I was privileged to have dinner with a great bunch of women the other night…The Renegade Moms, Laura, Deana, Heather, Bev, Sandy and Christy. Dinner turned into my first interview as Carly Jordynn. Read on to see what the women asked me.
R.M. (Christy): What do you use for inspiration?
C.J.: I use the people around me (family, friends, and frienemies) to develop my characters. For example, a character in one of my books may be drawn from several different people I know. For physical characteristics, I usually imagine an actor/actress. I always ask myself while writing for a character, if this becomes a movie, whom do I want to play this role? My inspiration for this book series, Forest of Mist came in January 2009. I had the flu and was trying to think of a new angle for a young adult series. I wanted it to have romantic elements and a bit of the unbelievable thrown in. That is when the idea for Forest of Mist was born. Maybe it was all the medicines I was taking for the Flu, but this story literally flew out of me.
R.M. (Christy): How long does it take to write a book?
C.J.: It depends on the book and how badly it wants to be written. My first book, Hollywood Obsession took twelve years to finish AND I wrote it in longhand because I did not have a computer back then. The story is done but the book is not. It needs a major re-write. I have several books that are started and then were set aside for one reason or another. The first book in the Forest of Mist series, Travelers, would not allow me to stop. My characters want their story told so I will work on it until the series is complete. The series was supposed to be a trilogy, however, I have more ideas for two follow up books too. In the end, the series may be five or six books total.
R.M. (Sandy): When did you decide you were meant to be a writer?
C.J.: I think I toyed with the idea in the early stages of my marriage so that would have been around 1990 or so. I was hooked on historical romances back then but they were not what I wanted to write. It took me many years to find my voice and to discover what stories provided enough enthusiasm for me to write. I would say when I finished Hollywood Obsession, I knew I wanted to be published and become a professional writer. That is when I began researching and honing my craft.
R.M. (Heather): How do you come up with enough content to write a whole book?
C.J.: It goes back to what inspires you…what gets you excited. With Hollywood Obsession, I wanted to bang my head against the wall to come up with plot lines to create a whole book. With the Forest of Mist trilogy, the series almost writes itself. It sounds crazy, but I listen to my characters now. Lily, Connor, Colin…all of them. They point me in which direction I need to lead them next. Instead of running out of material, I almost have too much!
R.M. (Laura): Do you have someone in mind when you come up with your main characters?
C.J.: Yes and no, as I stated earlier, the characters are drawn from many sources in my life. With the Forest of Mist, I knew Lily’s physical characteristics, mannerisms, hobbies…she was drawn from many women I know. For Connor, I had a specific actor in mind (Will Fiedle from Boy Meets World). His quirky personality, charming good looks and smile were exactly what I wanted for Connor. Connor’s personality traits were a combination of three former boyfriends (the good aspects of them). Colin is just a stinker in the series. There is no other way to describe him. He is a bad boy with good locked inside him. It was fun to develop him and see where he goes. I took a lot of his smart mouth from my own personality.
R.M. (Deana): Most books of this type have a hero or a heroin. In your story, was the heroin based on your life, and if so, how do you see the outcome for both of you?
C.J.: Wow… that is quite the question, Dink! Truthfully, if a character in any of my books were like me, it would be Emily from Hollywood Obsession. She is a small town girl with big dreams for her writing career. She has a mixture of innocence, mischievousness, flirtatiousness and shyness that are all qualities that are in me. Lily is a mixture of many things I am not but would have liked to be in my younger years. As to the second part of your question, Lily has a huge crossroads in her life. Either path will lead to happiness and heartbreak both. I don’t envy her the decision she must make. I think she will be happy with the path I have written for her though. As for me…I would have my dream of being published come true and of course, find Prince Charming on a white horse as we ride off into the sunset together.
R.M. (Christy): Did you know how the books were going to end before you started writing them?
C.J.: I had an idea of how it would all end but sometimes the story or a character will dictate another. It’s crazy how real the characters become to you as the writer. I want Lily to recover from her accident and find happiness. She does find it, but from two different sources (Alex and Connor). That is where her decision comes into play. Will she choose reality and the two-year relationship she already has with Alex? On the other hand, will she choose life in the alternate land with Connor? It’s a win/win situation for her but not for the other characters. As I stated before, this was outlined as a three book series when suddenly, a child born in the trilogy wanted his store told…that is where the other two books will come into play following the trilogy.
Thanks to the Renegade Moms for having dinner with me and conducting my first interview. I truly enjoyed myself and loved answering your questions.