From Makeup to Murder author Jacky Rom: “Writing is easy, but selling the book is the hard part”

POSTED: 08/6/15 6:51 PM

St. Maarten – Author Jacky Rom keeps all her options open. Her first murder mystery in the Sandra Bernstein Chronicles – From Makeup to Murder – is situated in St. Maarten, but there is no guarantee that subsequent volumes will be placed against the same background. Murder in the Air is an idea Island 92 host Doc Sochrin suggested to her and she likes the idea. Yesterday, Rom was at Topper’s in Simpson Bay to promote her book.

Rom has already a series of five books to her name – The Adventures of Starr, an eleven-year old detective. These books targets children in the age group of 7 to 12 and they have caught the attention of the BBC in the United Kingdom. “They have taken the books under consideration for a series,” Rom says. “There is no decision yet, and this could still take quite some time.”

Rom released From Murder to Makeup on June 22 in the UK and already there is interest for it in Hollywood to turn it into a flick for the big screen.

Whether the books that are still to follow will play in St. Maarten or elsewhere depends in part on what happens in Hollywood, Rom said yesterday, but the traveler in her wants to take her character Sandra Bernstein places. “I’d like these stories to travel around the world,” she says.

In April the author spent three weeks in Egypt and that country touched a nerve. Nevertheless, she considers St. Maarten her second home. “My heart is in St. Maarten,” she says. “I find this an inspiring place. This is where I wrote all the children’s books and part of From Makeup to Murder.”

Earlier this week we wrote that Sandra Bernstein, the main character in the murder mystery has a lot of the author in her. How true this is, Rom underlined yesterday. “My grandfather came after the First World War to the UK. His name was Borenstein, but upon his arrival, they misspelled it into Bernstein. Because he was a Jew, he soon started to look into changing his name. He went through the phonebook and settled for Etherton. That is my maiden name.”

When Rom took a creative writing course years ago she picked up a lesson that stuck: “Write about what you know,” she says with a smile. “I am a makeup artist, and so is my character Sandra Bernstein. I know this world inside out.”

So which treatment did Rom give St. Maarten in her book? “You will recognize real places on the island in the book,” she says. “But it is of course my view on St. Maarten. There is no reason why a film could not be made here.”

Rom admits that she “knew nothing about murder” when she set out to write the book. “I did a lot of research. I had to investigate how a character in the book was going to die.”

While some may experience writing as a painful and at times cumbersome process, Rom does not have that problem. “I love writing,” she said. “Writing the book is the easy part. The hard part is letting people know about it and selling it.”

Rom writes her stories in longhand before throwing it in a wordprocessor. “I write around 3,000 words a day,” she says. “And this book is about 50,000 words.”

Putting together an outline for her children’s books takes about four days, she says. For From Makeup to Murder the process was more complicated. “You have to write the complete histories of all your characters and you need a timetable,” she says. “You need to know where you are going with your story.”

Rom did two book presentations in the UK before she came to St. Maarten. In November, she will launch the book in the United States, starting in Las Vegas. From there on, the book tour will take her to Los Angeles.

The murder mystery is available at the Van Dorp bookstores and on, also as an e-book. The children’s books are for sale at the Shipwreck Shops.

From Makeup to Murder, by Jacky Rom with illustrations by Vicki Butcher, 243 pages, Jax Publishing, ISBN 978-0-9562172-3-3. Price $12.95

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