Jack Woodville London is the author of Children of a Good War. Read on for his interview.
Eleanor Hastings knew from experience that some bombs lie buried for decades before blowing up to hurt someone. Now, forty years after World War II, a cache of faded wartime letters is discovered in a cellar, causing Eleanor’s husband, Frank, to understand that he really was a bastard and sending him on a quest to find out who he really is — and to uncover his family’s long-buried secrets.
Q.: Do you have any interesting writing habits or superstitions?
A.: Probably not. I believe that when working on fiction, you should attempt 1000 words a day. I also believe that you should begin by reading what you wrote yesterday, edit and revise it, then move on to a fresh 1000 words. Repeat tomorrow.
Q.: When you are struggling to write/have writer’s block, what are some ways that help you find your creative muse again?
A.: I dig out one of several novels that just light my fires. Larry McMurtry teaches creative writing with every sentence. I read almost anything by Evelyn Waugh or Anthony Powell. John Lanchester and Hilary Mantel are creative and inspiring.
Q.: Is there a message/theme in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
A.: I hope that the notion comes through that finding out who we are is something each of us must find out for himself or herself; while we may or may not know who our parents are, we almost never know who they were.
Q.: What was your greatest challenge in writing this book?
A.: When drawing complex characters with richly detailed individual lives, it takes a great deal of focus to keep their individual story lines arranged so that they become a part of the real story. There are clues buried in most of the characters’ roles that readers often breeze through as minor details of daily life, then realize some time downstream that they are important pieces of the story.
Q.: What’s the best writing advice you have ever received?
A.: Don’t learn to write a book. Learn to write a sentence. Then learn to write a paragraph.
Honored as Author of the Year, Military Writers Society of America 2011-2012, and winner, Indie Excellence Award, 2013, Jack Woodville London is the author of A Novel Approach (To Writing Your First Book, 2014, a cheeky and thoughtful book on the craft of writing for authors tackling their first novel.
He lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife, Alice, and Junebug the writing cat.