ON WRITING

“It’s very easy to quit during the first ten years of writing. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.” Andre Dubus

Thursday, 13 September 2012

J L Campbell's Distraction Friendship Tour. What are friends for?


Hi folks! I'm sorry this is a little late, but I've been having computer problems, grrr...but I hope better late than never Joy! A thousand apologies to those who've come by and had to be content with Cadbury's Chocolates instead of Joy!

I'm honoured to be hosting another of our published RomanticFridayWriter members, J L Campbell today, as part of her Friendship is Forever blog tour for her latest release, Distraction (which is all about 3 friends...)

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Joy's book and asked her if she'd answer the questions I came up with as I read her book. She was happy to oblige. 

Joy, your novel is well named Distraction as the three girlfriends, Justine, Kyra and Dionne are certainly distracted in many areas of their lives, whether by their men or their children, or even by each other at times. Did you set out to write a novel about the distractions that happen in life, or was it in the writing that the idea of distraction raised its head?

In writing the book, Justine is the first character that came to me along with her problem. Although Justine is self-contained, like everybody else, she needs support. Dionne and Kyra, although they have their problems, provide somewhere for Justine to turn.

Do you write about the close friendship between girlfriends from personal experience? Do you have close buddies with whom you share your most intimate secrets?

The friendship the women share in Distraction would be an ideal scenario for me. Unfortunately, life is not like that. Not a lot of us can keep secrets without eventually spilling them, but I’ve had (and still do) one particular friend that I can talk to frankly without fear of being judged or having my confidence broken.

Do you think friends should counsel each other on life choices? 

When friends and associates have big challenges, I advise them to make a pro/con list and work from there. If the person with the problem is someone who will take advice in the way it’s meant, then I have no problem giving it. However, there are people who tend to be defiant, especially when they know their choices are morally wrong. In such cases, I keep my own counsel. 

I once knew two very close girlfriends of long standing whose friendship was shattered because one of them embarked on an affair with a married man. Justine, Dionne and Kyra seem to be able to value their friendship above their moral judgements. Is that a good thing in your opinion?

I think it’s important for people to recognize that someone else’s choices are their own. Some friends have relationships wherein they can say just about anything to each other without getting into a snit, which is a good thing. I also think it’s wonderful to know that no matter the situation, you have a friend who won’t give up on you, even when you make bad choices. 

Justine seemed conflicted between spending time with her lover Xavier and her daughter Yolanda early in your novel. Do you think this shows a moral weakness? Shouldn’t her daughter naturally come first? Shouldn’t a mother cherish that friendship between Mother and Daughter which these two share when Justine’s lust for Xavier doesn’t interfere?

Definitely, Justine displays moral weakness. It was challenging to create a character who did the right thing most of the time, but had this particular weakness. I figured though, that some readers would be able to identify with Justine’s dilemma. I also thought a lot about whether I wanted to tell this particular story. Critics can be harsh as it pertains to books that include subjects such as adultery and homosexuality.
Ultimately, Justine makes the right choice and I hope readers will see the book more as a story about women surviving their weaknesses rather than one that glorifies immorality.

Xavier and Justin begin their affair, risking both their marriages, at church. Would you say this is common or were you being deliberately provocative?

That’s an interesting one, Denise. I was amazed when a reader at the online writing network where I’m a member told me that many affairs start in church. I’ve asked people about that, but you know how that goes, mostly rumor mongering. From the responses I got, I have concluded that it does happen.

Justine, Kyra and Dionne are very sensitive to each other’s moods. I love this passage where Kyra picks up on Justine’s distress over her breakup with her lover, Xavier. I think it encapsulates the closeness of the three and their care for each other.

Something was wrong with Justine. She’d sensed it earlier, but the time wasn’t right to ask what was going on. Before she forgot again,
Kyra said, “Is why you so quiet, ma’am.”

Justine shook her head. “I’m all right.”

“You look far from all right. You look like somebody in your family
dropped dead or like you lost your best friend.”

A harsh cry escaped Justine, who hunched over the table, tears
wetting her face.

Kyra frowned at Dionne and mouthed, “Is what happen to her?”

Dionne shrugged and spread her hands.

Justine laid her forehead on her arm and continued to sob.

Of the three, Justine was the most even-tempered, self-contained
and composed. The one who held them together in a crisis and handed
out good advice. What had happened to make her fall apart like this?
They allowed her to cry, and when her sobs turned into sniffles, Kyra got
a square of hand towel off the roll and pushed it into Justine’s hand. She
dried her eyes and tugged at the buttons on her shirt, head held down.

“What was that all about?” Dionne asked.

“Xavier and I broke up last night.”


Yes, intimate friendship with girlfriends can be life enhancing.
What was going through your mind when you wrote this passage, Joy?

Many of us have friends that have seen us through some tough time and we look to them, knowing they’ll be there whenever we need their support. It’s an awesome thing to have the security of friends who instinctively know when you’re not yourself, love you as you are and are willing to slap some sense into you when you falter. That’s the essence of Distraction – surviving and triumphing over bad choices, with the help of friends.

If you’ve stuck with us to this point, please feel free to download a complimentary copy of A Baker’s Dozen: Thirteen Steps to Distraction. In this prequel, you’ll meet Dionne, Kyra and Justine a year before Distraction takes place. I hope you’ll enjoy this taste of things Jamaican.


Each person who leaves a comment on this post will be entered to win an e-copy of Distraction. At the end of this Friendship tour, there’ll be a main prize of a Distraction note pad & pen and a $10 Amazon gift card. The second prize is a paperback copy of Distraction. Sign up for that at the Rafflecopter here.

Denise, thanks so much for being a good friend and for hosting me.


J.L. Campbell is a proud Jamaican and the author of Contraband, Distraction, Dissolution, Don’t Get Mad…Get Even, Giving up the Dream and Hardware (pen name Jayda McTyson). Campbell is always on the lookout for story making material, loves company and can usually be found lollygagging on her blog at http://thecharacterdepot. blogspot.com



It was great hosting Joy today. I hope you enjoyed the interview and download some of Joy's excellent books.

Thanks for coming by today.




38 comments:

  1. A friend that can stick with you through the bad choices is priceless!

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  2. I have my own copy of Distraction, so don't enter me. JL is great!! :)

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  3. Thanks for dropping in, guys.
    Denise, thanks so much for hosting me!

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  4. Hi JL and Denise!

    Congrats JL! I have Distraction, please do not enter me! Loved reading all your reasonings behind the story, JL!

    You ask awesome questions Denise!

    Nas

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping in, Nas. Hope you enjoy Distraction when you get to it!

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    2. Thanks JL! I realised I had commented while logged in on a different account.

      Nas

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  5. Hi Joy and Denise, I've read your book as well - so I don't wish to enter either. I found the book very readable. It was great to read about people in a different culture from the UK. Thank you so much for the free download of the prequel - I look forward to reading that as well.

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    Replies
    1. Sally, the differences in culture is one of the things I find interesting when reading. Hope you enjoy the prequel.

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  6. I like the colour tones in the Distraction cover, really draws your eye in and the font picks up the colours in the girls' lips. Very clever. Hope Joy has had a great book release, it certainly is popping up everywhere!

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    Replies
    1. Chamaine,
      Thanks. Courtney Vail (another writer) did a wonderful job with the cover.

      Hoping that I gain some readers during this whirl of activity.

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  7. I really loved this book and I am sure others will too!

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  8. I agree with what Clarissa says. I'll be reviewing Distraction soon. Almost done with it. Superb book so rest assured, J.L., you are an incredible author.

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  9. Clarissa and Mike,

    Thanks so much, guys. When writers think I can write, that's a huge compliment. Smiling all over the place here.

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    Replies
    1. So you should be Joy. It is a delight to read your books.

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  10. As the interview shows, friendships can be so complex. Thanks Joy and Denise!

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  11. These are excellent questions. I enjoyed reading the answers!

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  12. Great interview, makes me want to read this book even more. I'm going to have to bump it up on my to read list! Just wish I had an e-reader instead of having to read on the desktop. But I'll get to is soon! (:

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    Replies
    1. Highly recommended Elise, both Joys book and e reader.

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  13. Happy to see Joy on here! I really have to check out her book!
    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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    Replies
    1. Hey, Nutschell,
      Thanks for stopping in.

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  14. Friendship is a precious thing.

    Denise, thanks for this great interview with Joy. It really highlighted some of the complexities to be expected in the book - the moral ambiguities and the way friendships can dip and soar. I'll look out for this one!

    Congrats, Joy, on completing the Distraction tour!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jai,
      The way you've described things above is exactly the way the book is crafted. Thanks for your good wishes.

      Delete
  15. Denise, I enjoyed the chocolates, so that was okay.

    I believe that we can talk to friends as they are wonderful support systems. I've shared info with friends in good and bad times, especially when I needed to talk.

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    Replies
    1. So true, Peaches. Thanks ever so much for your support!

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  16. Denise,
    Many, many thanks for hosting me. Hugs.

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    Replies
    1. A pleasure Joy, and thanks for coming by to reply to your commenters. D

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  17. Great interview, ladies! I've not read this book, but I have read some of Joy's short stories and really enjoyed them. I'm adding this to my list!

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  18. Thanks for dropping in, Tslli. Hope you enjoy the book when you get to it.

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  19. I enjoyed the Q&A session on the intricacies of friendship, the ups & downs, highs & lows... in reality, true friendship is very hard to come by.
    Thank you Denise & Joy.

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  20. Glad to see you here, Michelle. Agree that true friendship is rare and precious.

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  21. Great interview Denise & Joy and a compelling excerpt. I have downloaded a copy, Joy and I will have a read of your book soon I hope.

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    Replies
    1. Happy reading, Madeleine. Thanks for coming by.

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  22. Great interview, Joy and Denise. The questions were well thought out, and give insights to the concepts behind the book. I enjoyed reading this, and I'm sure I will enjoy the novel. The excerpt was good.

    ......dhole

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    Replies
    1. I'll but in here Donna. It was nice to have time in Fiji to read and consider Joy's book and come up with the questions which Joy answered so well. Thanks for getting your head out of those mss and visiting.

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    2. And I do know that that 'but' needs to be 'butt'. I'm always going on about writer's misuse of synonyms and whoopsie, can I blame my computer?

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    3. Glad you enjoyed the interview, Donna.
      *Waves at Denise.*

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