Sunday, January 23, 2011

Spotlight Sunday with...

...Silke Juppenlatz!

How did you start your writing career?

I learned the alphabet. No, seriously. My dad taught me to read and from the moment I could string a sentence together, I wanted to write. And did. Be glad all my early attempts are in German!

Does your significant other read your stuff?
I won’t let him, lol. Although I guess I can’t stop him now. He did read Smitten on my Kindle, while I was at work. He told me he did, but he only read it after I said it’s okay – and I really appreciate it. I get very self-conscious and embarrassed, and I stop writing if he’s in the same room and could –oh-my-God- catch a glimpse of what I’m writing. I don’t actually mind him reading it, as long as I don’t see him reading it.
Saying all that, he is a sweetheart and if he sees I’m deep into it, he grabs the laptop and takes it into the living room, so he doesn’t get in the way.
I really can’t explain, other than say it makes me uncomfortable. But it makes me uncomfortable no matter who it is, it’s not limited to my other half. I have to be ready to share.

Plotter or Pantser? Why?
I’m the eternal Pantser. If I plot, I can guarantee you will never see the story unfold the way I plotted it. If I know how it ends, I won’t finish it. So I just go with the flow, and usually it works out anyway.

What do you do to unwind and relax?
I uh... write. I slip into a different world when I write, it relaxes me. I don’t hear anything, don’t notice anything. (Trust me, my SO has given up trying to have a conversation with me while I’m writing. It goes in one ear, out the other. I don’t register it.) A bomb could go off next to me, and I wouldn’t notice.
I also do 3D Graphics ( is my gallery, if you want to look, but it’s not work safe, there are nekkid men on there. *watches the hit-counter go up*), and recently did a cover for one of my critique partners, Moira Keith.
Naturally, I read a lot, too.

Have you attended a high school reunion? What did you learn? I did. Well, we don’t have “High School” like you have in the US, but we do have class reunions. Our first one was about three or four years after we left school.
At the time I weighed about 100lbs, arrived dressed in snakeskin leather pants, 4” heel boots and a tight top, with long black hair down to my butt.

Everyone walked past me, frowned, walked on. The guys sat there and speculated. (Except one. I knew he knew, and he didn’t say a word. Waited and watched.) I just sat there and waited for the rest to twig who I was.

Another walked past and, three steps on, does a double-take, staggers back and goes “Silke?????”I can’t even tell you how satisfying the sudden silence was. The swivel of every head. The slack jaws. It was great.
You see, the last time they saw me, I weighed closer to 165lbs, was as wide as I was high (short), and definitely couldn’t have made heads turn.

Do you have critique partners or beta readers?
I have the awesomest critique group any writer could possibly wish for. I’ve been a member of Passionate Critters for... gosh. I don’t even know. Years. The ladies in the group are hardcore writers and the best friends anyone could wish for. Most are published, but it hasn’t always been the case, nor do you have to be published to get in (on the rare occasions we take new members.) I had the great pleasure of working with three of them on the Anthology, and I dare say that although at times we were ready to kill each other, we worked extremely well together. The ladies in the group give it to me straight, and I appreciate that. PC Ladies -- you rock!

If you could spend the night anywhere, where would it be? Ahhh actually, that’s an easy one. I would go back to a specific night, many years ago.
We were in the Maldives and one night decided to lie on the helipad, staring up at the stars. It was warm, there was a light breeze and we counted stars, watched satellites, and just lay there, just the two of us. It was magic.

Has someone helped or mentored you in your writing career?

I would say no, except I would be lying. The lady doesn’t know she helped me, and I never knew her name. I never met her. She never met me.
And yet, she lifted a huge barrier off me.
Let me explain.
When I was about eight, we had an assignment to write a story. So I did. The next day all the assignments were handed out, graded. Except mine. Then my teacher asked me where I’d got that story from. I told her I wrote it down the way I saw it. She asked what movie it was. I still didn’t get what she meant. I repeated that I’d written it down exactly the way I’d seen it. She got frustrated and asked me where I’d seen it, and I replied “In my head.”

That’s how I write. I see the story, like a movie, rolling in front of my inner eye. People talk in my head, I see them. I hear them.
My teacher told my mother to take me to a shrink, because “There’s something wrong with her. She hears voices.”

I never told anyone again how my process works, too afraid that I was a freak.

Then I went to a conference in Houston. The RT booklovers convention, many years ago. While I was sitting somewhere, having coffee, I overheard a lady a few tables over explain how she sees the story. Hears the voices.

I didn’t hear anything else. I was numb. I was shocked. Elated. I wasn’t the only one! Other people got this too!

Unfortunately by the time I got over the shock and went to seek her out, she had left. I scanned every face from then on, but I never found her. I would have loved to say Thank you. Thank you for freeing me.
If you were it, consider yourself my inspiration. My liberator. Thank you.

What hobbies do you actively pursue?

Well, I’m a horse addict. I had a share in a nice cob mare, but the owner is putting her on loan at the end of the month, so now I’m horseless again. Luckily the girls at the yard like me and I can hang out anyway, schmooze their horses when I feel like it. It’s not even so much the riding, it’s just being around horses that does it for me. Cobby mare and I played games a lot. She had fun, I had fun. That’s all I need.

If I find somewhere I can afford, I will get my own horse again, and I’m leaning toward a Rocky Mountain Horse at the moment. I’m 5’3”, and honestly, I don’t want to bring a ladder just to get on the horse. (Especially not if I want to go out bareback!) 14-15 hands is plenty for me. Although, if it’s not a Rocky, it’ll probably be a 5-gaited Saddlebred. I blame my friend Karen for this, because she let me ride Dylan, her Saddlebred, when I was in North Carolina last year. Absolutely amazing, beautiful, and I instantly fell in love.
"The outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man." ~Winston Churchill

When in the day/night do you write? How long per day?

I don’t have a set amount of time to write. In fact, I forget everything else when I write and suddenly the birds are yelling outside the window, and there’s this bright round thing in the sky. And then I remember it’s not Saturday, and I have to go to work!
I do my best writing at night, when everything is quiet. I go outside to think and let thoughts form in my head, sit there with a cup of coffee for ten minutes and percolate. I smoke, but only outside, and yet when I write, I forget to smoke (which is a good thing.) I’ll suddenly look up and go “My coffee is cold.” and I won’t know how long since I made it, how long it’s been cold. I go make a new cup, and we get back to writing – until I notice the cold coffee again, or I can’t keep my eyes open anymore.

And then other days, I can barely string two sentences together.
It comes and it goes.

There you go, more than you ever wanted to know!


Maureen said...

Oh my, yes! I think all of us writers do this, hear or see our books in our heads. Mine haunt me, jabber at me, poke at me.

I've had those writing jags where suddenly the tummy roars that it's been way too many hours since I ate. Then I try to move and my body screams in protest...

Writing, such fun! ;-)

Nina Croft said...

Loved the reunion story, Silke!
And I think cold coffee must be the curse of the writer - I tend to drink mine anyway.

Author Leanne Dyck said...

Far from being a freak, I think you're very lucky that you "see" your stories. I've "written" many good scenes while asleep or otherwise engaged.
Happy writing and thank you for blogging.
PS I would speculate that your 8th grade teacher wasn't a writer. : )

Kathleen said...

What an interesting interiew, Silke. I'm also reluctant to let anyone see my writing, unless I'm ready. When I feel comfortable, I let them peek.

Your teacher probably didn't know many writers. My stories play in my head like a movie, too. I can actually see and hear each scene. Should I be scared? lol

All the best!

Gracen Miller said...

I see and hear the story in my mind too!! Isn't it awesome to be a writer!?!

I place cold coffee in the microwave and often get lost in the story again and forget about it. Sometimes I don't recall it until the next day when I go to reheat coffee again. *sigh* Nectar of the gods should NEVER be wasted! lol

Awesome blog!


Silke said...

Thanks for stopping by everyone!
My broadband got mowed down yesterday (it's fun to live on a corner!) when a car hit a pole. (No injuries, just a dented car and a ripped cable.)
Yes, it is fun (and distracting!) to see the story in your head, but I really could do without those boogers having verbal duels in my head while I'm at work lol.
(Can I win the lottery please?)

As for the coffee, Gracen, I've tried the microwave thing... but I forget it in there too... lol.
But I used to be an IT tech, I'm kinda used to cold coffee.
And my mother used to say the steam from cold coffee makes you pretty. *cough, cough, cough*

Debora Dennis said...

The night of the helipad sounds, well, romantic and wonderful! :)