Author Interviews

* you can find the original interviews and much more on my 'everything writing' blog (http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com), including author spotlights, guest posts, book reviews, flash fiction or poetry - new items posted 6am UK time Monday to Saturday and writing exercises at 6pm very weekday.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Author interview no.30 - Jodine Turner (revisited)

Back on June 27th 2011, I interviewed author Jodine Turner, the thirtieth for my WordPress blog. I hope you enjoy it...

Welcome to the thirtieth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, directors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. Today's is with YA / adult fantasy / paranormal romance author Jodine Turner. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate the author further. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here.
Morgen: Hello, Jodine. Please tell us something about yourself and how you came to be a writer.
Jodine: I’ve been writing since I was in elementary school and encouraged to do so by my teachers. Throughout my life I’ve trained in a number of areas in the health care field (Ph.D. nurse, therapist, health educator), but writing has always been my passion. When I became ill in the mid-1990s I took the opportunity to begin writing my novels. I moved to Glastonbury, England, for a year. It’s one of my favorite spots on the planet, a place I became fascinated with after reading Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon. I wanted to immerse myself in the energy there, and do research, because many of my novels are set in Glastonbury. My very first novel was published by Glastonbury Press.
Morgen: What genre do you generally write and have you considered other genres?
Jodine: I write Young Adult and Adult fantasy, magical realism, and visionary fiction. With paranormal romance sub-genre. I have not considered other genres to be truthful. I love these genres, this is where I fit. I did so much non-fiction writing for my dissertation that I am happy now to be in a differently creative world, inspired in a totally different way. There could be another genre eventually because I never say never!
Morgen: What have you had published to-date? How much of the marketing do you do?
Jodine: The Awakening: Rebirth of Atlantis and The Keys to Remember. While these are the first and second novels in my Goddess of the Stars and the Sea trilogy, I wrote them to be stand-alone novels. The trilogy is an edgy saga of a young priestess who's reborn during three different critical junctions in history in order to help humankind move through fearful and bleak times – the demise of Atlantis, the Dark Age's suppression of the feminine, and today's turbulent world. The novels are an adventure filled initiatory journey into the Mysteries of the Goddess and carry keys to embodying the ultimate magic – love, both human and divine.
Morgen: Are your books available as eBooks? If so what was your experience of that process? And do you read eBooks?
Jodine: Yes, they are available as e-Books, and I do read e-Books. My publishers submitted my books for eBook format, thank goodness, so I didn’t have to worry about the technicalities, the formatting, etc. But I understand it is much easier now to do on your own.
Morgen: You produce mp3 meditation CDs which you sell on your website, does that have any cross-over with your writing?
Jodine: Oh, yes! The theme of my novels is embodied love, both human and divine, as that is the ultimate magic and most powerful force there is. Given that, the mp3 meditations I made (some are free downloads), are practical tools meant to be stepping stones to help engender that embodied love within us. The Goddess of the Stars and the Sea from my novels is the divine feminine force of evolution. She inspires humanity during the turbulent times that precede radical change. The evolution She assists with is that of embodied love. We are called to participate in this change today, for the sake of our present day as well as our future. This evolution is about love changing how we respond to our world; love emanating from inside us out, into our behaviors, into our interactions with others. It is about balancing love that is deeply received and generously given; love that can actually change the very cells of our body. Embodied love is an evolution of both men and women, an evolution of the whole of humankind.
Morgen: You offer a meditational and spiritual teleconference service, have you ever been approached by any authors, perhaps with writer’s block?
Jodine: Most of the people interested in the teleconference classes want to learn how to balance the giving and receiving of love, and how that can help them in their lives, their relationships, their happiness. They want practical tools. This can apply in all sorts of situations, even writer’s block!
Morgen: Do you meditate before you write?
Jodine: I usually tune in. I try to get into my body, and out of my head. This helps my inspiration and creative flow. Sometimes I light a candle to focus my intention in the writing. I’ve been known to have a special rock, or seashell, or some such treasured object close by. A sort of good luck charm!
Morgen: Have you had any rejections? If so, how do you deal with them?
Jodine: This quote says it – “There's nothing to writing.  All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.” (sports writer "Red" Smith). 
My gosh yes, I’ve had my fair share (I shamelessly admit!). It’s part of the process. Sometimes they hurt, sometimes I feel misunderstood…but I always know I am being given feedback that is important to look at to help my writing craft. I’ve developed a thick skin. It’s necessary in this business. That doesn’t mean rejections don’t affect me. But this is such a highly subjective business, and knowing that helps. When I found my niche, my readers, my publishers – those people who love and appreciate my work – well, then that just fills my heart with happiness and makes all the tears and upset worthwhile.
Morgen: What are you working on at the moment / next?
Jodine: I’m working on bringing out my next novel, Carry on the Flame: (Part One) Destiny’s Call. It releases August 1st. Carry on the Flame: (Part Two) Ultimate Magic, releases shortly thereafter, on October 31st, 2011. And the seeds of a new novel are beginning to emerge. Another magical realism novel that takes place…, you guessed it, in Glastonbury. I received glimpses of it when I sat in the Abbey ruins when I visited in January 2010.
Morgen: What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Jodine: As Joseph Campbell said, “Follow your bliss.” Keep true to your heart and your personal truth. And always polish your writing craft. Writers’ groups are so important. Don’t write without feedback. Your writing may be beautiful and make sense in your mind, but feedback is crucial. Readers are the important people here. And then once given feedback, filter it through your heart.
Morgen: Running two writing groups and belonging to two others, I couldn’t agree more. You’re based in Oregon, USA; do you find this a help or hindrance with letting people know about your work?
Jodine: “Aw, shucks and golly-gee…” We do have electricity and cable and internet here! I live near a city, but a sane distance away! In today’s world with the technology available to us, it really doesn’t matter where one lives.
Morgen: Absolutely, I’m so grateful to be a writer in this era. You married an Englishman, have you found any literary culture clashes?
Jodine: I met and married Chris in Glastonbury. He’s English and Welsh. There have been no literary clashes with us. Other types of clashes maybe! As Winston Churchill said, “We are two nations divided by a common language.” In so many instances, Chris and I had different cultural meanings for the same word. It was really funny. And it took some getting used to in the beginning of our relationship as we often had to explain what we were saying even though we both spoke English. But with his accent, I always listen even if I misunderstand!
Morgen: Yes, we do like each other’s accents, don’t we? Are you on any forums or networking sites? If so, how valuable do you find them?
Jodine: Yes. Connection with other authors, and readers especially, is important. This is how I found you, Morgen!
Morgen: Indeed. :) Where can we find out about you and your work?
Morgen: Is there anything else you’d like to mention or another question that you would have liked to be asked (if so what would you have replied)?
Jodine: Yes, thank you. Here is a brief synopsis of my trilogy and its first two novels. The Goddess of the Stars and the Sea trilogy: The trilogy is an edgy saga of a young priestess who's reborn during three different critical junctions in history in order to help humankind move through fearful and bleak times - the demise of Atlantis, the Dark Age's suppression of the feminine, and today's turbulent world. The novels are an adventure filled initiatory journey into the Mysteries of the Goddess and carry keys to embodying the ultimate magic - divine love.
Each novel in the trilogy can stand on its own. First in the trilogy is the highly acclaimed The Awakening: Rebirth of Atlantis. The second novel is the award winning The Keys to Remember. The third novel in the trilogy, Carry on the Flame: Part One Destiny’s Call, is already award winning and will be released August 1, 2011. Carry on the Flame: Part Two Ultimate Magic will be released October 31, 2011
The Awakening: Rebirth of Atlantis: It is human legacy to evolve spiritually. It is the role of the Goddess of the Stars and the Sea to assist in the transition. One such turning of the ages occurred in Atlantis… The final days of Atlantis are marked by deceit, lust, and greed. The once vibrant culture, blessed with advanced knowledge bestowed upon it by a race of star beings, now suffers with a corrupt governing body and a degenerate priesthood. The Awakening is the story of Geodran, a strong-willed priestess with ancestry from the stars who lives on the continent of Atlantis during the time leading to its destruction. The Goddess of the Stars and the Sea is awakened from Her dreamtime with the knowing that a change for humankind approaches. The Goddess intervenes to assist humanity, and calls upon the young priestess, Geodran, to be Her helper. Geodran struggles to fulfill a destiny larger than and in conflict with her own personal desires, a destiny bestowed upon her by her mother, the High Priestess Jaquine. In a moment of maternal desperation, Jaquine had promised her unborn child, Geodran, to the Goddess, in return for the baby’s safe birth, thus sealing her daughter’s fate. Geodran’s journey is a heroic quest to bring forth the next era of human civilization.
The Keys to Remember: 
In this award-winning continuation of the ‘Goddess of the Stars and the Sea’ trilogy, humankind is once again on the threshold of a spiritual evolution. In fourth century Glastonbury, England, six year old Rhianna is kidnapped from her home and raised in a Christian Abbey but has never forgotten her grandmother’s prophecy –“Your destiny lies with the Goddess of the Stars and the Sea.” Rhianna alone must mid-wife the next stage of spiritual evolution, as dark times approach for humanity. Powerful forces within both the Abbey and the priestess community of Avalon conspire to keep Rhianna from her rightful destiny and her true love. The price of her heroic quest is far higher than she expects.
Morgen: Thank you Jodine. This has been really… would it be too corny to say “enlightening”. I wish you all the success with your forthcoming projects.
Jodine Turner is an author of YA/Adult fantasy, magical realism, and visionary fiction. She is also a therapist, a consecrated priestess, and a deacon in the Gnostic Church of Mary Magdalene. While living in Glastonbury, England, the ancient Isle of Avalon, Jodine began writing the Goddess of the Stars and the Sea trilogy. The novels are an adventure filled initiation into the Mysteries of the Goddess, the divine feminine, divine masculine, and sacred union. First in the trilogy is the highly acclaimed The Awakening: Rebirth of Atlantis. The second novel is the award winning The Keys to Remember. The third novel in the trilogy, Carry on the Flame: Part One Destiny’s Call, is already award winning and will be released August 1, 2011. Carry on the Flame: Part Two Ultimate Magic will be released October 31, 2011.
Jodine returned on Monday 15th August for part 2.
Morgen: Welcome back Jodine. We first met you at the end of June, can you please tell us what you’re up to now?

Jodine: I’m working on bringing out Carry on the Flame: Destiny’s Call Book One, a dark and edgy urban fantasy, paranormal romance. It is already award winning and set to release August 1st – a perfect day as it is the Celtic celebration of Lughnasadh, the festival of the harvest, reaping the fruits of your labors of love. In Carry on the Flame, humanity is in the midst of the greatest crisis in their evolution. Sharay is the one chosen to show the way forward and help humankind move through the fear and dark times of today’s world. Born into a lineage of priestesses in modern day Glastonbury, England, Sharay’s way is blocked by her jealous Aunt Phoebe, who uses black magic against her to steal her fortune and magical power. When Phoebe commits Sharay to a psychiatric ward and accuses her of murder, Sharay struggles with the temptation to fight Phoebe’s vengeance with her own. Through the ancient Celtic ceremony of Beltaine, Sharay experiences profound sacred union with the Welshman Guethyn, who shows her how to open her heart. But Sharay must learn to transform her hatred for her aunt in order to claim the mystery held deep within her cells that will allow her to fulfill her destiny to prove that the ultimate magic is the power of love.
Morgen: Wow… what a plot. :) Do you manage to write every day? What’s the most you’ve written in a day?
Jodine: I don’t write every day. I write most days, and have written eight or more hours a day for days in a row when inspiration comes strongly. I find this quote from Joseph Campbell crucial to the days I write: “You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes to you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation. At first you may find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen.”
Morgen: I’m very lucky, I only share my house with my dog so have the middle bedroom dedicated to my writing. It also backs onto the garden which is a bonus. It’s the finding time to write that I struggle with. :)What are you working on next?
Jodine: Carry on the Flame: Ultimate Magic Book Two is coming out this fall, October 31. It will pick up where Sharay leaves off in Carry on the Flame: Destiny’s Call, and complete Sharay’s story. Both novels are part of the Goddess of the Stars and the Sea series, where each novel is a standalone read (The Awakening: Rebirth of Atlantis and The Keys to Remember). I’m working on another urban fantasy, paranormal romance. Because of my connection with Glastonbury, it will take place there, of course! Specifically the ancient Glastonbury Abbey. The setting will be both in the present and will also time travel back during the time of the Abbey’s desecration / burning by the King’s forces in medieval England. The history of the Abbey is filled with legend and mystery. Paranormal beings from the fairy race, priestesses, angels, psychics, demons, and every day folk will populate the story.
Morgen: Angels are supposed to be the next big thing after vampires. :) What is your opinion of writer’s block? Do you ever suffer from it? If so, how do you ‘cure’ it?
Jodine: I think there are times when writing is halted. But I’ve come to believe it is part of the process. For me, it usually means I have to personally go through some sort of initiation or experience before I can get to the depth of what I am writing about. For instance, in Carry on the Flame, grief was central to the main character, Sharay’s life. The story starts with her being orphaned at a young age. I found my writing paused for a period of months until I actually dealt with a deep piece of my own grief. It was hard. However, when I was able to return to the writing, my character Sharay and her story were greatly enriched by this.
Morgen: It’s amazing how therapeutic, and sometimes overwhelming, writing can be. Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
Jodine: Both. In Carry on the Flame I had the idea of where the story was headed, and what would be in store for Sharay, the young priestess from modern day Glastonbury, England. But I let her story lead me. I would get inspirations; some would come through watching people, watching TV, watching life, while other ideas would come during mundane tasks, or right before I fell asleep. A lot of inspiration came in meditations or through visiting Glastonbury’s sacred sites. I created a collage, and I drew a sort of map with all the major plot points and character transformational arcs written down. But, often, I would simply surrender to creativity, keep writing and writing, and I was often surprised where things ended up. I love that freedom and the gems that pop up when I write like that. And sometimes characters who I thought were minor, like Sharay’s wimpy Uncle Larry or the addled old women Sharay encounters in Scotland, ended up showing me they have a lot more to do with the story than I anticipated.
Morgen: “wimpy” and “addled”, I love it. You mentioned freedom, what are your favourite / least favourite aspect of your writing life?
Jodine: I love the whole process. It is a passion. Even the hard parts… the really difficult, throw yourself down on your knees and cry and scream challenges – like the gazillion re-writes an author has to go through to get things just right. The other part I like is getting to explore ways of behaving that I would personally never engage in but my characters certainly do. In Carry on the Flame, Sharay’s Aunt Phoebe has a penchant for using sex to get her way. Phoebe also has a dark side – she conjures a demonic entity to hunt and stalk Sharay and threaten everyone Sharay holds dear.
Morgen: The aunt especially sounds like a fantastic character. Are there any writing-related websites and / or books that you find useful and would recommend?
Jodine: I absolutely adore “Inside Story: The Transformational Arc” by Dara Marks http:///daramarks.com. This is a book that helped me to be laser focused in creating depth to Sharay for example and to show how her experiences helped her grow and change in a way readers can relate to.  Because of doing that, Sharay’s response to her vast destiny became more real and visceral. She is not a simple kick ass heroine from the start; she has to work hard to get there. Also, the fated love between Sharay and the Welshman Guethyn has all the messy complexities of both ordinary and extra-ordinary love. And Sharay’s adversary, her greedy Aunt Phoebe, is not a two-dimensional black and white villain, but a person with a pained past that twisted her priestess abilities and turned her into the black sorceress she portrays in the story.
Morgen: There’s Phoebe again. :) Do you have an agent? Do you think they’re vital to an author’s success?
Jodine: I don’t currently have an agent. I think they can be important as some publishing houses won’t accept submissions without them. But I don’t think they are vital. Good books get published without them!
Morgen: They do and I think with eBooks they have a tougher job proving their worth, unless you’re aiming for the mainstream then I think they’re well-placed. Please remind us where can we find out about you?
Jodine: My website is http://www.jodineturner.com.
Morgen: and blog http://visionaryfiction.blogspot.com, Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/JodineTurner, Facebook Author page http://www.facebook.com/JodineTurner.Author, Amazon Author page http://amzn.to/kzfNA7, Goodreads http://bit.ly/k1PPbJ, Jacketflap http://www.jacketflap.com/drjodinehttp://bit.ly/l1lVVs. And you also have a new book trailer (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_G3Jst5VHQo). So prolific, I feel tired just looking at this list. And a bit more about your writing?
Jodine: Overview of The Goddess of the Stars and the Sea series: The series is an edgy saga of a young priestess who’s reborn during three different critical junctions in history in order to help humankind move through fearful and bleak times – the demise of Atlantis, the Dark Age’s suppression of the feminine, and today’s turbulent world. The novels are an adventure filled initiatory journey into the Mysteries of the Goddess and carry keys to embodying the ultimate magic – love.
Each novel can stand on its own. First in the series is the highly acclaimed The Awakening: Rebirth of Atlantis. The second novel is the award winning The Keys to Remember. The third novel in the series, Carry on the Flame: Book One Destiny’s Call,is already award winning and was released this month (August 2011) –http://amzn.to/nswWylCarry on the Flame: Book Two Ultimate Magic will be released October 31, 2011.
Morgen: Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
Jodine: What inspired me to write this? When I first read “The Mists of Avalon” by Marion Zimmer Bradley, I became fascinated with Glastonbury, England. I visited Glastonbury several times, and eventually moved there for 13 months. That land and its sacred sites captivated my heart, my soul, and my imagination. I experienced inspiring dreams and waking visions. I studied the folklore and legend, and sacro-magical knowledge. And while there, I began to write my Goddess of the Stars and the Sea series about priestesses who had lived in Glastonbury, the ancient isle of Avalon, throughout history. I have visited the locations readers will find in Carry on the Flame – the coast of Wales and some of its quaint villages like Betws-y-coed, the Orkney Isles of Scotland, and of course Glastonbury. Each locale I visited informed my scene descriptions with firsthand knowledge. And each location imbued my story with its own brand of magic.
Morgen: Thank you Jodine. It’s been lovely catching up with you again.

UPDATE FROM JODINE MAY 2012: "...the 'Carry On The Flame' books are Amazon bestsellers and have won four awards including the USA Best Books finalist. Yay!"

Yay, indeed. Congratulations, Jodine.
If you are reading this and you write, in whatever genre, and are thinking “ooh, I’d like to do this” then you can… just email me and I’ll send you the questions. You complete them, I tweak them where appropriate (if necessary to reflect the blog ‘clean and light’ rating) and then they get posted. When that’s done, I email you with the link so you can share it with your corner of the literary world. And if you have a writing-related blog / podcast and would like to interview me… let me know.
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Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) :) on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are weekly episodes, usually released Monday mornings UK time, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

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