Today I have another Brain to Books Cyber Convention author feature. Remember, this great event for authors and readers alike is coming to Goodreads this April, on the 8th, 9th and 10th.
Be sure to check out all the details and pertinent links for the event here:
Now on with the main event, our Brain to Books author feature.
Today I have a great interview with the wonderful author Charlene Diane Jones
Interview With Charlene Diane Jones
I have sailed the Gulf of Mexico in tornado season, downed shots of Chang with Mongol mountain men in the north of India, seen the sunrise on the Himalaya Mountains, spent three months in strict meditation retreat in New Zealand, worked as a bar maid, a telex operator, a hotel chamber maid, scaled glaciers in Norway and more all before I was 25 years old
When I finally stopped, University beckoned so I achieved a double Master’s Degree, while raising my son, heading a communal house, and healing from the three days of rape, torture and witnessing a murder that took place when I was 16. The truth finally spilled over and out.
Luckily, I had a slew of healing modalities, including meditation, bio-energetics and dancing to help me find an even keel in these storms.
Now I’m a grandmother and consider healing my full time interest, with writing a passionate love I have pursued for over four decades and now, only now, find I waltz under the moon with my love regularly. I have published a novel, The Stain, genre Metaphysical Historical Fiction, along with a book of poetry and a non-fiction work.
Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?
The Stain, about which I must caution readers there are many, many triggers, configures rape and madness in different terms. The terms include past lives and the repeat patterns of Karma. How does one of the protagonists escape endless cycles and describe freedom for them all?
You write in several genres. Do you have a favourite? And if so, why?
I actually prefer non-fiction as I find it less slippery than fiction.
Who is your intended readership?
The residents of the Pleiades have been known to train their consciousness upon Earth just to configure my writing. At least this is the rumour I have heard.
Did anything surprise you about the process of writing your book?
Everything about writing this book The Stain came as a surprise. I started scribbling on about 30 pages of yellow foolscap because the idea would not go away any other way. The first character was Mary but her original opening was too like Cinderella and in a writing course I took the criticism was just that: too like a fairy tale in the beginning.
(Worked for Hans Christian Anderson, why not me? But I digress) Then after I moved the pages for about ten years, from one spot to the next whenever I tidied or cleaned up the nook where the pages rested, I decided to put them on the computer. Except by then I had another character, Tahni, a Native American woman from a very long time ago who was deeply involved in her life, dipping a skin water bag into the stream near her house.
Well, that surprised me. But she demanded to be written so I went along for the interest of it. What was going to happen in her short and as it turned out somewhat tragic life? The story had me.
These two women came and behaved the way good characters ought, relaying their story and information about others around them, dignifying my position by letting me see through their eyes and hear through their ears what took place then and then and then.
Diana on the other hand struggled onto the page and never let me rest. I paced, rattling myself through the house, talking, all right yelling at her and with her. She would not not not go onto the page. Finally after putting this bit and that part, after trying this way and that way I sat at the computer and entered her entire story in about three days. She wouldn’t let me do it any other way.
Excerpt from The Stain:
Where We Are In the Story: Chaytan, mysterious Medicine Man for Tahni’s husband’s village, now her home, has rescued her from the edge of the water where, in a blister producing fever she attempted to stop her suffering. He now uses his chants and trances to heal her from the infection ravishing her body.
Tahni’s eyes, opened the slightest bit, watched everything from her bed.
He began. He taunted the Evil Spirit, “Do you fear me, a small human?” His rattle shook, its feathers bouncing as he swayed over her, incanting, intoning, “Are you so cowardly you do not come out and meet me, face to face? My medicine must be very strong. With my strong medicine I will bring you great ransom. More than one soul for this useless, stupid girl. I will bring you Wolf. You are great and powerful. You do not need such a puny human being.”
He hummed and sang, the grainy sound of his rattle matching beads of sweat that worked their way across his face, chest, down his belly as he bent over the small, red pustules, naming and calling each one, daring them, “Bring me your maker. I am just a small human here, bring me your Strong Leader.”
Then between where he knelt and the far wall of the tent, she saw the Dark One, its rank odor filling the tight space.
Chaytan, Medicine Man, contracted his nostrils involuntarily, but he cooed like a child, “O, come to me, I have a great ransom for you.” With his mind, Chaytan shaped Raccoon, sent it sniffing, curious and intent, its black mask searching for the source of the smell.
The Dark One dissolved the image of the small creature before it had taken two steps.
Now Chaytan produced Beaver, fine and heavy, its luscious coat gleaming in the firelight. The picture of Beaver chattered its teeth as it approached the far wall. Dark One scooped this image up, too.
Unwavering Chaytan next created Wolf, large limbed, young and healthy. This he sent across the floor, its tail straight out behind so one or two steps brought it to the Dark One’s side. The smell in the small space intensified.
“I will do slaughter to tribute your great power,” Chaytan intoned, “Take these powerful animals, all three, leave the worthless human here...” He sprinkled herbs between them, inviting the Spirit.
Chaytan’s nostrils widened, then narrowed against the gamy smell. His stomach contracted, nausea starting. He forced his mind into a smaller tunnel, turned it away from his body, toward the enemy. A wall of solid evil met his force.
He felt himself weaken, then he blew a long, slow breath out, sucked in a long, full breath laden with the deadly scent. With his mind he reached down into his lower belly, to the base of his spine, compelling a column of fire. Its intensity lit the room, white heat. He sent this through his mind toward the evil one, who this time, swayed slightly. Chaytan’s quick senses captured the subtle sign. He knew the Spirit had weakened.
When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
I was six years old when I wrote my first poem to my dog. He was a lovely tri color Collie, large and mostly black with a huge white collar and brown spots on his nose and legs. He had an exquisite intelligence clearly visible in his eyes and a greatly comforting presence. So I wrote this short poem and my parents, blue collar working people who took it as a badge of pride that my father had graduated from grade 12, were significantly impressed.
I recognized the power of writing. School floated around me like sea water around a sailor. Go someplace where I read and write and learn? And everyone has the same rules most of the time. I loved being in class. I failed at recess.
I kept writing, poetry much of the time but was too backward to attempt publishing until I was in my twenties. While I was in New Zealand I answered a call put out by a magazine and the first poem was published. I still have that poem, in that little magazine.
Can you tell us about your writing process? Where do your ideas originate? Do you have a certain writing routine?
My ideas rise from either an internal sound, how words begin to speak to me through my cells, or from visions. Sometimes when I drift into daydreams, a kind of trance takes over and I find myself wandering in ways I never thought to inhabit.
That is the first draft, then comes revision and another revision and another revision and so on until I feel I have it as full to finished as possible. I’ll often revise up to twenty times a section I’m working on to get the effect I want.
A regular writing routine sounds like a marvellous experience. I focused deeply in order to finish my first book, The Stain, then when my head rose I realized I had to learn something about marketing. So I began right away on my non-fiction book Medicine Buddha/Medicine Mind and when it was completed, threw myself into learning about social media and marketing online.
I haven’t figured out how to add submitting articles and poetry to magazines, but have learned how to host, edit and produce my twice monthly program Off the Top for our community radio. I enjoy interviewing other writers.
What advice would you give beginning writers?
Start and don’t stop. Write because it’s Friday or the next day, write because it’s raining, write because you’re at a bus stop or in a small café or movie theatre just write. Always. Everywhere.
Do you have any amusing writing stories or anecdotes to share?
My writing partner Linda Stitt threaded her way through the crowd in front of me at our book launch.
“Char, this woman wants to know who wrote that poem about Lilith?” Linda has always been so proud of my work, as I am of hers. Lilith is a poem about the first wife of Adam, whom God had not the power to destroy when Adam rejected her, because she knew God’s secret names. So goes the poem.
“Oh, yes, I did,” I say with appropriate humility, extending my arm to connect with this one, a certain fan. “I did.”
Shaking my hand, looking straight into my eyes she said, “You’re sick. I’ll pray for you.”
Are you working on another book?
Memoirs are now shaping up. I have been drafting these for the same years in which I finished The Stain and Medicine Buddha/Medicine Mind and now am diving in for the structuring part. Exciting, exhilarating, difficult, challenging and wonderful.
Charlene Diane Jones is a grandmother and lives on a small lake near in Ontario, Canada with Harry, the Cat Whisperer, and three rescue cats. She teachs meditation at the local yoga studio and in her home where she's had had a group for over 15 years every second week. She also sees people to help them untangle the web of their suffering.
She hosts, edits and produces a radio show, Off the Top, where she interviews writers, reads her own work, creates imaginary dialogues and more.
For more on the author, her books, and her podcast check out her website: www.soulsciences.net
You can find The Stain on Amazon
I'd like to thank Charlene Jones for stopping by today, and be sure to check out her virtual booth at the convention this April.