Sunday, October 16, 2011

INTERVIEW WITH LAVINIA THOMPSON

INTERVIEW WITH LAVINIA THOMPSON, AUTHOR OF "SHE WASN'T ALLOWED TO GIGGLE"

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*Thank you for agreeing to do an interview with us Lavinia, after reading your bio on your site I realized you are still quite young but have immense talent. At only 22 you have written quite a few books. Can you tell us a little about these books and how you got started writing?

I have been writing for as long as I can remember. It’s just something I’ve always done. I was always an above average reader and writer through school. I always got told: “Don’t go into writing or journalism. There’s no money there. Go into something like nursing.” But all I wanted to do was write. There was nothing else I could envision myself doing with my life. I sort of toyed around with what I was going to do before deciding finally to go to study journalism in college. I graduated from that this past May.

There was a time when writing was also an escape. I don’t remember exactly when my mom’s abusive ex came into the picture, but he was there for about eight years of abuse and domestic violence. During that dark era of my life, writing was the only thing I had to hold on to at times. It was the only thing that gave me a reason to dream for the future and that dream was always to be a writer and to have my writing stand for something.

The “Spellbound” series started out as that escape. I got all tangled up and entwined in this fantasy world that I created and subconsciously I was putting pieces of my own life in there. Between the lines was the story of my life. There were many times when Mom’s ex would ridicule me, put me down; tell me I’d never go anywhere. I just went back to my room and I’d start writing again. Looking back, I could have gone down many dark roads but writing kept me from doing that. I learned about poetry in Grade 7. One of the first poems I wrote was an early version of “Who Do You Think You Are?” which is in “She Wasn’t Allowed to Giggle.” Many of the poems in the book were written during that time and just compiled over the years.

Some of the pieces that never made it into the poetry book were lost when Mom’s ex burned the house down in July 2004. Along with those poems went my first draft of “Spellbound by Fire.” I was devastated. I didn’t write for six months. Inspiration was just gone. Feelings just vanished. I didn’t touch on “Spellbound” again until about 2008 when I met some other writers on an online poetry community. After sharing the first chapter, I was encouraged to continue it and I got a ton of support from the friends I met on that site. I made a deadline for myself to finish the next draft of “Spellbound” by the time I started college in September 2009. I finished the draft the night before my first classes began. It was accepted for publication by Hellfire Publishing this past April.

The idea for “She Wasn’t Allowed to Giggle” had been in my head for a few years before I seriously pursued putting it together. A few years ago, I wasn’t ready to face my own childhood again. Not until the last year or so when I did some real soul searching. It was through journalism school that I discovered the calling for my writing- I didn’t just wantto raise awareness for domestic violence. I needed to. It was what my writing was to stand for. It was through finishing “Spellbound” that I really discovered my voice again and I am determined to use it to help others. My work is well on its way to doing so. The Girls Education and Mentoring Services (GEMS) is a U.S. organization that provides help to girl survivors of sexual exploitation and trafficking. They expressed interest in my book this past week and I sent them a complimentary copy that will be shared with the organization’s members and the girls they help. I am honoured to be able to be a part of the cause.

I have three other projects I am currently pursuing: “Wildflowers Scattered, Estranged: Memoirs of a Small Town Girl” is another poetry collection that explores another aspect of my childhood and life: growing up in a small town, feeling like you don’t belong in the town you grow up in, high school identity, and breaking away to discover yourself and where you belong. “Where Only the Graveyard Grows” is a paranormal suspense based on another town I lived in. It is about a young girl who can see and interact with ghosts. Only she can foresee and prevent a horrific tragedy from happening as a result of the town’s ignorance to its own ghosts and demons. And finally, “Magic Touch” is a crime-fiction about a young woman detective who has masked her old identity. She comes from a nefarious mafia family and was sold to a pimp as a teenager, forced into prostitution. When a string of murders leads her back into the past she has kept in the closet, she must face the one demon from her old life that still haunts her.

*You describe yourself as a hippy, I associate being a hippy with a love for nature as I'm sure many do. Tell us what you mean by that and how it has affected your outlook on life.

My mother grew up during the sixties and seventies, the famous “hippie” era so to speak. She’s always implemented values and morals into us kids that reflect her upbringing. A love for nature is actually a part of that, but it’s also much more than that. It’s about valuing all life for what it is, not judging or discriminating people based on religion, race, social background or sexual orientation. “You take people for their heart, not for how they look or who they love,” she once said to me. She is my biggest inspiration.

My other big inspiration is John Lennon. I discovered what he was about when I was 17. It was during a time when I felt lost, confused with my life and didn’t know who I was. I had just finished high school and was looking around lost at the world wondering where to go from that crossroads. Mom has always been and still is a Beatle maniac. It was through her I got interested in Lennon and did some research on his life. I was completely fascinated and inspired by the man. He gave me a whole new outlook on life. His perceptions of the world are so simple and I learned something fundamental from him- the earth, the planet itself, is not complicated. We, the humans that inhabit the planet, make it complicated. John Lennon simplified the world. “Remember Love and Give Peace a Chance.” “War is over (If You Want it.)” Those were much more than quotations and phrases- they were and still are beliefs. We change the world as we want it to be. We complicate the world we are in, over think situations and take relationships for granted and we judge people for things that someone else says is wrong. As a result of such judgements, more tragedy ensues. Look at the kids who were bullied for being gay and committed suicide. One of those boys was only 11 years old and he took a gun to his head. The most current was Jamey Rodemeyer, who was 14 when he killed himself. People create these situations and it all becomes so out of control. But what if those bullies had been taught to just accept people for their heart? Those kids who are dead by their own hand today would probably still be alive and much happier. That’s the simple solution to that and yet religion and prejudice have complicated that so much.

I’m getting off track a little. To simplify my own words: We create the problems in the world. Therefore we also create the solutions no matter the results. But it’s the consequences we have to think about. That’s what being a “hippie” is really about: simplifying the world, positive solutions to problems, and just loving everyone for their heart and nothing more. That’s it.

*It seems you have already written in many genres, are there any genres you have not touched on yet that you'd enjoy writing in?

I’m really excited to get into “Where Only the Graveyard Grows.” Paranormal fiction is something new to me. I’ve always been fascinated by the paranormal much like I am with criminal psychology and hippies. (Strange combination, yes.) One day I would love to try my hand at true-crime. Not even fiction writers can come up with what real-life killers do.

* What is your favorite genre to read when you have time to curl up with a good book?

True crime and fantasy. I have to alternate what I read as I’m working on novels. I won’t read fantasy when working on the “Spellbound” series because I need to keep my writing my own and uninfluenced. Typically, I read true crime when writing fantasy and vice versa.

* What are you working on now, what is your next masterpiece?

At the moment, I am putting together my poem book for “Memoirs of a Small Town Girl.” Not a lot of writing is involved with that, mostly editing. The next masterpiece, however, is “Spellbound by the Sword,” the second in my dark fantasy series. It follows the life of another main character, Billy, and his journey against the witch hunters, who brutally murdered his mother when he was seven years old.

*Tell us a little about your family and their support of you as an author.

My mother has always been extremely supportive of my writing and it means the world to me. She knows what writing is for me and what it has always meant. Even when I was ready to give up sometimes, she always told me not to. She really is the reason I never gave it up. She is such a strong, inspirational person and my best friend. I have a few characters that have been based on her, whether she knows it or not...

My fiancé is also incredibly supportive of me. As a musician, he understands the creative mind and many of the strange quirks that come with it. We often bounce creativity off each other which is awesome to do, especially when writer’s block kicks in.

*You seem to have a love for a wide variety of music. Did you have a lot of people around you that had diverse taste in music?

Oh tons. For starters, as I said, my fiancé is a musician. He’s a rocker. My mother is a hippie, so I got a lot of old sixties and seventies music from her. I am best friends with a Mormon, a Christian and a gay guy all in the same circle so influence can come from anywhere at any time. My music taste ranges from heavy metal to Lady Gaga to old rock to country to Eminem...it really depends on what I’m writing. I just love music in general. Back in college I covered a lot of the local music scene with underground indie-musicians. It was brilliant. I get to do that again when my fiancé and I return to Alberta at the end of this month, I have some freelance opportunities.

*What is it that fascinates you about criminal psychology, I read this on your bio and it sparked my interest.

What fascinates me is what human beings will do to one another and the psychology behind it. Criminal profiling absolutely astounds me. Serial killers are one of the most mysterious types of people in our society and yet they are just like you and me. Ted Bundy worked around Seattle law enforcement at the same time he was committing the murders. Gary Ridgeway, the Green River killer, was just a little man who preyed on the dark streets for prostitutes. Robert Pickton was a pig farmer. Jack the Ripper was...well, we’ll never know that one. Royal family conspiracy? Jealous ex-boyfriend of one of the murdered prostitutes? Serial killers create stories that even the greatest fiction writers couldn’t imagine. Getting into their heads and trying to understand what they think and why they do what they do...it’s amazing. The FBI has profiles for serial killers, but in every case the profile is completely personalized to the killer himself. No profile ever looks the exact same. I guess this all started because my mom is a huge fan of true-crime author Ann Rule, and now I’m hooked on her books. Rule worked with Ted Bundy at the time he was committing murders and even she said she never would have known.

*Tell us where to find your books and how to learn more about you.

“She Wasn’t Allowed to Giggle” is the only book I have available right now. It is only in digital format and is available on Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/92467

To follow my writing journey, visit my blog and Facebook page.
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lavinia-Thompson/155049924551916
Blog: http://laviniathompsonauthor.wordpress.com/

And for more information about the “Spellbound” series, visit its Facebook and blog.
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Spellbound-by-Fire/164218530279552
Blog: http://spellboundbyfire.wordpress.com/

*Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

Don’t ever give up on doing what you dream of doing, regardless of what people say about it. You are given the gift of writing for a reason- use it.

Read more: http://www.greatmindsthinkaloud.proboards.com/index.cgi?action=display&board=interviews&thread=721#ixzz1azsgDxpa