Most Thursdays in 2019 we will be interviewing one of the members of Christian Writers Downunder – to find out a little bit more about them and their writing/editing goals.
Today's interview: Jenny Woolsey
Question 1: Tells us three things about who you are and where you come from.
I am a motivational speaker, educator, advocate and mum living, north of Brisbane.
I am visually disabled and have three children who have a range of disabilities.
I facilitate the Moreton Bay Region Local Writer Meet and Greet and the Moreton Bay Region Book Feasts. And of course I love God!
Question 2: Tell us about your writing (or editing/illustrating etc). What do you write and why?
I write on the theme of Be Weirdly Wonderful! Embrace your difference. I have 5 published junior fiction/YA books, been included in 5 short story anthologies and I also write blogs on the subject. Within these stories I use a combination of fantasy, contemporary realism and my blog posts address mindsets for coping with being different and societal issues. My world is one of difference and disability, so God has put on my heart that I must help others to feel worthy and valuable, and to know they are perfect the way they are.
Question 3: Who has read your work? Who would you like to read it?
My stories have been read internationally. My first novel, Ride High Pineapple, was endorsed by the Children’s Craniofacial Association which I was excited about. I would dearly love for my stories to be in all libraries and schools, read by as many children as possible, because they deal with such current pertinent topics.
Question 4: Tell us something about your process. What challenges do you face? What helps you the most?
I think my biggest challenge is forming the initial idea then planning a unique and engaging storyline.
A spark of an idea normally comes from a book I read, something I see in a movie or on TV, a real-life event, or talking to someone. When I am reading other authors’ stories, I always study the structure, how they use point of view and how they use the element of surprise or twists.
Once I have my idea, I play with it in my mind, working out the characters, the setting, and the story line. I plot out the story on a large piece of paper or by using post it notes on a story arc picture. If the idea doesn’t work, I scrap it, and rethink. For my children’s novels I want stories that have a message and will keep the child turning the pages.
I think what helps me the most is my inner determination to not give up and the fact that I am willing to toss a story away and start back at the beginning if I believe it isn’t going to be good enough.
Question 5: What is your favourite Writing Craft Book and why?
I use blogs on the internet and YouTube videos often to check on different types of story structure and grammar rules. I have style guides in my home library. I haven’t found one craft book that has all my answers, so am happy to read from a variety of sources.
A friend has just lent me the book, How to Write Your Blockbuster by Fiona McIntosh and I am enjoying reading it, as it has many general topics – and you can always learn something you didn’t know!
Question 6: If you were to give a shout-out to a CWD author, writer, editor or illustrator – who would they be?
I would have to give a shout-out to Jeanette O’Hagan (Jenny) who I met early on in my writing journey. She has always supported my writing and I have enjoyed watching her successes, reading her stories and her friendship. Jenny also facilitates this wonderful blog so needs to be congratulated for that!
Question 7: What are your writing goals for 2019/2020? How will you achieve them?
My goal is to publish two books - my self-help book, Be Weirdly Wonderful! Embrace your difference. How to be yourself in this world of perfection and prejudice; and the second book in my Daniel Barker Series. I will also continue to write my blogs. I am nearly up to the editing stage of Be Weirdly Wonderful! so it is well on its way. I have the storyline for Daniel Barker #2 worked out, so after I finish my self-help book it will be my focus. I also will continue to write short stories for anthologies and blog posts, that fit within my theme.
To help me achieve my writing goals I have a vision board with the specific names of the books on it. I then break the process down into smaller steps and give them an accomplishment date. From there I break these smaller steps up into weeks then to daily to do lists. If it isn’t written down, it won’t happen.
Question 8: How does your faith impact and shape your writing?
I put my faith into my children’s stories in some capacity. They are aimed at the general public so sometimes it is just that Grandma goes to church as in Daniel Barker: By Power or Blight. In Ride High Pineapple, Issy says in her journal that she believes in God and prays. I will not write stories that have topics that God would see as inappropriate, and when I write fantasy, I am careful with the characters and props. If I can, I will add a verse or theme from the Bible, as I did in Land of Britannica with the coat of armour Brittney wears being similar to the Armour of God, and also the quote in the front is Faith, Hope, Love – the greatest of these is love. I pray before and during the writing process and ask for guidance.
Jenny Woolsey is a visually-impaired author and motivational speaker who is passionate about making the world a better place for people who have disabilities or are labelled as different. In Proverbs 31: 8 it says to speak for those who can’t, so she does.
North of Brisbane is where Jenny hangs out with her family and adorable fur baby, Smokey.
Jenny facilitates the Moreton Bay Region Local Writer Meet and Greet, and Moreton Bay Region Book Feasts.