Martha Jette [teeka1234]
What did you first read? How did you begin to write? Who were the first to read what you wrote?
I was an orphan up until I was 8 years old, when I was adopted by a wonderful family who provided me with lots to read. Among them, I enjoyed the many Nancy Drew tales.
I did not begin to write until I took a Print Journalism course at St. Clair College in Windsor, Ontario, Canada when I was 33. I found that I had a knack for interviewing as well as creating stories from what I was told. The first to read my writing were my journalism teachers. I passed the three-year course with the Dean's Award for top of my class.
What is your favorite genre? Can you provide a link to a site where we can read some of your work or learn something about it?
My favorite genre is anything to do with the paranormal, from real ghosts and hauntings, to fictional stories that include a paranormal aspect. To see what I have written in the field of the paranormal, please visit: http://www.freewebs.com/paranormalbooks.
What is your creative process like? What happens before sitting down to write?
I like to write first thing in the morning while my mind is open and fresh. If I run into a block, I lie down and meditate for about 20 minutes or so. This brings me not only relaxation but usually new insights as well.
What type of reading inspires you to write?
True stories of abuse or injustice prompt me to want to write on such subjects. For example, I wrote Playing With The Devil after reading about the main character in my book. Today, I still hope this man achieves justice for what was done to him and to his siblings when they were children.
What do you think are the basic ingredients of a story?
There are many ingredients that go into a good story. First of all, the characters must be well defined, likable or not. The reader must be able to not only picture the character, but also understand the characters likes, dislikes, personality and so on.
As well, a writer must consider the plot line, which should include several sub-plots to keep the story interesting. Along the plot line, the writer needs to know when to give out what information. Giving a story away too soon spoils it for the reader.
I have written a paranormal murder mystery called Blood Vengeance: (Cold Case #4-183) Not of this World, which really stretched my creative abilities. This book includes many elements that I was not really familiar with, so I had to learn about them. For example, there are a few crime scenes and a steamy love scene that I had to learn to write properly.
Other elements that writers might overlook include what the weather is like and how does the scene actually look? Is it morning or evening? Is is sunny or raining? Warm or cold? What type of trees or flowers grow in the area where the story takes place?
As you can see, there are many things a writer must take into account and many of them require research beforehand.
What well known writers do you admire most?
I really like Erma Bombeck (If Life is a Bowl of Cherries, When You Look like your Passport Photo), Margaret Atwood (Morning in the Burned House, The Journals of Susanna Moodie), William J. Thomas (Margaret and Me) and David Suzuki (Metamorphosis). However, I also very much enjoy anything by James Redfield, Stephen Spielberg, Erich Von Daniken, Sylvia Browne, John Edwards and James Van Praagh.
What is required for a character to be believable? How do you create yours?
For a character to be believable, it is important to write a profile on that character and any others in your book before you begin to write your story. I covered this a bit before, but the reader must know as much as possible about the character including likes, dislikes, personality traits, habits and so on. Make a complete outline ahead of time and then filter in this very important information through descriptions and more importantly, through conversations where the character can show his or her true colors.
Are you equally good at telling stories orally?
I'm afraid I am not good at verbally telling stories. I think that's why I enjoy writing so much! However, I can talk about my beliefs and experiences when it comes to the paranormal.
Deep down inside, who do you write for?
This is a question that depends upon what I'm writing. If it is a true story about a person's difficulties, I write it for the person in the hopes that something will be done to help them. An example is Playing With The Devil (http://www.angelfire.com/planet/pwtd).
If I write fiction, I find it is an amazing process that I enjoy and hope that my readers will equally enjoy the results. (http://www.magicspectacles.bravehost.com)
If I write true paranormal stories, my motivation is primarily with the hope of making topics such as spirits, ghostly encounters, past lives, reincarnation, angels, ESP, premonitions and the like more acceptable topics for discussion, particularly in the mainstream media. I find most people are afraid at first, to share their stories and it takes some convincing on my part. It shouldn't be that way.
Is writing a form of personal therapy? Are internal conflicts a creative force?
I don't know if writing is a personal therapy. However, when I am deep into it, I do forget about my health problems, so I guess that qualifies~
As to internal conflicts, my writing on paranormal topics requires a great deal of research and I think this has helped solidify my own views on life, death and everything in between.
Does reader feed-back help you?
It's always nice to receive good feedback on one's writing. However, it is not something that I crave.
Do you share rough drafts of your writings with someone whose opinion you trust?
The only time I share a rough draft was while writing Blood Vengeance, which I mentioned earlier. My one daughter enjoys reading romance novels, so I asked her advice on how to write the steamy love scene. Thanks to her, it turned out quite well.
Do you believe you have already found "your voice" or is that something one is always searching for?
I'm not sure about this because my interests vary. I am not 'stuck' in one particular genre of writing.
What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.?
It is important to set goals for oneself when writing. When I'm writing a novel, I will dedicate several hours a day to it. I also write down an expected completion date. Since I worked so many years as a journalist, working to a deadline works best for me.
What do you surround yourself with in your work area in order to help your concentrate?
Since I live alone, it is easy for me to find that quiet place to write. I know others may find this much more difficult.
Do you write on a computer? Do you print frequently? Do you correct on paper? What is your process?
I type only on the computer - saving often! I learned the hard way about not saving often enough.
When I wrote my large collection of paranormal stories - Glimpses - True Stories of the Paranormal & Glimpses 2: (it could happen to you!) - I kept and still have all of the files for each person who gave me their story. The files include their story printed out, their personal info, a head shot and any correspondence I had with the person.
For my fiction works, I had pages of information I wrote beforehand on characters, scenes, plots and so on. From those, I just proceeded to write, write, write!
What sites do you frequent on-line to share experiences or information?
Wow, this is a huge question. Due to my interest in the paranormal, I have joined many, many sites and groups. Though the books are done, I still put out a monthly newsletter called Glimpses of the Paranormal, so I actively seek new and interesting true stories and often find people through those sites and groups.
I also belong to a host of writing sites, including Gather.com, Helium, Worldwide Freelance Writers, Scribe & Quill, ArticlesBase, Triond, Urbis, IZEA and Associated Content.
As well, I have created a new site specifically for writers over 50 called Boomers Write, where folks can share their stories, articles and photos. http://www.boomers-write.com
What has been your experience with publishers?
Interesting question. For the most part, it has been very positive. I do remember though that the binding on my very first book was absolutely terrible. The pages quite literally just fell apart, so I demanded that the books be replaced.
What are you working on now?
I'm taking a bit of a breather right now, although I still do some professional editing for other writers, as well as write book reviews, which I post on my blog at: http://www.mjbookreviews.blogspot.com.
I am also more actively interested in the Boomers Write site right now.
However, one never knows when the next writing allenge will come along and I do look forward to it.
What do you recommend I do with all those things I wrote years ago but have never been able to bring myself to show anyone?
Hahaha! Well, if you're going to show someone, make sure it is someone who cares about you and loves you unconditionally. But before you do, get tough and prepare to take some constructive criticism without melting into a puddle of tears. We all have to learn the craft in order to be good at it and that includes taking rough critiques sometimes.
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada