- Guest Blogger and Author -
Today I welcome a blogger and author who lives in the USA, but has written an amazing book featuring Aussie animals - my good friend Jeanne Rogers. And, she is currently in Alice Springs, Northern Territory, for the first time.
Welcome, to Australia and my blog, Jeanne ...
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR BLOG’S JOURNEY.
First I want to thank Clancy for asking me here today. I consider it an honour to be able to speak with you and your readers.
My blog’s journey, well that is an interesting question. Mine is a very young blog, not quite two years old, but I enjoy maintaining it and have a number of loyal followers who enjoy looking forward to my posts. When I first started the blog I was totally clueless. I had to learn everything, and I know that I made many mistakes along the way, but it has certainly been a worthwhile learning experience for me. I am certain that it will continue to be a source of fun for me as well as a test of my writing skills. As a result of my first book publishing, the blog will change a bit.
WHAT IS THE AIM OF YOUR BLOG?
The initial aim of the blog was to ‘shamelessly promote’ my first fantasy, The Sword of Demelza, which just recently published on Amazon. That purpose quickly morphed, and although I still use the blog to bring attention to my book, I also have been inspired in other ways. The blog has expanded to include these inspirations. It has now become very focused in two ways. The first is highlighting a very important environmental issue; endangered animals. I do my best to introduce my readers to interesting creatures that they may not know about, and may be on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) list. The second focus was to review children’s and young people’s books, focusing on independent authors. My hope is I will cast some light onto very talented people who may otherwise not find a spotlight. Granted, being reviewed on my blog is more like being under a flashlight, but I enjoy doing my part. There is such a buzz going on right now relating to the pros and cons of self-publishing vs. traditional publishing. So many questions being bandied about, questions like, how can you tell if a book is self-published, how good are self-published books, has the e-book opportunity made it too easy for anyone to publish, and what is the future of writers in this new electronic book world. Someone likened the current situation to the old west, and I think that is a very good analogy; just about anything goes right now, and the rules are changing rapidly. It has been my experience that there are so many good self-published authors who might otherwise never have the opportunity to share their work. I use the blog to support the work of those writers. It’s a little thing, but big things can result from little beginnings.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
I have to be honest. My first response to this question was, ‘the process.’ However, that just doesn’t cut it. Depending on how one writes, the process can be a joy or overwhelming. If I really want to be honest with you, and my readers, my real answer would be the freedom that one finds in putting words to paper. It doesn’t matter how you do it, just doing it is a joy. I typically don’t follow a particular method. I let the reel run in my head and try to put the words down as the action takes place. Once those places, things and characters come alive it’s a race to tell their story. The characters urge me on, anxious to have their tale told. They speak to me continually and I have no choice but to allow them to do so. J
WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
For me the most difficult thing has been to find balance in the regular working world and my creative world. Most writers, I believe, keep a day job. Unfortunately money is a necessary evil, and writers usually work somewhere else to make ends meet. I wish there were more hours in the day.
WHAT WERE YOU IN A PAST LIFE, BEFORE YOUR BLOG?
My past life is not completely gone yet! However, my full time job is coming to a close, and I will have more time to devote to writing. After leaving college, I went to work and have remained in the working world for some time. Writing and reading have always been a great part of my life, and fantasy stories have been my favourites. The idea for my first book has been percolating for quite a while now, and I am thrilled to have said, ‘I did it.’ I actually wrote that book that has been in my head, and I think it’s good; good enough to afford me the courage to introduce it to readers.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT PROMOTING OTHERS?
The result of promoting others gives one the same feeling as when you take the time to pick out the perfect gift and then give it to that special someone. The act itself brings so much joy that you become addicted to it; you want to do it again and again. I think the first time one of my Amazon reviews was reported by someone as being helpful to them, I was taken aback and thrilled all at the same time. What I wrote had actually inspired someone to purchase a book written by a fellow author. Now what could be better than that?
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?
Right now I am working on the second book of the Australian Fantasy Adventures. It will introduce, to middle graders, more endangered species of Australian animals, as well as some of the wonderfully unusual places that can only be found there. The second book will go back to before the sword of Demelza existed and explore how it came into being. A third book is ruminating, but I have to focus!
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Inspiration is all around us; the people we meet, the places we go, our experiences on a daily basis. More than any of these, I am inspired by nature itself. It’s an awesome world out there, and there is so much I would love to see and do. There are beautiful places and amazing animals. My deep desire is to see as much as I can. It is a privilege to be a part of it, and that privilege comes with a responsibility to care and protect it for generations to come.
ARE YOU A WRITER?
Wow! Is this a trick question? (giggle) I guess anyone who writes can be considered a writer. I would like to be considered as a weaver of tales for young people, tales that not just entertain, but educate as well. There is so much stuff out there that’s heavy duty; divorce, death of a loved one, suicide, VAMPIRES ZOMBIES and WEREWOLVES, OH MY!! How about just an enchanting tale that entertains and is just plain old ordinary fun? One that makes you want to read another book.
DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR NEW WRITERS?
I think the one thing that new writers need is tenacity. You have to keep trying. Depending on where you are in your writing process, whether you are in the midst of writing that book you always wanted to write, or you’re still in school studying the craft, the best advice I can give is keep at it. It’s the fire in the belly, the sense of urgency that will get you to where you want to be. Lastly, I would have to add that you must write for yourself, in other words, write about what you love and the rest will fall into place.
DO YOU SUFFER FROM WRITER’S BLOCK?
Is there a writer on the planet that doesn’t? I’d like to meet that person. There have been countless times that I have sat in front of the computer screen and stared at it. Like really, will words appear magically? It’s silly to think that sometimes I feel as though my story’s characters have taken a powder and left no forwarding address. I usually take a walk and hope that they will contact me soon so that I can get back to work.
DO YOU HAVE A PREFERRED WRITING SCHEDULE?
Nope! However, it does seem that I am very productive at about 5:00 in the morning. Um...wonder why that is. Seriously, when the muse arrives I listen.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE WRITING PLACE?
Not really. I tend to move my laptop from one place to another. Maybe there is an unconscious hope that a change in venue will be good for me. When I find myself sitting at my desk and looking out into the forest behind my home, I end up watching the squirrels scampering around collecting nuts and what not, instead of dealing with the task at hand. So, the place that I should be (my desk) ends up being the place that I shouldn’t be.
WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHOR AND WHY?
When I was in college, my dad would bring books home that he thought I might like. One day he brought home a copy of the Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov. Many readers will recognize that this is the book that the movie I Robot starring Will Smith, was based on. It has always been one of my favourites. You can see how I emphasis ‘one.’ There are so many others that I think are absolutely fantastic. How about, Tolkien, Neil Gaiman, Terry Brooks, C.S. Lewis, Edgar Allen Poe, just to name a few. I can throw in some really dark stuff by mentioning Kafka (poor man). Most recently I had the privilege to read a book written by a talented young author, Stefan Bachmann’s The Peculiar. There are just too many wonderful authors to name, but Isaac, you started it all! So, to answer your question, ‘who is your favourite author?” Dunno, two many to count.
WHAT’S THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOU EVER RECEIVED FROM A READER OF YOUR BLOG?
I love your blog. Let me know when you’re published. – I’ve tucked this person’s name aside.
WHAT WAS THE WORST COMMENT FROM A READER?
The words used in the story were too big for middle graders. – Opinions, everyone’s got one.
WRITERS ARE SOMETIMES INFLUENCED BY THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN THEIR OWN LIVES. ARE YOU?
I think this is true, whether we recognize it or not. I was surprised one day when my editor said that she could see my personality shine through my writing. So, who I am and the culmination of my experiences do have an impact and they find their way to the written word, becoming my ‘style.’ I think that’s a good thing. You have to be true to your own voice when you’re writing; otherwise it’s not yours, now is it?
OTHER THAN WRITING, WHAT ELSE DO YOU LOVE?
I love dogs. If you have no other friends and you have a dog, you need nothing else. They are the epitome of unconditional love and devotion. I once read an American Indian story about the creation. In this story, the Gods had completed the creation of animals and introduced man. To separate man from the animals, the Gods opened up a fissure in the earth, and before it became too wide the dog leapt over it. The dog has stood beside man ever since. Yeah, that’s a good story, and I believe it’s true. My standard poodle, Phoebe would agree as well. My husband says she would follow me off a cliff. That’s true too.
Oh, p.s., I love my three kids too! J
IF YOU HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO SPEAK TO THE ENTIRE WORLD, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY?
Gee, if I had such an opportunity I would need a lifetime to come up with the right thing to say. I’ll take a shot at this. My comments to the world would include a plea to recognize that we are not alone on the planet. We share it with many other living things, and the resources we have are limited. We need to find a way to insure that we use and share those resources while protecting the wildlife. I find it very sad when both the lives of people and animals are ignored in order to obtain resources. It’s just not right.
DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY.
The sun is shining, there’s not a cloud in the sky and a warm breeze is blowing. The day is mine to plan and I’m going to take a nice long walk with my dog, Phoebe. I just want to take it all in – revel in being alive. These days are few and far between.
WHAT ARE YOUR GREATEST ASSETS AS A WRITER?
I think the best asset to have is an open mind. The knowledge that your imagination is limitless can only produce wonderful results if you allow it to wander free.
IF YOU WERE STUCK ON A DESERT ISLAND WITH ONE PERSON, WHO WOULD YOU LIKE IT TO BE? WHY?
OK, I’m going to be completely honest here. I’m going to tell you the first person that came into my head. No, it’s not my husband, or one of those guys who won on the Survivor series. Are you ready? The name is Abraham Lincoln. So I guess now you want to know why? (clears throat). In college I studied history, loved medieval England, Roman, and French history. Then I came back across the puddle and studied US history. I focused on the civil war, and discovered Abraham Lincoln. I became obsessed. I bought and read any book about the man that I could get my hands on. Then I went nuts. I purchased a first edition of a book written by the artist who painted the Emancipation Proclamation. Francis Carpenter, an artist from upstate New York, spent six months in the White House with Lincoln while painting this very famous portrait. The book, Six Months at the White House with Abraham Lincoln, is one of my most treasured possessions. But I digress. Why Abraham Lincoln? Let’s picture it. We’re on a desert island, we don’t know if we’ll ever get back to civilisation, we have no ship building skills, (Did you mention pen and paper? No don’t think you did.). We have no pens, no paper, and no books. Oh man, this is terrible. So what’s left, what will you need? You’ll need to have a companion that is intelligent, personable and funny (you will need your spirits lifted). Abraham can do the job. Did you know that Lincoln is the only president that holds a patent? And the patent has to do with water! That works for me, since, as you guessed it, an island is surrounded by water! (P.S. I’m hoping that the island is not all desert. A few coconut trees would be good.)
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
I’m taking it a day at a time, Clancy. Would love to see my children married and happy. I look forward to retirement, and writing full time. I look forward to my mind continually sending me ideas that I want to share. I want to be happy. I want to visit Australia! We’ll see, time will tell.
WHAT FIVE BOOKS WOULD YOU TAKE TO HEAVEN?
Great question! Ummm...let’s see now, five you say. Give me a minute, I’ll think of five...Five, OK, I’ve come up with one; Jane Eyre. I love that book and read it many time. I still cry at the end. I’d have to take a copy of the books I wrote so I can edit them. J I would also need a copy of the book mentioned above, Six Months in the White House. Ok, I know it’s only four, but here’s the last one, The Worst Case Scenario. I shouldn’t be negative about Heaven, but ya never know.
HAVE YOU MADE SOME GREAT FRIENDS VIA YOUR BLOG?
I have made some wonderful friends since blogging, LinkedIn, and FB. Kudos to whoever it was who invented the internet. Was it Al Gore?
WATCH THIS SENSATIONAL BOOK TRAILER!
BOOK TRAILER: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzipgvCjJZo
Then again, maybe ya right ... maybe we are odd.
Love ya work!