Dream Interview of Jianna Higgins,finalist in the Best Indie Books of 2013 Awards
September 27, 2013
[It’s that time of the year again when The New Kindle Book Review is running its Best Indie Books of the Year awards. Top five finalists for the 2013 awards in various genres were announced September 1, 2013. In keeping with our tradition established last year in the first year of the awards, we have asked each of the finalists who care to participate to provide us two pieces: a dream interview and a dream review. Although these will appear under my byline and Caleb Pirtle’s, the posts are the work of the finalist authors. We hope you enjoy them and use them as an introduction to the works of these fine writers.-SW]
For our interview today we have Jianna Higgins, author of Just Looking, a finalist in the short fiction genre.
Dream interview with Maggie Smith, actress
Jianna Higgins, Indie author of Just Looking – a finalist in short fiction.
Although I am in my seventies I am still a sought after actress. In my limited spare time I enjoy reading women’s contemporary short fiction. I particularly loved the story called Just Looking because the main character is an acerbic old lady who speaks her mind. I hear you thinking, well that sounds just like Maggie, and you’d be right. Don’t mess with me. I see myself playing the role of Alice in a movie of the story.
MS: Jianna, I am excited to be in New Zealand to interview you. Please tell me about Alice. Where did she come from?
JH: Thanks Maggie. I decided to enter a dialog-only competition and had a vision of an old woman sitting in a car at a retirement facility, refusing to get out. It was so much fun listening to the characters talk and writing it down. Once I had written the story I realized the judges were men and nearly all winners from past competitions were also men. I rewrote the story and published it instead. The story follows Alice on her first day at Sorrento Retirement Facility. She just wants to go home to her cat, Bella. Unfortunately her doctor and daughter have decided she is not safe to live alone.
MS: Who names your characters?
JH: They name themselves. I ask them and then listen to their answer. Sometimes I think whoa, really, that’s your name? One character in my YA book ‘Filled To Completion’ insisted his name was Shadow. So I said, well, if you’re sure. He was. As his backstory unfolded it turned out his mother had a reason for giving him that name. He has a brother named Storm. Their mother took Prozac.
MS: ‘Just Looking’ is a short story. I loved how it ended but I wanted to know what happened next. Can you help me out?
JH: No problem. Alice decided that she had more story to tell, so she let me further into her world. I have now published a sequel novella called ‘Just Waiting”. It continues Alice’s story, and also Ruby and young Lily from ‘Just Looking’, and it introduces a new man called Henry. Alice is attracted to him, but so is her friend Ruby, and that woman is a force unto herself.
MS: I love how you used humor in the story so that I feel sorry for Alice but also admire her and recognize her strength of character.
JH: I didn’t want this to be a story about ‘poor Alice’. It is an emotional subject that we often face with our aging parents, and eventually we too will become old. I wanted readers to see Alice as still being a valuable member of society, and not someone tucked away, quietly watching TV for the rest of her life. I’ve witnessed this many times in resthomes.
MS: Will there be any more stories about Alice and her friends?
JH: When I receive the final edits I am publishing a companion to the Alice series called “Just Going’. It is Lily’s story, the 15 year old girl sentenced to community hours that Alice met on her first day. Lily’s parents have never shown her love, and although she hated being sent to work with old people, she finds a whole new family. In December I will be publishing another novella called ‘Just Wondering’ that wraps up Alice’s story.
MS: How about putting all of the stories together? I’m available next year. Hint, hint.
JH: Ruby is pushing me to write her story as well, so I am considering putting them together in a novel. When the movie rights are picked up I’ll give you a call. What’s your cell phone number?
About the author: Jianna was born in Auckland, New Zealand, but grew up in the coastal city of Tauranga. She loved writing stories from the moment she picked up a pen.
She graduated from the University of Waikato with a Bachelor of Education and pursued a career in teaching. Developing creative writing skills was her favorite part of the job. She is currently working in the health and disability sector and is planning to write full time in the future.
If it’s summer, Jianna enjoys taking her two dogs to the beach, and if it’s winter she heads to the mountains to ride her snowboard.