My Choices guest today is Jennifer-Lynn Keniston, author of Afta-U. Here she tells us how she balances the fear and thrill of writing dark novels. Like Jennifer-Lynn, I believe that balance is the key to success in all our live’s undertaking. I welcome Jennifer-Lynn, and I wish her huge success in all her writing.
How to leave the rollercoaster of emotions on the page/computer screen when stepping away from writing a dark novel
by Jennifer-Lynn Keniston
As a child, I could ride all the rides in an amusement park including the big rollercoasters with daring declines and twisting turns. From what I can recall, a rollercoaster ride can be both thrilling and terrifying. When I sit down to write more dialogue and piece together a dark novel, it is like I am sitting on an amusement park rollercoaster all over again. And I’m hoping I haven’t eaten too much cotton candy and fried dough before the ride starts. Emotions begin to battle one another.
Now a days though, I have vertigo so I can’t ride them anymore. With vertigo, my equilibrium balance gets off kilter and wreaks havoc on how I feel. I’ve learned that balance is key to avoiding an episode. In fact, balance is the key to success in all of life’s undertakings.
When it comes to stepping away from writing pieces of a dark novel, I personally choose to leave those emotions where they are: embedded on a computer screen or scribbled on a notepad. That emotional dialogue between an inherently evil character and the main protagonist I have grown to sympathize with, cannot follow me into my everyday life and replay and haunt me over and over again. It is a struggle that most people, including myself, also need to work on with real life encounters. And there are more than a few of these dark scenes in Afta-U.
So what do I do?
Well, before I even sit down to start to write, I try to get to a point of connection to my higher self. I practice an exercise on pre-paving for my day of writing. I envision how I want the writing to go that day and what plan I want to accomplish as if it has already happened. Once I’m connected to my higher self though, it is as if the rollercoaster ride has been set in motion and I cling on filled with excitement and fear.
When I have finished writing for the day, I sit down with another pad of paper and I jot down things I am grateful for and keep on writing these furiously until I am no longer stuck on that rollercoaster ride and I am connected to my higher self in a state of gratitude.
As the Bible points out, the darkness can’t put out the light. I smile as I hear the character childhood voices of Hope and Jean singing, “this little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.” I put down the pen and paper and walk away for the day and try to embrace the sunlight.
Twenty-nine years after the tragic death of her childhood best friend, Hope, Jean Cartwright Rhodes returns to her hometown with her husband and daughter after she inherits the house her friend’s family once lived in. Now, years later, she finds herself haunted by a dark truth – and by the specter of Hope herself. Every time Jean looks through her kitchen window, she sees two stark reminders of her troubled past; the Afta-U sailboat, ironically named after young Hope, and the old oak tree where her eleven-year-old friend met her death at the hands of another child. Afta-U unfolds as a psychological chess match, a complex web of intrigue, unexpected relationships, lies, and devastating secrets as Jean struggles with the impact of decisions she made long ago on all the lives around her. When Jean confronts and tries to come to grips with Hope’s killer, she finds herself waging a personal battle between madness and redemption.
About Jennifer-Lynn Keniston
Raised in Hanson, Massachusetts, the author earned a Master of Arts degree in English, from Bridgewater State College in Massachusetts and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, with a concentration in writing and a minor in philosophy, from Plymouth State College in New Hampshire. Jennifer-Lynn currently works as a project manager for a company that provides cloud software products for call centers at small, medium, and enterprise companies. In April 2014, she started her own business, Ansel Resume Resolution Services LLC, writing resumes and cover letters. She now lives and writes in Concord, New Hampshire, and enjoys teaching Spinning classes in her free time.
How to reach Jennifer-Lynn and buy her book:
Afta-U Purchase Link:
Thank you, Jennifer-Lynn for stopping by Choices while on your WOW Women on Writing virtual book tour. And thank you, Renee Roberson, for asking Choices to host Jennifer-Lynn. It is a pleasure.
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