Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Interview with Jamie Destouet: 2018 Spring Flash Fiction Contest 3rd Place Winner
Jamie Destouet is a writer/editor for a publishing company and a graduate of the University of Houston Downtown. Her writing allows her to create worlds and characters that embody her passions, fears and ambitions. This is her first submission to a writing competition. A native Houstonian, she lives with her sister and her own personal Dragon (though those without imagination just see a black cat). She aspires to be a novelist, but for now lives a simple life working on writing projects whenever time allows. Perpetually a lover of exceptional stories, she indulges in all things Ray Bradbury, Stephen King, Christopher and Johnathan Nolan, Sherlock Holmes, Japanese graphic novels and story-driven video games. She was recently brought on to co-write a murder-mystery adventure game due for release in 2019.
If you haven’t done so already, check out Jamie’s award-winning story “A Little Request” and then return here for a chat with the author.
WOW: Congratulations on placing 3rd in the Spring Flash Fiction Contest! What excited you most about writing this story? What excited you most about writing this story?
Jamie: I had no idea where it was headed. When I'm creating, I sometimes find myself as part observer. The story plays out in my head like a movie and I'm the only person in the theater on premiere night. These characters have minds of their own and I'm furiously attempting to keep up as my ideas take over. I was both excited and terrified to see the outcome of my creation, to follow the story to its conclusion. I don't always enjoy the finale, but I always accept it as truth, as honest.
WOW: I love that, too, when the characters come to life and act in ways I never imagined. Did you learn anything about yourself or your writing while crafting this piece?
Jamie: It wasn't so much a learning experience as a confirmation. I'm angry and terrified for the future. For too long, I have felt helpless as the world evolves into immense ugliness. I was born and raised leaning and watching progress in the world; and over the last couple of years, I've been forced to watch huge achievements undone and still more unraveling with every passing day. I used to think that my rights were safe, that 2018 would never look again like 1918 or 1818. It's a warning—that apathy will see progress buried in the ground.
WOW: That’s a terrifying realization, though it’s useful that you can call attention to this through your writing. Can you tell us more about what it’s like to co-write a murder-mystery adventure game?
Jamie: It's my first time writing for this platform and the process is amazingly complex. We decided, early on, that we wanted the game to feature true consequences for each action; in essence, every choice you make alters how people perceive you, your own sense of guilt or pride, who stays by your side and who abandons you. The character development continues to fluctuate and each scene must be individually tackled to reflect all the events that occurred before. It's copious hours of discussion, writing, editing, more discussion editing and writing ad infinitum...and my desire to work on a story-focused game realized.
WOW: That does sound like a very complex but also very rewarding process! What are you reading right now, and why did you choose to read it?
Jamie: I just finished reading a Korean Web comic (legally translated into English) called Dark Heaven by JUN. It's an absolutely fabulous story that follows the relationship of Simon and Connor. They dream of thriving together in their band, but their plans get turned upside down. A cult called WAF, a hate group with its tendrils in both the police and government, terrorizes immigrants, minorities, homosexuals, and anyone who is "different." It's gorgeously drawn and tackles many dark themes, including homophobia, mental illness, drug use, murder, suicide, self-harm, PTSD, domestic violence, rape, and more. Yet, through it all, there is love, humor, happiness, family, and friendship. It's brilliantly written and an incredibly inspiring read.
WOW: That does sound dark yet thrilling and important. If you could give your younger self one piece of writing advice, what would it be and why?
Jamie: Don't expect it to happen. I remember walking into a bookstore when I'd decided, very young, that I wanted to be a writer. I walked up and down all the aisles with my parents, looking up at the towering shelves and displays and seeing all the thousands of books that literally surrounded me. I imagined that if there were so many different books and authors that perhaps it might be easy to join them, to have my name on posters and banners, as well. Alas, I was young and my dreams just that. I continue to write and work very hard at my passion, but I would warn my younger self about managing expectations in an industry where so many seek recognition.
WOW: Thank you for sharing that advice! Anything else you’d like to add?
Jamie: I'd like to thank everyone at Women on Writing for putting together this contest and to all who gave their valuable time reading, critiquing, and judging. It's a real honor to have others take their valuable time to consider my writing. I'd also like to congratulate the 1st and 2nd place winners. After reading both their entries, I am truly honored to have placed among them. Writing truly means the world to me; it's my best way of communicating with people as it gives me the confidence that speaking usually does not. I'm thrilled I took this opportunity and I encourage everyone reading this to do the same.
WOW: Thank you for your wonderful writing and thoughtful responses! Congratulations again, and happy writing!
Interviewed by Anne Greenawalt, who keeps a blog of journal entries, memoir snippets, interviews, training logs, and profiles of writers and competitive female athletes.
Anne--Thanks for doing this interview.ReplyDelete
Jamie--What a powerful story. I agree. Today it's a scary world. I'm hoping that--in a few years--things will change.
Jamie, I wish you well with your future writing. November is coming up. Have you ever done NaNoWriMo? After reading what you can accomplish in just a few words, I'd be interested in reading something longer from you. (Think of how the characters could take over in a novel? ;)
This story gave me goosebumps. You did an amazing job and congratulations! I too understand what it is like when a story flows out of you--when it does happen, it is so important to let it out! Good luck on your murder-mystery adventure game. It sounds like an amazing opportunity! My teen daughter is fascinated by Japanese anime and manga so I'll have to share some of the things you mentioned here with her.