I read this blog piece a few days ago http://tatterhoodblog.com/2014/03/16/siri/ , which resonated with me on many levels. We are fortunate to have the ability to connect with people from all over the world with the click of a button. Barring time differences we can speak face to face with them as well as converse via various technologies unthought-of in quite recent history. Technology can be a burden but also a gift. Personally, I have met other writers from as far away as America and Warsaw, to name just two. People I would never have met any other way. The American writer posted on a non-writing site and our reponses to a topic were so familiar we began emailing each other. After several months, we found out our lives were mirrors of each other’s life experiences. This culminated in us visiting each ‘homes and becoming firm friends. We call each Soul Sister. The young woman from Warsaw, blogged how she felt alone in her writing, this was a call I could not ignore, so responded with a membership to my writers group as we have virtual as well as local members. www.wfscsherwoodpark.com She has since managed to publish her work and enjoys the connection with other writers. This is the positive side of the internet, as well as research possibilities for anything under the sun, we care to find out about. Our curiosity for knowledge can be satisfied with almost no effort at all.
However, not all connections can become physical ones and that is the shame of the internet. We cannot jump on a ‘plane at the drop of a hat in order to travel to far away countries to visit these contacts, for the most part. Our ‘relationships’ are limited to short conversations and ‘funny’ facebook posts. In short it is not a’ true’ friendship with shared experiences but that being said, still important connections for a host of reasons.
Do we hold these ‘virtual’ relationships above physical ones though? Are we so wrapped up in them that we do not connect with those around us?
How many of you open a conversation in a coffee shop, on a train or bus, even in the food store? People around us are as interesting as those on the computer screen. Has technology taken this ability away? I remember watching my Mother striking up conversations with complete strangers all the time. As a shy child I found this alarming but as I grew up I realized without human contact, we become isolated in a crowd.
We should not be afraid to connect with people – everyone has an interesting story to share after all. Who knows it might be a story idea.
What has been your experience with internet contacts?
Please welcome Jennifer Eifrig – a fantasy author with an eclectic mixture of inspirational resources hence the word link for today – Paradigm (pair-uh-dyme) Definition- 1) an example to showing how something is to be done : model : pattern: 2) a theoretical framework in a discipline of science within which theories, laws and experiments are formulated.
a) Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?
I’m very fond of all my characters, even (sometimes especially) the villains and the minor characters. Every one of them started from a real individual in mind, but grew beyond that person to become unique in his/her own right. I have to “become” each character in order to write him/her consistently and effectively.
Isadora is an inspiring heroine, in that she’s remarkably human. I love Max because of his suave snarkiness – when he’s got his game on; when he doesn’t, he’s also appealing in his vulnerability. Seth is terrific fun to write; I get to imagine being completely amoral and selfish. The ghost was really hard to write because I’m not normally a sociopathic homicidal maniac. Roger is a darling, and the ushabti are just terrific fun. They’re probably my favorite to write.
b) Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?
Well, right now I’m doing strictly urban fantasy, because I need to finish the series. However, I’m tossing around some ideas for a steampunk story, and I may try some romance.
c) What do you enjoy most about writing?
Believe it or not, I like the camaraderie. I participate in a weekly writers’ group and it’s the highlight of my week, usually. I also love my publisher’s author community. We’re separated by hundreds of miles and an ocean or two, but we’re in daily contact and share ideas, tips, and stories. Of course, all this fun can be a huge distraction from the grunt work of knocking out a 100,000+ pp novel, so I have to be careful not to forget to write!
d) Have you got a favorite place to write?
I usually work in two places: my tiny “office” (really a drop-leaf desk) in the dining room, and in bed. Frankly, I think I do my best creative writing in bed, and my best grant writing at my desk. If I’m doing creative work (which does include some grant writing!) I need absolute quiet. I can’t have anybody else in the room. It’s unnerving and distracting.
e) Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer?
I wish I could say I have a really thorough chapter-by-chapter outline, but I don’t. However, I do know exactly where the story is going. I usually write in my head in large chunks either as I lie down at night or before I get up in the morning. I tell myself the story, and then it’s a matter of actually transcribing into text. I still discover things as I go along, however, and I really enjoy those moments when plot elements just fall magically into place and I realize, oh, that’s why I did such-and-such that way.
f) What inspires your stories?
Right now, Egyptian mythology is the glue holding my stories together. I’ve been fascinated with Egyptology since second or third grade. However, because I love to see cross-cultural patterns, I’ve interrelated many belief systems into my fictional universe, and created what one of my critique partners called a MagicalTheory of Everything. I’m even going to include theoretical physics in the third novel – things like dark matter and dark energy and the Higgs-Boson. To me, science, mythology, literature, history, and religion are all related aspects of one Big Truth. As one of my protagonists says, those of us who believe in Jesus have a big chunk of the puzzle figured out, but we’re all still looking for all of the pieces.
g) What are you currently reading?
Right now I’m devouring A Discovery of Witches. It’s a giant geek fest of a book, and it’s reassuring to know that people can still write long novels and other people still read them. I’ve also been filling up on steampunk romance, for fun and because I hope to write some soon. In the non-fiction vein, I’m working my way through Feast of the Dead: New England’s Vampires and The Bible: A Bibliography. I’ll read anything to do with ethnography and archaeology as well.
h) Do you have any odd habits or childhood stories?
Odd habits? Well, I suppose we all have them, but one weird thing is that I don’t need to look far for inspiration about magic in everyday life. I have this weird problem in that certain kinds of technology just freak out and refuse to work around me. Also, things on store shelves will just leap off when I walk past them. It’s really embarrassing. I can also go invisible when I’m in a restaurant or waiting in line. The waiters literally don’t see me. My husband won’t let me order the drinks in a bar, because we’d be waiting forever.
i) Do you have any pets?
I have one elderly house rabbit, and my kids have a guinea pig and two frogs. We want a dog, but we have to wait until the rabbit passes. We can’t have cats because my husband is allergic.
j) Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one?
I’ve belonged to a writing group since 2009, and I give the group complete credit for enabling me to finish and publish my novel. I probably would never have done it without them. We meet almost weekly, and we’ll critique chapters, synopses, and queries. We’re completely and occasionally painfully honest, but if you can make it past your ego you’ll end up with a better novel. Our members have come and gone, but we’ve completed at least five novels that I’m aware of, and published two.
k) What age did you start writing stories/poems?
I think I’ve always written in my head, but I didn’t write novels until high school. There, I wrote stories by hand that featured my friends as characters. It was a geeky thing to do, but I was a minor celebrity at the lunch table. People couldn’t wait for the next installment. After that, I didn’t write creatively for a long, long time, although I write grants, reports, letters, and web copy for a living. I started thinking about my novels in 2004, but as I said, I didn’t get serious about it until 2009.
l) Do you have a book published? If so what is it called & where can readers purchase it?
I do! (proud grin) It’s called Discovering Ren, and was released for Kindle in December 2012 by Cogwheel Press. I’m currently waiting for the paperback edition with bated breath. You can purchase it on Amazon.
m) If you could meet one favorite author who would it be and why?
n) If you could live anywhere in the world – where would it be?
Again, so hard to answer because I’ve really not been to a lot of places. There’s a little village in the Swiss Alps that I visited a while back, and I’ve always said that if I were faced with something unspeakable, such as the loss of my entire family, I’d move there to get away. I’d love to see Egypt, and I should go to the UK to see all the places I learned about in college. Mostly, though, I just want to be wherever my husband and kids are.
o) What’s your favorite movie of all time?
Ha! Good question. I think Casablanca is a Perfect Film, so maybe that one. However, I love the Brendan Frasier/Rachel Weisz The Mummy, and I’ll watch Bill Murray’s Groundhog Day whenever it’s on. By the way, Joss Whedon’s The Avengers is the best superhero movie ever made.
p) Where can readers find you and your blog?
I’m available at www.jennifereifrigauthor.com. You can also find me on Goodreads, Amazon Author Central, FB (facebook.com/JenniferEifrigAuthor) and Twitter @ eifrigjen. I love, love, love hearing from other authors & readers, so please contact me!
q) Do you have plans or ideas for your next book?
Sure do! I’m currently 107,000 words into the sequel for Discovering Ren, and I’m guessing the first draft will top out at 120,000, so I’m almost there. In this book, the husband of my last protagonist is the main character and POV, but there are lots of other voices, including that of the villain. He’s a homicidal sociopathic ghost.
r) Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?
Without a doubt, my husband. He’s the best. He’s never said, “You’re crazy.” Instead, he gives me ideas, and he’s the best reader/critic there is. All I have to do is watch him read a draft, and I can tell from his facial expressions whether something works. He’s absolutely brilliant and has a revoltingly accurate memory for details. Once he hauled me out of the shower to ask if I’d researched a particular bottle of wine that a character was drinking, to be sure it matched the description I gave.
What a fun interview, full of surprises and intriguing insights. Thank you Jennifer.