This month I continue interviewing my writer friends, this month JR, a writer and musician. She is working on a very exciting sci fi novel at the moment. So hear, hear!
JR began her writing career as a child disgruntled with song lyrics. After some early success with poetry and essays, she spent decades distracted by songwriting and academia until her story dreams became too interesting to keep to herself. Re: Morse, the first book in JR’s YA scifi series Contact Files, will soon be ready for public consumption or vivisection. Her goal is to share stories that inspire readers to embrace cultural diversity, the promise of science, and the value of humor and imagination to build a future that’s more Star Trek and less 1984. When she’s not writing, JR enjoys exchanging “your mama” jokes with her children, floating in lakes, and slaying virtual dragons.
Now for the questions:
In your most current work, are there dangers your characters face that you couldn’t handle yourself? How would you respond instead?
Hugo has to deal with things from the first page on that would probably traumatize me. If I woke up surrounded by strange aliens, cut off from my home and family, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have the psychological strength to “care about” anyone else’s problems right away. I’d be crying and writing weepy letters to my family, recreating home comforts, and not be very useful for months.
Awww. I’d probably do the same… I was terrified of aliens when I was a child (and they disquiet me a bit even now…) Speaking of childhood, do you have a childhood nickname that stuck?
By middle school, kids were calling me Mama. I suppose I was a bit like a mother hen to other fringe personalities. I still prefer Mama to my own name, actually.
What does your family think of your writing?
The family I’ve created for myself is very involved with my writing, since we read and even plan stories together. My parents were supportive of my academic writing, less so any artistic endeavors. Most of my extended family are artists, but all of them have chosen more traditional professions, relegating art to the realm of “hobby only;” thus, my artistic goals are met with fear and concern.
What cultural value do you place on storytelling?
In musical circles, I’m a folk singer. In academic circles, I’m a folk researcher. I gather stories for others to learn from, to retell to an audience in a language they can hear.
Hugo Morse, the main character in Re: Morse, is the youngest Minister in the Rodanbary Priesthood, a Ministry centered around the power of fiction and sharing of stories. A Ministry that teaches stories can become true. When you can tell a story, you can make a plan and change things, build, repair, heal, educate. Storytelling, for me, is the root of who we are as human beings.
Sounds super interesting! I would surely read it when it’s available for consumption and vivisection! A last question for you: Where was your favorite reading spot as a child? Where is it now?
As a child, I loved to read as far from the ground as possible—typically a tree or a roof. I’m more Earth-bound as I age; now I prefer to read lying on the floor.
Thank you so much for your time. If you want to find out more about JR’s work, you can do so on the following links: