Friday 14 May 2021

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Soulla Christodoulou - Author

A Cup of Conversation with Rebekah Lee Jenkins, author of THE NIGHT THEY CAME FOR Til

A huge welcome to A Cup of Conversation with author Rebekah Lee Jenkins, Becky to her friends, who shares many insights into her wonderful writing journey, including her next novel ‘Prosecuting Priscilla’ and how she loses herself in times gone by and a Gin and Tonic keeps her company as she writes! Thank you for joining us!

Hey Soulla, thank you so much for inviting me to be part of a cup of conversation. This is super!!

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1. When did you start writing creatively?

I started writing creatively as soon as I learned how to read and write. I remember my first story was completed in Grade 4. I wish I could remember what it was about!

2. Which author has most influenced your own writing style?

The author that most influenced my own writing style? I think Fanny Flagg honestly. I love her writing, she writes about small town Americana and if someone compared me to her as the Canadian equivalent or wanna be is more like it! I would die a thousand deaths. She is fantastic. I also loved Lucy Maude Montgomery and Laura Ingall’s Wilder because I am a Canadian I read Lucy Maude Montgomery endlessly. I still read Rilla of Ingleside often. Also, Nelly McClung. If you haven’t read her you must. She was a suffragette and wrote extensively. She was from rural prairie Canada.

3. Are any of the characters in your novel/s based on yourself?

In The Night They Came For Til, I am most like Til. I hate to admit it. She is me with no filter. Also, I don’t have kids so I wrote this book for my 15 year old niece. So the relationship between Til and Shannon really reflects the relationship I have with Azelin my niece. Just like Til, I want the best for her, I want her to know her worth, not because of what a man or men commend in her but because of what she has accomplished. I want her to know; some women will propel you forward and some will destroy you. Know how to recognize those women. Don’t cater to them. I spent 22 years as a hairstylist and I have had the great privilege of knowing many amazing women. Pieces of them are made up in Mrs. Bennett and Mrs. Holt, Mrs. Rood. I was happy to give them a fictional forum. Til’s message to Shannon is a strong one. Create your own life. Ada’s message was “Know your own worth.” Both messages combine into one: Chart your own course, be true to yourself.

4. What are you working on at the moment/what’s next?

Currently, I have 20,000 words of the prequel to The Night They Came For Til. The book is called “Prosecuting Priscilla.” No rights under Canadian law? Be clever. I feature Canada’s first female lawyer and how she helps two women navigate divorce in Canada in 1902. How they handle having no legal rights in Canada and in court. I am super thrilled to write this. Til was a gynaecologist, unheard of for her time, Clara Cady. My take on the first woman lawyer in Canada. I love featuring women who do not let circumstance define them, they define themselves.

5. Where do you write and do you have a writing routine?

I write in my office that looks at a police station. Lots to see when I need to day dream out the window!! I love writing at about 6 am-11 am. I can’t really function mentally after 6 pm so it has to be in that window. Summer has thrown my whole routine out of whack. I try to keep Wednesdays sacred for writing.

6. What’s your favourtite go-to snack when writing?

Favorite snack? Gin and tonic. I never touched the stuff until I started writing Til and she demands the odd gin and tonic. She’s hard to live with. Coffee in the morning obviously. I don’t eat when I write. I forget the time. Often I start really early and I am feeling sick I look up I’ve been writing for 4 hours straight and forgot to eat.I also forget the year I live in. This is tricky. I was planning a scene in my head while I was on the way to Winnipeg and I stopped to pick up a sub at subway. A man in front of me in line started swearing into his phone. I looked at him shocked. Completely shocked that a man would swear in front of a woman. He looked back at me and kind of seemed chastised. He actually apologized! In my head it was 1904. I was in writing mode and not living in reality at all. I’m not sure if this happens to anyone else. I almost get into character when I write. It’s super hard to explain. Something that is very consistent. I always wear the same brown sweater. I think because I write so early and it’s always a little chilly that time of day in Canada. My sister threatens to burn it because it is so ugly.

7. Is there any aspect of the writer’s life you least enjoy and why?

The writer’s life I least enjoy?? I had a hard time finding a proof reader and dealing with proof reading was a nightmare. Other than that. I love every single piece of being a writer. If there an aspect I don’t like I don’t do it. I hate face book so I do very little there. I do tones ofIinstagram because I love Instagram. Anyway. I have a hard time with grammar and punctuation so I always hope the people I hire will fix everything and not roll their eyes. (By the way, check this document for punctuation!)

8. Sum up your most recent novel in 6 words.

Women empowerment in 1904

9. Are you a planner or a pantser?

First novel I was a pantser. It took 6 years to write. I did the research last, had to re write scads of it. This novel I am a total planner. Did endless research first. Drafted outlines. Adeline Pitman showed up unannounced. Didn’t plan for her, she’s taking over the entire book. Just like Til did. I have control over the plot but the characters take over and I try to keep up with them.

10. What’s on your current to-do list?

My current to do list is to go the the museum I wrote about and create a display of my research and set up my books for sale there. Hillcrest Museum is the visual of my brand. The man who was the architect was a stage coach driver who taught himself to be an architect in 1900. Kind of like a hairstylist who dared to be an author. Love that message. Circumstances don’t define you. We define ourselves Links: Instagram: rebekahleejenkins Facebook: Rebekah Lee Jenkins Author Website: RebekahLeeJenkins@wordpress.com Amazon links to bookshttps://www.amazon.com/dp/B072P1C1NC
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