Good morning, this is the first author interview of 2013. Yea!!! I found Jennifer on goodreads offering to do an interview with someone else & I asked if she would like to take a chance and grant me an interview; since she wasn’t scared off by past posts, she responded and is today’s interview.
1. Please tell me about your novel. Who or what was your inspiration behind it?
1. My novel, “Knight of the Purple Ribbon”, is based on the memoir of my ancestor Baron Christoph de Graffenried, who founded North Carolina’s second oldest town, New Bern, in 1710. The novel follows Christoph from his aristocratic beginnings in Switzerland, to his time at the glamorous British court, where he falls in love, to his experiences carving out a settlement for German and Swiss religious refugees in the wildness of colonial North Carolina. The novel is both adventurous and romantic. Christoph was also a key figure in events like Cary’s Rebellion and the Tuscarora War, which are also depicted in the novel.
2. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What was the biggest compliment? Did those change how or what you did in your next novel?
2. The biggest criticism I’ve had as an author was that I should focus more on details. I kept this in mind with “Knight of the Purple Ribbon”, particularly when re-creating visuals and atmosphere for 18th century Europe and the American colonies.
3. This or That – Chocolate or Vanilla?? Coffee or Tea?? TV or Movies??
3. Chocolate, Coffee, Movies
4. When you sit down to write, are you at a computer or do you do it, the ‘old fashioned’ way with pen and paper? Do you prefer one way or another?
4. When I do the write the first draft of a novel or short story, I have to write it in long hand. It just doesn’t feel natural to type it. I have gotten to the point where I can write my column and freelance articles on the computer without having to do a rough draft on paper first, but I think that’s because there’s less creativity involved.
5. Thinking back to when you first started writing, have you noticed any big changes to your writing style or how you write compared from then to now?
5. My writing style used to be about 90% dialogue. My short stories were more like screen or stage plays than prose. I still use a lot of dialogue, but I try to balance it with a prominent narrative.
6. What do you look for in a book when you sit down to read for fun?
6. I like to read books that are entertaining and that carry me away to another world. I think most people view reading as a form of escape, and I’m no different.
7. What has been your favorite part of being an author? What has been your least favorite?
7. It’s so much fun to be able to create your own world and put your fantasies down on paper, sharing them with others. The only thing I really dislike is editing. It’s just a lot of hard work and not really creative at all.
8. When you walk into a book store, where do you head first? Do you go to bookstores or have you gone viral for your reading pleasure?
8. As much as I love fiction, I usually go to the biography section first. It’s easier to find books I want to read in biographies because all I really have to know is, who the book’s about. With fiction it’s more complicated. I have to read the summary and even then, sometimes it’s hard to know.
9. Did you get to quit your ‘day job’ and become an author, or do you have a ‘day job’ and writing is something you do for fun?
9. For a long time I just wrote part-time while I was working in retail. Now, since I’m able to make more money with my freelance articles and column on Examiner.com, I’m trying to write full-time. It’s not easy. My income fluctuates, so I’m just doing it on a trial basis right now.
10. What has been the strangest thing a reader has asked you?
10. One time I wrote a story about a woman who was married to crazy a doctor who burned down their house and drugged her to keep her from talking to police, and someone asked me if it was based on my own personal experience.
11. What is your favorite junk food vice?
11. My only real junk food vice is frappuccinos from Starbucks. But I like them extra sweet, so I actually mix in raw sugar and put it in the freezer for a while.
12. If you could step into the shoes of your protagonist for one day, would you? What would you like to experience or see during that day?
12. I would, if I could pick the day. I wouldn’t want to be a prisoner in an Indian village or construct a town in the middle of the wilderness, as exciting as it may sound. I would like to see firsthand what it was like at Queen Anne’s 18th century British court, or at Worb Castle in Switzerland.
13. Did you have any teacher(s) in high school or college that encouraged you to write? Did you take their advice?
13. I had a journalism professor in college who was very encouraging. She said I wrote the best obituary she ever saw. I took it as a compliment.
14. What type of cool/cold weather treat could we find your indulging in on a typical day or weekend?
14. When it’s cold, I like to warm up with a steaming hot cappuccino.
15. We all have our little ‘things’ when it comes to reading or writing; is their anything that bugs you when you read a novel?
15. I don’t like it when an author weighs a story down with a lot of extraneous information. I find myself just wanting them to get to the point.
16. What do you listen to when you write?? Do you need quiet or do you find inspiration in music??
16. I love music and find a lot of inspiration in it. The kind of music I listen to when I write depends on what I’m writing. When I was writing “Knight of the Purple Ribbon”, I listened to the song “Viva La Vida” by Coldplay every day because the lyrics reminded me so much of what Christoph went through, and the music is very dramatic. I keep thinking if the novel was made into a film, it would be great to have a flashback montage set to “Viva la Vida”.
17. On a typical Friday evening, what can we find you doing? Who are you with?
17. If I’m not working, I’ll see a movie or go to an art museum.
18. If we took a peek in your purse or bag right now, what might we find?
18. Mostly typical things like money, cosmetics, coupons, but I also keep a stash of individually wrapped plastic spoons used to eat the whipped cream off frappuccinos because my local Starbucks doesn’t have disposable spoons.
19. What prompted your desire to write?
19. Probably reading “Gone with the Wind” when I was 13. That’s when I fell in love with reading.
20. What are you currently reading??
20. I’m reading “The Kingmaker’s Daughter” by Philippa Gregory, who is one of my favorite authors. It’s great so far.
21. What 4 words would you use to describe yourself?
21. Creative, sensitive, strong-willed and eccentric.
22. Is their anything else you would like to share or say to those who will read this?
22. I hope readers will give “Knight of the Purple Ribbon” a chance. A preview is available on Amazon. I truly believe in the book, which is why I worked so hard on it and why I’m trying so hard to get the word out.
“Knight of the Purple Ribbon” paperback
“Knight of the Purple Ribbon” kindle