Thursday, November 21, 2013
Author Interview--Justina Prima
Anne: Our interview today is with Justina Prima, shown above with her sister Anna. Justina is the author of The Pawnbroker's Ring, the book I reviewed yesterday. Click HERE to see the review.
If you would, Justina, tell us what inspired your new book.
Justina: I woke with a start one night from a very vivid dream—a picture really—that sank into my heart. It was a picture of a woman, just as it appears on the cover of the novel, looking out onto a cove. Just a few steps ahead of her was a seagull with a ring around its beak, clamping it shut. The questions came into my mind—what is she looking for? What does the ring have to do with her? Does she find it? I jumped out of bed and took notes, called my younger sister (this book is dedicated to her) and shared with her the idea for the book, but decided to use the proverbial bottle. My sister was so supportive, but she died before it could be finished.
Anne: What was the high point of writing the story for you?
Justina: I’m not sure that you will think this is a high point, but it turned out to be the very peak of my writing experience for this novel. I sure don’t want to give away any part of the book, so I will dance around one certain part of it when sharing with you what happened. It was a crucial point of one part of the story concerning Kesiah, and my sister and I had a very long email discussion about what should actually happen to her. Anna was facing the end of her life at that time with a very rare form of breast cancer. So rare that only forty-five people in the U.S. are diagnosed a year; it's very aggressive and usually fatal. I flew out to see her, and she asked me to take care of her until she died. I didn’t hesitate. The book was shelved. Anna did pass several weeks later. I couldn’t bear to pick up the book and continue it. It was half finished and it wasn’t until six months later that I could finally pick it up. With Anna in mind the book finished quickly, and the other authors provided valuable critiques and encouragement.
Anne: Did you ever "get stuck" while you were writing it? If so, how did you get past it?
Justina: In order to get past my sorrow and continue with The Pawnbroker’s Ring, I did a lot of praying. Anna was with God and she was smiling down on my efforts. As always, He was there for me and gave me the strength to see it through.
Anne: What lasting treasure do you want readers to gain from the book?
Justina: There isn’t a person on earth that doesn’t have at least one struggle which plagues them. It forces us to seek God for help to overcome it, and the difficult journey gives us the greatest reward. Of course recognizing we have a problem is just the beginning. If any of the characters are familiar and the reader can gain something from their success, it is of great value to me.
Anne: Do you plot it our or just let the story happen as it will?
Justina: I would have to say a little of both. I make a very detailed chapter-by-chapter plot and before I know it, they are doing or saying something I never intended!
Anne: Do your characters ever "take over?"
Justina: Aunt Zilla sure did. What a busybody she turned out to be. And always right!
Anne: Would you like to tell us about your next book?
Justina: The saying “Truth is stranger than fiction” helps me tremendously. I learned from the news one night about a tunnel system leading from Buckingham Palace to many places in London. They were also used in the building of bombers in the war and nursing of the wounded. After much research I found many such systems. Tunnels will use the dark passages beneath Buckingham Palace, the Kremlin in Moscow, and the White House in the year 1930. It studies the act of stealing. Is there a reason that God would accept it as being a righteous act? Or is stealing wrong, no matter what the reason?
Anne: I'm intrigued already, Justina. God bless you so much for being here with us this morning, and may your next book take the wings of the morning!