We have another interview today, this time with Jayne Martin author of Tender Cuts.
1) What is your author name and in what state do you live (or country if not in the US)?
Jayne Martin and I live in California.
2) What is the title of your newest book and what is the genre?
The book is titled “Tender Cuts.” It’s a collection of literary microfiction, 38 stories each under 300 words.
3) What is the book about?
In these 38 real and surreal tales, everyday people do their best to manage the wounds life inflicts on all of us: A six-year-old beauty pageant contestant strives to please her demanding mother; a woman marries a 1985 Buick LeSabre; in a laundromat bored wives fall under the romantic spell of a lobster; a grown woman is still being fat-shamed by her deceased mother via a Ouija board; a widow carries her husband’s ashes around in Baggies. With pathos and humor, these and all of the characters in this collection speak to the reader’s own wounded heart.
4) Where did you come up with the idea?
I’ve been writing and publishing flash and microfiction in literary journals since 2010. Several had been nominated for Best Small Fictions and Pushcarts. In 2017, I began to see a thread weaving them together emotionally as a collection. I brought on illustrators to do simple line drawings to accompany the stories and somewhere in each you will find a tiny heart to carry on the theme of wounded hearts.
5) How long did it take you to write it?
I wrote these stories over several years. The title story is about a character named “Julie-Sue,” a Jon-Benet Ramsey type child forced into beauty pageants by her mother. When I put the book together I realized I need a structure, a thread, to hang all the other stories onto, so I wrote three more stories about this character taking her to a tween, then to 16, and the final story which is told by Julie-Sue’s grown daughter after Julie-Sue has died. The voices in all the stories follow that arc from young to old.
6) Did you learn anything from the project?
As a writer, every time you inhabit a character you learn something about the human condition. As for the construction of the collection, I had never realized how difficult it would be to determine the order of the stories. After several attempts, it felt like trying to “herd cats,” but I finally figured it out.
7) Do you have an author website and/or blog? How about a book video?
Yes. It’s www.jaynemartin-writer.com. There is a book video on the site and also as my pinned Tweet on Twitter. On the home page, I have a slide show of inspirational sayings from the likes of Toni Morrison to Tiny Fey that I hope will encourage and lift the spirits of those who visit. There are also links to all the book’s reviews and my interviews. On the blog page, I written several craft essays on how to write flash/microfiction. And, of course, you can order the book. I recommend ordering from the Powell’s link to support indie bookstores, but it’s available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble, as well.
8) Do you have any success tips to pass on to fellow authors? How about any great editors/cover artists?
Nothing succeeds like persistence. Rejections feel personal, but they’re not. What one editor may decline, another will eagerly accept. Keep sending out those submissions. It’s largely a numbers game. I like to say if you fling enough spaghetti at a wall, some of it will stick, so fling away!
9) What genres do you like to read? Are you open to reading new authors and reviewing their work?
I read literary fiction mostly as I’m a lover of beautiful language. That, more than anything, will draw me in. I read all the online lit journals and it’s always exciting to me to discover a new voice. Reviews are not my thing, only because I’m not a “critical thinker.” I respond to something or I don’t, and I’m not very good at articulating my reasons.
10) What is your favorite book of all time and why?
I absolutely fell in love with “H is for Hawk,” by Helen MacDonald. It’s a memoir about her relationship with a goshawk named Mable that she trained to deal with her grief after her father’s death and it’s absolutely exquisite. Helen is also a poet so, much like Ocean Vuong, author of “On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous,” the language is gorgeous. I’ve read it twice and listened to the audio read by Helen. I’m certain I will do so again.
11) Fun Question: Do you have any pets? If so, what kind?
I have two dogs and a horse. The dogs are Dixie, a 13 year old Chihuahua, and Miss Pickles, a 5 years old Yorkie mix. They are my heart and soul. My horse is a 28 year old Thoroughbred named Levi. He used to be my jumper when we competed over fences. Now we just hack around.
12) Fun Question 2: Do you own an electronic reading device? If so, what kind and how do you like it?
I have a 10 year old Nook — one of the very first — that is still going strong. I also have a Kindle app on my phone. I like them because I live in a very small house without much room for books (although they are stacked everywhere). When I can get a book on digital, I do, but many of the small indie presses don’t offer it.
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