November is here and the holiday season is fast approaching, when the people we love and who love us gather together to share best wishes and hopes as another year comes to a close. Today, I’m pleased to feature Elizabeth Jasper as a guest author; people are the focus of her genre-blending tales, characters are the guiding force of her stories, and her explorations into motivations and development are fascinating.
In addition to writing whenever she feels like it, she is also a reader, reviewer, gardener, and cook originally hailing from Durham, NE England, before moving to Southern England for 13 years, then finally answering the siren’s call of Spain’s warmth and sun with her husband 7 years ago. Family always comes first for her, and she makes several trips a year to visit relatives still in the UK.
When you’re not writing, what do you like to do?
On a day-to-day basis, I love to curl up on the sofa with my Kindle, I adore cooking just about anything and I enjoy spending time working in the garden. I’m happy to give most DIY a go, though I don’t like going up ladders of any description and I’m banned from using an electric drill, though I’m sure I could manage fine in an emergency (don’t tell my husband I said that).
What can you tell us about your latest book?
My second book, Meggie Blackthorn, has recently been published through Smashwords and Amazon as an e-book and will be available within the next month or two in paperback. Set in the early 1960s in Newcastle, N E England, it follows Meggie’s adventures as she is sent to live with her grandparents in the city. She makes new friends, starts a new school, uncovers long-hidden family secrets, finds herself in danger from the Codmother and her vile son, Billy Fish, and discovers talents she didn’t think she had.
Is it part of a larger series, and do you have other books available?
Meggie Blackthorn is the first in a short series in which Meggie learns how to deal with changing relationships, makes new friends, discovers boys, learns how to put her lipstick on straight and becomes a singer in a rock band.
My first book, Lying in Wait, is available as an e-book through Smashwords and Amazon and will be published in paperback at the end of 2011. Another book, ‘A Bed of Knives’, is in development and will be published in Spring 2012.
What styles of writing do you enjoy experimenting with?
When I began writing, I started by using an omniscient narrator but quickly realized this allowed me to stray into long descriptive passages and too much back story so I changed to using third person. I prefer to keep my writing style tight, with little embellishment in the form of adjectives or adverbs or long passages of flowery prose. Third person works well for me, especially as I like to write from more than one character’s POV in my stories. Meggie Blackthorn is my first attempt in writing in the first person. The linear storyline lent itself to writing in 1st person and I’ve enjoyed the experience.
Why do you write in multiple genres?
For me, my characters are the basis for all my stories and it is what happens to them–how they react in various situations–that frees me to cross multiple genres. For example, in Lying in Wait Mal, my MC , is a naive young man up from the country to Dublin, where he intends to make money to send to his impoverished family back home on the farm. His naivety allows him to be drawn into criminal activity and into a situation where he finds himself married to an older woman whose unborn child he later discovers cannot be his. This allowed me to incorporate a strong thriller element into the story. A second storyline deals with sexual infidelity, revenge, love and redemption, giving me the opportunity to add romance to the equation.
Do you think that authors occasionally get typecast into writing certain kinds of books?
Under the traditional publishing model where, if a writer had a big hit with a particular book, publishers would understandably want to capitalize on this by requiring the writer to produce more of the same, this has happened. I`ve recently read that John Grisham is sick of writing about lawyers. I haven`t read any of his books for years but he is a good writer and if he produced something out of his usual genre I would certainly be interested in reading it.
One of the advantages of being an Indie author publishing my own e-books as well as paperbacks is the freedom to be able to write exactly what I want without suffering from the constraints under which some traditionally published writers seem to work.
If you could describe your ‘voice’ as a writer, what would it be?
What a difficult question. My aim as a writer is to remain invisible to my readers and to let my characters` voices do the talking. Having said that, the words I use, the order in which I place them and the way I direct dialogue may indicate I`m the author, but I guess you would have to ask my readers whether or not I have a distinctive ‘voice’.
Is there an underlying theme or message in your books you’d like readers to grasp?
It may be a little old-fashioned, but I would rather write stories where good overcomes evil, where light defeats darkness and where love overrides hatred than delve into the darkest, most brutal aspects of humanity. I know it`s there, and I may sometimes choose read about, it but I don`t want to use my writing to emphasize that dark side. For that reason, I guess my stories are more mainstream than alternative, with endings that satisfy rather than leaving the reader with nothing but despair.
What kind of books do you like to read?
Just as I like to write across different genres, I read across many genres. I’m open-minded in my reading and the explosion of e-books available for download over the internet has led me to discover many new, thrilling writers I might otherwise have missed. I read mainly fiction and enjoy thrillers, literary fiction, romance, fantasy, historical and sci-fi, among others.
What inspires you to write? What motivates you?
Another tricky question. I write to entertain. I write in order to stretch myself as an individual by examining various aspects of humanity then putting my characters into situations where they learn about their own shortcomings and strengths. With a bit of luck, this will achieve my overall aim of entertaining my readers through believable characters placed in interesting situations. I’m not sure I have a ‘motive’ as such for writing, except it gives me great pleasure and I find it extremely satisfying to finish a book then discover other people have enjoyed reading it.
What would be your ideal writer’s retreat?
I’m lucky enough to live in a remote mountain village in Andalucia, southern Spain. It’s not difficult to write in such beautiful, peaceful surroundings. I cannot think of anywhere more perfect than home for me as a writer.
Where can readers connect with you?
Links to Elizabeth Jasper’s Books:
Lying in Wait: