Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Press release questionnaire

I have done many things in the last nine days that I have never done before. Publishing is a new thing for's enormously exciting and I've had a lot of fun along the way. I know there is a lot more ahead of me and I am just enjoying the ride.

I spent a great deal of time writing The Color of Thunder, and now that it's been submitted, I've spent some more time writing about writing the The Color of Thunder. It's felt a bit like being back in school again...having assignments that need to be completed and handed in. It's actually be rather fun.

I wanted to share with you one of the projects I was asked to complete. Xlibris, my publisher, will send out a press release to newspapers, radio stations, book sellers and many other people. In order to write this press release, they sent to me a list of about eleven questions they wanted me to answer. If you haven't noticed by now, I'm a wordy individual. It took me two days to answer them. I am including here the questions and my answers. When I see the finalized press release, I'll post that as well.

Xlibris Press Release Questionnaire

Name or Penname: J.C. Wing

Book Title:    The Color of Thunder

1. What inspired you to write the book?
I have always been intrigued by the southern US. Until recently I'd only been a visitor there, but for three years my family and I lived in North Carolina. We did a lot of traveling to other southeastern states as well. I love to research, find out about places and things I don't know much about. Because I was born thirty years after WWII ended and had no personal experience with the Civil Rights Movement, I thought that by researching both a southern state that interested me and a time period I'd always wanted to learn more about I could educate myself a little better. In the process of doing those things, the tale of the Linsey family began to take shape.

2. Summarize your book in one to three sentences.
This story is about a young girl growing up in a very tumultuous time in our nation's history. Faith is bright and curious, inquisitive and soft-hearted and when she sees things happening around her that frighten her, things she doesn't understand, she questions them; tries to understand why they are the way they are and desperately wants to change them for the better. She is given a unique opportunity through her brief friendship with Ruby and, although she is struggling with her own relationship with God, her father and the world at large, she takes what she learns from this unexpected connection with this new friend and sets her life on a better course while also helping what's left of her family move forward as well.

3. What is the overall theme of your book? 
This story is told by Faith, the main character in the book. It is a narrative that begins when she is six and ends when she is twenty five It is the tale of a daughter of a prominent Baptist minister in Jackson, Mississippi, who, after realizing that her father is involved with the Ku Klux Klan, begins to question the foundation from which he preaches. She begins exploring not only the religion she's been taught to believe in, but other heavy matters such as racial equality. Throughout her life, she comes to the conclusion that good things happen as well as bad things, and that many times there's no way to control the events that take place. She realizes that she has to be strong within herself, control that which she can, rely upon her own strengths and fight for everything that is good and important to herself and to those that she loves.

4. Where does the book take place?
The book takes place in Jackson, Mississippi between the years of 1946 and 1965.

5. Who are the main characters and why are they important to the story?
Faith Linsey is the narrator of the book. Everything that the reader hears, he's told by her. The most important characters in the story are, of course, those that Faith is in contact with the most and those are her family members. Jacob and Evelyn Linsey are Faith's parents. Faith is close with her mother and works by her side to care for her family. She looks up to this woman and loves her very much. Jacob, her father, is very important because he is the person responsible for causing much of Faith's personal unrest. His actions are a catalyst for the entire story. She fears him, wants to please him because when he is pleased, there is peace within their family. She loves him because he is her father, but throughout the story, she learns to distrust him and loses her respect for him. Hope and Grace, who are Faith's sisters, are incredibly important characters because they are the reason why Faith is so dedicated to her family. She loves them more than anything and works incredibly hard to protect them, guide them and help her mother to raise them. Faith's older brother, Luke, is important because he is raised to eventually take his father's place in the church, but he is able to keep inside of him the characteristics about his personality that Faith loves the most, even when he is forced to take over for his father much sooner than anyone predicts. He is a good, strong, loving family man who cares very much for his siblings, his wife, Susannah, and his children. Susannah is important because she is also another mother figure for Faith and her sisters, and then there is Ruby, the young black girl that Faith befriends. She is incredibly important because she helps Faith finally sort out her feelings about God and helps settle a good portion of the unrest that has plagued her throughout the story.

6. Why do you think this book will appeal to readers?
It is my hope that I have created well rounded, strong characters that will be interesting enough to readers that they will want to find out how their story unfolds. I have written about a place that is exhilarating for the senses and about a time period that is full of intriguing, if not sad and disturbing, American history. It is a work of fiction, but many of the national events I've written about actually took place. Perhaps part of the appeal is the chance to experience some of these things from a young girl's perspective and to learn a bit more about what it may have been like to be in that particular place and time when these things occurred.

7. How is your book relevant in today's society?
While the book is about some of the things that took place in the American south during the forties, fifties and sixties, it is also very much about the family dynamic and the relationship between mother and daughter, father and daughter and that between siblings. It is also about the strong bonds and important influence of friendship and those things, I believe, are always relevant.

8. What makes your book different from other books like it?
There are probably other books that are somewhat similar to mine. The topics of religion and racial equality are not in any way new, nor are stories that take place in Mississippi. I think, though, that no one has heard Faith's story before because, while her circumstances are not unheard of, her personal thoughts, feelings and ultimate outcome is uniquely her own.

9. What do you want readers to take away from your writing?
I hope that readers form bonds with my characters, that they invest in each one of them and want them to be happy, want them to succeed. I hope that when they pick the book up, they are intrigued, that with each new thing they learn about these characters, and each event they are a part of by reading about it, they are encouraged to keep reading, keep learning what will happen next. I hope that by the time they turn the last page of the book, they feel as though they have visited Jackson, Mississippi as it was in the past, that they feel the heat and the humidity in the air and the rain on their faces, that they smell the magnolia blossoms in the air and that they see the vivid colors of the crape myrtle trees as they bloom and flourish in all their grandeur. I hope they will feel as though they know Faith and Hope and Grace, and all the other important characters in the book and that this story will make them feel good, make them feel as though they have been a part of these people's lives and that the experience was a fulfilling one.

10. How did you learn about the topic?
I have never actually traveled to Jackson, Mississippi, although that is one of the biggest reasons I chose to write about it. I enjoy research and like to write about places or things I otherwise wouldn't know much about in the hopes of gaining more knowledge. I have spent time in places such as Texas, Florida, Georgia and both North and South Carolina and know first hand what the climate is like, have seen for myself the foliage I have described in the book and have spent many nights huddled in my living room while a wild and fierce storm raged outside. I read many books, spent many hours on the internet and did much research about not only Mississippi itself but about the Civil Rights Movement and religion. I also spent a great deal of my adolescence with a Baptist grandmother who was, and who still is, very strong in her religious beliefs. Faith asks her brother Luke many of the questions that I had growing up about religion but was too afraid to ask. I did a lot of my own studying of the Bible and came up with the same conclusions at the end of it that Faith does in my book.

11. Is there a particular passage you'd like us to utilize? If so, please provide.
I believe the synopsis is as good a passage as any. I am unfamiliar with how a press release is written and will leave it to you to decide if this is something that will be beneficial for the finished product.

Faith Linsey comes from a highly regarded family in Jackson, Mississippi. As the oldest daughter of a well liked pastor and his dutiful wife, her life is good and comfortable and she has no reason to question the things that take place around her. When she witnesses something that shakes her to her very core, she realizes that the world she's always known may not be as picture perfect as she'd always imagined...and that her father may not be the respectable hero everyone believes him to be.
Faith's story begins in 1946, soon after the end of World War II, and moves straight into the heat of the Civil Rights Movement. She is forced to deal with the questions she has, not only about her father, but about the unshakable convictions that he and many of his fellow southerners share about racial equality and about the very religion she's been taught to believe in.
Events that take place, not only in her personal life but in the world at large, and a very unsuspected and special friendship she becomes involved in will make Faith decide what it is she truly believes in, what things are important enough to fight for and what things are not.


1. Please supply us with an author bio. Do not include anything you do not want shared with the media.
J.C. Wing, a Colorado native, lives with her husband and two children in southwest Germany. The Color of Thunder is her first novel. Find out more about the author by visiting her at:

2. What other books have you written?
The Color of Thunder is my first book. I am, however, currently working on two other novels.

Don't forget that you can still read the first chapter of The Color of Thunder by clicking the tab above, just beneath the blog banner. I'd love to hear some feedback if you don't mind leaving me a comment. Thanks!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Welcome to my blog!

Hello, to you! I'm J.C. Wing, and I'm a writer. Thanks for stopping by and hanging out for a while!

My first novel, The Color of Thunder, is in production right now as I type this. I am awaiting the proofs for the text, and soon, I will be knee deep in cover design. I am so excited!

I don't have an ETA for my book as of yet, but I'm guessing it will most likely be available sometime in January, 2013. I am including the first chapter here so that you can read it and see what you think. My hope is that it intrigues you and you'll want more. It will be available to buy from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and direct from my publisher, Xlibris. If you like the good, old fashioned print version that you can hold in your hand, that will be available, and if you like the e-book version, you can have it that way, as well. I will have links here on the blog so you can be just one click away from having the entire book in your possession just as soon as it's ready to go. Until then, please read the sample chapter and let me know what you think. (Leave me a will only take a minute!)

If you want to know more about how this book came about, please go to my profile page and click the ABOUT button. While you're at it, become a follower of my blog. Sign up to get new posts in your email.  It'll be fun, I just know it!

Chapter One  


  Jackson, Mississippi was still a small city in 1940, the year I was born, although the population was steadily growing. It was once called "Chimneyville" after the Union forces burned it to the ground during the Civil War leaving only the chimneys of the houses standing amongst the debris. Few antebellum structures still stood in my home town to represent the city's colorful and historical past, but one thing remained, an entity years and years older than the twisting Pearl River or the Choctaw Indians who had once inhabited this fertile land. God had been there in Jackson, long before Mississippi became the Magnolia state, before General Andrew Jackson gave his name to our city and before Elvis Presley was born in Tupelo, 200 miles northeast of the capital. God resided here in the Old South and his presence was steady and strong in our churches, our families and our communities. As a daughter of a local pastor, I had first hand knowledge of God and knew that my father had a close and personal relationship with the Lord. My unshakable belief was that he was everywhere and in everything, that he was all powerful and all knowing. This being both God Almighty as well as my father.
  Construction of the First Southern Baptist Church began in the early 1900's and its doors were opened for the first service in the spring of 1920 by my grandfather, Isaiah Linsey and his wife, Ruth when my father had been nearly two years old. Outside the wide, double doors of the stately church, beneath a tall, proud spire that shot straight toward the clouds hung a placard with my grandfather's name on it. Twenty some years later, after my grandfather's untimely death and after my mother, Evelyn Hale had given him a son, my Daddy became the pastor of First Southern Baptist. His name was painted in a flowing and precise script in black letters on a white background, the sign small enough so that it didn't overshadow the graceful but strong lines of the building but large enough to be seen clearly from the other side of Cherry Street on which our church had been built.
  Outside, the church was surrounded by an explosion of color, no matter the season. Springtime brought the azaleas to life in rich pinks and clean white blooms and the magnolias, with their deep, green, shiny leaves and new flowers that looked like thick candle sticks before the big, white waxy petals opened and perfumed the air nearer to summer time. Crape myrtle trees lined the eastern side of the building, their trunks separated into many twisting branches that rose and stretched out with hanging clusters of light purple and dark pink flowers casting pools of shade onto the ground beneath them.  In the autumn, the towering majestic oaks that lived on the land long before the foundation for the church had been poured turned into tall, waving canopies of flaming yellows that showered their leaves and hard, round acorns down upon the walkways and lawn, creating an earthy smelling carpet that crunched beneath our feet. Groves of red maples that boasted flowers amongst their branches that looked like small, pink fireworks in February and March became even more dramatic come autumn when their leaves turned crimson against a pure, blue sky. Vines of roses clung to trellises on the western side of the property and climbed from the ground clear up to the eaves of the white clapboard, blooming late into the fall and early winter and dotting the multi-colored green of their vines and leaves with bright yellow flowers the color of thick egg yolks.
Our church looked white and clean amongst the colors of nature and year after year, hundreds of pairs of feet traipsed up the three thick steps that led to the portico of the building and into the entry way beyond. Those same feet carried our parishioners into the long gathering room where candles burned and filled the space with the scents of sweet vanilla and heavy mulberry, their flames winking and stuttering in the hot moist air that found its way through the heavy front doors. No matter where a person's eyes fell, there was something to be seen inside the building such as the long row of cork board lining both walls that were dotted with colored push pins and flyers for a Saturday morning bake sale, the weekly reminders for both the mens' and womens' prayer groups, or a sign up sheet announcing the hostess of the bimonthly meeting of the ladies quilting group. Artwork done in thick lines of waxy, rainbow colored Crayola's by the youngest Sunday School members decorated the walls, and in the third week of July, the projects completed during Vacation Bible School hung there as well. During the week of Easter, the long gathering room was filled with potted lilies, all pristine and white with bright yellow centers emitting a heavy, sweet aroma that trailed into the sanctuary. For most of the month of December, the air was thick with the slightly medicinal scent of the holly that was woven into the clean smelling wreaths of pine that hung on the double entry doors in the gathering room and along the long walls of the sanctuary. Tendrils of bright red velvet ribbon the shade of deep, dark rubies looped and fell from the top of each full, green circle trailing down like colorful, untied apron strings moving silently, fueled by the bodies of the congregation stirring within the sacred space.
  As a child, I had mixed feelings about the sanctuary, undoubtedly the biggest and most important room in our church. Above our heads, the ceiling was tall and each sound was amplified, bouncing off of the arched wooden beams and echoing around the walls and the large space between. Everything that was said seemed to hover high above us before tumbling down around our heads and shoulders, my father's voice thunderous and frightening as he preached, his dark hair slicked back with the gleam of sticky pomade and his mustache moving above the top lip hidden underneath. Sometimes I was brave enough to look at Daddy while he preached and when I did, I could see the hazel of his eyes if his spectacles weren't sitting on his nose catching the glimmer of light and stealing the color from them. Jacob Linsey wasn't a large man, but he dominated the expanse of the sanctuary as though he were ten feet both tall and wide, and the only muffled sounds I heard during services were those of shushing fans, swinging feet, the creak of a pew beneath tired back sides and the quiet, almost imperceptible noise of patience being strained for too long a time.
  It was my habit to look, not at Daddy, but at the window that towered behind him and I would study it each and every time I took my place on the front pew beneath the pulpit as if it was the very first time I'd ever laid eyes on it. This amazing collection of stained glass had been carefully pieced together on the eastern side of the sanctuary where the morning light hit the serene scene of Jesus in a flowing white gown, his arms cradling a soft, snow white lamb while more of the flock gathered and slept at his feet in the brightest of green grass. An azure sky arched above him, the brilliant blue falling in strips of heated light down onto the white of my father's shirt and past him onto the walls and wooden floor of the sanctuary. Red roses the shade of fresh blood dotted the pasture in which the sheep lay and together those colors fell and shimmered around the room like an enormous, warm prism. On days when the sun did not shine, the window seemed cool, unfeeling and lifeless and I would slump against the hard wood of the pew beneath me and swing my feet until Mama pressed her fingers against my shin and looked at me with an unspoken seriousness in her brown eyes, telling me without words to be still as my father's voice chased itself in the echo of the big, wooden room.
From the time I was old enough to remember, and undoubtedly far longer than that, decisions of great family importance were always made in either one of two places. One was the large, oval, wooden dining table that had once belonged to my Grandmother Linsey, amidst the clanking of plates, serving spoons and silverware where the adults would sit in concentrated discussion and the children would remain respectfully silent while eating the meal before us. Our church's sanctuary was the other, somewhere between Sunday morning worship, Wednesday evening youth group, a Friday afternoon memorial service or a wedding ceremony held at noon on a Saturday. Such was the case on a moist, muggy late morning the summer I turned six, the air so still not a single leaf moved on the branches outside and the men in our congregation filed out of the sanctuary after the service holding their suit jackets over their bent arms while their wives tried casually to move the damp fabric of their Sunday dresses away from their sweat soaked backs once they'd peeled themselves away from the pews. Children were ruddy faced and cranky and eager to be free of the big double doors that led outside and to the swing set and sand box that lie beyond.
Mama held Hope in her arms, gently bouncing my sister on her hip in an effort to keep her quiet for a few minutes longer. Hope was round from every single angle, from the dark ringlets painted with a glimmer of copper that surrounded her head like a misplaced halo, to the chubby little feet Mama always stuffed into black Mary Jane's. Her arms and legs were soft and squishy like dough made from flour and salt, her hands like little balls with dimpled fingers and her face as smooth as a school yard ball. She had roses in her plump, full cheeks and a pair of brilliant blue eyes that were framed by thick, dark lashes. Even her mouth was shaped into a cherry red circle as she peered over at me, her hair stuck to the side of her sweaty, hot looking face and her eyes clouded by a recently abandoned nap against the comfort and security of Mama's chest.
"I'm going to go and say good-bye to everyone now, Faith," Mama said moving past me and toward the center aisle. "I sent Luke after Mr. Henry, but he won't be but a minute. You go on and find him, now, you hear?"
She had quit looking at me even before she'd begun speaking and was instead peering toward the doors of the sanctuary at the line that was forming in the gathering room.
"Yes, ma'am," I replied and watched as a satisfied smile settled on her face.
Hope's head bobbed over Mama's shoulder as my mother made a hasty retreat, the curls wild and free around my sister's head, but Mama met an obstacle in her path as a man who had been standing near the door moved closer to the front of the sanctuary. He paused and smiled at Mama, a dark hat held in one hand as he offered my mother his free one.
"Good afternoon, Mrs. Linsey," he said. Mama's soft, blond colored waves shifted as she nodded in greeting, then she quickly reclaimed her hand and moved swiftly forward once more and to the task of caring for Daddy's congregation.
I turned and quickly walked to the end of the pew away from the aisle, my shoes sliding across the wooden floor as I slipped around to sit in the second row, my fingers wrapped around the scrolled edge of the bench in front of me and my eyes peering over the back of the pew, ever watchful of this man whom I had never seen before as he continued his way up to the front of the room and the pulpit where Daddy stood. Knowing everyone who spent time in our church was an important part of being the pastor's family and I'd been on many social calls in my short life. At six, I could not recall the names of each one of our congregation members, but I knew faces well enough to remember if I'd seen them in services before, which children belonged to which grown ups and who had been in constant attendance and those that hadn't been seen in recent weeks. There was no question that this gentleman was a newcomer and that fact alone was enough to make me curious about him.  
Daddy poured some water from the pitcher Mama kept filled for him every Sunday, condensation beaded and wet along the glass and pooling around the base, dripping cold and clean into a neat, moist ring on the wooden table on which it had rested throughout the morning. No ice cubes remained floating in the water but Daddy's eyes closed as I watched him fill his mouth and saw his throat work as he swallowed the contents of an entire glass before filling it once more.
"That was a terrific sermon, Pastor Linsey," the stranger said in a clear voice.
My father did not lower his glass until he'd swallowed the last drop of water inside of it. Droplets of moisture clung to the coarse dark hairs of his mustache as his hazel eyes found and stayed on the other man's face. "Glad you liked it," he said with a nod. "Don't reckon I've seen you here before. Glad to have you."
The man smiled and creased the brim of his hat in his hands. "This is the first time I've had the pleasure of visiting First Southern Baptist, but my boss has been here and he was right when he said that I'd like your preaching."
Daddy put the glass next to the half empty pitcher and walked around the pulpit before descending the two short steps that led to the center aisle, his left foot coming down first, then the cane he used to walk with hit the floor before his injured leg followed. He moved his hand over the buttons of his white dress shirt and the colors from the stained glass window caught and reflected in each one them, blue, red then green. "Your boss?" he asked. "He's a member of our congregation?"
The man laughed and shook his head. "No, sir, but he did speak to you a couple weeks back. His name is Marcus Landry and he's the owner of WCOL radio right here in Jackson. He'd heard about your church and thought he'd come to visit. He liked it so much, he sent me out."
The toe of my shoe was pressed against the back of the pew and the colored heat inside the room was stifling. I rubbed my nose against the back of my arm and blinked, feeling the sweat on my eyelids cool for a moment beneath the lazily spinning ceiling fan hanging above me. Dust motes floated sluggishly in the air as if it were too hot for even them to move at a faster pace.
"Marcus Landry," Daddy was saying, his eyes pulled up and to the right as though he were searching for a memory he'd stored there. "Ah," he said with a nod. "I do remember him as a matter of fact. He's Cecelia Crawford's brother."
"Yes, sir," the stranger said. "And I'm Phil Michaels." He offered his hand to Daddy and my father took it giving it a vigorous shake. "I'm the program director at WCOL and we're interested in your message, sir. Would like to hear some of it go out over the air waves as a matter of fact. Both Mr. Landry and I think what you have to say would make some very fine program material indeed."
"Do you now?" Daddy responded.
Quiet shuffling noises started behind me and I remained still as my brother plopped down next to me, pressing a hot leg against my own and nudging me with a pointy elbow. "Look what I got," Luke whispered opening up his fist and showing me the two shiny dimes that were nestled against his sweaty palm.
"What are you showing them to me for?" I asked quietly.
"Got them from Mr. Henry," he told me.
Luke had rubbed his blond curls away from his forehead and they stuck up at an odd angle away from his face. His cheeks were heated and one of his front teeth was crooked as he grinned at me, the smile reaching all the way up into the blue of his eyes.
"Children," Mama admonished in a loud whisper from behind us. Both Luke and I looked back and she motioned for us to come to her. "You're being too loud. Out with you," she said. "Now."
Luke turned to me again, his freckled nose nearly touching mine. "Want to get some ice cream?" he asked.
I nodded and felt his hand wrap around my arm and pull as we quickly shuffled sideways down the long row and into the center aisle, then out of the sanctuary, the stranger and the idea of Daddy talking on the radio all but forgotten in the time it took to cross the length of the gathering room and out into the blazing hot sunshine beyond.