Where Honesty Never Ends.
Greetings everyone! For this 1st Author Spotlight for July we turn to Casey Prism for another episode of Prism Speak. This time, she will be featuring Chick Lit/Women’s Fiction Author Jennifer Gilby Roberts!
1) Inspiration: where does yours come from?
I don’t know. If I did, I would go there more often! Stuff just sort of pops into my head. Sometimes, when I sit down to write, I’m a little worried by what my fingers do. That said, I do think through things while doing housework etc. Sometimes all you need to do is to ask yourself why a character would do something and it goes from there.
2) Do you prefer writing in first or third person and why? Do you feel one is more beneficial than the other?
My published works are all written in the first person. Though, oddly enough, up until I wrote The Dr Pepper Prophecies I’d only written third person. I was inspired to write it by Sophie Kinsella’s Can You Keep a Secret? and I copied her.
Writing in the first person makes it easier to connect the reader (and writer) to a character, because you can put down exactly what they’re thinking. The real disadvantage is that you can’t ‘head hop’ to include other characters’ thoughts. You can write some chapters from another perspective, as Sophie Kinsella did in Wedding Night, but if you do it within chapters people will just get confused. It also limits what events you can describe, because you can’t cover anything that your character isn’t there for.
First person works very well for character-driven genres like chick lit, where connecting with the main character is vital. It’s more limiting in action-driven genres where there’s a lot going on that the protagonist doesn’t know about.
3) Are you a planner when you write or a fly by the seat of your pants type of girl?
The Dr Pepper Prophecies had a detailed plan, After Wimbledon had a rough one and Early Daze had none worth mentioning. I think I tend towards the latter. The plot bunnies don’t like being cooped up. They’re wild, you know.
4) I love your post “6 Steps to Prevent Teenage Pregnancy“! Has mommyhood helped you as a writer (not in the getting things done–I know better–but in the manner of perspectives)?
Life inevitably changes your writing, particularly when you write in a genre that is so much about everyday life. If you take any chick lit writer who’s had a long career and compare their first book to their most recent, the time lapse will be obvious, both in what they write about and how they write it.
Motherhood has given me a new experience to write about. I couldn’t have written Early Daze five years ago, because I wouldn’t have understood the emotions involved. Writers don’t have to have been through the experiences they write about, but I think they need to have experienced the feelings or it won’t come to life.
5) What’s your favorite work of your own to date?
Tough question. The Dr Pepper Prophecies is my best comedy. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to equal it, just because life has moved on since then and I’m not in the same mindset. It’s not unusual, though. It frequently gets compared to Sophie Kinsella’s works or Bridget Jones’ Diary. After Wimbledon and Early Daze both bring something a bit different to the table. Early Daze will always stand out for me as the most honest book I’ve written. While I kept in some humour, I also told it like it is. Or, rather, like it was.
6) When you write do you need silence, music or does it matter?
I have not yet managed to write anything meaningful while watching Peppa Pig. A shame, really. If I found that inspiring, I’d be producing a novel a month because my toddler is obsessed with it.
Music can be good, but it’s usually silence. Of which I don’t get nearly enough.
7) How long have you been writing for? Where did it all begin?
Well, I have my Brownie writer badge, so that should tell you something. I believe I wrote a story about Stuart Little (the mouse), in which he ‘kitted’ a lot. I knew ‘knitted’ was spelt with a k, but hadn’t realized it was in addition to the n!
I started properly at around 17 when I joined an online message board about the TV show Farscape and, along with many of the other members, started writing fanfiction. My first story had little to recommend it, but I was given encouragement and over the next few years I improved massively. If you read my first Farscape story and my last, you’d never believe that they were written by the same person.
After my A-levels, I had a gap year. For part of that I studied French in the mornings and I wrote in the afternoons. First, I wrote a YA romance, which I have never read back. Then I wrote The Dr Pepper Prophecies.
8) Where’s your favorite place ever? Why?
“Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home.”
9) What’s next for you in writing?
I’m writing a spin-off from The Dr Pepper Prophecies featuring Mel’s sister, Brittany. That’s in editing at the moment. After that, I’m not sure. I have a few ideas, but we’ll have to see how I feel once this one is finished.
10) We’re all guilty of it: favorite writing food (mine’s popcorn…or chocolate…or both…)?
I’m going through a phase of craving anything with toffee in it.
What a wonderful way to end–on a flavorful note! Thanks for tuning into Prism Speak with one of our July Author Spotlights Jennifer Gilby Roberts. Don’t forget to like, share, subscribe and comment as well. Have a terrific day!