Today, I’d like to introduce you to writer Debbie Jinks. She is a singer and songwriter by profession, with a passion for wildlife and nature. More recently, she’s discovered that she loves writing–anything from fiction to non-fiction, blogs, poetry and lyrics–and, of course, fantasy.
Elise: Hi Debbie, welcome to Magic Writer! So, how long have you been writing for?
Debbie: I’ve only been writing for about two years and didn’t even know it was what I wanted to do until I started my Anosmia blog and discovered my passion for it. It went from there, and the next thing I knew I had a second blog and wanted to write a book!
Elise: Can you tell me a bit about anosmia? It’s not something I’d heard of until I met you.
Debbie: Sure! Anosmia is a loss of smell, either congenital or acquired following other illness. As your sense of smell is linked directly to your taste receptors, in most cases it causes a loss of taste also. Think about when you have a cold and your nose is blocked, your taste diminishes too. Anosmia is a life changing, devastating and little-known condition. Many of us are trying to raise awareness of it as even the medical profession know little about the reasons behind it and are not always supportive, as its not seen as a major, or life-threatening condition. However if you imagine how it would feel not being able to smell flowers and food cooking, maybe you can understand a little of how it feels to have these things taken away. Have a read of my blog if you’d like to know more.
Elise: That must be difficult to live with … hopefully today we can raise a little more awareness for you. Let’s chat about fantasy books then. Do you have any favourites?
Debbie: I’ve been reading the Deverry series of novels by Katherine Kerr. They are set in medieval times and focus around main characters who go through a series of reincarnations but always meet up each time eventually recognising each other. The books tell of their experiences when battling with evil wizards and lords. They also have a spiritual guide who is known as Nevyn and hides under the pretence of being a healing herbalist but is in fact a very powerful immortal wizard fighting to rid the world of an evil ‘Master of Dark Magics’. There is so much richness and depth to these books, I’m on the last one and am looking forward to that final climax.
I also really love the sound of the ‘Game of Thrones’ series of books, as I have a real passion for dragons and anything associated with them. It fact I collect them, ornaments, trinkets etc. I have to confess I haven’t read any of these books yet but I’m hoping a certain husband of mine will buy the box set for my birthday which is next month!
Elise: I remembering reading quite a few of the Deverry novels when I was at university. My flatmate was obsessed with them and forced me to read them! It was a great series, though, so I was glad she did. So what are you working on at the moment?
Debbie: A number of things, I am in the process of writing a story to submit to ‘Three Drops from a Cauldron’, which is an online journal for poetry and flash fiction, involving anything in the fantasy genre, or related. The theme I have to work towards this time is either spirits or ghosts, as they are changed by the journal on a regular basis. I am also working on various short stories possibly to put together in a novella. The current one is about a lady with two hearts, yes I know a bit odd! There’s an excerpt from it further down which will explain a bit more.
Elise: What’s the inspiration for your short story … it sounds intriguing?
Debbie: It actually started as a creative writing exercise. I tend to do these every now and then to keep my ideas fresh and as motivation. The prompt was to choose two numbers from 1 to 10 without looking, and next to each number was a word and you had to weave a story around the two words. It was meant to be short 500 words or so, however, I went with it, developed other characters in a fantasy genre, and now … well let’s say it’s well over 500 words. I’ve got a good feeling about it!
Elise: What do you hope readers will take away from your stories?
Debbie: I’m a bit of a daydreamer, and from a young age have always loved fairy tales, I used to make up my own little worlds in my bedroom using blankets that I would hide under! So when I started to write fiction, I naturally leant towards fantasy. I want people to be able to enter my mythical worlds, meet the characters I develop and enjoy being away from reality for a while forget about the work they have to do the next day, the bill they have to pay, the housework that needs doing etc. I suppose just live for the moment of reading, and I hope enjoying my stories for a while. I think it’s great to get engrossed in a good book almost seeing the characters as your personal friends. I am in the process of writing a fictional fantasy novel, have written some short stories in this genre, and am working on a diploma in fantasy writing. My aim and dream is to become a successfully published author of fantasy novels, alongside continuing my Anosmia blog.
Elise: That’s why I write fantasy too. You can’t beat a bit of escapism! Well, thanks for joining me here today, Debbie. Read on below for a short excerpt from Debbie’s current story.
Excerpt from ”Drowsy Lady with a Double Heart” by Debbie Jinks
The problem with having two hearts was that I had double the energy. With the blood pumping so fast around my body after rushing about for only the morning, I was physically shattered come the afternoon. It didn’t help when I fell in love, either, because when it all went wrong and he left me, it broke both my hearts. Two lots of heartbreak, as it were. If something made me happy, and my heart swelled it was very uncomfortable–quite a squeeze, in fact. So not much fun, really!
Thing is, I wasn’t born like this even though I’m sure that’s what you’re thinking. You see my friend Natalia, who was a trainee sorceress, wanted to try out her new spell that meant she could temporarily double a heart. She decided my cat, Sizzle, would be the perfect candidate, but there was no way I was going to let her. The conversation went like this:
“Oh come on Loll,” (my name is Lolita), “Sizzle will be fine. In fact, she’ll have even more sizzle than normal, ha, ha!”
“Don’t joke about this,” I replied.
“You’re such a fairy,” retorted Natalia.
As it happened I was a fairy so that was a standing joke with her! “Nope, forget it. It’s not going to happen. What if you hurt her or change her into something nasty?”
“But I won’t–I’m really good at this spell. I practised on a frog and you’ve never seen him jump so high! The effects wear off after an hour or so.”
“I’ll bet the old grouch, Head Sorcerer, would go mad if he knew what you wanted to do,” I said angrily. “You know full well that you aren’t allowed to practice spells out of the classroom. Do you want to get yourself banned?”
“It’ll be fine, honest. Pleeeeaaase, there’s no one else who’ll help me.”
“I’m not surprised, you’re nuts. You know how much Sizzle means to me. I’d never agree to it, never!”
“OK,” said Natalia. “You know that dragon wand you want so badly?”
” Yesss,” I replied tentatively.
“I can get it for you … I know where they keep it. I’ve also learnt this great new spell.”
” Argh, no!” I said.
“Hang on, hang on,” retorted Natalia, “I’m brilliant at it, I’ve done it loads of times. It’s the invisiblear spell. I can creep in, get the wand, and no one will have a clue.”
“Well, there’s not much point in me having it anyway. I’ll never be able to use it in case I get caught!”
“Yes you can,” Natalia said, “We can go down to our secret waterfall and you can practice with it. I’ll be look out. I might even let you practice on me seeing as how you’re going to let me give you two hearts.”
“What?” I yelled, “You wanted to practise on Sizzle.”
“But you’ll never let me, will you?”
“Not a chance”, I said.
“How much do you want that wand, Lolita?”
I was so tempted. I’d wanted it for as long as I can remember, and maybe it would be OK. Natalia was a good student and, as she said, the spell wore off quite quickly.
“I’ll think about it,” I said, “but I’m not promising anything. I’ll be late for my flying class if I don’t get going,” and I stomped off.
She also runs a writing group on Facebook called All Write – all writers are welcome to join!