Author Interview: C.J. Edwards

Today we’re getting to know J.C. Edwards, author of Poems of Living, Loving and Lore. Even if poetry isn’t your thing, give this one a chance. Like a finely aged wine, J.C.’s work is  rich, full-bodied and mature.  Her thoughtful, evocative collection includes reflections on relationships, gratitude, seasons, holidays, love, loss, and much more!
Sensitively written with a commanding grasp of the language, Living, Loving and Lore surprises and delights, artfully drawing in readers with rhythms that are supple and subtle as well as solid and intense.
A resident of British Columbia, J.C. also has a compelling life story.  Let’s get to know her a little better:

Your name:

J C Edwards Profile Pic 2Julie Catherine Vigna, my pen name is J C Edwards.

Where do you live?

I live in beautiful British Columbia, Canada. I was born in Ontario and lived there until 2004; moved out to BC, then to Alberta – both for family reasons – then in October of this year, finally made my way back to BC – the home of my heart and soul. I missed the mountains and water terribly, and felt so welcomed when I returned. They are my muses, the source of my inspiration.

Tell us something about yourself.

Born Julie Edwards, I’m fifth of eight siblings, and I am a survivor of childhood abuse. My brothers and sisters and I were adopted out to various families as young children – in 2007, after more than 45 years we were finally reunited in Alberta just months before our youngest brother passed away from pancreatic cancer.  Although we now live scattered across Canada we are blessed to be together again. My pen name, J C Edwards, is a combination of my birth and adopted names: Julie Catherine. I always knew that when I published, it would be under that name. I’ve been writing, drawing and painting ever since grade three, love antiques and all of nature. Being near water of any kind is inspirational and makes my soul sing.

What inspired you to write this book/article/piece?

While I’ve always written poetry, I didn’t think to put together a collection until I was forced to retire from the workforce for medical reasons at Christmas, 2010. It helped me to deal with a drastic change in lifestyle, and gave a brighter purpose to the long days between medical appointments and dealing with disability applications.

How did you choose the title?

Poetry Book CoverI love the title, “Poems of Living, Loving & Lore”!  I wanted it to be very clear this is a poetry book; something a little ‘old-world’ to match the book cover and the classical feel of the poems, and wanted the three sections of the book to be included in the title.

What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?

I didn’t want to go the traditional publishing route with this book and decided to self-publish because I wanted to publish within months rather than years; however, I only had a tiny budget for printing, and none at all for promotion. I have a friend, Selena Howard who is a poet and artist, and she did the beautiful cover for me – in return I sent her a gift of art supplies and a copy of my book. I’m an editor as well as a writer, so was able to do most of that myself, although I also had a couple other people do a run-through as well. I’ve been promoting my book on social sites, my blog, and as many other avenues as I can find that have little or no cost. I was interviewed by our local television station and did poetry readings at our local library and schools. The rest has been entirely word of mouth.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?

I’ve always known I wanted to be a writer, and have always written poetry and short stories. I also have two novels in the works that are at least a year away from being completed. When I knew I would have time to devote to my writing, I consciously made the decision to begin with a poetry book because of the shorter time involved in producing it. I worked on my poems for a year before I had enough for a volume of poetry. I just literally made a decision to do it, researched various print-on-demand publishers, made my choice, and then jumped in the deep end.

Do you have any writing rituals?

I often meditate before writing poetry, especially if I have a particular theme in mind. I also enjoy listening to classical music, both during the meditation and while writing.

Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book?  What?

If you want something badly enough, and want it done well, you have to do the work to make it happen. I learned that the promotional part is indeed more work than the actual writing of the book; and because of my physical disabilities, I have to be innovative in finding ways to promote myself and my book. Book fairs and signings and travelling are not feasible for me because of mobility issues, so most of my promotion has been online and word of mouth. But if you understand and commit to what you’re able to handle and do the work, it is possible to make your dream come true.

 

If you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently?

I’m pretty satisfied with the way things were handled with the publishing of my debut poetry book, so will likely follow a similar path with my next collection. The only thing I would do differently might be to concentrate on promotion earlier than I did with this book – and hopefully have more of a budget to work with!

What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Why?

I have eclectic tastes and love to read practically anything! I’m currently reading a romantic suspense novel, a Christian novel and a spy novel in paperback form. On my e-reader I’m reading a poetry collection and a historical fiction novel. I have a huge love of all the classical writers such as Shakespeare, since that’s what I grew up with. I also love Tolkien and his Middle Earth worlds – I’m a huge LOTR and Hobbit fan. These are worlds and stories I can positively get lost in, with amazing characters and incredible scene descriptions. Another of my fav authors is Marion Zimmer Bradley – her book, The Mists of Avalon (and that entire fantasy series) is one I will read over and over and never tire of.

Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?

I have a few projects on the go right now, including a new poetry collection tentatively titled, “Essence of Woman”. The poems will cover every aspect of what makes us women, but I don’t want to say too much more about it just yet. I also have two novels in the works: a middle-grade adventure/mystery set in Georgian Bay, Canada, where I spent a few summers; and a contemporary romance novel. It will likely be at least another year before they’re ready, either for self-publication or submission; I haven’t decided which way to go yet. And yes, all my projects are completely different from each other – I don’t think I’ll ever be pinned down to just one genre!

*What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?

Once you’ve done the writing, let the book ‘rest’ for awhile before going back to edit. Proof, proof and proof again – if you can’t afford an editor, then at least have a couple of people with excellent spelling, grammar and punctuation skills to proof for you as well. Do not be in a rush to submit your manuscript until you are absolutely positive it’s the best quality you can produce. Don’t settle for mediocre – strive to be the best you can be and take pride in your work. Your readers will appreciate that as well and it will show in your reviews.

Who is the perfect reader for your book? (Please do not say “everyone.” ;o) )

Poetry lovers, especially those interested in classical forms of poetry, mythology, fairies, nature and romance would enjoy reading these poems. Although there are a few poems that deal with harsher realities of life, I have attempted to keep the bulk of the collection upbeat and positive, preferring to focus on the beauty of life, love and nature.

Where can readers learn more about you and your book?

Poetry Book Page

J C Edwards Page

Amazon  (Paperback & Kindle)

Barnes & Noble (Paperback & Nook)

Xlibris  (Paperback)

Visit Julie On-line:

Julie’s Blog

Twitter

***

Next up: What ‘Writing Contest’ is – and Isn’t.  Also an author interview with John Lucas, author of Power and Intimacy in Relationships.

I am now scheduling author interviews for February.  If you’d like to be featured, just leave a comment in the Reply section below.

Advertisements

10 thoughts on “Author Interview: C.J. Edwards

  1. Kristine, thank you so much for featuring me, and my poetry book, on your blog today – your support and encouragement is really appreciated! ~ Julie 🙂

  2. Reblogged this on Julie Catherine and commented:
    Kristine did a wonderful interview about me, and my poetry book, on her blog this morning – please check it out – and the rest of her awesome site, as well! Thank you so much, Kristine! 🙂

  3. What a wonderfully done interview ! Julie is most deserving. I’ve tweeted and shared this on my Facebook profile. I thoroughly enjoyed this

    • Thank you. Julie has a wonderful story – and a great collection of poetry. Thanks for sharing on FB and tweeting. I’m scheduling author interviews for February and March. If you or an author you know want to be featured, just leave me a comment and we’ll connect.

  4. Yes she does have a wonderful story She has been an incredible mentor to me with my own poetry,introducing me to styles of poetry I had never seen before and is my most trusted adviser. She gives generously of her time and expertise and I am so fortunate to call her friend

    • Aww, now this comment made me cry! Thanks for all the wonderful support, dear Selena! And also for the awesome cover design – I’ve had so many lovely comments on it, love it! 🙂

  5. thank you for this! A wonderful soul Julie is …and an extraordinary writer. I own her beautiful book and it has offered me tremendous joy…. Escapism… Introspection and love. thank you for helping get the word out in this terrific interview…. Love and joy, Robyn Lee

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s