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
- Visit Heather Jacks’ website.
- Connect with Heather on Facebook and Twitter.
- Find out more about Heather at Goodreads.
- Visit Heather’s blog.
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.
Would you call yourself a born writer?
Sure, why not? Haha! No, I have a natural inclination towards the written word, but, talent, like all things, if not exercised, will die. I like what Hemingway says, writing is like architecture, not interior design.
What was your inspiration for The Noise Beneath the Apple®?
I was a free-lance writer at the time. Getting paid per piece, per word and perhaps! I came across the New York City street music scene and totally dug it, so I interviewed and wrote a piece on one of the performers, Luke Ryan—dubbed The Queens Cowboy. Anyway, it got published and people seemed to like it, so I did a few more, then I thought I should compile them into a little book; a trade paperback for example. That’s where I started, but, as you can tell….it grew! Today, that little book is a 200 page, 8lb. 12” x 12” coffee table book, with a vinyl record, short film, music video and a cover of Billy Joel’s, New York State of Mind!
What themes do you like to explore in your writing?
I like people’s stories, which is why I tend to read non-fiction. Take a moment, sit on a bench in a park or ride a bus in a city, and in the faces of passersby, you will see hope, fear, joy, tears, laughter, sadness, regret, ambition….oh the stories passing by are endless and sometimes, I reach out and grab one.
How long did it take you to complete the novel?
TNBTA® took 3.5 years and the book I am currently working on, about the SF Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence is one I thought of about a year ago. This past year has been spent getting permissions, gathering interested parties, doing some interviews and conducting TONS of research. We are actually going to start shooting the photos for the Sisters book in a week! Yahoo! There is still at least a year of heavy lifting to do with this project, but it is underway.
Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.
Hahaha! I would be the most undisciplined person ever, drinking coffee and daydreaming out the window, under my disco ball, if it wasn’t for my good friend and former boss, Ron Escalante, from Starbucks Coffee Company, who I worked for in the early-mid nineties! Ron identified my flaw of saying yes to everything, then getting overwhelmed and having 18 ‘near finished’ tasks littering my desk. He got me a Day Planner and sent me to a class on how to use said Day Planner. That simple act was a rudder for my journey. Today—(and every day), I get up, get my coffee, go to my space and write for a designated time. I have everything laid out; what walk I’m going to take, my day job schedule, what book I’m reading and when I get to read it, tons of tasks, etc.… I know it sounds extreme, but, I am a Virgo—and it works brilliantly for me. I even schedule Ron in for dinner every couple of months! So, I have learned discipline and it has helped me accomplish a lot.
What did you find most challenging about writing this book?
There were TONS of challenges in creating TNBTA®, the least of which was the writing! The biggest challenge in the process was definitely a result of the generation of now. In a word, people flaked out a lot, and that was tough. They didn’t show up for interviews or showed up late, I’d get a last minute text that they had a headache and weren’t coming to the photo shoot, even the photographer dropped out midway through, leaving me to figure out how to finish the book. I am NOT a photographer. I had to improvise and do a lot of last minute finagling to complete the project all the while maintaining a positive attitude and the conviction that it would get done. After experiencing this level of unreliability, I had great pause about doing another such project!
The next very big challenge, was—(and is)—getting the book out there, promoting the work and spreading the word. This is something I have to work on every day. Great news; I just sent books to NIQUEA.D Boutiques in New York City. This is exciting and validating for me, as an independent author. NIQUEA.D are glamorous, high end jewelry, home décor boutiques, located in the Meatpacking District and on Third Avenue. TNBTA® is a perfect fit and I am delighted to be part of their family.
What do you love most about being an author?
One thing I love, is creating; the idea that I am contributing creative ideas that have value; that leave something behind that is bigger than me. That’s a great feeling
Did you go with a traditional publisher, small press, or did you self publish? What was the process like and are you happy with your decision?
Thank you for asking this. I like this question and I think it’s important. Had I created a small paperback, as originally thought, I might have pursued a traditional publishing route; however, once it became an art book; I knew I would be self-publishing. There are a few reasons for that, primarily, there is no money in art books, hence, there are very few publishers doing them. I could invest my time in finding a publisher or in doing the project. I chose the latter. The second thing is, the focus of my book, was to celebrate the culture of busking/street performance. Let’s face it, celebration doesn’t sell nearly as well as sex, hardship, misery, and so on. I really wanted to keep true to my vision, so, I needed to do it myself.
The hard costs; manufacture, printing, binding, interior design, photography were about $25,000.00. That doesn’t include collateral costs, or the fact that friends gave me GREAT deals on things. What this means, is that fundraising is a job in itself. I used Rockethub, a fantastic crowdfunding platform—(Gustavo Rodriguez is an awesome guy, who is a man of his word); I hosted events, held silent auctions and anything else I thought of to raise funds. I had tons of fabulous supporters; but there are two folks, Gaines Coleman and John Seiter, Patrons, if you will, who gave super-sized gifts that ushered the project over the finish line. This project wouldn’t have happened without them. I wonder where I should send their capes.
Where can we find you on the web?
I would love to get social on the web!