She Left Today, certainly hit the heartstrings of our judges. I’m happy to have her join us today and I know you’ll enjoy our talk as much as I did. If you haven’t had a chance to read her story yet, click on the link to check it out then come back and get to know this talented writer a bit better.
Jeanine Manji actively returned to writing this year after taking a ten year hiatus to pursue an alternate career in public administration and a master’s degree. Children were the audience for Jeanine’s earlier writing and her work has been accepted by publications such as Hopscotch, the Magazine for Girls, and Chickadee Magazine.
Jeanine lives in British Columbia with her husband and gregarious dog, Dexter. She writes short fiction and is currently working on her first novel.
WOW: Hi Jeanine and welcome to The Muffin. A huge congratulations on placing in our 2014 Winter Flash Fiction Contest! Please tell our readers a little bit about you and your writing.
JEANINE: Thank you. I was thrilled to learn that my story placed in your contest.
I made the decision this January to begin writing regularly again and this is the first story I have submitted to a contest in a long while.
Currently, I am working on a series of short stories as well as my first novel-length work.
WOW: What luck to place in a contest with the first story you’ve sent out in a while. It’s definitely a sign that you are on the right path. I love that you write for kids and teens. Do you still enjoy that genre or are you focusing on something else right now?
JEANINE: I particularly love picture books and the way the words and images work together to tell a story. I wrote children’s stories when my own children were small and I spent a lot of time reading to them and being exposed to that genre. Now that they are grown, my interests have turned to adult fiction.
WOW: I love writing for young people too. They appreciate it so much, don’t they? Let’s talk about your touching story, She Left Today. Where did this story come from? Tell us about the writing/editing process for getting it ‘just right’.
JEANINE: Most of my stories come from something I read or something I experience which I then couple with the question “what if?” In this case, I thought about two experiences I have had in my past: I was a homestay parent for two years to international students and I have had the experience of having to cope with my role change when my children left home.
I then wondered what it might be like for a single parent who might have difficulty adapting to this significant life change. The challenge for me was in keeping the story under 750 words. This story wanted to be longer.
WOW: Well, you can always turn that short story into a novel, right? Tell us about your writing process? Do you have a set time of day, set word count, set routine? Or do you just squeeze in that time when you can?
JEANINE: I have a three hour daily commute to and from work on the train. I try to use some of that time to write, research or plot out my work. I also keep a journal which I strive to write in daily. On the weekends I write for two to four hours.
I also set deadlines for myself such as getting a story ready for a contest or for submission. This helps me to move the work along as well.
WOW: That’s fantastic! Sounds like you get a lot of writing time in. (I shold really take some of your routine to heart. lol) Do you have any final pearls of wisdom to give to our readers?
JEANINE: I recently heard the following quote about the writing process and it sums things up quite nicely for me: “Writers write”.
WOW: Awesome pearls, thank you for sharing. Thanks so much for being here today, Jeanine. Congratulations again on your win and we wish you much success with your writing career (not that you seem to need it! ;) )
To find out more about the current WOW flash fiction contest, visit: www.wow-womenonwriting.com/contest.php