My guest today is E J Runyon, an author I met through the Passionate About Plot Facebook group. I don’t know EJ particularly well so asked her to introduce herself:
Hi, I’m E.J. Runyon. If I were going to talk about myself in the 3rd person, I guess I’d say: EJ strives to make each character she writes real enough for every reader to see their situations and still care about the journey her character travels.
In 1st person, I’m someone working my hardest to make sure each story is told through visceral and moving storylines. As a writing coach I foster my client’s dreams of writing well, and I welcome all stories that come my way, no matter the topic.
Elin: Can you tell me a little about yourself? For instance, do you have to have a day job as well as being a writer?
EJ: In 2006 I quit a career in Software and sold my 4-bedroom house in order to return fulltime to university. That got me through most of my graduate degree until the economy crashed. Now I teach creative writing to adults at the local CC/Community Ed, I coach and edit online, run my Bridge to Story website, and I write full time. Two books are in the pipeline for 2014, & ’15.
It’s my dream come true.
Elin: In that crucial inspiration stage of a new story which comes first? Plot, situation or character?
EJ: For me, it’s always character. Who is this girl or guy? Why are they in this predicament? How much of their sexuality will I need make germane to their tale? How can I show them to a reader from the inside-out? What choices will I force them to face? That’s the types of contents I try to get my clients to reach for too.
Elin: Do your characters arrive fully fledged and ready to fly or do they develop as you work with them?
EJ: I think I have questions in my mind about their state of being, before the character can actually be seen on my pages. I even wrote a blog post on that. How an opening paragraph may only describe how they look, but it has yet to tell us who that character is, or what they are after, or how they feel within the scene you’ve set them in.
Elin: Do you have a crisp mental picture of them or are they more a thought and a feeling than an image?
EJ: Sometimes I do find myself thinking of an image, but even then— it’s a character in action. Not what they’re wearing or how their hair is styled. It’s more a prompt for the questions that will lead me to their inner selves over how they look. I ask my coaching clients all the time, “Okay here this one is – what are they thinking as they stand there, dressed that way?’ What does that outfit say about her? Or what He’s up to standing there?
Elin: Villains are incredibly important in fiction since they challenge the main protagonists and give them something to contend with beyond the tension of a developing relationship. The cruel sea. The serial killer. The bigoted society. What sort of villains do you prize?
EJ: Since I write Literary Fiction, I like internalized ones – Self-doubt. Regret. Memories. Unspoken apologies. Silence. Confusion. Self-delusion. Missed chances. Those are villains to me. The foes of circumstance or society I funnel into the foe of self.
Elin: What are you working on at the moment? Can you discuss it or do you prefer to keep it a secret until it’s finished.
EJ: My next novel, which will also be published by Inspired Quill Press (UK) is a novel titled, A House of Light and Stone’. It was a NaNoWriMo work I started in 2003. And now here it is with release date set for October of 2014. I’m pretty proud of these characters; some are lesbian and it’s set in the mid-1960s.
If you would like to follow EJ here are some links:
EJ’s Coaching site, Bridge to Story, http://bridgetostory.com also offers 52 free lessons and a blog you might like to follow.
EJ’s Author site, http://ej-runyon.com also has a blog where she will be interviewing new writers she would like to champion.
“Tell Me (How to Write) A Story: Good, Basic Advice for Novices Ready To Write”
US: http://tinyurl.com/kkcfsjz UK: http://tinyurl.com/kjon5ub
CA: http://tinyurl.com/klq7ls9 IN: http://tinyurl.com/lv8wnwh
“Claiming One” EJ’s collection brings together 17 powerful stories linked only by flight or denial.
US: http://tinyurl.com/mcp64m9 UK: http://tinyurl.com/mjchapr
CA: http://tinyurl.com/m44a9sn IN: http://tinyurl.com/m2l7uyh