I’m excited to have Simone Salmon stop by my blog today and answer a few questions about her novel, Drafnel!
Simone Salmon, a Jamaican born New Yorker, is the mother of two sons and a Jack Russell terrier.
Simone is still working on her exit strategy from Corporate America, but in the meantime she writes novels, poetry and expands her multisensory perceptions. She is also a spiritual truth seeker who appreciates psychic phenomena and timelessness.
Music of all kinds, warm weather, lounging on the beach, and experiencing the unknown are just a few of her most favorite things.
There are so many moving pieces in DRAFNEL, and it’s all the more complicated by the fact that, as presented, the book is non-linear. How did you keep everything straight? What was your writing process like?
This is a fantastic question and I hope that my answer explains why. I have always wanted to write a book or poetry or short story…just about anything. After receiving a C- from my freshman English professor, I decided that maybe the writing dream needed to be shelved in pursuit of a more realistic profession: something having to do with computers. Fast forward 20+ years later, with a limited career in word processing, the writing itch started to take over again. I found a great online writing coach, the late Debra Rigas. She understood my aversion to using an outline, after my many misses with a slew of “How to Write a Novel” books. She encouraged me to not worry about where paragraphs or even chapters would end up. For instance, the last chapter that I wrote is the beginning of the first chapter in Drafnel. To be honest, many chapters and paragraphs were moved around as the story unfolded. As a matter of fact, my original intention was to write a ghost story based on very real events that occurred while living in a New York brownstone after graduating from college. However, something different unfolded the more I connected with my characters and glimpsed their worlds. The only real process I can admit to having is a commitment to non-stop writing during three one-week vacations at the Jersey Shore. The majority of the book got written by the beach over a three-year period during each of those vacations.
My best answer for your first question is that I followed Debra’s very astute suggestion and just wrote. This novel is a literal creative purge. There was no methodology for keeping everything in logical sequence. I did not have lists or journals, nor were there any character mappings. Some of the characters chose to remain undeveloped because they will appear in subsequent books in the series. I followed their energetic flow, otherwise the narratives sounded forced and felt mechanical. I found myself filled with genuine delight or surprise upon discovering why a certain event happened or even the name of a particular character. I knew nothing of implementing plots or plot twists, but that didn’t seem to matter because, as you hinted, a variety of intricate and complex moving pieces somehow weaved their way into the story.
A writer writes. So I just wrote.
I was captivated by the sections narrated by Camille’s grandmother, Catherine, which were set in Jamaica. Catherine’s character–both as a young girl and as an old woman–came through so strongly. Can you talk a little about her and how she came to be included in the book?
Catherine’s character is based on my maternal grandmother, Mavis, who passed away several years back. My grandmother, like Catherine, was adopted from India and knew very little of her own family history. The people who raised her, in Jamaica, treated her like a housemaid instead of an adopted child or sister. She shared many tragic stories of mistreatment and loss. An example is when her two year-old son was permanently removed from her care. She never knew where his father had taken him or how to locate the family. She searched for him throughout the years and did not connect with him again until a little before her death. So there are many similarities between Catherine, the character, and my grandmother.
I spent countless hours on the phone or lounging in my grandmother’s living-room couch, during occasional visits, captivated by her answers to my questions about her life. She had the best sense of humor and always made me laugh. She helped me to write this book in many different ways: through her gift for story-telling and the presence of her magnificent spirit.
Another standout for me was Kristle Franz. I won’t get into spoilers here–folks really should read the book–but that was a narrative thread that slowly built momentum and weirdness throughout. What were some influences for you? How did that character come to be?
It’s so interesting and satisfying to hear how a character affects the reader. As I wrote the story, Kristle seemed to prefer staying in the background. I guess that’s why her narrative has that slow, yet deliberate momentum you mentioned. She is loosely based on the stepmother of an acquaintance. This acquaintance happens to be the product of an extra-marital affair. She ended up being raised by her father’s wife who, understandably, resented being burdened with the daily reminder of her husband’s betrayal. Unfortunately, the child bore the brunt of this man’s deception, both in her lack of acceptance within the family and the rejection by her own mother. Kristle’s character is composite of perceptions from an outsider witnessing some of the weirdness in those relationship dynamics.
What are you working on right now? What should readers look for from you next?
I am currently working on the next book in the series entitled, Caleb. This will be based on Catherine’s brother, who we learn little about in Drafnel. Like this book, I really won’t know much more until the story unfolds.
I’ve also been working on a non-fiction book about my experiences trusting intuition and following higher guidance. I’m hoping to get both books completed over the next twelve months.
How can readers stay in the loop and get news about your projects and releases?
Folks can look for upcoming events such as giveaways and book signings on my website: www.ssalmonauthor.com.
On social media I can be found at:
- Twitter: @MiracleMindCoac
- Facebook: Author Page – Simone Salmon
- Blog: Origisims
- Instagram: Think2brich
- Pinterest: Simone Salmon
Anything else you want us to know? Shout-outs? Words of wisdom?
Don’t wait for the right time or inspiration. If you want to write a novel or do something outside of your comfort zone – just do it and be ready to experience the miracle of co-creating with the universe. Listen to your intuition and follow your gut. That guidance will open up new doors and change your reality in ways that you cannot begin to comprehend or conceive.
- BR Sanders for this interview and awesome review;
- Solstice Publishing for taking a chance on my book;
- Solstice editor, Laura Johnson, whose editing was everythang;
- Cat Castleman who brought the characters to life on the book cover;
- My sons, James and Jordan, for being constant inspirations and motivation;
- My angels, both here and beyond, for all of their assistance and guidance during this process.
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