Please welcome this week’s guest author, Jan Morrill!
Creative Characterization: A Workbook – This workbook will give you six different methods to develop characters that will keep your readers turning the pages to see the story through those characters’ eyes.
What are you working on now?:
I am in the final stages of working with Lee Press to publish my first children’s book, Dancing in the Red Kimono (July 2015), a story about the multi-cultural friendship of two of my characters from my historical fiction, The Red Kimono–Sachi and Jubie. I am also working on the sequel to The Red Kimono, which continues the story of Sachi, Nobu and Terrence, from 1957 through 1963.
Favorite quote :
“I want to sing like the birds sing, not worrying about who hears or what they think.” — Rumi
Who is the author/artist that inspires you the most, and why?
My writing has been most inspired by Jodi Picoult. About the time I began writing with a serious goal of being published, I’d been reading her books and was captured by the way she tells her stories in deep point of view–through a character’s eyes. She often tells the same story through more than one character. Sometimes I think with so much techology, we’ve lost some of our ability to empathize, therefore, one of my hopes as a writer is that my readers will see events from a different perspective. There’s no better way to do this than to write in deep point of view, and through multiple perspectives.
If stranded on an island, what one book would you keep with you?
Wilderness Survival for Dummies
What are you reading right now?
Johnnie Come Lately by Kathleen Rodgers and Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
Reveal one thing about yourself that few people know:
I’m an artist as well as a writer, and sometimes I have a hard time balancing my love for both. The thing that very few people know is, I’m seriously considering putting my sequel aside to focus on art. It’s a tough decision, but that seems to be where my passion is leading me. (See my advice below. Will I follow my own advice?) The only thing that keeps me working on my sequel is that I know I’ll regret it if I never finish it.
Describe your ideal work space…and then tell us about your actual one:
My ideal work space would be an organized, sunlit desk beside a window I could open to the sound and scent of the ocean. My actual work space is not too different from my ideal, except that my desk is not very organized and my window doesn’t open to the ocean.
What advice do you have for other writers/artists?
Follow your passion and live for the moment. Learn from the past, but don’t regret it. Plan for the future, but don’t fear it.
Where can readers find you online?
Artist Website: http://janmorrillartwork.com/
Many thanks to writer-friend and Ozarks Writers League president Jan Morrill for inviting me to be a stop on The Next Big Thing Blog Tour!
You might have seen other authors at prolific writer Velda Brotherton’s site, and the gist of the event is this: Authors give insider peeks at their works in progress.
Now, I’m not sure about being the Next Big Thing. It sounds more like a reason to fear getting on the scale to me, but I’m all for hearing about upcoming stories. It’s like seeing a preview for a movie coming out next year. It gives you time to speculate on the players, gain excitement for the scope and setting, and yes – gossip to your friends about it.
So here’s a few tidbits on one of my (overwhelming) works in progress…
What is your working title of your book?
After Ever After
Where did the idea come from for the book?
I’ve always been fascinated by the stories behind the stories. My mind goes off on a tangent – especially with well-known tales – and I want to know what happened to that interesting minor character. What was the inside scoop on how that story REALLY went down? (I have a nasty, suspicious mind and don’t trust authors to tell me all the dirt.)
I particularly want to explore the realm of fairy tales, where everybody has a different version of the same story – kind of like eyewitnesses to a car wreck, they all are sure it’s true from their point of view! I was working on this when the current re-interest in Grimm’s and Perault’s famous renderings gained national appeal. It’s wonderful that a topic can have such depth and breadth that it has nearly infinite possibilities.
What genre does your book fall under?
I would place it as a crossover novel between Young Adult and Adult Fantasy – a collection of themed, or related, short stories.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I love ensemble casts, where no one actor is really the star. I’m a big fan of British television and actors, so I’d take Helen Mirren, Judy Dench, Robert Carlyle, Colin Firth, Emma Thompson, John Cleese, Hugh Laurie, Alan Cumming, and most of all…Benedict Cumberbatch (don’t you just want to hire him on the spot for having such a spectacular name?).
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Not everyone gets a happily-ever-after, and it’s time they told you why.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I think I’d like to pursue this one with an agency.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I participated in Sleuth’s Ink’s JANO event last year, where all the members tried to write a book in the month of January. I managed about 12,000 words, and I’ve been adding to it since then. As a collection of short stories, I can just kind of keep going with it until I’ve really rounded out my theme.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
It’s similar to other fiction writing I’ve done, in that I tend to have a strong narrative character’s voice, and a fair amount of humor. I also like to let my reader get a surprise at the end. The best reward for me, is to have a reader finish the story, then turn back to the beginning and start all over, looking for the moment they went another direction while I was really leading them down a different path.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I don’t think I was inspired by any one person or thing, but rather a nice realization that things I have loved all my life are nothing to be ashamed of. If you live long enough, you come back in style. Just look at skinny jeans and leg warmers.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
I think the idea that it is the kind of book you can read in stolen moments and still get a satisfying story, both within the short stories, and overall. As a mom with two kids at home, juggling lots of career and education plates, I don’t have the luxury of immersing myself in a fictional world for too long. I appreciate getting little “flights of fancy” throughout my daily life.
I also believe the short story is vastly underrated in mainstream culture as a complete storytelling tool. I always look among my favorite authors for their collections of short stories – that is where their brilliance really shines, and their longer works tend to keep that tight, essential element in good writing that others lack.
Many thanks to Jan Morrill for the invitation to participate in The Next Big Thing Blog Tour! Please visit her site, and these other hard-working writers for more insider looks at up-and-coming books!