A huge welcome to A Cup of Conversation with author Rebekah Lee Jenkins, Becky to her friends, who shares many insights into her wonderful writing journey, including her next novel ‘Prosecuting Priscilla’ and how she loses herself in times gone by and a Gin and Tonic keeps her company as she writes! Thank you for joining us!
Hey Soulla, thank you so much for inviting me to be part of a cup of conversation. This is super!!
1. When did you start writing creatively?
I started writing creatively as soon as I learned how to read and write. I remember my first story was completed in Grade 4. I wish I could remember what it was about!
2. Which author has most influenced your own writing style?
The author that most influenced my own writing style? I think Fanny Flagg honestly. I love her writing, she writes about small town Americana and if someone compared me to her as the Canadian equivalent or wanna be is more like it! I would die a thousand deaths. She is fantastic. I also loved Lucy Maude Montgomery and Laura Ingall’s Wilder because I am a Canadian I read Lucy Maude Montgomery endlessly. I still read Rilla of Ingleside often. Also, Nelly McClung. If you haven’t read her you must. She was a suffragette and wrote extensively. She was from rural prairie Canada.
3. Are any of the characters in your novel/s based on yourself?
In The Night They Came For Til, I am most like Til. I hate to admit it. She is me with no filter. Also, I don’t have kids so I wrote this book for my 15 year old niece. So the relationship between Til and Shannon really reflects the relationship I have with Azelin my niece. Just like Til, I want the best for her, I want her to know her worth, not because of what a man or men commend in her but because of what she has accomplished. I want her to know; some women will propel you forward and some will destroy you. Know how to recognize those women. Don’t cater to them. I spent 22 years as a hairstylist and I have had the great privilege of knowing many amazing women. Pieces of them are made up in Mrs. Bennett and Mrs. Holt, Mrs. Rood. I was happy to give them a fictional forum. Til’s message to Shannon is a strong one. Create your own life. Ada’s message was “Know your own worth.” Both messages combine into one: Chart your own course, be true to yourself.
4. What are you working on at the moment/what’s next?
Currently, I have 20,000 words of the prequel to The Night They Came For Til. The book is called “Prosecuting Priscilla.” No rights under Canadian law? Be clever. I feature Canada’s first female lawyer and how she helps two women navigate divorce in Canada in 1902. How they handle having no legal rights in Canada and in court. I am super thrilled to write this. Til was a gynaecologist, unheard of for her time, Clara Cady. My take on the first woman lawyer in Canada. I love featuring women who do not let circumstance define them, they define themselves.
5. Where do you write and do you have a writing routine?
I write in my office that looks at a police station. Lots to see when I need to day dream out the window!! I love writing at about 6 am-11 am. I can’t really function mentally after 6 pm so it has to be in that window. Summer has thrown my whole routine out of whack. I try to keep Wednesdays sacred for writing.
6. What’s your favourtite go-to snack when writing?
Favorite snack? Gin and tonic. I never touched the stuff until I started writing Til and she demands the odd gin and tonic. She’s hard to live with. Coffee in the morning obviously. I don’t eat when I write. I forget the time. Often I start really early and I am feeling sick I look up I’ve been writing for 4 hours straight and forgot to eat.I also forget the year I live in. This is tricky. I was planning a scene in my head while I was on the way to Winnipeg and I stopped to pick up a sub at subway. A man in front of me in line started swearing into his phone. I looked at him shocked. Completely shocked that a man would swear in front of a woman. He looked back at me and kind of seemed chastised. He actually apologized! In my head it was 1904. I was in writing mode and not living in reality at all. I’m not sure if this happens to anyone else. I almost get into character when I write. It’s super hard to explain.
Something that is very consistent. I always wear the same brown sweater. I think because I write so early and it’s always a little chilly that time of day in Canada. My sister threatens to burn it because it is so ugly.
7. Is there any aspect of the writer’s life you least enjoy and why?
The writer’s life I least enjoy?? I had a hard time finding a proof reader and dealing with proof reading was a nightmare. Other than that. I love every single piece of being a writer. If there an aspect I don’t like I don’t do it. I hate face book so I do very little there. I do tones ofIinstagram because I love Instagram.
Anyway. I have a hard time with grammar and punctuation so I always hope the people I hire will fix everything and not roll their eyes. (By the way, check this document for punctuation!)
8. Sum up your most recent novel in 6 words.
Women empowerment in 1904
9. Are you a planner or a pantser?
First novel I was a pantser. It took 6 years to write. I did the research last, had to re write scads of it. This novel I am a total planner. Did endless research first. Drafted outlines. Adeline Pitman showed up unannounced. Didn’t plan for her, she’s taking over the entire book. Just like Til did. I have control over the plot but the characters take over and I try to keep up with them.
10. What’s on your current to-do list?
My current to do list is to go the the museum I wrote about and create a display of my research and set up my books for sale there. Hillcrest Museum is the visual of my brand. The man who was the architect was a stage coach driver who taught himself to be an architect in 1900. Kind of like a hairstylist who dared to be an author. Love that message. Circumstances don’t define you. We define ourselves
Facebook: Rebekah Lee Jenkins Author
Amazon links to bookshttps://www.amazon.com/dp/B072P1C1NC
Welcome to my blog post on general questions and areas to focus on to kick-start discussion after reading my novels (or any novel for that matter) although I’m sure you will have plenty of your own too!
- How did you experience the book? Were you engaged immediately, or did it take you a while to “get into it”? How did you feel reading it—amused, sad, disturbed, confused, anxious, excited…?
- Describe the main characters—personality traits, motivations, and inner qualities.
Why do the characters do what they do?
• Are their actions justified?
• Describe the dynamics between the different characters (in a marriage, family, or friendship).
• How has the past shaped their lives?
• Do you admire or disapprove of them?
• Do they remind you of people you know?
- Are the main characters dynamic—changing or maturing by the end of the book? Do they learn about themselves, how the world works and their role in it?
- Discuss the plot:
Is it engaging—do you find the story interesting?
• Is this a plot-driven book—a fast-paced page-turner?
• Does the plot unfold slowly with a focus on character?
• Were you surprised by complications, twists & turns?
• Did you find the plot predictable, even formulaic?
- Talk about the book’s structure.
Is it a continuous story…or interlocking short stories?
• Does the time-line move forward chronologically?
• Does time shift back & forth from past to present?
• Is there a single viewpoint or shifting viewpoints?
• Why might the author have chosen to tell the story
the way he or she did?
• What difference does the structure make in the way
you read or understand the book?
- What main ideas—themes—does the author explore? (Consider the title, often a clue to a theme.) Does the author use symbolsto reinforce the main ideas?
- What passages strike you as insightful, even profound? Perhaps a bit of dialog that’s funny or poignant or that encapsulates a character? Maybe there’s a particular comment that states the book’s thematic concerns?
- Is the ending satisfying? If so, why? If not, why not…and how would you change it?
- If you could ask the author a question, what would you ask? Have you read other books by the same author? If so how does this book compare. If not, does this book inspire you to read others?
- Has this novel changed you—broadened your perspective? Have you learned something new or been exposed to different ideas about people or a certain part of the world?
With thanks to LitLovers for permission to use this fabulous list of questions!
Hi! Welcome and welcome back if this is not your first visit to the blog series Writers’ Favourite Writing Quotes.
The response to the series has been fantabulous (one of my many made-up words) and I am so happy so many of you are reading the blog and visiting my website too!
In Part 2 of the series I have some fantastic quotes from three author friends whose quotes are quite fascinating and really inspiring.
So without further ado let’s catch up with Diana, C.C. and Frank to see how quotes have inspired their writing and creative journeys. Enjoy!
Diana Tyler’s chosen quote is:
“Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part
of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t
cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve
got.” Steven Pressfield
Diana says: I love it because it is a powerful weapon against the foe Mr. Pressfield calls Resistance. Resistance, in a nutshell, is the intangible force that often manifests as self-doubt, fear, and inadequacy. Whenever I sense one of those toxic feelings creeping into my psyche, I remember that quote and am reminded that someone out there needs the story that Resistance fights to keep buried and unwritten.
My unique imagination, ideas, experiences, worldview, voice, and writing style are tools designed to work together to create beauty and deliver hope and light to my readers. When I take my focus off myself and the negative thoughts that have seized me and redirect them to the faceless readers I know could be inspired or encouraged by my fiction, the cloud of Resistance dissipates and the words proceed to flow.
To give into Resistance’s lies would be to deprive the world of an incredible, one-of-a-kind gift, the gift of our stories and the ineffable magic that dwells inside them. We must always reject any thought of inferiority, hopelessness, self-pity and comparison the moment they surface and immediately remind ourselves that writing is not only a blessing and escape for us as artists to enjoy, but for others to enjoy as well.
The harder Resistance pushes against us, the more we should be encouraged that there are hungry readers waiting to get lost in and be touched by our work. So keep working. No matter what.
Currently working on: the third book in The Orchid Series (book one, Armor for Orchids, was published earlier this year). Additionally, I’m editing book two in that series, as well as books two and three in my upcoming fantasy trilogy, The Petros Chronicles.
If you would like to know more about Diana these are her LINKS:
C.C. Hogan’s chosen quote is:
“Extraordinary how potent cheap music is.”
C.C. says: I am far from the most literate writer or the most worldly-wise, to corrupt another saying, but to me the most important part of writing is not the writing itself; it is the storytelling. Cheap music, whether that is a silly song or advertising jingle perhaps, is potent simply because it does not pretend to be something it isn’t. It is the portrayal of an idea in a simple, straightforward manner that taps into how all human beings work. We really are far less complex than some of us like to pretend. This is probably why the best storytellers were the bards that told and acted out a simple story to the delight of their audience. We would do well to remember them and imitate them and perhaps spend a little less time trying to be somehow ‘great’.
Currently working on: Writing a book that is a spin off from Dirt series two – called provisionally The Dragon and his Rider. Recording the audio book versions of Dirt and The Stink. Planning out a new series for younger teens about a girl who moves to the Moon. Ummm … and a few other bits!
If you would like to know more about C.C. these are his LINKS:
Frank Regan’s chosen quote is:
“I meet far too many people who are going to be writers ‘someday.’ When they are out of high school, when they’ve finished college, after the wedding, when the kids are older, after they retire. That is such a trap You will never have any more free time than you do right now. So, whether you are 12 or 70, you should sit down today and start being a writer if that is what you want to do. You might have to write in a notebook while your kids are playing on the swings or write in your car on your coffee break. That’s okay. I think we’ve all ‘been there, done that.’ It all starts with the writing.”
― Robin Hobb
Frank says: This quote by Robin Hobb is probably my favourite because for years I put off starting writing until I got my life ‘sorted’. I thought this meant getting a proper job and trying to behave like a grown-up. The reality for me though was I needed to make time for writing, even if it is just grabbing fifteen minutes with my notebook while I drink a coffee. The mere act of creating something leaves me far more ‘sorted’ than all the pretence of being a grown-up ever has.
Currently working on: I am currently putting the final touches to Wreckage a poetry collection and am half way through a draft of a Fantasy Adventure novel provisionally titled Watchers in the Dark.
If you would like to know more about Frank these are his LINKS:
Thank you for taking the time to read through this blog post! I hope that you will come by and visit again soon. And if you have a favourite quote and would like to be featured in the series please contact me, I’d love to hear from you!
Until next time, happy writing, happy reading, happy you!
💜 Sitting here
Thoughts going round and round
I think I’ve lost a part of me
And I don’t want to be found
Once you were here
Real and true
Now I turn round and you’ve gone
I feel like we’re through.
I smile through my tears
Remembering your smile
The sparkle in your eyes
As you took away my fears
The gentlest of touches
A stroke of my hand
You reached in and
Stole my heart
A few snatched hours
The lightest of conversations
The deepest of thoughts
We connected as one, me and you
Darkness enveloped me
Not threatening or cold
As you lay down with me
Loved me, reached into my soul
Now you’ve disappeared
I don’t know how long for
Will I see you again or
Will you always be gone?💜
#POEMSC a Poem by Soulla Christodoulou