Monday, December 14, 2015

20 Questions with Heather Jacks, author of 'The Noise Beneath the Apple'

Our guest today is Heather Jacks, author of the media and performing arts book, The Noise Beneath the Apple!

1. Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

I am definitely a morning person who starts my day around 6:00 a.m. and

2. Do you outline or are you a pantster?

Because I write historical, non-fiction work, I have a stockpile of interviews and notes at the ready. When I am interviewing subjects, I get a vibe for how the story wants to be told; i.e.: this tale has a spiritual bent, this person has spent a lot of time in the halls of academia, etc.…It has been said that Michelangelo, would stare at a block of granite and eventually the form that was caught inside, would reveal itself to him. Then he would set about to release it. I don’t if that’s true or not, but, I do know that’s how I write.

3. Which comes first – plot or character?

My ideas usually come from my walks in the city. I chance upon something interesting or different, something that catches my fancy. If the question of ‘why’, arises, then I go home and talk it out---with myself. Then I bounce it off friends, to see if others find it interesting, to see if it has legs. For example, the book I am working on right now is about the SF Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a 21st Century Order of Queer Nuns that was founded here in SF in 1979, and is today an international charity/activist organization. I had a lot of questions, doubt, curiosity, etc.…but this thing has serious legs, and is probably going to turn out to be the most important work I do.

4. Noise or quiet when working on your manuscript?

I have to have complete silence when I write, which is probably another reason I get up so early, before the city awakens. I have to hear the voice of the subject in my head, to catch the nuance and flavor of the stories. By 10:00 a.m., I am usually tired and the city is very alive; buses whizzing by, foghorns in the distance, ambulances, Recology Trucks…

5. Favorite TV show?

Seinfeld, period. However, as an unapologetic TV junkie, some of my fave shows? The Wire, The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, Daredevil-(Netflix), Gotham, Family Guy, the Flash, Jessica Jones and SFGiants Baseball.

6. Favorite type of music?

80’s, Disco, Country & Western.

7. Favorite craft besides writing?

Crate digging….It’s all about records for me. I rescue records when they are no longer playable and create one of a kind, messenger style record bags and writing journals from them. I call it Rock A Record. Here’s a little 2 minute video about them:
8. Do you play a musical instrument?

I play a mean kazoo.

9. Single or married?

Shacking up and living in sin with my wonderful boyfriend of many plus years. ;-)

10. Children or no?

One son, who’s not in jail or on drugs…so, he’s damn near perfect. J

11. Pets?


12. Favorite place to write?

In my Jack Skellington slippers and flannel nightgown in my ‘space’…which rocks; complete with tons of books and music, animal print rug and disco ball.

13. Favorite restaurant?

No need for favorites! Did you know that when it comes to restaurants per capita, San Francisco crushes every other city in the nation? New York City didn't even come in until number four. When it came to bars, we bow to you, New Orleans, but we were the only city to show up on both lists, confirming that San Francisco is, indeed, the best place to be—(and eat)-- in the universe.

14. Do you work outside the home?

Yes. I work at the fantastic stationary/fine card shop Papyrus in my neighborhood, about 20 hours a week. It gives my brain a break and I get to hang out with awesome people and beautiful things.

15. What was the name of the last movie you saw?

I haven’t been to a movie theater for AGES! I am addicted to Netflix and watch tons of stuff there. Most recently on the movie scene; Keith Richards; Under the Influence, the uber creepy Nightcrawler and re-living Mission Impossible series again!

16. Favorite outdoor activity?

Walking. My best thoughts are conceived while walking the streets, staircases, hills and ocean trails of the city.

17. Pet peeve?

I don’t have pet peeves; I have major psychotic hatreds.

18. Your goal in life?

I have learned that as long as you have something to do; something to love and something to hope for; you’re going to be happy. I have learned that one should dance, floss, sing loudly and out of tune, eat lots of decadent chocolate and drink Rum.  I have learned that doing these things naked is the most fun. Most important, I have learned that I grew up to be exactly what I wanted to be; Alive.

19. Your most exciting moment?

I have a lot of ‘most exciting moments’---they are when I embark upon a new adventure; college, parenting, writing, traveling….Life is about those moments, and mine—(and yours)—is filled with them. We just have to be present for them.

20. The love of your life?

Today I am at level 50—(I like to refer to being 50 years old, as level 50. It just sounds more bad-ass.). If you've made to level 50; cracked but not broken, disappointed but not weakened, alone but not lonely, then somewhere along the way, you’ve probably found the ‘love of your life’, because, let’s face it, it would be pretty tough to be at this level, with no ‘love of your life’. It could be a child, a husband or partner, a friend, a parent, a pet, a combination of all of these things, or none of these things. For me, I couldn’t be more surprised to discover, that, it is my own Self, who emerged as the voice of reason, who playfully participates in the world, has been the foundation for my life and has remained the steady, stable friend I always wanted to become. At long last, I have learned to love myself, and I think that is the best prize of all, at Level 50.

About the Author:

Heather Jacks was raised on Indian reservation in southeastern Oregon, until age fifteen, at which time; she was chosen to be an ‘experimental exchange student’ to Australia. She went down under, with an organization called YFU, Youth for Understanding, and spent 10.5 months turning16 in the Outback.  When she returned, she attended college, and received an FCC license, followed by completing a B.A. from USF and two years of study at UC Davis.

During her twenties, she traveled extensively, worked in the music industry in various capacities; radio, production, A&R, booking and eventually, landed at a new and young company, called Starbucks, where she worked on a Star Team and opened new stores in remote markets.

Music has always been her passion and during her tenure at Starbucks, she helped launch Hear Music, which today is Starbucks Music Label. Eventually, she returned to the business side of music at a major indie label, where she had a number of roles, from concert production to glorified babysitter.

An avid TV Junkie, die-hard SF Giants fiend and unapologetic Twitter practitioner, she recently won a Book of the Year Award for her multi-media project, The Noise Beneath the Apple®; A Celebration of Busking in New York City, which was inspired by her love for street music, busking and the people who make it.

She currently hangs her hat in San Francisco and am is working on the Bay Area version of the TNBTA® busker project.

For More Information
About the Book:

The Noise Beneath the Apple® is a hardcover, Limited Edition Art-Style/Coffee Table book, presented in an elegant slipcase. It measures 12″ x 12″ and celebrates buskers and street music in New York City. It includes a history, evolution and culture of busking, photos, interviews and commentary with 35 of NYC’s prominent street musicians. A cherry red vinyl record, of 11 tracks of original music, mastered by Grammy and Academy Award winning Reuben Cohen, (Slumdog Millionaire, Frozen), is page 200. At the culmination of the project, 30 participants went to Grand Street Recording in Brooklyn, where they covered Billy Joel's hit song, New York State of Mind. A 12 minute short film and music video were created from that day and are included with the book, making this project, truly multi-media. The project won a Book of the Year Award in the category of Performing Arts & Music.

For More Information

  • The Noise Beneath the Apple: A Celebration of Busking in the Bay Area is available at Amazon.
  • Pick up your copy at her website for less!
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

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