DJ – We moved from Edmonton, which was a wonderful city for careers and rasing children (but such long cold winters!) to Vancouver Island five years ago and love it. The weather is soft and mild and never really too hot, although the winters can have some terrible winds and lots of rain. A big bonus is the views of the ocean and mountains from my desk. How cool is that? A little Canadian humor for you. Question: How do you define an Albertan? Answer: Someone who was born in Saskatchewan and retires to BC. That’s me!
I often speak about the amazing online community of writers, editors, reviewers and readers of which I’m proud to be a part. Some of you may recall, back in the day, how there were opportunities to have pen pals and when a letter arrived from another part of your country or … gasp … another country, it was such a thrill! Today we communicate with people all over the world on a daily basis via the internet and think nothing of it.
One of the groups to which I belong is loveahappyending.com which was begun by the talented Linn B.Halton who lives in the U.K. The majority of members are from the U.K. but there are also Canadians and Americans among the ranks. Taking on charity projects is part of our mandate as well as sharing information and support and a good deal of laughter.
As writers, telling stories is what we do. I must admit I’m always equally intrigued by the story about the writer. It’s my pleasure to feature the talented Canadian author Darlene Jones who is launching her novel, EMBATTLED, this very day. She chatted with me from Mexico.
PS – Welcome, Darlene. I’m delighted to have a chat with you on this exciting day! Let’s clear the air first. I’m in Toronto right now. You are in Mexico. I’m not complaining … well, perhaps just a little … I know you are enjoying lovely days at the beach and I’m not. Tell me about it.
DJ – We used to live in the frozen north of Edmonton when we started coming here for the winters. We’re on the west coast of Mexico, north of Puerto Vallarta in a town called Guayabitos. It’s away from the hustle and bustle of the major tourist areas; weather is always great, restaurants and little taco stands galore, and great beaches for body boarding. Over the years we’ve made many friends, both Mexicans and fellow Canadians, so each fall when we get here, it’s like coming home.
PS – It was a surprise to discover you spend your summers on Vancouver Island. I also know that you lived in Mali for a time.Can you tell us a bit about your experiences in both of those locations? Have there been any other longterm stops along the way?
Mali was many years ago and a whole other world. Rather a time travel type of adventure. I was a Canadian University Service Overseas volunteer teaching English in Bamako. I’ve written bits about Mali on my blog.http://emandyves.wordpress.com At that time it was the 5th poorest country in the world. It is impossible to describe that kind of poverty. Beggars, victims of leprosy with missing limbs, malnourished children with distended bellies; the list goes on and on. It’s also impossible to describe the heat. Step off the airplane and you feel the force of the heat pressing you down. It saps your energy.
PS – In my opinion, travel is such an important experience that helps shape us as individuals and as writers since we are able to observe other cultures firsthand. How have your experiences impacted your writing?
DJ – For sure! In fact, my experiences in Mali were, in part, the inspiration for my books.
PS – Would you tell us about your journey to becoming a published author? When did you begin writing? What have you published?
DJ – Inspired by reading and the authors I admire, I began playing with writing some time ago, but it was the opportunity to spend a week long workshop at the Banff School of Arts with Robert J. Sawyer, that really convinced me I could do it. I’ve attended conferences and other workshops along the way and learned so much that contributed to improving my writing.
PS – Tell me about “Embattled”, which you describe as sci-fi with a bit of magic. Intriguing! I haven’t yet read it although it is on my TBR list! How did this particular story idea come to you and were there any surprises for you as the story unfolded?
DJ – The big issue I focus on with my heroine is war and stopping it. My stories allow my heroine to “wave a magic wand” so to speak and do all the things one would wish to do to improve living conditions for people. The biggest surprise was the ending. I had no idea when it started that it would lead to that particular ending which then demanded that I continue the story.
PS – What are your launch plans and where can readers order your book?
DJ – My formal launch, with the wonderful assistance of all the Love A Happy Ending gang, is Feb 6. My book is on Amazon and Smashwords. You can read more about EMBATTLED here. www.emandyves.com
Thanks so much for chatting here today. We all wish you a wonderful launch day. I understand this book is the first in a series so we will be eagerly watching for the next release.