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Thursday, November 8, 2018

So Far So Good Book Tour with Justyn Credible

So happy to have Justyn Credible stop by on her book tour to visit with me. I love books and bring you the good ones is what I like to do.  So, pull up a chair, get your cup of coffee (or tea) and enjoy the next few minutes with me.

Q. What is the first book that made you cry?
  A: Of Mice and Men.  Lennie reminds me of a sister.  She was mentally challenged and the only thing that she ever wanted to do that made her happy was draw.  When I finished Of Mice and Men I read all the other Steinbeck books.  I have never been able to watch a play production or a movie of Steinbeck’s.  His writing was so beautiful that I think watching a movie or play would almost ruin it or take something away.

Q.  Have you ever gotten reader’s block?
A: I am not sure what reader’s block is.  My reading interests cover a wide range from cookbooks, mysteries, biographies, etc., having reader’s block has never been a problem.  I don’t experience writer’s block since I am not creating stories.  My stories come from my daily journal of what has occurred that day, perhaps someone that I met, a good and/or bad experience, etc.

Q. How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
A:  Since I am telling stories from my day to day life, writing them down isn’t any different than before.  I think I am starting to get a good sense of who my audience might be and sometimes I question whether something that I have logged into my journal would be good story material. 

Q.  How do you select the names of your characters?
A: That was easy. Rhonda works as a legal secretary.  She is pulled in all directions from the moment she enters her office in the morning.  The ringtone to her phone is “Help Me Rhonda.”  Clients, court staff, attorneys all demand constant attention even before she can take her coat off.  If Rhonda were a coffee drinker she would be eating coffee out of the jar.  It’s not just her work people but people outside the office.  They gravitate to Rhonda.  Her boss calls them her broken winged friends.  The last name Rhorer I came up with because since Rhonda has trouble saying her “Rs”, no one ever understands what her last name is, nor is there anything that rhymes with Rhorer.  Maybe if there is a sequence Rhonda will have a name change.

Q.  What were you like at school?
A: To say I was a wallflower would be an understatement.  No one knew I existed.  I hid out in the library over the lunch hour.  The whole time I was in high school I never saw the cafeteria.  I would get dressed in the bathroom for gym class because I was flat chested and didn’t own a bra.  My panties, “step-ins” as my southern mother called them were not the cutesy flowered or colored briefs.  Gym was twice a week and for every one of those weeks throughout each year of gym I would say that I was on my period to avoid getting naked in front of everyone to take a shower.  One year the gym teacher made me stand in front of the whole gym class along with nine other girls for the final.  The last question on the test was to write down the names of the girls standing.

Socially I was bullied, called dogface among other things.  I had no friends, I hated Friday afternoons when everyone would go to the gym, sit with their friends at the pep rally.  I had no one to get peppy with and went to the library.

Academically, my mother instructed the guidance counselor to sign me up for all the generic classes, general science, general math, etc. and above all else to take typing.  Typing would be the key to my education.  In music class, I was told that I only had one note and to just pretend that I was singing.  I had a sister two grades ahead.  She was the valedictorian of her class.  Occasionally, I would have a teacher that had taught my sister and for the first hour of the first day of that class, the teacher would be excited thinking that I had my sister’s intellect.  It was always humiliating when reality sunk in, sometimes more for the teacher than for me.  Gym was especially tough.  An example of that was the teacher asking me to get on the trampoline with people gathered around and then I almost fell off the trampoline, well you get the idea.  I was always the cheese, standing alone, the last to be picked for a team, class project, discussion groups, dance partner, etc.  My sister didn’t want me on her team as well.  Report cards came out every six weeks and mine usually read something like: messy, careless, doesn’t work well with others, etc.

Q. Were you good at English? or what academic subject?
A:  Horrible, horrible, horrible.  English, literature, short story writing, anything related in that area was not on my radar.  I could never comprehend the true meaning of the story that I was reading.  When it came time to poetry I secretly wished I could get sick and skip it altogether.  Taking English in college was a disaster.  My first paper was returned ungraded with the notation, I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt THIS TIME.  “Where did you go to school?”

For some unknown reason, I was the teacher’s pet in history.  Someone had taken an interest in me and I wanted to do well in his class and I did.  I loved geography and did well in that class because the teacher was cute and like the rest of the female students I had a crush on him.  Years later I would name my son after him.  The civic teacher was amazing.  He had been everywhere and had wonderful stories regarding his adventures and was constantly inventing things.  I pushed myself to do well in his class.

If it weren’t for doing well in those classes I probably would not have been admitted into college.

While in college I discovered that I was good at languages.  I think probably because for me it was a matter of memorization (which I do have a good memory) and being able to discipline myself and because everything was black and white.  There were no theories to spend hours at the coffee shop to discuss what appeared to me to be the most boring topic in the world.

Q. What are your ambitions for your writing career?
A: Right now I would like to see So Far So Good do well.  The response to my book has been good.  I am thinking that maybe I should start a blog.

Q.  Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
A: In a heartbeat, I would choose a young Laurie Metcalf or Sissy Spacek.  The only way that either of these women could play the part now would be if an older Rhonda is reflecting back on her life.  As far as someone to play a younger Rhonda I would need to give that more thought.

Q.  What are you working on at the minute?
A: I have been asked by some of the readers for a sequence to the Rhonda story.  I thought about a story on her sisters or their mother.  What I started working on when I finished Rhonda was a story about vacations whether it be traveling in an almost broken down beat up car with too many people in it along with a dog and trying to make it on a shoestring budget, or getting pampered and flying first class to Europe. This led me down the path of decision making and how sometimes just one decision can be a life changer. I stopped with those stories because I found myself being judgmental and maybe going a bit too far. Then I found myself going back to writing stories about my faith so who knows.  Maybe I can tie this all together.  For me that’s the hard part, putting all the stories together and making it work. 

Q  What is your message to aspiring writers/ storytellers?

A: I think of myself as an aspiring storyteller but if someone had told me that someday I would be a published author, I would have laughed.  That would have been the same as saying, “hey you are going to be a ballerina someday.”  Rhonda would say, “I have this God-given talent of being able to tell stories that people seem to enjoy that has always been here but because I’m a late bloomer I just didn’t realize it.”  That being said, take what you have and this could be true for anything, even if it is just a little bit of something and go with.”  Don’t be like an attorney that Ronda once knew.  He would walk around with a Thesaurus looking up big words to put in his pleadings and no one, especially him, knew what they meant.  Write or tell what you know.  Everybody has their own unique story.  Try to make every sentence important.  Finally, more importantly, trust and have faith that God will help you.  A true believer can ask him anything, but you have to talk to him.


If you missed it, here is my podcast with her back in October.

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