Jen Violi an author, a person who NEEDS a cape, and a musical writer
Today I am interviewing Jen Violi the author of Putting makeup on Dead People. I read and love love loved Putting Makeup on Dead People. To read my review click here.
What was your latest Epic Fail? (basically this is an embarrassing moment)
EPIC FAIL: The most recent I think would be attempting to very quickly relax and do some yoga, which involved slamming my shin into the coffee table in the process. It was, I would say, a solid reminder to slow down and not approach relaxation as a quick-fix. The subject of failure and being wrong has definitely captured my attention, most recently through an amazing TED talk from Kathryn Shulz (twenty minutes well spent—go watch it if you can). I think we underestimate the value of making mistakes, whether minor or epic. And, I think this applies to writing. The best stories are usually not ones about characters who make a long series of perfect and inspiring choices, but rather stories about characters who screw up and learn something and then work on making inspiring choices. Epic fails, in fact, make great fiction.
[PEOPLE you should go check out that video its totally amazing!!]
Epic Win? (a small but meaningful accomplishment like finding a bag of Bertie Bott’s while packing)
EPIC WIN: Using a random assortment of things in my refrigerator and freezer, I made chicken and dumplings for the first time. What I used: half roasted chicken from lunch at a local café, mushroom and black truffle soup I had in the freezer, some mustard greens, a few carrots, green onions, apple cider vinegar, flour, water, sea salt. Seriously, food is epic for me. I love experimenting and concocting things in the kitchen, maybe because the reward comes in the span of a few hours. Often when I’m really involved in a writing project (like right now), I cook as a way to balance it out. A book can take years to produce, but chicken and dumplings—created and consumed all in one night.
[MMMMM... I love food :)]
What are your thoughts on your book being turned into a movie?
I think it could be really fun to see Putting Makeup on Dead People as a movie. I have loved movies for almost as long as I’ve loved books. I’m sure it would also be weird to see someone else’s characterization of characters I created, but I would be eating popcorn and my book would have been made into a movie (!), so I think I’d be just fine.
One question you wish you had a definitive answer to:
When will I get to hang out with Clarissa Pinkola Estés? Women Who Run with the Wolves has enormously impacted my heart and mind and soul, and I would love to thank Dr. Estés for that in person. I might even make chicken and dumplings for her!
A quote you live by:
I love so many words and groupings of words, it’s hard to choose! One that’s particularly inspiring me at the moment is from the poem, “When I Am Among the Trees,” by Mary Oliver: “You too have come into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled with light, and to shine.” And maybe just one more, from Leonard Cohen’s song “Anthem,”: “Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There’s a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”
[I love those quotes!]
In Your Perfect World…
Everyone will know and see the beauty in their unique, unrepeatable selves. Also, I will have a retreat center on the Oregon coast where people can come to rest and rejuvenate and create. And last but not least, a hot tub and a sauna will be involved. In all of it.
[I like that, so many people don't see themselves as they really are :) ]
If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?
Right now, some Mary Poppins clean-up-the-nursery power would be awesome. So I guess what I’m saying is that I’d love to have a magical umbrella that would clean my bathroom or, that is, command my bathroom to clean itself.
[Confession: My room could use this too...]
If given a time machine would you go back to the past or into the future?
The way, way past. I like to imagine that in another life, I was wearing a toga and was some kind of priestess. So, I’d return to that time, first to learn how to properly tie a toga so it doesn’t fall off in the middle of a party and then also to check out all of the awesome rituals I was doing.
Do you have any projects in the works? If so can you tell us about any of them?
I am working right now on a new young adult novel, and I think I’m not ready to describe it yet. I will say that I’m on draft seven and feeling good about its evolution. In addition to about a billion books I want to write, I also have a half-finished musical that I declare will be completed in the next five years and produced on Broadway—how’s that for epic??
[You pretty much perfected the word epic. OOOOH! Secret project :) Also: HUGE fan of musicals!!]