Saturday, March 28, 2020

Inside the Mind: Jacqueline L. Sullivan

Welcome to Inside the Mind where we here at The Faerie Review interview authors and creators.
Our guest today is Jacqueline L. Sullivan, the author behind Tell The Rain Goodbye.

Lily:  Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview Jacqueline Tell the Rain Goodbye really made in impact on me. What inspired you to write such a moving story?
Jacqueline:  When I began Tell the Rain Goodbye, I had no idea that Tracy would meet Lanie. During the time I was making notes and thinking about the characters, I was having conversations with my son Christopher about his work in non-profits. He was the one who educated me about the homeless in L.A, and the plight of women on the street, but I didn’t connect any of what I learned to what I was writing at the time. Somehow, I couldn’t seem to develop the story I had originally planned. I put the unfinished manuscript aside and wrote my second MG novel A Less Than Perfect Peace. Then I wrote my YA novel Lovesick. When I went back to the manuscript for Tell the Rain Goodbye, I knew exactly what I wanted to write. I started over and was determined that Tracy would meet a homeless woman and that meeting would change both their lives. I researched homelessness, and the more I read, the more my characters came alive. I also knew, as a fun nod to an English friend, that I would include two characters named Michael and Nicola. Writing the book was a wonderful journey. 
Lily:  It sounds like a great journey. Were any of the characters based on people you know?

Jacqueline:  In contrast to my other books, none of the characters in Tell the Rain Goodbye were inspired by people I know. I merely “borrowed” two names. Both Annie’s War and Lovesick contain characters based on family members or friends. 
Lily:  You manage to convey some deep emotions – did you get emotional while writing?
Jacqueline:  I am not sure that I would describe myself as emotional when I wrote Tell the Rain Goodbye. I was, however, determined that the emotions I described would appear genuine and would reflect what my characters, had they been based on real people, would be experiencing. 
Lily:  You definitely succeeded. I love the cover, how did you decide on a cover design?
Jacqueline:  I give most of the credit for the cover to Mike Rivera. He also designed the one for Lovesick. The process was: We connected online, and as I described what I had in mind, I could follow his suggestions on my computer screen. I knew that I wanted Tracy on the cover with a vintage camera, so we kept working together until we both agreed on the final design. For both books he suggested things to make the cover really pop. 
Lily:  Now we’d like to talk about you as a writer. Do you like to outline as you write, or just let everything flow as you go?
Jacqueline:  When I begin a book, I buy a journal just for that project. I brainstorm and write pages of notes, keeping track of ideas and images in no particular order. I also include dates, like the characters birthdates and what was happening in the world at the time. So I guess my answer is yes, I just let everything flow as I go. 
Lily:  What’s the most frustrating part of writing in general for you?
Jacqueline: The most frustrating part of writing for me is capturing that first image floating around in my head and figuring out where it will take me. Finding that first line, that first paragraph, even developing the first chapter of a book can be challenging. When I began Annie’s War, I expected Chapter 1 would practically write itself, but nothing seemed to move. That chapter eventually became Chapter 3. In A Less Than Perfect Peace the blizzard that appears on the first page worked as a metaphor for the central action of the novel. Although frustrating, the process of finding my way into a novel never fails to excite me. 
Lily:  How do you keep track of ideas when inspiration strikes?
Jacqueline:    When I first started writing for children, I used to keep a small notebook in my purse. No matter where I was or what I was doing, I would stop and write down ideas or observations, even dialogue that I wanted to save. Once I even wrote down an entire conversation three teenagers were having in an airport shuttle we were sharing. I have never used it, but I still have it because the dialogue was hilarious. I still have most of those little books and also a fat, bulging file full of scraps of paper with notes made on the run. I am more organized now, but I still have that file. 
Lily:  Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
Jacqueline:  I grew up in Tacoma, Washington, and memories of my childhood in the Northwest play an important part in the development of a manuscript. Rainy days meant lots of hours indoors, so I had plenty of time to read, when I wasn’t roller skating around our basement furnace with my friends. We traveled in packs, moving from house to house acting out adventures and playing Red Rover or Kick the Can until our mothers called us in for dinner. We even had our own little theater in a neighbor’s garage. I wrote most of the plays, and my friends were the theater company. And our obliging parents cheered us on. I wrote “novels” constantly in those early years, but never shared them. I was sure my mother wouldn’t approve. It wasn’t until decades later that I began writing for young readers. I didn’t set out to be a published author. I just wanted to write stories for a friend’s children who were curious about our conversations when they overheard our stories about American history, especially WWII. I wanted them to discover how their lives connected with the past and what strong shoulders they stood on. I found that I really liked sharing these stories. That was the beginning, and I am still writing those stories.
Readers can find me on my website and on Facebook.

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