do they affect your alternity (alternate reality) and the characters living there? What currency do they use? What foods do they eat? What holidays do they celebrate? What’s the flora and fauna in that world? I tried to keep common rules like gravity and relativity the same in my alternate world, while tweaking things like different constellations, planets, and sources of energy and light.

Jill Williamson’s book Storyworld First was extremely helpful as was The Writer’s Digest Guide to Science Fiction and Fantasy by Orson Scott Card.

Fantastic! Thanks for the book suggestions. What are you currently reading in the fiction world?

I just finished The Sleepwalker by Chris Bohjalian. I’ll be starting Zombie Takeover by Michele Harper next.

I hadn’t heard of The Sleepwalker. I’ll have to check that out. Tell us, how can readers support you on your writing journey?

I’d love for readers of Spark to please, please, please leave an honest review on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads and/or other social media. Reviews (even if they’re not five-star reviews) are the best way to show love to the author. I’d also love to connect with my readers. Local readers can come to my book launch at Barnes and Noble State College on May 20th (2-3:30). More distant readers can sign up for my quarterly newsletter via my website.

How about some quick questions!
Cats or dogs?


Me too! Coffee or tea?

Tea (black decaf with milk and sweetener) or iced tea in the summer

What would tea be without milk? *sigh* Summer or Winter?

Summer, although Fall is my favorite season.

Books or movies?

Books, every time. 🙂

But of course! Fruits or vegetables?

Fruits, unless it’s corn on the cob. Yum.

Yum indeed! Thank you so much for joining me today! It was great getting to know you and learn more about Spark. Readers, do you have any questions for Ms. Hackman?

About the Author


J.M. Hackman has held many positions: assistant librarian, office assistant, office manager, substitute teacher, writer, wife, and mother. She still holds the last three. And loves it. She received a degree in Elementary Education from Pennsylvania State University and now spends her days writing stories, consuming massive quantities of chocolate, and looking for portals to other worlds. You can find her at

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