(FYI, that’s a book title, not a personal opinion about the author! Come to think of it, she can be stranger than fiction though… Hmmmm…)
Jeanine and I have been acquaintances for some time, bumping into each other at GCLS for the most part. This year she moved into my neighborhood, and we’ve struck up a friendship. I see her and her wonderful wife at our Game Nights on a regular basis–and they’re both hoots!
She has a new book coming out, so I thought I’d bring her on to tell you about it.
A blog? A guest blog? Really? I’m a bit nervous to be stepping onto a stage with my friend D. Jordan Redhawk but here it goes.
Of course, the first rule of blogging is a theme. What is my theme? Well, since I’m a writer with a new book coming out March first, I suppose that logic dictates that I include my new book, Stranger Than Fiction, in this visiting blog. That got me thinking to the only Nano win I’ve managed because that was the skeleton for this book.
A look at the year of NanoWriMo 2014 brings me back to having been told that returning to the active workforce wasn’t in my cards due to medical issues. I was no longer able to participate in a variety of things because they irritated my brain injury. I had finally caved and bought something called an AlphaSmart 3000 in order to write without using my laptop as too much screen time was bad for my vertigo. It set me free!
I used it daily during that Nano. I had my phone to research things if I needed to do that while I worked but I could take my trusty AlphaSmart to coffee shops for write-ins. I could stop and start without worrying about powering up and down. If I ran out of file space, I had seven other file buttons I could use before I HAD to upload. I would upload via a cable to a preformatted word document then record my daily totals. I was in shock when I reached the 50k mark with more than a week to go.
What changed? Why was I so laser focused on this story? I changed. I was no longer able to see myself as someone who wrote for a hobby or as a way to amuse myself. I was a published author with four books under contract and I had been recently declared medically disabled. In short I was struggling with my external identity and life.
I wrote Stanger Than Fiction at a time when I needed escape more than ever from the so called real world. I jumped into a world of a reclusive artist/author who decided to live in a way that kept her firmly hidden from her success. What I realized was that she was also hiding from potential failures. Just. Like. Me.
When I was declared disabled I experienced a life crisis. I was a former Firefighter and Emergency Medical Technician. I had been reasonably successful in the banking industry for several years. I was used to being the one to offer help to others far more often than I needed to ask for help. The need to adjust to my body’s weaknesses, injuries, and limitations meant failure to me in some ways.
So, my protagonist, Tori Monroe, she isn’t me but I understand her. She too suffers an injury that will change her way of life in some pretty big ways. She needs to grow, adjust, and most difficult, accept change. My biggest struggle is change. In that way, the two of us are very much alike. I have little else in common with my girl Tori but once I understood that she had to grow and learn to accept her own differences I was able to accept and learn my own new limitations and challenges.
Do writers write about themselves? No, not exactly. For me at least, a small part of me makes its way into different characters. Jay’s love of cooking in Strength in Numbers is my love. Chloe Donovan’s firefighting/medical skills, her love of working to help others, that’s from my life. I can only claim a minor jaunt into the world of golf unlike Riley in Back Swing. Small bits of me in every book but nothing that is actually my real life self.
With Stranger Than Fiction I was able to explore, without realizing I was doing it, how I felt about the changes in my life brought about by a brain injury. No, Tori does not have a brain injury but she experiences change through injury.
I invite you to watch as she grows and learns to accept her new life and learns to integrate it with her old way of living. It is the first in a series, the second book is almost ready for the editors. In the meantime, please, pick up a copy of Stranger Than Fiction and enjoy my romp into the world of speculative fiction and the exploration of how we adapt to change in different ways. Let me know what you think by either visiting me on Facebook, my website or through e-mail at Jeanine dot Hoffman at yahoo dot com.
I hope you enjoyed Jeanine’s visit! And remember to check out her new book in…just a couple of days!
Next month I’ll be back with in interesting take on Writer’s Block!