Author Interview – Corinne Desjardins

Recently, I posted a Call to Writers, asking my fellow author bloggers to allow me to interview them for guest-spots on my blog.  (If you are interested in participating, please contact me.)  I asked everyone thirty-five questions, some were basic, and others were multi-part inquiries, and I asked them to answer only what they wanted to or what was applicable. My friend and fellow-blogger, Corinne Desjardins, had some very captivating responses which I’m sure will delight you, as well.  After you read her interview, please be sure to hop on over to her blog and follow her for a regular dose of her charm.  And now, heeeeere’s Corinne…

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ABOUT YOU::

1.Please tell us your name (or pen name) and a little bit about yourself:

Corinne Desjardins – writer, mother, chocolate lover.

2.    Please provide the link to your blog (and website, Facebook fan page, Twitter, etc.):

www.corinnedesjardins.wordpress.com

https://twitter.com/CorinnesGarden

3 .How many books have you written?

One. Two on the way.

4.     Has any of your work been published yet?  If so, please share the link(s) to purchase it:

http://goo.gl/dDLpqn

http://www.amazon.com/Persephone-Me-Corinne-Desjardins/dp/1494434644/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1401842350&sr=8-1&keywords=persephone+%26+me

5. If you have been published, did you self-publish or use traditional publishing?  Why?  If you have not been published yet, what are your plans for the future?

I self-published this as it was my first book, and I wanted to test the waters. This is such an exciting time for writers.

6. How old were you when you started writing?  When did you know you wanted to be an author?

I have always written, mostly journals and letters, but some short stories. I realized I tended to write more poetry during certain key transitions in my life, and then I decided to put them together.  I had one unpublished collection that I had assembled while in college, so I knew I could do it.  It was for personal achievement and sharing with friends.  It didn’t even occur to me to seek publication at that time.

7. What would you say motivates you to keep writing?

A lot of it is getting to the truth.  Personal self-discovery.  But also, I feel an obligation to share stories and by demonstration, hope to inspire others to discover and share their own stories.  Finally, I write hoping that my own children discover this magic.

8. Who are some of your favorite authors?  What are you currently reading (or what is the last book you read)? 

Jane Austen, J.K. Rowling, and Amy Tan.  The last book I read was “The Miracles of Santo Fico” by D.L. Smith.

9. What is your preferred reading method?  (i.e., Kindle, Nook, paperback, hardback, etc.)  Why?

I do prefer the feel of a printed, bound book.  But that is not always practical, so I often read using the Kindle app on my tablet or phone.  I have a 1st generation Kindle, too.  I have two kids and they often want to use one of my devices, and then I can continue reading where I left off, using another device.

10. Do you write in first or third person, past or present tense, and why?

I like to write in the first person present tense.  I like to experience the unfolding of the story, and I think that helps the readers, too.

11. Do you “always read” or do you take breaks between reading books? 

I take breaks, and then I binge read.  Actually, I do the same with writing.

12. How many books would you say you read in a year?  How many at any one time?

I read 15 books a year.  I consult a lot more, for research.  A lot of the books I read are daily-inspiration, devotional or activity-related, so they are not meant to be read straight through.

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ABOUT YOUR CURRENT BOOK::

13. What is the title of your current work in progress of the most recent manuscript you’ve completed?

My recent published book is “Persephone & Me”  It is the poetry of my own life-journey.

14. What is your novel’s genre?  Would you say there is a sub-genre?  What makes yours different than other books in the same genre?

Technically, the genre is Women’s Poetry.  But there are elements of myth, as well as the supernatural.

15. What inspired the current or most recent story you’ve completed?

I have always had a special interest in the story of Persephone. I recognized her archetype within characters of modern stories.  Then one day, I saw her constellation of characters in my own family.

16. What is your target audience’s age, gender, etc.?

Because it covers the journey of girl to woman, I hope that it appeals to girls & women on all stages of the journey.  I think teens and twenty-somethings will relate to my “black” stage, just as thirty-somethings and mothers will relate to my “white” stage.

17. Do you want to tell us a little bit about your story?

I was always fascinated by a certain archetype, soon I realized her name was Persephone.  Then I became quite haunted by her, she seemed to be everywhere.  I realized I was not only obsessed, I was becoming her.  Finally, I started to see what I could learn from her.

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ABOUT HOW YOU WRITE::

18. How often do you write?

I try to write every day.

19. Approximately how many words do you write at each sitting?

I strive for 750 words a day, over multiple sittings during the day.

20. Do you do your own editing or send it to someone else?

I review my own work, then I work with a writing coach, then I have another trusted editor.

21. What is your method of writing?  (i.e., Do you write the entire manuscript, then go back and make changes?  Do you plan chapters as you go along or write the story then go back and add chapters?  Do you re-read as you go along or after you are done with the first draft?)

For this collection I wrote the pieces with the theme.  After I had collected a bunch, a structure became clear, and so then I went back and added more poems where necessary.

I have also started a novel without an outline, and started two with detailed outlines (chapter/scene lists).  I set aside the one without an outline, and let the plot come to me over a few years.  I have an idea for that one, but since I’ve developed detailed outlines for these next two, I feel completed to finish them first.

22. Do you have a muse?  If so, please elaborate. If not, what inspires you?

Sometimes I have a bad day or something awful happens, but I’ve learned that I can turn that into writing energy.    Also, music inspires me.

23. How long does it take you to write a full manuscript?

With an outline, I think it’s a few months for the first draft.  I also have a full-time day job and raise two children and a husband.

24. Do you give yourself a word limit for each day or a time limit to finish your novel?  If so, please elaborate.

I have a personal goal of publication by like my birthday, for instance.

25. How do you come up with your character names and geographic location / business names?

My next two novels are taking place around the area in which I live.  I work very hard on character names.  I researched popular names around the years my characters were born.  I like the music of certain sounds together.  And I have to make sure these names weren’t used before in fiction.  I had a great character name that I liked very much, turned out it was used previously in Star Trek.  Next.

26. How long (or how detailed) are the notes you take before you start writing?

I have collage journals including clippings, images, art, etc.  I love to play with visual imagery.

27. Do you have any “must haves” to help you write?  (i.e., a full cup of coffee, a view of the ocean, etc.) 

I like music and good lighting, but I can deal with whatever.

28. Do you only write during a certain time of day or in a certain location?  If so, do you make yourself stop after a certain time?

I mostly write on my tablet.  At home, at a coffee shop or restaurant (I like to go to nice restaurants by myself and bring my tablet!) and there’s a quiet corner conference room with windows at my work, I love to write there.

29. Does your real life ever neglected because of your writing?  If so, how do you feel about that?

Yes.  Sometimes I have to give up watching TV shows with my husband at night because I’m writing.  It is hard to achieve that balance between “normal” life and writing life.  Fortunately writing does not seem to interfere with raising my children.  Actually, since I always have my tablet or smartphone with me, I can write during their activities while I’m waiting in the dance studio lobby, on a lawn chair at the soccer field, etc.

30. What is the quirkiest thing you do or have ever done when writing?

Sometimes I have conversations with my characters in my mind.  I’ve blogged about this.  Also once I realized that one of my characters is not only smarter than I am, she’s also a way better dresser than I am.  So I went shopping and bought clothes that I thought she would wear.  I still wonder what else I may learn from her.

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ABOUT YOUR WORK::

31. If you could be one of your own characters for a day, who would it be and why?

I would be Christine Delacour, because she gets a juicy affair.

32. If one of your books became a movie, who would you choose for the “perfect cast” of main characters? 

Alan Rickman and Winona Ryder.

33. What is the oddest thing you have ever researched for one of your books?

I researched mid-life crises for men in order to get to know one of my characters better. It made me actually kinda feel sorry for him.

34. What is the most difficult thing you have ever researched for one your books and why?

I researched a bunch of true stories of mothers raising children with special needs.  It was heartbreaking.  It reaffirmed how fortunate my family is.  There are so many families with challenges that are greater than ours. But still it is important to write about these challenges, because we can learn from each other and know a little about what it feels like to be in their shoes.  And hopefully my writing will inspire somebody else to write about their story, and so on.

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Thank you, Carinne, for allowing me to interview you.  I hope everyone else has enjoyed learning about you and your work as much as I have.

~Rachel

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I Hope You Enjoyed the Ride

Well, friends, this officially concludes our “True Funny Stories” theme of the month.  I hope you enjoyed my tales.  If you have any ideas for any upcoming monthly themes that you’d like to see me write, please feel free to let me know.  I’m always open to suggestions.  🙂

Have an awesome weekend, friends!

Who Nose What Will Happen in the Air?

Uncle Charlie & Me

I was going to Boston to meet my sister, Sarah, for the very first time.  I didn’t know Sarah was my sister until I was eleven years old.  She grew up on the West Coast, but went to Boston for college, and I was dying to meet her.  Uncle Charlie (who already knew her) offered to go with me, and I was grateful for his company.

Uncle Charlie is just the kind of guy that makes you laugh every time you see him.  He has a positive attitude that’s contagious, and he’s not afraid to be silly.  Anyway, as Charlie and I boarded the plane, we looked for our seats. Row 16, Seats A and B.

I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed before, but when you get on a plane, the seats do NOT go ABC-DEF. They go FED-CBA.  So if you’re standing at the back of the plane, you can read the seat numbers from left to right.  At any rate, if you didn’t already know that, don’t feel bad.  We didn’t know it either.

Uncle Charlie and I walked right to Row 16 and plopped down on the left side of the aisle.  We were happily discussing our trip and how I felt about meeting Sarah when all of a sudden a very Rude Lady scowled as she stood with her hands on her hips and said, “Excuse me!  Get up!  You’re in my seat!”

Uncle Charlie and I looked at each other then burst out laughing which only made the lady angrier.  “No, we’re not,” we replied, then we resumed talking.

She huffed loudly.  “Get out of my seat!”

Uncle Charlie and I got a little rambunctious and told her she needed to go to a remedial math class and learn how to count, and we said we’d thank her to stop being so rude.

Well, Mrs. Rudy McRudenheimer (which is what I call rude people) went away, and a few minutes later, she returned with a stewardess (or flight attendant or whatever they’re called these days) who asked to see our tickets.  Yup, sure enough, Uncle Charlie and I were on the wrong side of the aisle!

Bwaaahaahaaa!  It gets even better.

So, we moved to the other side of the aisle, and the lady who was seated there laughed hysterically at our situation and playfully told us that perhaps we needed to take a remedial alphabet class.  Her sense of humor was great, and we were happy to have her as our seat companion.  We started talking, and she was headed to Boston to see her son run in the Boston Marathon.  Mrs. Rudy McRudenheimer  kept scowling across the aisle at us because the three of us were laughing so much, and the plane hadn’t even taken off yet!

Finally, I reached into my bag and found my disguise nose glasses that Uncle Charlie and I were going to wear off the plane to surprise Sarah with.  (I brought an extra pair for her, but since I didn’t really know her very well, I wasn’t sure if she’d fully appreciate them or not, so I gave Sarah’s pair to the lady that was with us.)

Uncle Charlie & The Lady (See Mrs. Rudy McRudenheimer scowling in the back?)

We decide to make a “secret signal” for if we saw each other around Beantown that weekend, which was to pinch our nose and nod (in case we didn’t have our disguises on).  The three of us wore the disguise nose glasses for the entire flight.  (Yes, really!)  The stewardess started giving the speech about the available exits and spotted us while she was talking, then she started laughing so hard, she had to excuse herself.  The three of us sat there stone-faced as we watched.  A different stewardess came to finish the safety speech, saw us and started laughing as well.  By then, the whole plane turned to look and was roaring with laughter… all except Mrs. Rudy McRudenheimer across the aisle.  She shot us a nasty glare every time we looked over at her!

Three hours or so later, we arrived in Boston, and of course, all three of us still had on our nose glasses.  We took a photo on the plane, and as you can see, Mrs. Rudy McRudenheimer is still back there scowling (see above).  The stewardesses and pilot laughed hysterically as we exited, and nearly all of the people we encountered on our way down to the baggage claim laughed heartily as we proudly sported our nose glasses through Logan Airport.

Uncle Charlie, Me & The Lady walking around Logan Airport in our disguise nose glasses

Sarah never did get her nose, but I think the lady probably got a lot more use out of it than Sister Sarah ever would have.

Me and Sarah. I finally got to meet her. 🙂

So tell me:  Do you have any siblings you’ve never met?  Would you wear disguise nose glasses on a plane?  Would you demand that someone get out of your seat or ask them politely?  If you encountered someone wearing disguise nose glasses on a plane, would you laugh?  Do you have nicknames for people based on their behaviors?

The Secret Shopper

At the office where my sister worked before her current workplace, on Fridays, their dress code was “casual.”  What this meant was that the employees still had to wear nice pants, but they could wear a white golf shirt emblazoned with the company logo.

So, it was a different Friday than the one I told you about yesterday.  Keeping yesterday’s fiasco in mind, my sister made her lunch then took out her bathroom garbage before she finished getting ready.  After she finished her hair and makeup, she put on her shoes and left for work.  About halfway there, she realized that she’d left her lunch on the counter.

It was too late to turn around, so she pulled into the grocery store near her office and went inside.  The store had recently been closed for remodeling and had just reopened that very day.  She felt excited to be among the first customers back after the store being closed for so long.

While she was there, she decided to pick up a few items she needed at home.  As she walked around the store, the Pepsi man, the Hallmark lady, the Lays chip guy, and other vendors all greeted her happily as they stocked their items.  She said they were exceptionally friendly, and she didn’t feel so bad about leaving her lunch at home after all.

After she filled her handheld basket, she went to the front and unloaded all her items on the conveyor belt.  She was surprised that there were no other customers in line, but she felt lucky that she wouldn’t have to wait.  However, wait, she did.  There was no cashier on duty.  Finally, she walked over to the manager’s office and asked them to page a clerk.

They raised their eyebrows and looked at her rather oddly.  She furrowed her brow.  “What’s wrong?  I need to check out so I can get to work.”

The manager started laughing.  “I’m sorry.  We must’ve thought you were a vendor with that shirt on.  You shouldn’t be here.  We don’t open until tomorrow.”

So tell me:  Have you ever wandered into someplace you didn’t belong?  Have you ever been mistaken for someone else?  Do you have a casual Friday at your workplace?

Brown Bagging It

When I announced my monthly theme of funny (and hopefully not too long) true stories, my sister wanted in on the act.  Usually if I tell a story about her, I was at least along for the ride and got to witness it firsthand.  But this one made me laugh so hard, I couldn’t resist sharing it with you.

It was a Friday.  At our house that means it’s garbage day as well.  My son usually takes the garbage out on Thursday night, except for the garbage from Michelle’s bathroom.  She takes that down to the curb on Friday mornings before she leaves for work.

So, on this particular Friday, Michelle packed her lunch then checked her watch.  She was running late.  She threw her shoes on, grabbed her bathroom garbage and tossed it in the can, then sped to work.

At lunchtime, she went to the break room and got her lunch from the refrigerator, then joined her friends in a conference room.  Everyone pulled out exciting leftovers, from pasta salad to tuna croissants and ham and cheese hoagies.  Michelle’s mouth was watering.  So, she reached in her bag, and that’s when she realized:  She had thrown her lunch away.

Yes, the thing she had brought to work and refrigerated for the previous four hours was indeed her bathroom garbage!  Her used Q-tips and tissues were nice and cold, and poor Michelle had to leave and buy her lunch that day.

If you thought this one was funny, just wait until tomorrow when Michelle gets top billing again with another one of her work/lunch anecdotes.

So tell me:  Have you ever refrigerated your garbage?  Do you take your lunch to work?  What’s your favorite brown bag lunch?

Jiminy Crickets!

Consider this a bonus post for the day.  Or a plea for help.  Or the insane ramblings of a sleep deprived tired person.  I don’t know how this happened, but there has a been a cricket (Actually a very LOUD cricket!!) somewhere IN MY BEDROOM all week long!

Of course, he (she?) waits until I’m snuggled cozily in my bed in the dark before he starts the deafening chirping while he sings the song of his people.  My cats are oblivious.  My human co-inhabitants have their bedroom doors closed and aren’t bothered in the least.  As for me, I might as well punch holes in my eyelids and go lie down on a train track for all the sleep I’m getting!

Any useful suggestions for getting rid of my new roommate would be greatly appreciated.  Or perhaps, just like yesterday’s post, karma is getting even with me for teasing my fellow blogger, Mark Bialczak, about his recent unwanted house guests (first a gopher then a skunk!).

{{Mark, please take the pins out of the voodoo doll now.  I’ve had enough, thank you.}}  😉

Thank you again for listening my late night rant.  Sweet dreams…

 

Instant Karma’s Gonna Get You… Or Me

When John Lennon penned the lyrics to “Instant Karma,” I believe he had me in mind.  (Of course, I was barely even alive at the time, but that’s beside the point.)  I definitely had a dose of much deserved instant karma slap me in the face recently, and it was quite funny indeed.

Michelle and Jeremy and I called in a pizza order which we were going to pick up.  The Pizza Hut right up the road from us is a delivery/carry out substation only and not an actual restaurant, so it has a drive-up window.  As we approached the window, there was one car in front of us with a very young driver.

The poor girl was probably in her car alone for the first time.  She hit the curb under the window, then backed up, hit it again, then backed up, hit it a third time, and then straightened her wheel and ended up a good three feet  away from the window so that she had to open her door to reach her pizza!  After she got her food, she went to leave, and we could see the Pizza Hut lady shaking her head and laughing.  The poor girl missed turning her wheel in the circular drive, and she hit the curb again and left a big black mark on it as she ran over it in her haste to get out of there!

I admit it was totally wrong of me, but I was cracking up so hard, tears were in my eyes.  My window was down, and as I started to pull forward, the Pizza Hut lady was also in hysterics as she pointed at the little girl.

Now’s when karma reached up and bit me on the posterior.  I was laughing so hard, both at the driver as well as at the Pizza Hut clerk, that I then ran into the curb!  Of course that only made both me, my sister, and the Pizza Hut lady laugh even harder.  I quipped something about karma biting me back when the clerk, who was still cracking up, went to hand me the little plastic tray with the debit card slip to sign, and she dropped it out the window onto the asphalt!  Which of course, made us all laugh even harder!  I told her that karma got her too!

It’s just too bad that the young driver wasn’t there any longer to see her comeuppance in action.  She could have joined in our hysteria.

Talk to me: Have you ever laughed at someone else’s expense, and if so, did you feel bad about it later?  Have you ever seen karma act so quickly?  Are you able to laugh at yourself and your own shortcomings?

This is our drive-thru Pizza Hut