Author Interview: Jilll Malone

25 01 2013

Hello, Readers!

This week we have interview Jill Malone about her upcoming title Giraffe People which will be out in May, 2013 by Bywater Books. It is a fantastic read about adolescence, rock and roll, love and army life.

1.  What makes a good story?

I prefer character-driven stories with tension and subtlety. Jack Gilbert called it the engine. Is the engine big enough for this story? What kind of engine does this story have? I’m a sucker for grace – for stories that redeem the character(s) in some way. I don’t mean spiritually, but I am talking about soul. Why is this story told with these characters? The story needs to feel surprising, and inevitable. I have to want things with them, and for them. I have to buy in to their conflict in some way. It’s not important to me to like the characters; I’d rather they be recognizable than likeable. I read to be compelled.

2. What inspired you to become a writer?

I’ve been writing stories since I remember holding a pencil. I grew up with Bible stories and Shakespeare. My mother read Jane Austen, and bought me piles of mythology stories – Greek, Roman, South Pacific, Norse. My parents read me an odd mix of Southern American writers and English writers, and when I listened to my father’s sermons, I realized they were stories, too. In elementary school I wrote plays for all my friends, and printed newspaper sheets to entertain them. It was more fun to invent news than report actual happenings.

3. How did you come up with the title Giraffe People?

For a while, I wasn’t sure what to call it, but Cole describes her family as Giraffe People early in the manuscript, and it seemed so perfect. They are these strange lumbering creatures — familial and foreign, wandering and tribal. And it allowed for the beautiful awkwardness of Cole herself.

4.  How much of the military life presented in Giraffe People is based off of personal experience?

My father was an Army chaplain for twenty years – he retired when I graduated from high school. The military details are true to my experience as a military brat. I combined the bases at Fort Monmouth and Oahu to allow for richer details and to help camouflage real people. I read this amazing story, Dog Heaven, by Stephanie Vaughn, and it seemed to me that the experience of military dependents was this trove that had rarely been explored.

5. Does Cole’s band, Doggy Life, survive her move to Hawaii?

Probably not, but I imagine something else will find her. The islands are filled with alluring music, and she has learned that new sounds are out there and it’s important to seek them.

6.  Where did the idea for the word lists come from? 

My family did sponsor cadets when I was in school at Fort Monmouth, and the cadets had these awful vocabulary lists they’d bring over to the house. It seemed like the ideal way to allow for a private conversation between Cole and Meghan as well as Cole and the reader. And you get to see how Cole’s mind works in ways that the narrative doesn’t necessarily allow.

7.  Sex and the loss of innocence is a recurring theme in Giraffe People– is there a message you want the reader to grasp about sex?

Sex is a recurring theme in everything I write. I think I’m trying to take sex and shame apart — to separate them so that I can see each clearly. Initially, for Cole, sex seems almost an empirical experience, but that changes as the story progresses, and that’s the part I love. I love that sex unfurls. That it seems, at first, to be one shape, but is, in fact, many.

8. Music is such an important influence in Cole’s life- what is your ultimate play list?

Oh! I love this question. I’ve just been listening to a lot of Jazz because Dave Brubeck died, and so there’d be horns and piano and drums. Duets with Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald. There’d be Ramones, and CCR, and Fiona Apple. There’d be Spanish guitar, and Florence and the Machine. The National, Gillian Welch, Arcade Fire, Metric, Santigold, Jack White, Loretta Lynn. There’d be old country and punk and club-kid music from the 80s and Bikini Kill and Warpaint and djembe and all sorts of weird stuff.  If we could dance to it, we’d play it.

9.  Which of your characters would you like to have dinner with and why?

I’d like to have dinner with Jane from Red Audrey and the Roping, and Cole from Giraffe People. I feel like those two would have a lot to talk about and I could just sit and observe them. We’d eat Island food and watch the tide and drink beer from green bottles.

10.  When will Giraffe People be published?

Giraffe People is due out in May, 2013.

11.  Can you tell the readers about your other books?

Red Audrey and the Roping is a story about self. About self-injury and self-forgiveness.

A Field Guide to Deception is a story about family. About the kind of honesty it takes to live in a family and function.

In different ways, I think my first two novels are love stories. It just takes time to get there. Sometimes lifetimes.

12.  Where can my readers buy your books?

My books are available through my publisher’s site:, on and at your local, independent retailer. They’re available in print and e-books.

Check out Jill Malone and her awesome book, Giraffe People at the following links:


Ebook formatting

28 12 2012

Ebook formatting:

Having trouble formatting your ebook? Don’t know your smashwords from amazon kindle? Contact Carolyn Elias at to format your books. Fee is $100.00 per book.

Advertising on Charles Henry Editing Blog!

27 12 2012

Do you want to advertise your business to thousands of people?

Would you like to grow your business?

Would you like to advertise on our website or blog?

There are currently 16 advertising spaces available for purchase. Advertising space is $249.00 a month payable through Paypal. Contact to claim your advertising space and for more details.

Second Person POV

23 12 2012

The second-person narrative is a narrative mode in which the protagonist or another main character is referred to by employment of second-person personal pronouns such as “you”.

Traditionally, the employment of the second-person form in literary fiction has not been as prevalent as the corresponding first person and third person forms, yet second-person narration is, in many languages, a very common technique of several popular and non- or quasi-fictional written genres such as guide books, self-help books, do-it-yourself manuals, interactive fiction, game books, musical lyrics, advertisements and also blogs.

Although not the most common narrative technique in literary fiction, second-person narration has constituted a favored form of various literary works within, notably, the modern and post modern tradition. In addition to a significant number of consistent (or nearly consistent) second-person novels and short-stories. The technique of narrative second-person address has been widely employed in shorter or longer intermittent chapters or passages of narratives.

Guest Blogging

19 12 2012

Guest Blogging:

Carolyn Elias will now be offering guest blog posts to interested parties. The post will center around writing, editing, books, and interviewing. Interested parties should email Carolyn Elias at Fee for guest blogging is $50.00 per post, payable through Paypal.

Writing Tips: First Draft Rules

13 12 2012

Great tips! I tell # 2 to all of my clients.

Creative Writing with the Crimson League

1235996_pencil-pusherYesterday I posted six rules I write by. Here are some more tips of the trade I’ve discovered work for me, when I hold myself to them. Consider them my personal writing commandments.

  1. Don’t worry about the particular phrasing in a first draft. That’s what editing is for, so don’t get stuck wondering and wondering and wording and rewording a piece of dialogue. If you have some amount of words down that get the point across, and you know how the scene needs to progress, then keep writing. You can fix it later. Writing time is not editing time.
  2. Adverbs are the enemy, so try to avoid them if you can in your draft. My loyal followers know that one of my favorite quotes ever is Stephen King’s “The road to hell is paved with adverbs.” They are often overused and make for weak, jilted writing. That said…

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Right to Write: A Reblogged Post

12 12 2012

Limebird Writers

This is a follow-up to a post I wrote about getting back into your writing groove. There were several comments regarding the difficulty writers face in giving themselves permission to write. Much of it centers around guilt.

Stephen King, in his book, On Writing, states, “The sort of strenuous reading and writing program I advocate-four to six hours a day, every day-will not seem strenuous if you really enjoy doing these things…If you feel you need permission to do all the reading and writing your little heart desires, however, consider it granted by yours truly.”

Well! If Stephen King says it’s okay, then that’s all I need!

But this is only part of the big picture in unleashing that guilt. Don’t be self-defeatist once you grant yourself permission.

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