From the Blog of
Howdy fans! I’d like to welcome author J. Schlenker to the interview hot-seat.
Why do you write? Expression, creativity, mainly because it’s cathartic. An emotional release comes from it, and even sometimes, satisfaction.
When did you decide to become a writer? I wrote poems in high school, but it wasn’t until retirement that I entertained it seriously. I thought, what now? My husband said, “Why don’t you write.” I think it was that very same day that I heard about a site called Gather (now defunct) on NPR. It was a group where people shared what they wrote. My husband came home and started to tell me about it as he heard the same story. I said, “I’ve already joined.”
What genre are your books? I think I would categorize them mainly as women’s fiction, or mainstream fiction. Establishing a genre for what I write has possibly been harder than the writing and even editing for me. I just can’t seem to narrow it down. I currently have only one published book, “Jessica Lost Her Wobble.”
What draws you to this genre? I would say instinct or intuition. It’s what comes out when I sit at the computer.
What made you decide to sit down and actually start something? Other than belonging to the group Gather, it was the challenge of NaNoWriMo. It was during National Novel Writing Month that I completed “Jessica Lost Her Wobble.” That was in 2013.
Do you write full-time or part-time? Full-Time, although on some days other projects need doing. On those days it would be part-time.
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured? I start out in the mornings. If I’m on a roll, I may still be at it when my husband comes home from work. At that time I look up and say, “I guess you want dinner.” He then says he’ll fix it, which is merely a feeble gesture on his part. I usually work at the kitchen countertop. He starts asking where everything is, and what steps to take. It’s at that point that I say, “Okay, I’ll fix dinner. You sit here and read what I wrote.” He’s great about doing that.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively? I learn something new everyday, at least I hope. As far as evolvement I’m most likely still in the kindergarten stage.
What have you written? A work of fiction, “Jessica Lost Her Wobble”
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just seeing where an idea takes you? The plot is in my head. I just sit down and write until the well runs dry for the day.
How do you market your books? My downfall. But, I’m doing this interview. That’s a start.
Is there any marketing technique you used that had an immediate impact on your sales figures? Basically word of mouth. I know a few people have recommended my book to others, and of course I announced it on Facebook. I just joined Twitter, and I have a blog. I’m rather technically challenged, but I’m learning (evolving).
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he do that is so special? My main character is Jessica (Jessie). She is a middle-aged woman, who after many upsets, is trying to find herself. She is special in that she is like so many other women. People who have read it have said, I see so much of myself in Jessie.
Where do your ideas come from? The idea for this book came from a past life regression. However, when I actually sat down to write, the time frame changed, as did many other things.
What is the hardest thing about writing? Just sitting down at the computer and starting, or maybe editing. It’s a toss up.
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book? As in latest manuscript? That is still in progress. Probably, the research part has been the hardest.
Which writers inspire you? Yogananda, (“Autobiography of a Yogi” is my all time favorite book.) Wally Lamb, Elizabeth Gilbert There are so many authors I read. Since I’ve started writing myself I pay more attention. So many times I think, wow, I wish I had written that.
What do you do to get book reviews? Ask people who I know have read it. Currently, at the time of this interview, I have five reviews on Amazon, one on Goodreads.
How successful has your quest for reviews been so far?It’s a little soon, perhaps as my book was just released less than a month ago, on December 11.
What is the current book you are promoting? “Jessica Lost Her Wobble” I entered the very rough draft into a contest, The William Faulkner – William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition, and placed as a finalist. That inspired me to continue.
Who is your favorite character in your book and why?Definitely Jessica, the main character, although I loved writing them all. Mrs. Gibbons has a small part, but I also enjoyed writing her.
Who is your least favorite character and why? I don’t think I have one. There are supporting characters who are not so developed.
If your book were made into a movie, who would you cast? Ironically, I was just thinking about that yesterday while out hiking. Meryl Streep as the older Jessie, and her daughter as the younger version, as the book spans over decades.
What is your next project? I have two other books in the works, both done during NaNoWriMo. I will be editing “The Innkeeper on the Edge” and “The Color of Cold and Ice.” And, I’m also working on a collection of short stories, “The Missing Butler and Other Life Mysteries.”
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? Darcy I guess, probably because he has been so romanticized.
What one person from history would you like to meet and why? Jesus, because he would have all the answers. I picture him as kind, smiling and always laughing, not judgmental at all.
If there was one thing you could do to change the world, what would it be? I would change myself into total love, peace and contentment. As Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see.”
What is one great lesson you have learned as a writer?Patience
What is one thing you hate about being a writer?Marketing
Tell us something unique about you. I was a weaver before I was a writer. I wove cloth. I am now weaving stories.
Thanks so much for taking the time from your writing to chat with us. I do hope you drop by again!
For more about J. Schlenker follow the links below: