Wednesday, March 11, 2009

What, When, Where, Why, How with Judah Raine

Today we are visiting with the very clever Judah Raine!

What comes first – the plot or the characters?

I don't believe you can separate the two! You can have the best plot in the world, but if the characters are shallow or ineffectual and can't sustain it or make it believable, then it's going to go up like the proverbial lead balloon. The opposite also applies, of course. The most wonderful characters can't carry a pathetic or non-existent story line (and it's rather a waste of a great character!) Having said that, though, I think that plot does, to a certain degree, define the characters in that certain "types" may work better than others, but it's important not to have these cast in stone. I much prefer characters who are flexible and fluid, and who can add value to be plot through their interactions and responses to different situations. I like to let my characters respond naturally, and then shape the plot accordingly. It's a fine line between letting them "run the show" and being so rigid that they come across contrived or the plot loses impetus. Part of the fun of writing is finding that balance between the two. Sometimes I will start with the characters and work the story line in such a way to build them, and other times I search for the right characters for a particular plot. That's the fun of it (and the headache, sometimes!)

When you were young, what did you do?

I was a farm girl, so much of my life was spent "tomboying" it around the farm, my little bare feet soaking up the passion that suffuses the African soil! And I read - anything and everything I could lay my hands on. I've been writing since forever, too - I think I was born with a pen in one hand and a book in the other! In between, because life in the stix could be quite lonely, I had this huge imaginary universe filled with people and places and creatures... in my world anything was possible, everything was believable, and I never ever tired of "visiting" there. (It's fertile ground for an author, and a wonderful resource for ideas and characters and storylines....)

Where on your body would you get (or do you already have) a tattoo?

I don't have one and for whatever reason never got the "yen" to get one either so this is definitely a "fun" question! I think, though, that I'd want it really classy and something gorgeous. Maybe a butterfly, because I love the concept of metamorphosis, and spreading your wings and becoming something beautiful... As for where... maybe the shoulder, because that doesn't seem to be the first place to succumb to the inevitable effects of gravity! The foot is another good one - nothing quite so appealing as a nicely turned foot with a little decoration - or maybe the ankle. I'm one of the fortunate ones to have slim ankles (lol). I think if you're going to have one it does need to be shown off (like great jewellery), so places like the butt or the boob, unless you spend a lot of the time with most of it showing seems like a bit of a waste....

Why did the suicide king feel there was nothing left to live for?

The King of Hearts watched from an upper window as his queen slipped from the aging castle into the gathering darkness. He knew where Judith was going. It wasn't the first time she crept out to meet her lover, nor would it be the last.. What he didn't know was where her eye had fallen this time. He'd summoned the knave yet again, set him the task of following and watching, set him to spy on his wayward mistress in the hopes that he could reveal the identity of the latest lovelorn swain. Even then it seemed a worthless thing. Judith was known to be fey and fickle, for her eye to wander as soon as the heart was won. She was known as queen of hearts for good reason. And she was queen of his heart, though theirs was an arranged marriage, ordained by the heavenly ones. He had loved her from the beginning, and thought that she had loved him. Perhaps she had. It was a long time ago, and the King couldn't be sure. He liked to believe that she had. But the heavenly ones had dealt him an unkind hand, had bound him to one who was beyond binding, who's heart was as changeable as the seasons. She seemed to move through his life, beyond his heart, shedding the joy of spring and the fruitfulness of summer on all those fortunate ones. But on him was only winter. The king grasped the dagger that lay on the window-sill. He watched and he waited, and patience rewarded his questing gaze. There, dimly shrouded in the pale light of the wayward moon, Judith emerged, tousled and clinging to the arm of her new love. The knave paused, looked up to the window. The king's grip tightened on the cold, hard hilt of the dagger...

How would you survive a nuclear attack?

Head for the hills! Or the mountains to be exact. Deep in the Drakensberg, where the caves wind inward to the heart of towering peaks, and the air is thin and cold. Where secret chasms delve a path to the mountain's core, and time and the world are lost along the way. I would shelter there, taking refuge in the silence and the ancient places, deep in the embrace of stone and rock where the secret springs are birthed and the silence is deep and strong. I would wait, wrapped in the memory of those who had gone before and strong in the hope of those still to come. I would rest, secure in the knowledge that nothing could reach that sacred haven, and draw strength from the primeval eternity of towering peaks that stretch beyond the reach of man. And then, when the mountains whispered that all was safe, I would emerge and begin the work of living.

Westville is a leafy suburb on the outskirts of Durban where my daughter and I share a house on a riverbank slap-bang in the middle of suburbia. We also share it with "our zoo"—a German Shepherd Doberman, one of her offspring from a gorgeous German Shepherd Timber Wolf, and a Great Dane masquerading as a miniature Maltese Poodle. We also have two cats, both of which have personality issues. But that's another long story.

I have a degree in Communications and English, with some Education and Psychology thrown in for fun. The need to earn a living has taken me from managing my husband's plumbing business through an animal science laboratory (who put me there and what were they thinking?) and conferencing, and finally into the property industry. But my nature is essentially creative, and I have tried pretty much everything there is to try in the "arts and crafts" genre.

Beading is a passion, especially on wedding gowns, which I design and make in my "spare time". I am also a guitarist and vocalist, and I am experimenting with combining my love for words with my love for music and writing some of my own songs. As a widow (my husband passed away eleven years ago from bone cancer) and with my daughter now "all grown up", I am finally able to focus on doing what I love best—writing! It was a passion discovered years and years and years ago growing up on the farm. Through the years it's been my friend, my therapy, my way of self-discovery, and sometimes the only lifeline to sanity!


Judah Raine said...

Hey Marianne - you did a great job with this, thank you!!

Mysti Holiday said...

Wowza... what a great story about the suicide king! Poor guy.

Great interview.

Obe said...

Quite interesting, suicide is a topic that I never would have thought to explore.. great interview.

Diane Craver said...

You have many talents. Very interesting about your beading and your musical abilities.

I understand about writing keeping you sane. Writing keeps me grounded when things in real life are overwhelming.

Great interview!