1. Before we start talking about your book, why don’t you tell everybody a little bit about yourself?
I’m weird...but harmless. Seriously, if there were a single word my friends and family would apply to me, it would probably be that one: weird. But in a good way, of course.
2. Besides writing, what other things do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Could you explain the concept of “spare time”? I’m not familiar with that term. I’m sure others can relate. It’s a busy world we live in. In the rare moments when I’m not writing, I’m reading, playing computer games, cooking, house-cleaning, playing the piano, enjoying music, or indulging my passion for board games. My current favorite is “Apples to Apples”. Want to come and play?
3. What is your daily routine as far as when you have an idea for your story?
I like to get an early start on my day. Sometimes that start is as early as 2 or 3 AM. I head to my little office (I love wearing my pajamas while I’m working) and usually “warm-up” by playing a game or two of Sherlock -- a computer-based logic game. Once I know my brain is in gear, I start writing. I don’t write in a linear fashion, and depending upon what stage a story is in, I might do a little free-writing, or I might tackle specific scenes. It’s all a bit loose at first, but gradually it comes together to form a reasonably coherent whole.
4. Where do you get your ideas from?
Handy-Dandy’s Convenient 24-Hour Idea Factory. Note: This is a joke.
5. Out of all of the stories you’ve written so far, what would be your favorite and why?
“Not the Marrying Kind”. This was my “NaNoWriMo” project last November. I wrote the rough draft then, and I’m now in the process of doing the revisions. When I first pulled it out and glanced through it, I found lots of scenes I’d all but forgotten about. And...I loved it! I honestly fell in love with the characters and their story. I think this is my favorite because of the characters, and especially because of the casual voice I’m using as a narrate the tale. It’s a fun story to tell.
6. Tell us something funny about yourself that not a lot of people know about?
I have absolutely NO sense of direction. I can get lost driving two blocks from home. Even if I have written directions. Yep. I’m that bad. Needless to say, I don’t get out too much -- unless somebody else is driving.
7. Are any of the stories you’ve written based on real life experiences or basically just from imagination?
Funny you should mention this. Recently several authors posted on Facebook about using real-life experiences in our fiction. While I have to say that bits and pieces of authors’ lives always show up in the stories they write, I’m not an advocate of the use-your-life-story-as-material school of thought. If it works for others, that’s great, but I see too many pitfalls in it. First, most of us lead lives that are only interesting to ourselves. Really. Second, if fiction mirrors real life, there are usually problems. Real life isn’t structured for dramatic purposes...which means that if we want to use our experiences, we’ll probably have to revise them a bit. Ever notice movie disclaimers? “Based on real events.” “ Some events and incidents have been added for dramatic effect.” In other words, those “true stories” aren’t really “true stories”. They’re fictionalized, doctored-up accounts of events. Third -- and this is the crucial one, I think -- it’s hard to write about ourselves and people we know without losing the objectivity a writer needs. Story-telling is about conflict. We have to make our characters suffer at every turn. Who wants to do that to our friends? To ourselves? Fourth, despite what many people claim, writing (as a profession) isn’t a cathartic process. It’s a job. Sure, writing can make us feel better. Writing can allow us to purge a lot of bad feelings, undergo emotional changes...and that’s great. But don’t publish it and call it fiction. Keep those cathartic passages in your journals and diaries. They’re personal. They’re yours. If you feel you must share them, write them as non-fiction; let your experiences help others in that way.
Disclaimer: I know my opinion is in the minority. Don’t hate me, please! If putting your life in your stories works for you, go for it!
8. Does your ‘muse’ have a name and if so what is his/her name?
Yep. Dickins. Not to be confused with Dickens, as in Charles. No relation. My “Dickins” is a playful imp who’s always dragging weird - uh, yeah, there’s that word again -- things in, sort of like a cat bringing a mouse in to lay at its owner’s feet. Right now he’s been bringing home a few orphans, some wolves, and some mysterious relic with magical powers. Where he finds this stuff...I’ll never know. I probably don’t want to know.
9. What other genre besides the one you are writing about now would you like to venture into writing?
I often say I’d like to write fantasy. I used to be an active player in Gemstone and other on-line role-playing games, and I’ve also down LARP (Live-action role-play). I love the idea of making up entire worlds, creating a pantheon of gods and goddesses, developing the social hiearchies, and even building a language. But, to do it right would require a lot of time and thought. If I ventured into world-building on that scale, I probably wouldn’t have time enough left over for anything else.
10. Who are your favorite authors that are out now? Danelle Harmon, Leigh Greenwood, Mia Marlowe.
11. Who is your favorite female and male characters from your books and why? From my published stories, I’d say my favorites are Anne Hopkins and George Mather. Both are from Happily Ever After. Anne was an imaginative character; she belived in happy endings. I liked that about her. I liked George because of his emotions. Although he refused to see certain things, he felt things at a deep level.
12. What do you think is the hardest thing about being a writer?
Never having time enough to write all the stories and use all the ideas spinning around inside my head. Plus, not being able to “turn it off”. Even when I shut down the computer and close the door of my office, the voices are still talking in my head.
13. What advice would you give someone who wants to start off being a writer?
Simple. Write. Write. Then write some more. That’s the easy answer. The hard answer is this: Learn the language. Don’t think that you don’t need to worry about grammar or spelling. You do.
14. If you hadn’t become a writer, what do you think you would be doing right now?
Enjoying a clean house.
15. What would be the perfect Romantic getaway?
A rainy night in a tent. Ever see the old movie, “Man’s Favorite Sport”?
Well now that we got the question and answer out of the way…..why don’t you tell us about your latest story you have out now?
My latest release is “Happily Ever After”, available from Sweet Cravings Publishing. Here’s what the story is about:
Anne Hopkins wants to help Rowena Mather, a troubled 9-year-old girl who is grieving over her mother's death. But helping Rowena means dealing with the girl's father, too.
George is a desperately lonely man. He's drawn at once to his daughter's new caretaker, but his heart is trapped in the past, still bound to his late wife, Margaret, and to the vow he made to her.
An innocent child with frightening nightmares, a broken man struggling to cope, and a devoted grandmother who can't stay away from her opium...the Mather family need Anne in their lives.
But what of the secrets Rowena shares about her father? Could George be the dragon of Rowena's dark dreams? Has his grief turned him to anger and violence?
George has questions about Anne Hopkins, as well. He's seen her with another man, and he's heard the rumors about town. Is she the kind-hearted woman she appears? Or is she hiding a shameful secret?
Profuse blooms covered the brightly-colored butterfly bushes, and dragonflies flitted through the garden, lured by the sweet fragrances. Quiet reigned over the landscape as the afternoon shadows fell and the flowers folded themselves in, tucking their blossoms away for another day.
George enjoyed working in the garden. It brought a sense of purpose, a deep connection to something powerful, but almost indefinable.
Feeling a little more at peace with himself now, he squeezed a lump of black loam, pushing at it, molding it, shaping it. The earth had a richness about it which exhilarated him each time he touched the soil. He reveled in the damp, dank smell of it, the feel of the dirt between his fingers. The earth held promise.
He suddenly glanced down, shocked to see the two lumps of dirt he'd piled up and the way his hands squeezed and kneaded those mounds as though they were a woman's breasts, longing for his touch.
With the heel of his hands, he pressed hard against the lumps of dirt, flattening them almost to the ground. A darkness gathered around him—not a visible, tangible darkness, for the sun still shone above the horizon—but a darkness that came forth from his soul. A darkness borne of despair.
In the past, he'd seen the earth as a giver of life. But it took life too.
George remembered that awful, aching moment when Margaret's mortal remains had been placed deep within the earth. After two long years of grief, the final, irrevocable moment of truth had come upon him. It shook him.
Margaret was gone.
Never again would he see her. Never again would he hear her voice. Never again would he feel her love. His grief had become loneliness, and loneliness now turned to longing. Not a longing for the past and for what was gone, but a longing for the present and for what might yet be.
Looking down again, he saw his hands splayed across the small, barely-perceptible mounds. So much like Anne's breasts. He'd stared at them so often he'd memorized their delicate shape, their size.
Damn it all!
He wanted Anne Hopkins. Yearnings for her raged like wildfire through his tortured body. It didn't matter that she had feelings for someone else. The thought of her with another man only made his desires burn hotter.
Why, in the name of heaven, had he made that hasty vow to Margaret? Why had he willingly consigned himself to this hellish existence devoid not only of love but of even the slightest possibility of it?
George buried his face in his hands and cried out in agony. He'd made a mistake. A horrible, dreadful mistake.
And there wasn't a damned thing he could do about it now.
Happily Ever After is available at the following online booksellers:
All Romance Ebooks
Barnes and Noble
Sweet Cravings Publishing
I’d like to thank Jamallah for the opportunity to be a guest today. I thoroughly enjoyed the “Question and Answer” interview. As a writer, I’m always grateful, of course, for any opportunity to showcase my work.
As a “thank you” to Jamallah’s readers, I’m giving away an e-book copy of one of my Sweet Cravings titles: either Happily Ever After or Irresistible. Winner’s choice! Both books are available in a variety of formats -- Kindle Edition, Nook Book, or PDF. Again, winner’s choice.
To enter, please leave a comment below...and please share the link with your friends. I’ll keep the contest open until Saturday morning, May 18. Please, make sure you provide an e-mail address with your comment so that I will be able to contact you if you’re the winner. Winner will be chosen by “Random.org”.
Good luck! Thanks for visiting Jamallah’s blog!