Uncategorized writing

Meet Jolie

You probably know by now that I am an author with two published books to my credit.  If you’re curious, check out my website:  How would you like to meet the main character of my upcoming novel The Keeper? Fantastic!  Here she is now.
(A short and slim young woman with flaming red curls moves into the spotlight and slides gracefully onto the high bar chair in front of me.  The gray polo uniform shirt she wears does nothing for her porcelain skin, but her green eyes pop nonetheless.  She smiles shyly.)
FFL:  Hi, Jolie.  I’m so glad you could join us today.  I can’t wait to introduce you to my readers.  Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?
JS:  Okay. Well, my name is Jolie Sowell. I’m a zookeeper and a single mom, for starters.
FFL:  A zookeeper?  That’s a fascinating career.  I’m sure my readers would love to hear all about that.  What kind of animals do you take care of?
JS:  All of them, actually.  (She laughs nervously, flinging back her red curls with tapered fingers.)  I am one of the few night keepers at Timber City Zoo, and we take care of all the animals in the zoo.
FFL:  I bet that’s an interesting job.  How long have you worked there?
JS:  About three years, I think.
FFL:  Is it scary working at night, with all those strange animal noises and things going bump in the night?
JS:  It was at first, but I’ve gotten used to it.  I barely even notice that it’s nighttime any more.
FFL:  What is your favorite animal at the zoo, Jolie?
JS:  I couldn’t choose just one.  I love them all.
FFL:  Even the snakes and scorpions and lions?
JS:  (Chuckling) Yes, even those.
FFL:  Well, then, what is the best part of being a zookeeper?  Let me guess, being with all those animals.
JS:  I know it sounds cliché, but I suppose that is the best part of working there.  Besides my coworkers.  They’re pretty great.
FFL:  It’s always good to like those you work with, right?  Okay, then let me ask you this: what is the worst part of your job?
JS: (Laughs) Probably shoveling the barrels of poop we have to clean up every night.
FFL:  Barrels?
JS:  Yes, the elephants and rhinos leave huge piles of feces that have to be picked up with shovels, loaded into barrels, and disposed of.
FFL:  Where in the world does one throw away elephant poop?  I mean, there is no toilet that big!
JS:  (Laughs again) The zoo actually has a huge trash compactor that it goes into, and it is also composted.
FFL:  I would never have guessed.  Switching gears here, you mentioned you are a single mom.  Tell us about your children.
JS:  I have one child.  Her name is Ellie and she is eighteen months old.  She is bright, beautiful, and the sunshine of my life. (Jolie smiles at the mention of her child.)
FFL:  Does she look like you?
JS:  You mean the red hair?  Yes, but her hair is more strawberry blonde.
FFL:  Curly?
JS:  Oh yes, very curly.  Ringlets all over her head.  Like I said, she is beautiful.
FFL:  I bet.  So, what else would you like people to know about you? Are you looking for Mr. Right?
JS:  Hm, those are good questions.  (She pauses a moment.)  I guess that I’m just a mom trying to make a decent life for my daughter.  I hope to raise her right so that she grows up to be a happy, caring Christian woman. And I’m not in the market for Mr. Right at the moment.  But who knows what the future holds?
FFL:  I’m sure Ellie will be a wonderful young lady, and that there are men out there who would love to meet her mother. Thank you, Jolie, for allowing me to interview you.  I can’t wait to read your story, and I know my readers are anxious as well.
JS:  It was my pleasure.  See you between the pages.
I hope you enjoyed this sneak peek into one of the characters of my new romantic suspense novel The Keeper.  Stay tuned for more information about its release!

Teacher Tuesday and the FOLK Magazine 2013 Journal Challenge: Inspiration and Reflection

This week’s journal challenge from FOLK Magazine asks us to flip through magazines, cookbooks, or an encyclopedia and reflect on the images or words that catch our attention.
My choice:  an old-school encyclopedia.  Letter A for April or Volume 2, Ameri (through) Assin.  As I remove the Funk & Wagnalls New Encyclopedia (new in 1986) from the shelf, the delicious smell of old books kisses my nostrils.  I L.O.V.E. that smell.  The same one you get when you open an old library book.  Some say musty; I say romantic and timeless.
Okay, let’s open it.  I flip back to front.  There is a two-page relief map of Asia.  There’s the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic or the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic.  All one huge country.  Then there is the Kazakh S.S.R. and the Uzbek S.S.R., which are now Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.  I’m sure there are other differences; those two are the ones I notice right off.  I think of the people in those countries who have lived under oppression all their lives.  And we complain when McDonald’s doesn’t get our order right.

Flipping. . .

Arms Control, International.  A photo of a mushroom cloud caused by detonation of a nuclear bomb in the Nevada desert in September 1957.  That’s scary.  It’s a wonder we don’t have people my age walking around looking like aliens with random hands and toes growing out of weird places on their bodies.  I wonder how long it took the desert wildlife to return.  Or if it even has.  What a different world it was then.  Or maybe not.
Then there’s a photo of U.S. Secretary of State Dean Rusk and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, among others in the United Nations, signing the nuclear test ban treaty of 1963.  Fifty years ago.  I was four.  And we’re all still here.  So it was a good thing, I suppose.
Flipping. . .
Animal behavior.  Appropriate after nuclear weapons.  Humans are animals, after all.  These guys look like my students when they thought I was talking about them to another teacher.  “Huh?”
Flipping. . .
Human anatomy.  American Indians.  I should look through my set of encyclopedias more often.  First, there is that wonderful smell. Then there is the perspective of another time and place, a snapshot of everything the encyclopedia publisher thought was pertinent to a person at the time of publication.  Even, perhaps everything they thought a person would ever want or need to know.  My, my, my.  How things have changed.
Yet,  I think I will hang on to this old set of “Funky” Wagnalls a little longer.  My grandchildren may want to see what the internet was like before computers.