Today’s Indie Spotlight shines on author Stephanie Clarke-Jennings. Read her Guest Post, check out her book, and enter her Giveaway for the chance to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card.
So, what do you do? By SR Clarke-Jennings
Often a question asked of people over a certain age, with people often answering with a ‘Ummm I’m a teacher, I am a graphic designer or I work at such and such….”. However in answer to that question I have many answers not beginning with my job: I am cook, a cleaner, a referee, a diplomat, a nappy changer, a negotiator, a mother, a wife, an occupational therapist (what some might call my ‘real job’!?!), a dreamer, a peace-keeper, a teacher (I do actually have a teaching qualification!), a student, an interpreter, but I am also a creator.
The essence of my very being cries for creativity. To create something beautiful, mysterious, original, something people can escape into and forget where they are, who they are, something that gets their heart racing, their imagination sprinting, words that tire their eyes from being open to the small hours because they have to read just one more page. I create words, put them together in their thousands, and escape from my own life in the process. Not that my life necessarily needs escaping from, but when my four year old asks ‘Why you do wear face cream?’ And then answers with ‘Is it so you don’t look like a mouldy old pickle?’ (A career in advertising in the future perhaps?), or my baby faced vampire/17 month old son, who smiles sweetly before sinking his newly grown canines, like an angelic vampiric newborn into my upper arm, as he continues to smile his heavenly heart melting smile, that is becoming more than just a habit and more like a ritual of evil to brand my upper arms and neck with tiny teeth marks. Teeth marks that are so small they are even considered cute by my eleven year old daughter (Empathy is few and far between in my house which tends to be run by the tiny army I created).
Just like the avid reader I am in which I read to escape off to a fantasy land, I write to channel a creative process that burns in my soul, and jumps head first onto the fantasy land I am creating in order to take respite from the reality of daily life.
Inspiration comes in many forms. The spindling tree welting in the sun along the highway, begging for rainfall that is still many months away, a song on the radio that creates visions of sadness, or feeling of pure love, creating a momentum to get home to write the scene created in my mind on that journey back from the supermarket. Waking in the small hours, when my small child is sleeping softly next to my bed, scrambling around in the dark desperate for a piece of paper without waking the sleeping child and the peaceful husband oblivious to my plight for a surface to etch my rambling dreams upon. Writing by the light of the moonlight from a gap in the blinds, using a felt tip pen left lonely under my bed my six year old. The creative process for me is not a linear one. Instead it come in waves, like a method actor rehearsing their lines, I method write, becoming the character, feeling and thinking from their head and heart. Sometimes I become an angry angel other times I become a possessed satanic she-devil (well-practised during my four pregnancies…) other times I become a grieving friend; so consumed with grief I find it hard to check back in to reality, desperately shaking off the growing numbness to ever feeling happy again, before it takes over my whole being.
I often wonder how other writers find inspiration. Whether they use personal experiences, observed behaviours, photography, whispered conversations, and tales from older generations, news articles, music, or everyday scenery around them?
How an idea is planted, grows and begins to blossom is one of the most exciting things I love about writing. Whether that singular thought becomes a multitude of ideas branching and curling its ever growing vines into a beautiful and voluptuous story weaving through characters and scenes or it stays a curious solitary thought put into the ideas folder for another day.
Being an indie author I often find myself sifting through google searches and articles by fellow indie authors all just trying to make sense of the world of self-publication. The articles normally start with: Writing the book is the easy bit. Well I actually don’t think that is true, writing a book is enjoyable but not easy. And editing is part of that process and oh my that is not an easy either- especially trying to edit while having a glass of Pimms (or three) and a fellow writer friend once pointed out perhaps I should save the inspirational beverages for writing not editing- rookie mistake. But us Indie authors are continually learning and asking ‘Are we doing it correctly? Will I sell a trillion books by doing it this way or that way?’ I don’t know about a trillion, but what I will say is not knowing what I am doing means I am doing it my way. I concentrate on why I began this journey in the first place: channelling my creativity as a way of expressing who I am. A part of me that got lost through the throws of parenting and other near death experiences.
So stumbling around in the murky waters that is successful self-publishing I go back to what I know best- the creative process channelling my inner fantasist onto paper. If all else fails just write. And Google your heart out.
So when someone asks me again ‘What do you do?’ I will be proud to answer that I am a writer, knowing all that it encompasses, all that takes to put pen to paper, and finger to keyboard. Knowing above else that writing became my therapy, allowing me to escape to a different world sometimes for fractions of time and other for hours on end until I had written all had in my head and heart. It allowed to me to be free from everyday constraints, free from insulting toddlers, free from whinging preteenagers, creating lives that I care for and wondered where they could head, whether they lived or died, made the right or wrong choices, loved or broke hearts.
I am a writer. What do you do?
SR Clarke-Jennings: The Emerald Ink Part One The Awakening Book Summary
Several thousand years ago, as Human beings became greedy and vile to the other races, a solution was put in place. Seven scripts were written in Emerald Ink to separate the realms to protect them from each other. It is now the 21st century and those scripts are being hunted by one of its very authors; reincarnated with an axe to grind against humanity, hellbent on reuniting them for The Elementals and The Fae to get their revenge
Jovie Winter is an Earth Angel, not that she knows it yet. Her soul is eons old gifted with innate abilities such as truth seeing, telepathy and telekinesis.
She is also gifted with an overactive imagination to predict the worst case scenario of every situation and she has a few anger issues to boot. She is soon to be recruited to play beat the hunter to those scripts. However in a world full of murder, torture and needless violence it would be tempting to be able to press reset. To keep the best souls to create a new race of kind, compassionate and loving human beings.
If you could press reset would you?
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About The Author
SR Clarke-Jennings is thirty-three old wife and mother of four children. Having recently broken her nose in an unfortunate hand-standing accident involving a Michelle Bridges exercise DVD and an enthusiastic six year old, SR Clarke-Jennings is used to juggling life’s impromptu curveballs.
Achieving a degree in Occupational Therapy gaining and Post-Graduate qualifications in Education, she is currently studying part time for her Masters in Occupational Therapy. SR Clarke-jennings describes herself as a gothic hippy, obsessed with skulls and Ironfist high-heels and a sugar free/ chemical free, yogaesque existence; the combination is a unique one.
SR Clarke-Jennings lives in Australia and works as an Occupational Therapist in Aged care and is mum to four beautiful monsters aged eleven, six, two and one.
Obsessed with Harry Potter and British eccentricity; fanatically reading fantasy fiction is a way of life for SR Clarke-Jennings. Not only is she a writer but she is an obsessive and fast reader, demolishing a good book in a day given the opportunity, always on the lookout for new and exciting authors to devote her spare time too.
In 2011 she wrote a bucket list and on there was to write a book. So while working, studying and pregnant with her third baby in 2013 she began writing her first novel.
Following the birth of her third baby, SR Clarke-Jennings gave up writing for about eight-nine months and in the August of 2014 was diagnosed with post-natal depression. Her doctor told her to get a hobby. It was then SR Clarke-Jennings realised the creative part of herself that made her who she was, had been abandoned for dirty nappies, sleepless nights, work, and school runs. She had forgotten who she was. So upon the doctor telling her to help herself, she thought ‘Well I used to paint but it’s too messy – I do enough clearing up, but I do have my book that needs finishing.’
Not only did the book get finished – The Emerald Ink Part One -The Awakening, but writing became her therapy and an inherent part of who SR Clarke-Jennings is. She writes to unwind and to be creative, because creativity is needed to survive life. And she writes to entertain and give avid fantasy readers a main character to obsessive over, empathise with and to follow on her journey to save human existence from itself.
SR Clarke-Jennings is currently writing The Emerald Ink Part Two and a spin off series, based on a sub character in book two, is in the works. The Emerald Ink is a fantasy adult fiction novel.
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- Ends Oct 8, 2016