Stevie Turner, Author
J.W Goodwin's Interview
1. How old were you when you had the urge to become a writer?
I think I was 13-14 years old when I started with fanfiction, bad fanfiction to boot. The only reason I can remember is because of what grade I was in at the time. Thank goodness I’ve gotten better since then.
2. It’s taken you 10 years to finish your debut novel. What gave you the inspiration for the story?
It’s going to sound corny but it was due to a dream I had. I was lost in a forest until I was attacked by monster brown bugs. I was saved by an elf in green, who looks very much like the male protagonist in my debut novel By The Light of a Darkened Forest. He hid me from the monsters and went out to take care of them, telling me to stay hidden and that he would come back. I woke up before he could but he did manage by giving me a brilliant idea for a story.
3. Is any or part of the story autobiographical?
No. Though the main female protagonist Evelyn has some of my characteristics, none of events mimic my life.
4. Your novel is a paranormal fantasy adventure for young adults. Have you ever had a paranormal experience?
It would be awesome if I could say yes but unfortunately no. Unless of course having very imaginative dreams counts. The feelings I get from my grandparents’ farm brought the story to life. It feels so different there compared to other places I’ve been. Magical is a good word for it.
5. Do you find that writing your debut novel has helped with your slight dyslexia?
Definitely. I’m more confident with my writing than even the spoken word. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect, and the years I’ve spent practicing have helped immensely.
6. Were your schoolteachers sympathetic regarding your dyslexia?
Not really. I don’t think it was in my student file so I doubt they knew. It always took me longer to read through books but I’d get it done eventually. If I could get away with not reading the material I would. It saved me time to do other things, like writing the reports and essays they wanted. Also the reason I believe I have/had dyslexia is because I would be pulled from classes grades 1-3 to learn the differences between letters and directions. It didn’t change until I was in high school, something clicked then and it became easier.
7. Why did you change from a French school to an English language school?
Verbs. That is the only reason why I changed schools. The French language has so many verbs and so many different variations of said verbs with special rules that I couldn’t wrap my head around them. I could get away with speaking in slang but writing was a different story. Without writing I couldn’t get decent grades not matter how hard I tried. So my parents switched me.
8. Do you think in French or English? Which one is your first language?
I think in English since it’s easier and I’m much better at it, though sometimes if I don’t remember a word I usually know the French one. Pencil sharpener was one I got hung up on way too often, I’m lucky I live in a bilingual community or else trying to ask for one would be a task in itself.
For my first language I’m not sure. I learned both at the same time though my first words were French.
9. Have you written other stories or poetry?
I have lots of poetry though none of it is published. I like to write them to express a mood or an idea or they just come to me. For stories I have so many beginnings but no ends. This is the first one I finished and it was all thanks to a good friend who was reading them as I was writing. If it wasn’t for her this one wouldn’t get finished either.
10. What in your experience is the best book you’ve ever read?
That’s a loaded question. Honestly it keeps changing with each book I read. It started with The Three Investigators series by Robert Arthur Jr. then progressed to Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, now it’s a tie between Graceling by Kristin Cashore and The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black. As I grow older I get to read more novels and with that new flavors to taste. So it’s really hard to say what the best book is.
11. Which social media do you think helps the most in building up an author platform?
I can’t really answer since I’m still trying to figure it all out. Being so shy it’s hard for me to put myself out there. Doing this interview is going way beyond my comfort zone. One thing that’s helping my confidence is finding an author group with supportive peers like I’ve found with Creativia. I feel bad that I barely post on there but it’s so stressing to even think about it let alone what I’m going to say. Having a group where you can ask the more tenured authors for advice (I think, I haven’t yet because, again, I’m too shy to) would help and if you’ve found the right group they will help you grow.
12. Living in Northern Ontario, do you prefer the cold winters or the boiling summers?
I like the transition periods best where you don’t have to wear 10 pounds of clothes because it’s so cold or want to tear your skin off because it’s so hot. So I guess you can call it the few weeks of spring and fall. If I had to choose between the two though it would be the winters. I have a saying that you can always put more clothes on to stay warm but you can only take off so much to get cool.
13. My fascination is with the Mennonite lifestyle when I found out about them on a visit to the area around Kincardine on a Canadian holiday in 2013. Does the slower pace of their lifestyle with its lack of modern amenities appeal to you?
Definitely! Though I’d miss my computer since it makes writing so much easier for me. It’s a reason why I moved back to my hometown from the city. Much slower pace and so much quieter. Gives a person time to think. Also you’d spend more time talking with people face to face, and I don’t mean facetime on the phone, which is very important. Today it looks like what happened to people in Disney’s Wall-E is happening now. Makes me sad really.
14. What is it about forests that you find fascinating?
It’s the feeling I get from them. It’s so quiet and peaceful but if those trees could talk they could go on forever. Whenever I’m with nature there’s something magical that comes over me. It’s perfectly imperfect within the canopy. Everything has its place in the mismatch of things. It’s hard to describe but it’s one place that’s left untouched by people. You never know what you can find in there.
15. Do you think that playing video games is a good pastime for teenagers?
Depending on the video games yes. One’s that are just for going around and killing stuff, what they call hack n’ slash, no. If it includes a story, puzzles/tactics and even morals then I do think it’s good. My favorites to play are ones with a story, my favorite of those by far is The Legend of Zelda series. It does have to be balanced with other things though, like exploring outside or having a hobby off screen.
16. Are you adept at orienteering using only a map and compass?
I know how to use them but that’s about it. When I go out I usually go with my dad. He’s the expert. If we go off on foot he can find our way back. On my own I’d get too nervous and stick close to an obvious trail.
17. Have you ever been lost in a forest?
No. Though I love exploring I always make sure I know where I am. If I get disoriented I retrace my steps until I can remember. Going on drives with my dad, however, is a different story. Though he says we’re not lost I’ve had moments where I’ve doubted him. He finds a way out though.
18. Who is your favourite band?
Another loaded question. I’ve got so many. If it was based on concerts I’ve attended and grew up with then it would be Rush. For newer music I love Daughtry for the sound but I can say that about Gowan’s older music and some others. I just love music in general.
19. What is your most prized possession?
Though it’s a bit embarrassing I have to say it’s my Barney. I’ve had him since I was 2-3 years old and he’s been with me everywhere. I’m very protective of him and don’t let many touch him. To this day he still fights off nightmares and keeps me company though he has more friends than he used to. There’s a group of dogs and wolves he hangs out with now, even a polar bear that I got at the Cochrane polar bear habitat. They all have their own stories, the stuffed animals that I’ve gotten attached to, so what normal people think about Barney is not how mine is.
20. Which one thing would you like with you on a desert island?
A sailboat filled with supplies so I can get back home? I bet that’s not what you’re getting at though. If not then a pencil and a pencil sharpener with sketchbook if a set counts. I’d spend my days drawing and writing for a vacation. I guess I’m lucky that my favorite things to do can be brought with my anywhere. I thank God for that. If not I’d be quite the miserable person as there would be no outlet for a very overactive imagination.
Website on wordpress: https://authorjwgoodwin.wordpress.com/
Amazon Profile: http://www.amazon.com/J.W.-Goodwin/e/B01AKXEOP8
Email: [email protected]
Thanks J.W for your answers. Rush is also one of my favourite bands!