Our first feature of the New Year is children’s author, Christy Jones. Her book “Trinka and the Thousand Talismans” released in October. Let’s read about her writing process.
1. Tell us about yourself. May include links to Facebook, twitter, blogs, websites, Amazon author page)
I’m the play-at-home mom of two delightful little readers, and also enjoy reading with my awesome husband. I work out by picking up 20 pounds of picture books at the library on a regular basis, and by walking and hiking through the gorgeous Pacific Northwest. My middle-grade fantasy novel, “Trinka and the Thousand Talismans,” debuted in October 2014.
Amazon author: http://www.amazon.com/author/joneschristy
2. How do you choose names for your characters?
First, I consider the sound. I love the playful notes of “Trinka” and the way it sounds similar to “trinket,” which is appropriate considering all the strange objects she collects on her journey. The meaning also plays an important role. For example, Trinka’s grandmother’s name is “Elora,” which means “light,” and her sister Annelise’s name means “gentle light.” So, her sister is named after her grandmother. Trinka’s dad’s name, Bram, is more obvious—it’s simply Dutch for “father.”
3. Do you talk about your book/characters as though they are real?
Only when talking to myself (which happens often!).
4. Do you listen to music when you write or edit? What kind?
I need to hear the sounds of the words as I’m writing, so I save music for when I’m driving or doodling. Plumb, Kutless, and Eden’s Bridge are all likely to be in my playlist, but occasionally I’ll go for classical symphonies and ballets, or the “classic” music of the 50s and 60s.
5. How long have you been writing?
First grade is the time I truly remember writing and illustrating my own books, and it’s been a passion of mine ever since. Since the advent of typing my stories and not relying on my own handwriting, the output’s appearance has improved considerably. (I like to think the plots have too.)
6. Tell us about when you realized you were ‘meant to be’ a writer.
I wrote a series of four fantasy “epics” (2000 words each, which seemed enormous at the time) as a sixth grader, and was chosen to represent my class at a writer’s workshop. I think I realized then that writing is something I really wanted to pursue and continue to grow in.
7. Do you have a muse?
My family’s love an unfailing support helps me a lot, as does the joy of reading aloud to my children. I hope someday someone will enjoy reading my books to their children.
8. How do you improve as a writer? (Workshops, conferences, reading)
Practice helps more than anything. It was an epiphany for me a number of years ago watching Michelle Kwan ice skate, and thinking of the countless of hours of practice she put in. The performance may only last minutes, but it’s only possible because of years of work behind it.
9. Writing quirks or superstitions?
“Trinka and the Thousand Talismans” has quite a number of quirky creatures, most of them inspired by my love of sewing dolls and puppets. Now that the book is complete, I’ve been able to bring that full circle and design free sewing patterns inspired by characters in the book, which you can find on my website http://www.puppetpub.com.
10. Tell us about your current work-in-progress.
At the moment, I feel like a kid who just built a huge block tower and now gets the fun of knocking it down, because I’m slowly working on the sequel to “Trinka and the Thousand Talismans.” So many things that got set up in the first book will come into play in the second. The world and characters are so deep that there’s so much material for a second story. With two little ones at home, my writing time is very limited, so I’m learning to write in snatches whenever and wherever I can.
11. What book are you reading now?
My husband Peter and I are reading Stephen Lawhead’s “The Fatal Tree,” and we’re reading our children “The Magician’s Nephew” by C.S. Lewis. I love when they beg for “just one more chapter,” but we have to build suspense (and stick to some sort of bedtime schedule).
12. What genre do you write in? What about POV?
Children’s books with a sense of joy and whimsy, whether for young children or teens, are my favorite. But I hope to write some adult novels someday, too. I really love reading books where you get totally into the mind of one main character, so that’s what I like to write as well.
13. Tell us about writing preparation. Character Profiles? Outlines?
Usually I just have a laundry list of notes, scrawled on various surfaces. I’m trying to get better about outlining
14. Do you know how your stories will end?
Not at first! I think I just figured out how Trinka’s sequel will end, after writing the first four chapters. Even though I have a lot more details to figure out, I’m excited for the whole journey.
15. Do you books have a message or theme? Or are they purely for entertainment?
Trinka’s story is really about things working out in unexpected ways. By the end, she realizes that if things had gone “right,” she would have missed out on an incredible journey.
16. Do you have any favorite snacks or drinks that you eat/drink while writing?
No, but I’ll be handing out chocolate at my first book signing…
17. Tell us about your other passions.
I’m homeschooling my children for kindergarten this year, and it’s a lot of fun. I feel blessed to be right here with them everyday, sharing the joy of reading, creating, and learning. I also enjoy volunteering with children, and teach a Bible class for preschoolers and toddlers.
18. What’s something interesting about you?
While the other students in my technical writing degree program were working on hardware and software instructions, I wrote and self-published a book on how to make puppet costumes. I entered it in a technical writing competition just to get feedback, and won Best of Show.
19. Share a small sample(limit to one paragraph, please) of your writing… can be a WIP or already published.
The opening line of Trinka and the Thousand Talismans: “In the tallest glass tower, in the lowest classroom, all of the students were carefully filling glass jars with clouds full of thoughts. Except one.”
20. Anything you’d like to say to your current and future readers?
Thank you for taking the time to read my writing! I hope it brings you joy.