Jody Rawley is a North Carolina -Virginia-South Carolina-Florida, former journalist and video producer who technically resides in Richmond, Virginia but also visits Texas and Georgia for extended stays. His formal studies are in theology, philosophy, political science, and communications. His early books, all YA adventures and/or cozy mysteries, began as teleplays and screenplays. His new book is less easily categorized and will publish this year or early next.
What five words describe you?
Christian Old Southern Gentle Newspaperman
What are you working on at the minute? What is it about?
Just polishing a two hundred thousand word "literary" novel about an African safari, a "Northern Circuit tour" of Tanzania set before that area was visited by people on holiday.
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your
most recent book?
Russell Crowe would be truly perfect. Mention the book please if you run into him. He would get to drive a 1913 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost. Kenneth Branaugh could do it. I'm casting the safari host here answering with those two, an English Lord in 1938. The book's lead character though is a woman, mid-twenties, blonde, healthy, pretty, happy, - I don't know enough current actors to suggest a candidate. She is from Florida. There are six main characters in the book. Danny John Jules for sure as the guide (don't you love the internet? - names and spelled correctly, as though I knew these things). We round out the cast with an old British dowager, a fun role for any actress over fifty, a photographer (mid-thirties, man), and a mid-twenties auto mechanic.
If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
Magnificent Desolation by Buzz Aldrin, for the most obvious reason. Ah, but I see what you are going for here - fiction. My reading life is flashing before my eyes and tempted by classics and great accomplishments and innovations I laugh when I get to The Hitchiker's Guide To The Galaxy. I wish I'd written it because I wish I were as brilliant as Douglas Adams was and gifted with his talent for seeing the impossible (I suspect accurate), side of everything.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
Knowing with certainty that a book can be improved (a chapter or page for that matter), and not knowing how to improve it.
Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writers block?
Have or find a message that needs to be related and the audience that needs the lesson, then deliver. If you are blank minded, read (I choose non-fiction). Three or ten books into a subject or era or location, when you get to know it and the people, questions will come naturally and your answers will be you next book.
Where would your dream location be for writing?
I used to love the library at Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, could dive in, come up for air hours later, and I've written in many odd places, my best ideas seem to come while I'm driving, but for comfortable setting and location I've recently stumbled into it. I live in Jupiter with plutocrats. More specifically I'm in a quiet, tiny house in a swamp near Jupiter, Florida and when I go "to town," or the beach it's a culture show - a million dollar McLaren in the grocery story parking lot.
When creating characters, are they based on people in your life?
Quite often. When I started out, I wrote for friends (described them). Then I discovered they were not reading the books. Once I've planned a character's role and mapped their dynamic relationships, the "characteristics" write themselves. It takes time, but if I don't think too much or hard about it, again, knowing the character's purpose in the story, they just "appear." I guess a lot of what defines a character for the reader (mannerisms, dialogue, description, etc), comes from my subconscious. I can honestly say my characters surprise and entertain me.
Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad?
Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?
I read in a trusted source long ago, then again elsewhere, and have had it reinforced in advice columns since, that you should never ever respond to a review, good, bad or even great. I have a review I'd like to hug the reader for posting, or, since he's a guy, maybe buy him lunch (or a car - if I could - it's a great review). Its for my book, Shackleton Crater. Yes, I do read my reviews (and they are a huge encouragement).
If you couldn't be a writer, what would you be?
Three answers came at once but I see they all involved writing (I made a movie and loved that work, but I wrote the screenplay). I was a news photographer before newspapers died and I was sure there could be no better job in the world. I covered Space Shuttle launches on radio (WMYB Myrtle Beach, AM 1450, now defunct), and would love to have stayed with that. A candidate - run for office?
What would you tell your younger self that would have helped you in your writing career?
Buy apple stock.
By younger, for reading advice (reading being the path to writing), I'll go all the way back to my teens: much of the high-school-college "contemporary/modern" literary cannon list is trash. The better books are mostly nineteenth century and early twentieth. Begin with Conrad. They are not novels, but you can't beat Shakespeare's plays. Concentrate first on Lear.
Where can we buy your work?
All my books are Kindle e-books. Click Here
How can we keep up with you (website, blog, facebook, etc.)?
I have a website: www.dartans.com
I'm not active on social media, but I have begun to check Goodreads and attempted a few comment posts (joined a couple of groups). I find all new ways to click the wrong link or button on interactive websites. Much of Goodreads is still a mystery to me.