Jessica, Mackenzie, Meredith, and Stephanie Jackson made Hollins history in the fall of 2010 when they became the first set of quadruplets to enroll at the university. Now juniors, the Fredericksburg residents have achieved another distinction: published authors.
Amazon.com began featuring the Jacksons’ debut novel, Two Pair: A Quadruple or Nothing Story, in early September. Published as an e-book through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing and as a paperback via the company’s Createspace service, Two Pair is the first of a four-book series the quadruplets hope will both enlighten and entertain readers. Though technically a work of fiction, the Jacksons say much of the book reflects their lives and real events that happened to them.
“We want people to realize that with multiples in general, you shouldn’t automatically assume we’re exactly the same or that we’re going to be complete polar opposites,” says Jessica. “Even though we do have a tendency to be together all the time it doesn’t necessarily mean that we always want to be together or that we act exactly the same.”
“Just because we’re quadruplets we’re not one person,” adds Stephanie. “We can be four different people, which I don’t think people really understand.”
Two Pair is set in California and focuses on two sets of teenage twins, the upper class Savannah and Mickayla Powers and the middle class Reagan and Ronan Jacoby. Their respective high schools are heated adversaries, which sparks conflict between the Powers and Jacoby twins above and beyond the tensions each set of twins is dealing with in their own families. Then, as Amazon.com’s book description states, “The four girls’ lives are turned upside down when they realize that they have something in common, more than just their schools’ rivalry and their own problems. There’s a shocking secret that’s at play…do they have it in the cards to figure it out?”
Two Pair takes place during the fall semester of the four main characters’ junior year in high school. The second book in the series will cover spring semester, while books three and four will focus on the characters’ senior year. While all the Jacksons are making significant contributions to the story lines, each sister will take a turn handling the bulk of the actual writing of each book: Jessica penned Two Pair, and Mackenzie, Meredith, and Stephanie will write books two, three, and four, respectively.
The Jacksons admit a multi-person collaboration isn’t always easy. “Because there are four people involved we all have different ideas and it was sometimes difficult making them fit into the story and its timeline,” says Meredith. “We all think we have good ideas and we would argue over whether to include something, change it, or stretch it out.” Still, she emphasizes “it was fun going back and forth with each other because the ideas were based on our lives.”
Mackenzie adds, “Because we know us, the easiest part is writing us, especially the humorous parts because I like to think we are funny people.”
The Jacksons first began writing Two Pair in the eighth grade, and over the years revised, edited, and improved the manuscript with the input of their parents, their teachers, and even a publisher. They discovered Amazon.com’s self-publishing options through an Internet search and met their goal of publication before their twentieth birthdays.
“One of the main reasons we decided to self-publish is that I am a firm believer in not waiting for things to happen to you,” explains Jessica.
Once the book became available, the Jacksons set about using every means at their disposal to get the word out: email, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and even a YouTube video. Amazon.com has sold a copy to a reader in the United Kingdom and the Jacksons are hoping to get Two Pair placed in local bookstores in Fredericksburg. “The book contains some harsh language, and we made sure we included a warning about that at the beginning of the book, but otherwise it’s appropriate for all readers ages 13 and up,” explains Stephanie. “Females will probably read it more than males, but if they give it a chance, males will like it, too.”
“Anybody can relate to it,” adds Meredith.
When she can find the time amid her school responsibilities, Mackenzie is already outlining plot points for the second book. “I always imagined having a New York Times best-seller,” she says. “”That is what I want to accomplish one day.”
Two Pair: A Quadruple or Nothing Story can be found here on Amazon.com.