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…
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.):
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:
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 I had one unpublished collection that I had assembled while in college, so I knew I could do it.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.
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.
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.
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.
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.