My name is Jerri Yager. I live in Bargersville, Indiana and am the married mother of two teenage boys. I grew up in the cornfields of Illinois and graduated from Southern Illinois University with a bachelor degree in Journalism/Advertising and a minor in English. Reading and writing are two of my favorite things to do; I read everything I can get my hands on including cereal boxes and junk mail.
I’ve been a waitress, a bartender, and a factory worker. I’ve taught phonics to first graders, organized a construction office and coordinated print promotions for an advertising agency, but what I really love to do is write. Most of my experience as a writer is in the area of non-fiction. I spent a few years as volunteer editor for The Keynoter, a newsletter for a south side Indianapolis philanthropic group and also edited the PTO newsletter for a local elementary school. But, fiction is where my passion lies and I think that may be true for most of you.
Steve Bolin, our fabulous editor-in-chief has asked me to write this column discussing techniques for writing. To make it a little more fun, we thought you might like to receive information via someone other than “the married mother of two teenage boys.” So, without further ado, I would like to introduce you to my alter ego, Celeste D’Luna.
Miss D’Luna is a mysterious tall blonde with smoky green eyes and a lion’s mane of hair. She has an addiction to shiny shoes with no less than 4” heels and tends to dress for the evening no matter what time of day it is. Miss D’Luna has agreed to meet with us today in her own library where she does most of her writing. The room is surprisingly masculine with dark wood cabinetry and heavy fabrics in tones of red. The walls contain shelves from floor to ceiling filled with books of every kind.
As she directs me to a corner of the room containing two large chairs covered in blood red crushed velvet, I notice her books are organized by genre`. Stuck between a collection of vampire romance and a grouping of spy novels, I find a few shelves of erotica. Our Miss D’Luna appears to have a naughty side. As we take our seats beneath the amber colored, antique glass reading lamp, Miss D’Luna offers me a glass of cabernet which I decline because it is 1:00 in the afternoon and the kids will be getting off the bus at 3:00. She pours for herself and our interview begins.
Jerri Yager: “So Miss D’Luna, what is your inspiration for writing?”
Celeste D’Luna: “Please dear, call me Celeste.” (Her voice is deep and breathy. Think Catherine Zeta Jones)
JY: “Sure, Celeste. What motivates you?”
CD: “I’m a writer dear. It’s what I do. I just write.”
JY: “Of course, but for those of us who are just getting started, how do you do it?”
CD: “Well, I do have a few secrets to share. But, what do I get?”
JY: “Oh, um, well our readers. They’ll be hanging on your every word.”
CD: “They will of course. Hmmm, I suppose I have a thing or two I could expose. But not now, you see. I must prepare.”
JY: “Come on Celeste. Just give us a little something. Our reader’s are dying to know.”
CD: “Well, as you see, to write, one must have a location that is free from distraction. One cannot be worried about the little trash man in the driveway or what is cooking on the stove. It is imperative to have a time and place set aside to imagine. In my library, I close the door. I draw the velvet curtains, shutting out the world and the cute little man who trims the shrubs and then I create a new world in my head. In my new world, I can place anyone I choose to live there and anything can happen. I’m already imagining a scenario with the cute little man.”
JY: “Wow, that’s pretty intense. So here in your library, you experience the big bang and worlds are created which then grow into books. Is that right?”
CD: “Oh no Maybe for some they have the big bang but not for Celeste. For me writing a book is like falling in love. First I am introduced to a small little idea. I must flirt with the idea and get its attention. Then I must get to know the idea in a deeper way. I caress the idea until it expands and then I must leave it so it will know that it misses me. After awhile I will come back to it and, when I know that we are in love, a book will be born from my consummation with the idea.”
JY: “OK Now I understand why writing is better done in a quite place and not at the kitchen table with the T.V. on. Uh, umm. Celeste, the readers at TWoM and I would love to hear more of your tips on writing. Would you mind putting something together for our next issue?”
CD: “Well, I am very busy you see, but if you would be lost without me I suppose I could throw a little something together.”
JY: “Wonderful, do you have any words for our readers till next time.”
CD: “Go my darlings, go right now and clear a space for your writing. Make a special place where you can create both beautiful and terrifying worlds.”
With that, Celeste D’Luna uncrosses her long willowy legs, stands and walks me to the door. The hem of her floor length satin gown gracefully brushes the toe of her glossy crimson shoe. As she turns to unlatch the door for me, I notice a red mechanical pencil twisted in a lock of golden hair and anchored in a small knot at the nape of her neck. Maybe Celeste and I do have something in common after all.