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 me...it'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.

PERSONAL INFORMATION:

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: www.jcwingblog.blogspot.com

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!