Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Interview with Author Vera Jane Cook


How did you get into writing?

I started keeping a diary when I was very young. I couldn’t imagine going a day without writing in it. I also became an avid reader at an early age. I particularly loved Victorian novels and poetry. I think that’s what gave me a real love of the English language.

What's the earliest story you can remember writing?

I wrote a story about a bear in the first grade. I remember that my teacher loved it. She told me I should be a writer but I had no connection to that at the time. For most of my young life, I wanted to be an actress

When did you decide to make the move to "published"?

When someone read my first book and cried and just loved it, I decided I might just have something to say. I spent years sending my work to publishers and agents. It finally clicked.

How did you find the experience of seeking a publisher?

It was just awful. That’s why my first published novel, Dancing Backward in Paradise, was self published through iuniverse.

What did it feel like when the acceptance notice came?

I was stunned, then I was most grateful.

What inspired you to write the current release?

I love the supernatural. Many of my favorite books are written by Anne Rice. I love being able to be absurd and to create characters from another time. I love these larger than life, these philosophical characters that are at once frightening and endearing.

What books have most influenced your life most?

There are so many but to name but a few that came from my early love of writing I would have to say: Cheri and the last of Cheri, The Picture of Dorian Grey, The Brother’s Karamazov, War and Peace, Gone With the Wind, Sons and Lovers, The Red and the Black, Wuthering Heights, etc., oh etc., etc..

What book are you reading now?

All He Ever Wanted by Anita Shreeve

What are your current projects?

I’m writing another southern novel and it’s the most sexual book I think I’ve written. I’m trying to show how love is a part of that, love and need, and finally, obligation.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I learned how much I love writing, and how interested, even fascinated, I am in spirituality. My characters fight between good and evil and they come to see that you can’t really separate them the good from the bad, that life is all opposites, that in good there is evil and vice versa. In this world we can only make a choice. I love to study religion. Annabel Horton is very religious. She believes in God though she has not seen God anywhere but in the eyes of the devil.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don’t ever give up. Be absolutely focused on what you need to get your novel done. Don’t compromise.

How important is the support and friendship of other writers?

You need other writers. They can be tremendously helpful and supportive. You need to know you’re not alone, that others are having it just as hard as you, have achieved as much as you. You can get honest feedback, shared information and sometimes, you can even help another author through blogs, advice, agents, etc.

How does your family feel about your writing career?

I couldn’t ask for more support.

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