Author Interview: JM (Jill) Turner, author of Sunshine Girl

This is a rather lovely interview I recently had with a truly wonderful guy… Thanks, Mike!

Lurking In The Shadows

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Today on the blog, I am going to interview a great author.  I met JM Turner through the Dragon’s Rocketship a couple years ago, and we’ve stayed in touch.  Well, she has a new book out, so it’s time for an interview!

Welcome Jill!

Hi Mike!

So, can you please tell the audience about yourself?

Okay, I live in the UK and I’m a mum of two girls; one of them is married and has her own children now, and the other is almost 16 – don’t ask about the age gap, it wasn’t meant to be quite so huge! Apart from writing, during the day I work in education – with SEN and lower ability children. I also work as a proofreader for my local university, and I copy edit and proofread for local businesses as well as authors and aspiring authors.

When did you start writing? What motivates…

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Writing and Writer’s Block

One of the things I often hear people asking about is writer’s block and how to overcome it. Before you get too excited and think that I have any kind of answer to this, let me say straight out that I don’t! My own style of writing is to have an idea pop into my head, mull it over for a while (could be hours, could be days, occasionally it’s weeks or months), and then open up a brand new page and start typing.

I’m a pantser. For the uninitiated, this means that I sit and write and the story grows exponentially – as opposed to a plotter who creates a written outline of what-will-happen-and-when.

The real truth is that before I even put pen to paper (or, more realistically, fingernails to keyboard) I’ve got the broad outline plotted inside my head. While I’m ‘constructing’ a story (i.e. thinking about it), I often have vivid dreams. The old adage about keeping a pen and papfaces-2134001_640er by the bedside to capture your dreams holds true for me – it’s where some of my best ideas come from.

Having said that, if it’s a darker story that’s clamouring for attention, this can lead to a few restless nights. My story, ‘Joe’, that I wrote at the start of the year (and is being published in the A Haunting Of Words anthology later this year), is a case in point: there is a particular part of the story which made me cry when I wrote it, and woke me crying on more than one occasion after it was finished. I was somewhat relieved to be told by the owner of the publishing company that it made him cry, too.

That’s why I ‘pants’ things: I find the emotions pour onto the page better that way. Sometimes, when I’m lost in the story, my characters take over and practically write it themselves (and sometimes they do or say things that take me by surprise) – and when that happens, the feeling is amazing!

Which leads me back to writer’s block. I do have times after I’ve finished a piece of work where I don’t want to write for a while. It’s not that the ideas aren’t there, it’s more that my brain won’t let me have the good ones until I’m ready to commit to them. I almost have to mourn the story I’ve lived for so long (and yes, I’m aware that sounds daft, but for me, it’s true). I sometimes wonder if this is simply the body’s way of saying ‘take a break’. And I wonder if that’s what writer’s block really is?

What do you think?

 

Guest Blogger – Susan Day

Child, Girl, Read, Learn, Book

Hi again everyone!

I told you I would be featuring guest bloggers soon, and the writing that follows comes from a rather lovely author, Susan Day, who has written 15 books for children and also has a website, Astro’s Adventures Book Club, with some really helpful information for grandparents. She writes a blog (on the same site – link in her guest piece but you can find it by clicking on the above website link) and I strongly suggest you check her out, because the site is fab!

Susan Day writes…

How important is it to be a flexible writer?

When was the last time you flexed your writing muscles and wrote a piece that was completely unrelated to what you normally write about?

I never get sick of writing. I love it, and I have been doing it since I was four years old.

And now I’m a bit more grown up I get paid to write. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

But, there is a catch (there is always a catch).

I have to write about such a diverse range of subjects sometimes it makes my mind boggle!

So far this week I’ve written about the Internet of Things, purchasing a home on the beautiful west coast of the States (I live in Australia), and why you should consider China as your next marathon destination (the only part of my body that runs is my nose when I’ve got a cold!).

As well, I have written about proverbs that mention cats, dog cartoons, and one of my favorite subjects – how grandparents can build a meaningful relationship with their grandchildren.

I have also written 15 books for children over the past 7 year; this is where my true passion lies.

It’s not always about the money

Well, it is sort of all about the money because I like the way money buys me stuff, and I like stuff. I like a roof over my head and my belly full, and stuff to fill up my house.

Writing content for clients has taught me a lot about the art of writing, which I employ in my own posts and stories.

Creating a compelling written piece is a skill. For those who are new to blogging, it’s not just the words that matter. Great blog posts which lead people to websites over and over again have to be formatted properly; images tagged and added in certain places and subheadings… don’t get me started about subheadings!

It’s about diversity

Whether you are interested in writing for money or just writing because you love it, I would suggest you set yourself a task once a day and write about something you have no interest in at all.

You don’t have to belt out a novel. Just write a short 250 word article about the joys of fishing for catfish in South America or the novelty of red scarves or keeping guinea pigs on a budget. Write about anything!

Unless you are a world leader in keeping guinea pigs on a budget you’ll find that the old grey matter will be really stretched.

You may actually find it difficult to write because your brain is used to pouring out paragraphs in your chosen genre, and you love writing about the characters you have created.

Don’t let that stop you because we all know practice makes perfect.

The benefits of writing about unusual and unrelated subjects

I have found two main benefits from writing about strange and unusual subjects.

I never suffer from writer’s block, and I mean never. I can write about anything and anywhere. I am almost convinced I could write about the Sahara Desert under water.

My mind is a sharp instrument that can carve a statue of words out of a mountain of rock. Well, maybe not that sharp, but you get the gist.

The other benefit is when I have finished working and I turn back to my books, I am refreshed and really excited. I feel freer and more confident about writing.

So, how have you flexed your writing muscles lately?

About the author – Susan Day

Susan Day is a children’s author and writer. Her blog, Astro’s Adventures Book Club, is full of ideas and tips for grandparents, parents and teachers to support them in helping children become better readers. As well, Susan has created a guide to help grandparents build a more meaningful relationship with their grandchildren through their love and passion for books.

Susan lives in country Australia with four dogs, three boss cats, three rescue guinea pigs, and an errant kangaroo. And, apart from blogging, writing and reading; she loves coffee, painting and learning to box.

Joe

Joe ad

Hello again everyone!

I know, it’s been a while since I last wrote to you, and you’d be forgiven for thinking I’ve given up blogging for Lent, (not true!) but I’ve been so busy that I don’t know if I’m baked or boiled at the moment.

Update on what’s been happening:

The short story I submitted back at the end of January (the ‘Joe’ in the header) is being featured in the anthology ‘A Haunting of Words’ via Scout Media and is due for release probably in June.

I sent my latest book, Sunshine Girl, out to beta readers a few weeks back and the general consensus is that it’s great! Several have said that they like it so much they are going to actually buy the book once it’s published (and that’s fantastic news!). To that end, (and feeling ever hopeful!) I’ve submitted it to a rather large agency to see whether anyone would like to take it on – with the aim of having it published by one of the ‘Big Five’ – if you’re going to dream big you have to aim high!

Eek!

I’m also part-way through my next book – Casadastraphobia – another book for adults (definitely for adults!) as well as working in my day job. No, before you ask, there’s not enough hours in the day for my liking!

I’ve been sharing a lot of tips on writing skills that I’ve found on Pinterest via Twitter and Facebook, so if you’d like to read any, do please follow me on either (or both) – I don’t just post ‘serious’ stuff – there’s some lighter moments, too! On FB you’ll find me at https://www.facebook.com/authorjillturner and on Twitter, I’m: https://twitter.com/JillMTurner – follow me and I’ll follow you right back!

Oh, and do please feel free to interact with me. I don’t bite and I love to chat!

Until next time,

Jill

Half Term Break (and The Sunshine Girl)

As the title says, it’s the half term break from school where everybody (and, no doubt, their uncle) has been ill. It’s been a constant: from the dreaded sickness bug to the cold/flu thingy that just keeps on giving and then gives some more. It’s been awful and we all, children and staff alike, need this break to try to recuperate!

I’ve also been busy writing and am most of the way through a paranormal mystery/thriller  at the moment – and this one’s for over 15s rather than children. It’s been a challenge, mainly because my characters appear to have minds of their own and keep doing/saying things they weren’t supposed to, therefore taking it into different twists and turns I hadn’t originally planned for. Writing this has been as much of a surprise to me as it will be to you!

It’s called ‘The Sunshine Girl’, but it’s quite a lot darker than the name suggests. I’ll be playing with covers after I finish the first draft and am also looking for input from new beta readers as my regular crew work with children’s stories rather than this type.

Let me know if you’d like to be one!

On another note, I am shortly going to have guest bloggers posting on here with content related to writing. I’m pretty excited about it, and I hope you’ll all enjoy their posts as much as I’m sure I will.

Speak to you again soon and thanks for reading!

Jill

A Haunting of Words

publishingcontract-for-jill-turner I don’t normally like to blow my own trumpet, but I make absolutely no apology for how large this picture is – the story I wrote (that I told you about in my last post) has been accepted for publication! The book it is appearing in is titled ‘A Haunting of Words’ and, (if I say so myself), will be pretty fantastic!

I am so happy I could burst!

I will be posting more details about it all and how you can get a copy as soon as the details are available!

New Year/New Beginnings!

As the title may suggest, I have been somewhat busy lately which means that I have not posted on here as often as usual. (If you’re cheering, please don’t tell me!)

Apart from the day job, I have now been accepted as a proofreader for my local University, which ties in with the move I have made into proofreading and copy editing; https://littleredlines.wordpress.com is where you’ll find further information on this, if you’re interested.

I’ve also entered a short story into a competition which, if chosen, will win a place in a book alongside several other awesome authors. As there have been roughly a million other submissions I’m not holding my breath that it will make it in, particularly as the genre and guidelines are outside of what I normally write, but it was a fun thing to do. If you’re a writer, you’ll know that since submission I have thought of a hundred ways I could have improved it, and two versions (with different endings) are now resting in my files – and obviously I prefer the second, unsubmitted, version. Hey ho!

If it doesn’t make the grade, I’ll post it on here for you to take a gander at.

I’ve not had time to promote any of my books, but did see a lovely review of the last book in The Seelie Princess Trilogy, which was wonderful and reminded me that I need to put out my own reviews of books I have been reading (as I lay in bed trying to switch off from the day). Which reminds me that I must find the lead to charge the Kindle! I’m most of the way through a book on there that I really want to review, because it’s good!

Hope your year is starting out well for you, too. Why not let me know what you’re up to? I like to hear from you.

‘Til next time, take care all!

Jill