KELLY JAMESON wrote her first novel, Dead On, under a pen name (Anne Kelly). She decided to use her real name for her next novel, Shards of Summer, and for the short stories which have appeared in numerous publications both here and abroad. Everything I’ve read by Kelly has surprised me in some way. That’s one of the reason I look forward to any new work of hers. Another is her spot-on depiction of the hometown we share. I think the readers of BIRTH OF A NOVEL will find Kelly Jameson as refreshing as I do.
SANDY CODY: What prompted you to become a writer?
KELLY JAMESON: I’ve always wanted to be a writer from as far back as I can remember. I almost feel like I was born with this dream.
CODY: What part of writing do you most enjoy?
JAMESON: So many things. The actual process when I sit down to write is fulfilling. Language play. Seeing a character in my mind and a “what if” situation that I can’t ignore. Watching incredible and unexpected things happen when I sit down to write and the story goes in a completely different direction or the characters seem to start doing things on their own. Seeing all my hard work in print. Meeting readers. All of the people who support my writing. Collaborating with other writers facing the same challenges. And of course, it’s an excuse to drink copious amounts of coffee.
CODY: What part do you find most difficult?
JAMESON: Most difficult is wishing I had more time to do it. I work full-time as an editor and I’d like to make writing my full-time career. So, I make time for it whenever and wherever I can. I write things down at red lights and on napkins and scraps of paper. Trying to gain a national audience for your books when you basically have no budget. You need to be innovative.
CODY: Your first book, Dead On, has an unusual premise. Tell us something about how you came up with it and something about writing it.
JAMESON: One of the characters of the book was practically tapping me on the shoulder, telling me to tell her story (but I don’t want to give too much away!). I just couldn’t ignore her. Before I knew it, I was interviewing a past-life regressionist in Doylestown, PA, where the fictional story is set, consulting numerous forensics textbooks, and using real places from the borough in the book to give it a realistic flavor. The book contains a story wrapped within a story. It’s about a medical examiner being chased through time by the same killer. The ME must use all of her forensic skills and knowledge, as well as her memories from being regressed to past lives, to stop the killer for good in the present lifetime. Readers have told me they love reading about real places in the book, places they’ve been in Doylestown—like Fonthill museum, the CB West High School football stadium (where I placed a body!), and some of the quaint shops and restaurants. I had been writing for a while and hadn’t finished anything and when my son was born, I got serious. I set goals for myself after I had an epiphany that I would never have extra time. My first goal was to write 100 pages, then 200, then finish it. I wrote Dead On in about 3 years while working fulltime and being a mom. I published the book myself independently and it was film-optioned for 2 years with the company who produced White Noise and My Big Fat Greek Wedding. That was great validation after receiving some rejections from agents and editors in the publishing world whom I’d queried about representation for Dead On. It’s true, that saying—let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love and it will not lead you astray. Except for the ‘silent’ part maybe. Speak up for your dreams! Also, I was thinking about the book so much while writing about it that several times I had dreams and woke up in the middle of the night and had to write them down. They became pivotal scenes in the book. Also, while researching hypnosis and past-life regression, I found it interesting that the person being hypnotized does not have to believe in it for it to work. They’ve found that past-life regression has been successful when some other types of therapies have failed. Also, it’s always been a fascinating concept to me—can souls travel together and keep repeating the same mistakes? And how would you finally fix those mistakes?
CODY: You used a real place, your hometown, as the setting for Dead On. Was there any adverse reaction to that?
JAMESON: None. In fact, readers always tell me they love reading about places they’ve actually been to in Doylestown in my book. Who knew Doylestown could be so creepy!
CODY: Tell us about your latest book, Shards of Summer.
JAMESON: I’ll do one better and tell you about reviews for Shards of Summer, which is set in Ocean City, New Jersey, another local place I love and where I spent many summer vacations while I was growing up. Ken Bruen, best-selling author of London Boulevard (currently being made into a movie with Keira Knightly and Colin Firth), Once Were Cops, and Guards, calls Shards of Summer “The Great Gatsby for the beach generation.”
Here’s what people are saying on Amazon:
“Kelly Jameson’s Shards of Summer is a study in contrasts, with strong characters and a racing plot. There is no peace after war for three soldiers who are unable to shake the maddening memories of military imprisonment. They remain friends, living in the same town postwar. Their personal and professional lives as cops and a professor are thoroughly complicated by the erotic dance Alison, who could be a victim or a murderer.
Jameson’s multi-faceted and intricate writing style strikes chords of both dissonance and harmony on many levels. The author’s love of language and command of the written word are abundantly evident. Many of the passages could stand alone as essays; poetry plays a binding role in the chapters and plot lines. (This is not your typical inspirational, happy-ending novel. Also, contains sexually explicit language.)
Jameson’s prose urges you to read fast and furiously until you reach the final chapter, where disturbing truths collide to make a thought-arresting impact long after the last page.
Jameson is a truly gifted writer. Her depth of knowledge on the war, religion, poetry, and the Italian language is evidenced throughout the book. Jameson is one author to keep your eye on.”
CODY: Will we meet any of the characters from Dead On in Shards of Summer?
JAMESON: The books are completely separate books, separate characters. I may one day write a sequel to Dead On, but right now I am writing a zombie novel and it’s a blast. It’s going to be fun…and quirky. Zombies like you’ve never seen them before! Of course, in local settings!
CODY: I know you have a full-time job and a young child. How do you manage all of that and still find time to write?
JAMESON: Writing has always been something I have to do. I’m a better writer because I’m a mom and I’m a better mom because I’m a writer. It’s my way of dealing with the world, exploring fears and joys, finding things out about myself and looking at the way other people live too.
CODY: Do you have any other projects in the works?
JAMESON: Yes! I have just signed a contract with a publisher to write the zombie novel and I’ve also started a werewolf novel. I recently completed a novella set in Post-Katrina New Orleans that was named a winner in the top 3% of nearly 500 blinded submissions from 10 different countries in the 2009 Leapfrog Press fiction contest. I am looking for the right agent/publisher for that novella. It’s about a woman who is still trying to reconnect with her art after spousal abuse and an attempt on her life during Hurricane Katrina:
Katrina Williams Jones Thomas Jackson Miller is a failed hooker, hotel maid, magician’s assistant, and ice cream truck driver presumed dead (only her hand was found after the hurricane). In the post-Katrina ghost town that was once the Ninth Ward, she paints murals over the red Xs left on houses to indicate the number of dead found inside. But soon she learns she’s not the only ghost in town.
I also have short stories published in The Summerset Review, The Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica 8 and 9, Dispatch Litareview, Amazon Shorts, Withersin Magazine, the Twisted Tongue, Barfing Frog Press, The Big Stupid Review, Ruthie’s Club, the American Drivel Review, sliptongue, Thugworks, Ramble Underground. I have short stories slated for publication in Tangled Bank: Love, Wonder, and Evolution (due out from lulu.com on February 12, 2010), Maxim Jakubowski’s Sex in the City book series/Paris edition (March 2010), and a zombie story that will appear in a future issue of Revenant Magazine.
CODY: What refreshes you creatively?
JAMESON: Hanging out with my family and friends. Walking my dog, drinking coffee, working out at the gym or getting outside, going to bookstores, going on vacation to places like Maine, the Jersey Shore, etc. Any place with a beach and beautiful scenery, really. And reading, reading, reading.