I first met Jill Badonsky back in 2003. Or was it 2002? (I thought eye sight was the first thing to go!). I attended some writing workshops, then a Performance Writing Course that culminated in a performance — me in silver chiffon reading my poem Beautiful Moon Sea– then 12-week course based on Jill’s first book, The Nine Modern Day Muses (etc) –read my book review at Amazon where you can conveniently buy the book. Over the years I continued attending workshops with Jill– especially the Third Thursday drop-in writing group at Bookworks in Del Mar, Calif. I kept going back for more because I always came away feeling like I’d written– sometimes something good, sometimes crap it didn’t matter. And more often than not I ended up with a start to something bigger.
Jill’s second book arrived in the mail: The Awe-manac: A Daily Dose of Wonder which you can conveniently buy at Amazon as well.
I haven’t “read” the book per se (being in graduate school I’ve been super busy), but I have flipped through it and found some amazing bits of inspiration. It’s a great reference book to keep handy, as each day of the year has tips and tricks and prompts and potions to spark your creativity. It’s like having Jill right here with me! AWE-Mazing!
And so when Jill asked if she could drop by as part of her blog book tour, I said of course!
I sent Jill these Questions for my Awe-Musement:
JENN: I see you mentioned my name in the acknowledgements… tell me, exactly how inspirational have I been to you?
JILL: Hmm, that’s an original question. Since you came to many of my writing workshops and test drove a lot of the prompts that are now in the Awe-manac as well as took part in the on-line Writing Club that was the genesis of many of the prompts, I was able to read how the prompts have the potential to be alchemized into really good writing, cuz that’s what you did.
As you know, my own attempts at the prompts were designed to “set the bar low”, to …ahem.. make everyone else’s writing sound real good.
JENN: Where am I quoted in the book?
JILL: January 16 page 35.. write there in black and white., something about nothing.
JENN: Why did you write this book for me? I mean I know we’re friends and all, but really, you shouldn’t have gone to so much trouble. Just to impress me… I’da still been your friend….
JILL: I know, I just was so insecure and all. I didn’t blow did I? I also built you a house. Want it?
JENN: Seriously, I’m in AWE. The amount of information, the drawings, the quotes, the prompts… I feel like I can use your book for inspiration for all my writing (EDITOR’S NOTE: CLICK on the image to the left for Today’s Page and you’ll know what I’m talking about)– where do you get YOUR inspiration?
JILL: Drugs. … well, creativity is my drug. If you can explain where inspiration comes from, let me know. When I have an idea I simply have a compulsive need to get it down.. but it seems to arise from anything from associative thinking to digesting a bean burrito.
I think it’s a matter of getting everything else less important out of the way of my creative ideas. Meditate, walk, shower with only the cultivation of ideas in mind. We are here to be creative and when you’re listening, inspiration is everywhere. Turning the TV off helps.
JENN: Do you ever get tired of inspiring everyone else?
JILL: No. It’s something I was sent here to do so it feeds me too. Sometimes I take in a movie.
And now for the more serious stuff…
JENN: How was publishing the second book different than publishing the first book?
JILL: The first book was already written when I sold it to Penguin/Putnam. Running Press bought the book based on the proposal and on the success of the first book so it was a different experience with a little more pressure. Also, the publisher was much more involved in the second book since it was developing and not already done. But for both my mantra was simply to entertain myself and that seemed to work.
JENN: Are you using the same agent for this book as the first?
JILL: Yes, she’s wonderful.
JENN: Do you have any tips to share on how to find a good agent, and what makes a good agent (from an author’s perspective)
JILL: I found my agent by looking in the acknowledgement section of a favorite book. Authors are usually very grateful to agents. I am. Good agents get back to you right away when you’re insecure and whining. They are resourceful about figuring out who to talk to, and like my agent, they have lunch regularly with all the players in the right places. They also know the ins and outs of contracts and how to negotiate.
JENN: With the changes in the publishing industry… how has that changed what the author brings to the table regarding marketing, for example? (I notice you’re doing a blog tour and not a road tour, was that your idea?)
JILL: The first publishing house funded a national tour. The second one didn’t and I’m sure the economy had something to do with it, but ironically my second book is doing better because the publisher was smart and co-oped a table so it’s displayed in the front of Barnes and Noble stores. Visibility in the store sells more of my books than book signings and this blog-tour is just a heck of a lot of fun with no hotel and airports hassels. I like it better.
JENN: What advice would you give an author just starting down the publishing road?
Write for yourself, be audacious and believe in yourself, listen to your intuition, write and read often.. the usual advice you hear from everyone.
JENN: Any other comments you want to share??
JILL: Can I come and visit in October? I’ll be taking The Awe-manac on the road for the 2010 new year.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Jenn, aka JeSais will be happy to host Jill in October!