Thursday, November 5, 2015

Virtual Tour: The Heart's Journey Home by Nikki Jackson @Journey4Home @GoddessFish #Giveaway

The Heart's Journey Home

by Nikki Jackson

GENRE: Young Adult


It’s summer vacation, and all seventeen-year-old Tori Logan wants to do is hang out with her two best friends, practice her mixed martial arts and go to FBI spy camp. Summer means freedom (mostly from adults) and Tori plans to fill every spare moment of her last summer before graduating from High School with all the fun things she and her best pals can come up with.

Tori, whose mom died of breast cancer when she was young, has always relied on her own strength to get by - especially because her Archeologist father tends to leave her behind with his live-in girlfriend while he gallivants around the world on digs.  Thankfully, Tori can take care of herself. She knows exactly who she is and what she wants to do with her life. Her Lakota Sioux grandfather, a former Navy SEAL, trained Tori in self-defense from a young age. Now, as a teenager, Tori excels at mixed martial arts and the use of various weapons.  During the summer she will be attending an FBI sponsored Summer Camp which she hopes will lead to her dream job – becoming an FBI serial killer profiler.

With her two best friends at her side, Tori believes she can handle anything. And with summer vacation stretching before them, the trio plans to find plenty of adventure.

But while Tori is determined to be independent, life has other plans for this fierce young woman, and they include coming to grips with some hard - and surprising - truths about both her past and her future.


Kat leaned over to whisper to Tori, keeping an eye on the back of Guevara’s head.

“I remember seeing a movie once where a bunch’cha teens went off to what they thought was summer camp and it was really some kinda alien invasion where they took over everybody’s mind.”

Tori chuckled quietly.

“I take it you haven’t had much exposure to the military.”

“My grandparents were pot smoking, free loving hippies who ran off to Canada when my grandpa got drafted.  My mom was born in a commune and they named her Karma and her brother, Echo.”  Tori muffled a laugh.

“Then what are you doing here?” Tori asked.  Kat leaned even closer.

“I ran slightly afoul of the law so to speak and it was either spend a week here or a week cleaning up trash along the freeway.”

“What did you do, shoplift?”

“Sorta hacked into a bank and gave myself a bogus ATM card.”

“How much did you get before you got busted?”

“About twelve grand.”

“Shut up!” Tori whispered loudly.

“For real.” Kat said.  “My stupid kid brother found my stash and the ATM card and decided to make his own withdrawal.  An 11 year old kid on a bike pulling 400 bucks out of an ATM just didn’t seem quite right.  He got nabbed and ratted me out.”


What inspired you to write The Heart’s Journey Home?

I attend a church that has a large teen population.  They have their own space that’s literally the size of a high school gym.  I was walking by one Wednesday and the youth band was just rocking it out.  I stopped and stood in the doorway just taking it in.  The teens were into the band and into each other.  Singing, yelling over the music to one another, some were on the other side of the room tossing a ball around.  All in all they were being young people and loving it.  That’s when it hit me – write a story where the major characters and plot line revolve around a group of teens. I believe as a writer you find your greatest inspiration right in the middle of your own life. Just don’t walk by it.

When or at what age did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I knew at the age of eight I wanted to be a writer.  I was an avid reader by then and I discovered through reading that there was a whole adventurous world out there.  There were countries, unique and strange other kids, and adventures that went beyond my regular house and regular average life.  I saw and felt and tasted all this ‘moreness’.  I experienced the crazy and daring exploits kids went on and I actually believed I could have something similar for my life.  Imagine that!  A poor Black kid could experience more and do more and have more…it was this journey into the realm of possibilities that had the strongest effect on me as a little kid.  Books dared me to dream and inspired me to want so much more.  I was carried away.  That’s when I knew I wanted to be a writer.  I wanted to have the same effect on others that books had on me – fun and excitement, adventure, encouragement, hope.  The ability to dream for myself.  

What is the earliest age you remember reading your first book?

That’s easy, I was about eight years old and as was our habit during the summer my two sisters and I walked to the nearby public library.  They had this great kid’s section and that’s where I saw it for the first time, a book series.  It took up the whole shelf.  The name of the series was The Boxcar Children.  I spent the whole summer reading the books and taking adventures with those kids.  They had me laughing and crying and scared.  They made me daring and they made me dream.  It’s the first book I remember reading and the first book that had an emotional effect on me.  It captured me and it spirited me away with a bunch of kids who became my heart-felt friends.  I experienced  every word I read.  That book series made me want to be a writer.  

What genre of books do you enjoy reading?

I’m more loyal to what I like to read than a particular genre though I do go on ‘jags’. While I was writing The Heart’s Journey Home I was on a young adult jag so I read that genre and looked at movies from that genre – The Hunger Games, Ender’s Game, Divergent, and The Fault In Our Stars.  Though it didn’t get good reviews the movie After Earth was a movie I actually liked.  It starred Will Smith and his son Jaden.  Jaden who played Smith’s son in the movie, had to man up to save both himself and his father after their ship crash lands on a hostile planet leaving his father seriously injured.  I was intrigued by what this kid would have to do to survive.  He showed what a kid could do.    I believe hanging out in the young adult genre acted as a muse for me while I was making my way through my book.  It kept me in the head-space of teens and their lives -  their angst, tragedies, their triumphs and strengths.  Young people are so deep and driven.  There’s a sense of simplistic integrity about them that I’m sorry to say I don’t see in many adults.  They love deeper than what we adults believe possible.  They’re so strong, nearly invincible.  I’m awed by young people. 

What is your favorite book?

If I say To Kill A Mockingbird one more time my two sisters are going to smack me.  They know if I talk about it long enough the DVD’s going in and whoever’s at my dad’s is going to be stuck watching it with me.   But I can’t help it I just love it - the book and I straight-up love the movie.  Nobody can tell me that the actor Gregory Peck isn’t the real life Atticus Finch.  It’s just a great story and a great read.  If there was one book out there that I could say I wish I’d written this would be the book.  It’s a classic, has been on the reading list in a number of high schools since forever, it won the author Harper Lee the Pulitzer Prize and it was made into a movie.  What if anything about this wouldn’t a writer want for themselves?  This is a dream come true.   

You know I think we all have a favorite author. Who is your favorite author and why?

Everyone who knows me would laugh but it’s Stephen King.  I am so not into scary movies. I’m not going to one even if somebody else is paying and I’m not sticking around if somebody puts one in the DVD.  Between the flying monkeys (the Wizard of Oz) and The Ring (that chick coming out of that well then the TV set?!)  it’s a wrap. What I love about King is his versatility.  The Green Mile, The Shawshank Redemption, two totally non-scary works, both of which I really love.  I was shocked when I learned the TV series Under The Dome is based on King’s novel – Under The Dome.  Books, movies, TV, scary stuff, non-scary stuff and all of it’s good.  His scary stuff is just tore up good I just can’t sit through it.  His writing is great.  It’s descriptive and tight and it’s a thriller at the most purest basic level.  There’s a scary movie of his that I did sit through and loved – Storm of the Century.  The premise was just messed up. This scary looking guy shows up at this little out of the way town, kills a couple of people in a tore-up way and then takes all the little kids hostage – of sorts.  They’re all knocked out and he tells the parents and the town that they have to give him one of the kids (apparently for some reason he can’t just take the kid).  Give him one or he’s killing all of them.  How in the world were they going to get out of this dilemma?  Were they going to stand together or every parent for themselves?  In the end they caved as a town and gave into this guy.  They pulled lots and gave him one of the kids.  The rest of the movie showed the devastatingly lasting effect that one choice had on folks in the town (they had to cover the early deaths and the missing child with a lie). And at the end you learned what eventually happened to the kid.  What made the move good for me was the interplay between the characters as they tried to figure out what to do.  Morality and ethics, basic humanity, strength and right were put on a trial of sorts and the outcome wasn’t pretty.  Human maybe, but messed up none the less.  I thought King’s premise was sweet and I’m still trying to determine what I would’ve done in the end.  That’s the formula of a grand story – the reader still talking about it years later.  

If you could travel back in time here on earth to any place or time. Where would you go and why?

I’d go back to July 16, 1969 and stow away on Apollo 11.  I’d ride that bird to the moon with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.  I’d wait for them to go to sleep then I’d put on one of those space suits and go outside and walk around on the moon.  Imagine that, me on the moon!  I’d rake my gloved hand through the dust of the planet’s floor.  I’d do that funny run and hop.  I’d sit on a rock and look at the earth from the greatest seat in the universe.  I’d smile and laugh and laugh and remember it forever.  I think there are some extreme things that call out to you and I think as a writer I have to challenge myself to experience at least some of them.  How can I take the reader on a journey I’m afraid to go on myself?  How can I expand the reader’s horizon and challenge them to view themselves and their world outside the box? 

When writing a book do you find that writing comes easy for you or is it a difficult task?

Writing for me is very easy.  It’s like the whole book downloads itself into my head and I watch it as a movie.  Then I simply write what I see.  I play back certain scenes in my head over and over, sometimes changing them up to view a slightly different outcome.  I believe we writers have a certain wiring and bent - I’m extremely visual and I’ve always been a daydreamer of sorts and it comes out in my written work.  

Do you have any little fuzzy friends? Like a dog or a cat? Or any pets?

No I don’t have any live pets but I do have a little green frog and a giraffe with a monkey hanging from its leg on my desk at the office.  I think we’re rather suited for one another.  I don’t have to chase the frog around, it never goes hopping off and the giraffe and the monkey have a quaint understanding so they don’t fight.  It’s a good arrangement for us all.

What is your "to die for", favorite food/foods to eat?

Coffee.   I’m a bit of a snob though so I don’t drink regular coffee I usually drink caramel lattes.  Panera Bread, Starbucks, Coffee Beanery, makes no difference, they each have their own tasty version of my favorite drink.

Do you have any advice for anyone that would like to be an author?

Commit to the dream.  Find a way to write everyday – work on something, journal, anything just so long as you’re writing.  Don’t be deterred by negative views or comments, believe in the writer you know yourself to be and let that be your guiding force. 


Ever since she was young, Nikki Jackson has loved reading and the way that books allow you to journey on wonderful adventures without ever leaving the comfort of home. She decided at a young age that she wanted to become a writer to enable others to experience the magic of books—and The Heart’s Journey Home is the result.

In addition to writing, Nikki Jackson is a contract worker for General Motors. She and her husband currently live in the Detroit metropolitan area.


The Heart’s Journey Home Blog is currently under construction and will be online soon.


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Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Unknown said...

Avid Reader, thanks for hosting a stop on my book tour, this site is tore off the chain!

Mai T. said...

If you could trade lives with one person for an entire day who would it be and why?

Unknown said...

Thanks for the interview :) I've read a few of Stephen King's books and they were good. I've only watched Carrie though. He has a lot of books out.

Unknown said...

Mai, I don't have any one person/name in mind but it would be an extreme parachute jumper - not a regular person who jumps out of a plane but a crazy, extreme person who jumps off of bridges, mountains or other extremely high object with the parachute in their hand and then flings it. I think that is so tore up! You're not jumping and pulling a rip-cord on your chute but you're jumping with this little chute balled up in your right hand and then you're flinging it, just tossing it out there. That's the epitomy of extreme. I can't get my head wrapped around living on planet earth for 80-90 years and never ever never doing anything 'extreme' just living life regular and normal

Unknown said...

King has tons of books and movies to his credit, he's a writer's dream. I would love to have half the career he's had, I'd be one happy sista.

Victoria Alexander said...

Great post, I enjoyed the interview! Thanks for sharing.

Rita Wray said...

I liked the interview.

Unknown said...

Thanks Victoria for stopping by

Stormy Vixen said...

I enjoyed the interview, sounds like a great book, thanks for sharing!

Unknown said...

Glad you enjoyed it Rita, thanks for stopping by

Unknown said...

Thanks for stopping by Eva, it's really encouraging to us writers when people like and appreciate our work.

Anonymous said...

Loved the interview.

Unknown said...

Glad to hear it Becky, thanks!

Unknown said...

Great interview, thank you

Unknown said...

Thanks for stopping by!

Mary Preston said...

Apollo 11 would be very cool. Great interview.

Unknown said...

Thanks again Avid Reader and all your fans for stopping to spend the day with me!