Welcome to Clubhouse Chat page. Those of you who are not a member won’t be aware that the location of the Clubhouse is shrouded in mystery. The only way to visit it is via membership or an invite to the tearoom. Every few days, I’ll be sharing a conversation with all sort of writers and authors at different levels of their writing careers. Over tea and cakes, or maybe a glass of something stronger, I shall be chatting with my guest about their work in progress, or latest book release.
Today I’ve invite Jasmine to the tearoom. Welcome. Was Brutus late picking you up?
No, no, my apologies for the delay, Paula. I wasn’t quite ready when he arrived. Thank you so much for this opportunity. I really appreciate it.
That’s okay then. Right, my first question is what would you like to drink?
May I have a coffee and one of those lovely looking cake 😊please?
Of course, you may. Let’s start by asking you when you first begun your writing journey what drew you to your chosen genre?
I have always been fascinated by the dark and creepy from when I was a little kid. I loved scary stories, thrived on them. I am an Army Brat, my parents serving in the Australian Army. This would see us post about Australia every two years. When my parents got their posting orders, we would pack up the house and travel across country in the car. When my brothers and I were little, such a road trip would mean lots of pee stops along the way. To move things along quicker, my mum started the story of the “Chookywaddle” a strange creature that lives in the bush and waits for people to drop their daks to go to the toilet in the scrub. If you were not quick enough, the “Chookywaddle will get your diddle!” The result was four kids that could go to the toilet in the bush in less than two seconds flat, cover the ground back to the car in breakneck speed, launching into the safety of the car (this probably explains why I was good at 100 meters dash, high and long jump).
I became determined to catch a glimpse of this Chooky waddle. The long road trips afforded my brothers and I the opportunity to speculate as to what it looked like. The scarier we made it, the more I wanted to see it. I would dawdle in along by the side of the road, keeping watch as my little brothers bobbed down in the bushes, ready to alert them the first sight of a purple and brown fuzzy creature – with a crocodile snout and curling tusks, sneaking up to pinch the diddles of the unsuspecting roadside poopers.
I never saw it, and we kept our diddles; but it was the thing that led me down the path of wanting to tell scary stories.
Do you write a synopsis first or write the first chapter or write short stories with or without planning your story, or do you let the characters lead you?
Nope! I never plan and find it if I try to plan/plot a story, the story vanishes. I keep a notebook handy in which I will scribble down the things I see or read when out and about that I find absolutely fascinating, but it is when I sit down in front of my laptop that the story turns up and I record what I am seeing through the characters as it happens. Sounds silly, right?
Choosing only five of your favourite authors. Can you list them in order 1 begin the top of your list and say how have they influenced your writing?
Only five? Paula that is hard! I am an avid reader and I become attached to every book I read – even the bad ones I hold onto and they influence me. Okay, let me go and stare at my mountain of books and try to pick some favourites…
You sure I can only pick five?…
- Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil – John Berendt
- The Year of Living Dangerously – Christopher Koch
- Just Kids – Patti Smith
- M Train – Patti Smith
- Metamorphosis – Franz Kafka
A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute, A Fortunate Life – A.B. Facey, Playing Beatie Bow – Ruth Park, Stephen King, H.P. Lovecraft, Anne Rice, the collections of Black Hare Press- okay, okay, not five, but still😊
All the above (and many more on my shelf) have at some stage in my life shaped me in my own storytelling. I read across many genres, and I feel that helps me when it comes to bringing the characters in my stories to being. Some of my books on my shelf have pages folded where a paragraph or chapter has struck me. Lines highlighted for the sentence structure and development techniques that I need to be more aware of in my own writing. I will read a book more than once. The first time as a reader, the second time as a writer.
When reading your work through do you ever find that your daily mood swings are reflected in your writing?
Hmmmm… no… I don’t think so. Maybe? I will remember this while working on my latest stories and get back to you.
Were any of your characters inspired by real people?
I get asked this quite a bit – by family, friends, and readers. I am not sure though that the person who is asking is either hoping that I say yes, and that it is them I have written about. Or, they are terrified I will say yes, that I did write them in my story as a terrifying, hideous, murderous creature. Generally, no. I tend not to base my characters on real people, however, the two latest projects (secret stuff!) I am involved with; one is based on a real person.The other is inspired by a group of people and a cultural movement of a certain time in history.
If anyone would like me to write them into one of my stories, I will be only too happy too. Send me a message! 😊
What did you learn when writing your book or story? In writing it, how much research did you do?
The two current (secret stuff!) collaborations I am involved with both required research because one is based on a real person and a real case, and the other, a group of people involved in a cultural movement. For these I scoured history records, case reports, photos, and drawings – anything I could get my hands on to bring these two stories to life. From there I would prop my notes up next to me and let the stories play out.
Is there anything about you your readers might be surprised to find out?
When I am not writing stories or reading books, or chasing after my family, I am studying a Bachelor of Arts in Writing and History. I also am an active reserve member in the Royal Australian Air Force (I enlisted when I was 18 and have had combined service as permanent and reserve force).
What is your work schedule like when you are writing?
I don’t really have a schedule when it comes to my writing outside uni. I sit and write when I feel like it, or if I see a call out and the theme sparks an idea I will sit and work on a story to submit.
Do you set yourself a daily word count?
No. I write what I write and then move on to other things until I feel like writing again (or get distracted by family or study). I probably should be more disciplined though…
How do you select the names of your characters? Do you know everything about them before you start writing their story?
When I was little, I named my baby doll Callow Wheezer. My parents and in-laws breathed a sigh of relief when I chose normal names for my children (Matilda and Hamish aka Pickles and Squish). As for my characters, I let them name themselves (if they are to have a name). I don’t know anything about them when I start writing. I just follow them along through the story, learning about them as I write.
Thank you so much for joining us, Jasmine. When you’re ready to leave just let me know and I’ll contact Brutus and get him to bring the car round.
If you would like to find out more about Jasmine please click on the links: Twitter: @jjarvisauthor Instagram: jasmine_jarvis_author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Jasmine-Jarvis/e/B07XZ8G9J8
It you want to find out more about Clubhouse Member’s Books don’t forget to check out the Clubhouse Bookshops.