The talented Jody Vitek took some time out of her busy writing schedule to interview fellow talented author Jill Bisker about her shot story “Within Reach.”
Within Reach is a very moving and touching story about Emma and the relationship she has with her mother who is suffering with dementia. When Emma finds a special box her father carved with a seashell from her childhood inside, something happens and questions arise that she wants to ask her mother. Questions go unasked and when a small agate replaces the shell, she questions her own sanity.
Within Reach is a short, fast, fulfilling story I recommend everyone reads. The ending will have you looking within yourself.
JODY: I’d like to say hello to everyone and thank you for joining us. Jill, can you share a little about yourself? Where you live? Are you married? Do you have children?
JILL: I live in Stillwater, Minnesota. I am just celebrating my 25th wedding anniversary with my wonderful husband, George. I have a 21 year old son named Nathan and a 13 year old cat named Senora.
JODY: Have you always wanted to be a writer?
JILL: Yes, but it is only in the last few years that I was able to believe in myself enough to allow anyone else to read my stories.
JODY: When did you start writing?
JILL: I remember writing stories as soon as I was old enough to write. I would staple pieces of paper together and make story books. My mother used to tease me that I couldn’t finish a story because I was so intent on writing the dedication page. It made me laugh a little to write the dedication page to her.
JODY: You write many different genres and I wondered if you write multiple stories at one time, within these multiple genres, at different times of the hour, day, week, month or when the mood strikes? How do you decide what to work on?
JILL: I have a lot of stories in production at a time. I am outlining, writing and editing all at the same time. I have many projects in various stages of completion. My husband edits my work and helps with story continuity. Outlining can take some time but when I am ready to write then I write 6 – 8 hours a day until a story is done. I decide on a word count that I have to get to, usually 1500 – 2000, and I work until I get there. As far as what to write, I find a story will often ‘demand’ to be told, whether that’s what I had planned or not. It also helps me to rotate amongst different projects because after a first draft, it’s good to step away from it for a while so that I can return to it with fresh eyes at a later date. So I typically have a few stories percolating in my mind, am actively writing one, and have one or two in a holding pattern waiting for the next revision.
JODY: You acknowledge your mother, Marlys, in the acknowledgments. Will you share how close to home this story is to you and your mother? If at all.
JILL: I wrote this story when I was helping my mother through the last stages of chronic illness, dementia and leukemia. I simplified elements in the story just to keep the flow moving. Some of the elements in the story are things that really happened. All of the feelings and emotions are genuine. In our family’s real story – I come from a Yours, Mine and Ours family – my father is living and I have many siblings, as well as numerous nieces and nephews. We were all deeply affected by my mother’s struggle with dementia. A portion of the proceeds from this story will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Association www.alz.org.
JODY: Was it difficult to write at times?
JILL: It was actually cathartic to write. I could focus my feelings into the piece, and it gave me a way to express those feelings and share my experience with others.
JILL: I will be starting edits on my paranormal novel that is coming out in June. (NOTE: “Finding The Way Back” was released from Melange on June 19, 2014.) I just finished a first draft of the next story in the series and I am on the second draft of a fantasy novel. I am outlining 3 other stories as well.
JODY: Where do you see your writing career in five years?
JILL: I hope to continue to be able to bring new stories to life. Who wouldn’t love a movie deal? 😉 Honestly, as long as I’m able touch others with my writing in some way, I will feel successful.
JODY: My own writer’s curiosity has to ask a few questions: Are you plotter or pantser or both? Organized working area or a mess? Do you have a designated work area? Critique group and/or beta readers?
JILL: I am a firm believer in plotting. I have many different ways that I outline. Each story seems to come to me in a different way. I ask my characters a lot of questions before I even start writing so I know them very well. I know how they act and what motivates them as well as where I want them to go in the story – how I want them to evolve. I am very organized, I can’t work in upheaval very well. I have a vintage vanity I use as a desk and a vintage table in the room to work on outlines. I don’t let anyone read anything until it’s finished and then I have beta readers. I tried critique groups but it hasn’t worked for me. I have found that I have to write in a way that’s true to who I am and what I believe in, and if it’s good enough then hopefully it will find an audience.
About Jill Bisker
Jill Bisker lives in Stillwater, MN with her husband and a calico cat named Senora. She believes in empowering women to be strong enough to protect themselves, while still soft enough to be loving and compassionate. Her work includes paranormal mystery and traditional high fantasy, as well as contemporary and humorous fantasy and an everyday living blog. Her novella Within Reach is her first publication with Melange. Once a dedicated stay at home Mom, Jill now writes full-time.
About Jody Vitek
Born and raised in Minnesota, Jody has remained close to home living with her husband of twenty plus years, three children and a cat named Holly. Growing up, she enjoyed reading V.C. Andrews’ the Dollanganger series, starting with Flowers in the Attic, S.E. Hinton, and Stephen King to name a few.
She has traveled throughout the United States, to the Bahamas and Cancun, Mexico. Between watching soccer games, scrapbooking and being the COO of the Vitek household, she writes contemporary romances.
Visit and contact Jody at: www.jodyvitek.com
And on Melange: https://melange-books.com/authors/jodyvitek/index.html
Want to get your hands on a FREE e-book copy of “Within Reach”? Simply leave a comment below and you’re entered to win!
A winner will be chosen on or soon after June 30, 2014.