Today, Monday, August 12 at 7 p.m. CST, I will be doing an interview at Mathis Interiors Radio about the release of Bend Me, Shape Me. Joanne also interviewed me when Painted Black came out and I am looking forward to speaking with her again. If you can’t catch the live broadcast, don’t worry, it will be archived at the same link so you can catch it later.
On her blog last year, Laurie Jenkins interviewed the main character in my Street Stories series, Jo Sullivan. Yesterday, she did a followup interview and talked a bit about the new novel, Bend Me, Shape Me, and about how life has changed for the characters since Painted Black was released.
Here’s one of Jo’s answers. Click through to read the whole interview.
Mental health issues are a huge problem on the streets. In my opinion, it’s an even more common denominator than addiction and alcoholism. Sometimes the reason people start drinking and doing drugs is because they are trying to cope with a mental illness. That doesn’t mean they deserve less respect or should be feared or shunned. I find the rule you should apply to everyone, homeless or not homeless, mentally healthy or no, is treat people with respect. Nine times out of ten they will do the same with you.
In Snow’s story, her disability became a road block to anyone believing her when she tried to tell us about the psychiatrist treating her brother Alley. Her history of histrionics and her manic way of responding to the stressors in her life made her very real fears sound like mad ravings. Once she felt heard and trusted, we were able to sort through the melodrama to get at the truth of what was really happening.
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Debra. She has written two suspense novels using her experiences working with the homeless combined with her lively imagination. Please visit my interview with her to learn more on her fascinating novels.
I wish Debra all the best in her endeavors and thank her for giving me the opportunity to read about her books.
Tell us about your experiences in publishing:
I tried for years to get published the traditional method, as have so many writers. The problem, I believe, wasn’t quality but the sheer quantity of submissions traditional publishers received. The odds were against me. With the burst of self-publishing options in recent years, I was just on the verge of throwing in the towel and self publishing Painted Black when fate intervened. I am proof that networking is an important part of the publishing world. Someone I had met years ago at a writers’ class at the University of Washington started up a small independent press near where I lived. When I contacted him to say congratulations, he asked if I had ever done anything with the book I had been rewriting during the class. When I said I was just about to give up on it and move on, he asked if he would mind if they took a look at it. They liked it so much they even contracted the second book, Bend Me, Shape Me.
Were there any authors who influenced you or helped?
I think my biggest influencers were the books I read as an adolescent and teen. Whether well-written or just well-aimed at the imaginative mind of youth, it was my enjoyment of books like The Bobsey twins, Hardy Boys and Trixie Belden when I was younger, and authors like Mary Stewart and Victoria Holt as I grew that pointed me firmly in the direction of loving suspense stories. Creating adventures in worlds that others could visit at no risk, purely for enjoyment, is what I decided I wanted to do with the rest of my life.
What advice would you give new authors?
Find a critique group that has similar goals as you and who are also talented. They make great first editors and it is a good incentive to getting that next chapter out in time for the next meeting.
Best experience when writing?
My first critique group in Peoria provided not only helpful feedback but helped me hold on to the knowledge that I was a writer, not just a mom and wife and daughter. I would not be as good at writing without them nor would I probably even be published, because I think I would not have believed in myself enough to keep trying.
Worst experience when writing?
There were a few personal traumas in my life that were so physically and emotionally draining that I couldn’t put down a word. Even my journaling became infrequent and unintelligible. I thought both times I would never write again and balked at the silence. But each time when the writing returned, I could tell that the down time had actually been an incubation period, quietly giving sustenance to my writing health. My work returns renewed and more importantly, improved, as a result of the absence.
I spent yesterday contacting some book bloggers and found Dayna Leigh Cheser’s site. She liked the info I sent her so much she has already posted my author interview on her site. Click through to read what else I had to say.
When and how did you discover you wanted to be a writer/author?
The first stories I ever made up were mini-versions of Hardy Boys stories. I had a huge crush on Joe and would pretend there were tiny books inside matchboxes I would “read” to myself when I was visiting my Great-Grandmother’s grocery store.
I just confirmed a date for a podcast interview at Wise Bear Books with Quinn Barrett to talk about Bend Me, Shape Me. Quinn also interviewed me when Painted Black was released, and had some wonderful things to say about the book so I’m hoping she enjoys Bend Me even more.
I will post a link to her site closer to the date so you can listen live if you would like to. I will be sure to also link to the archived interview later and post it here when available for those who want to listen at their leisure.
Below are some of the things Quinn said about Painted Black. The full interview can be found HERE.
Painted Black has a Silence of the Lamb’s feeling about it…..Something about your book immediately gave me the feeling like wow, there’s something dark and ominous going on here.…. I was impressed with the quality of the storytelling and found myself immersed immediately…..Your story is very timely…..How you mingle it with the reality of homeless throwaway people was really quite brilliant…..Fiction can be a great vehicle for exposing the darker side of the human experience in ways that are both important and meaningful and I think that Painted Black fits into this category.
Author Jaidis Shaw asked me questions about writing, Bend Me, Shape Me, and alternate universes. Interested to see my answers? Click through to read the entire interview.
I find it very easy to imbue the homeless kids in my Street Stories novels with emotions I experienced as a young teen/woman: reckless and fearful at the same time, hope quickly blotted out by the weight of the world which can be just as quickly lifted by sudden joyfulness. That is an age when we all touch on the full range of emotion as we grow into the people we are becoming. At least, I believe we all do.