It’s the summer of 1991, and the whole world is falling apart. In the forest behind Tuxedo Trailer Park, young Navin Noe finds a mysterious object hidden inside a hollow tree. At the urging of his new friend, Jane, he brings it home, but it soon begins to affect everyone it comes into contact with. As the object unravels, it dredges up old tragedies and dark memories, transforming some of the residents of the trailer park and threatening the whole town. Navin and his friends find themselves confronting their darkest secrets as they struggle to stop the end of everything.
Between the tragedies and dark memories, will the friends be successful in their struggle to stop the end of everything? To discover the mysteries inside of the hollow tree, Jeffrey Aaron Miller, author of ‘The Ribbon Tree’ has dropped in to spend a little time chatting all things writing with me today. Jeffrey, thanks for chatting with me today. Let’s get straight down to business unravelling this tale by exploring how this book came to life. Can you tell us about what thoughts started the story?
I wanted to capture the feelings associated with a specific time period, and a certain period of time in my life.
Was it important to use the same events to capture those feelings you had or did you create new events to slot alongside these emotions?
The emotional fabric of this story comes directly out of my own life, even though the characters and events are wholly fictional.
Was it easy to create a balance between the real emotional state and these fictional events? Did you find that you needed to do a little research to effectively ‘glue’ them together?
I did a little bit of research in regard to some of the cultural events taking place in the summer of 1991 in order to ensure that my memories are accurate.
I hope you found that your memories were accurate! Did you find any personal satisfaction by working through the emotions of your past? And if so can you share a little bit more?
Yes, I feel like I successfully captured specific emotions from a certain time in my life.
When the readers reflect on the emotional side of this novel, what do you hope that they take away?
We often focus on external causes of our own suffering or happiness, but the true sources of these things lie within.
When you’re describing your work it sounds like one of the true sources of your happiness is writing. Have you started planning or working on your next writing project?
Though my full-time career is keeping me really busy, I am slowly working my way through the first draft of a sequel to my post-apocalyptic science fiction novel, Shadows of Tockland.
Those pesky full-time careers! Are you at least able to practice your writing skills in your career while you find more time to complete your draft?
I am a full-time ghost-writer, so I spend most of my time helping other people write nonfiction books.
As a full-time ghost-writer, you would have plenty of time to practice your writing skills. And writing all of the time also means that you probably have a structured approach to writing. Is this observation accurate, do you know where you’re going before you start writing?
I always have a general idea of where the story is headed, and sometimes the climactic scene is crystal clear to me. However, I am willing to let characters take things in surprising directions when their decisions feel authentic.
As a well-practised writer, you must be able to hit that sense of authenticity quite easily. What tip do you for authors who might be feeling a little challenged at the moment getting their words out with or without that authentic flavour?
Write every single day, whether you feel like it or not.
Practice does make perfect! And perfection is often found in the oddest of situations, like our quick fire question round. To share a little laughter before you leave, can you answer a few of the quirky quick fire questions for our readers? We’ll start with one of my favourites, what is your favourite quote?
“Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.” –St. Francis de Sales
Some days it’s hard to hold onto that inner peace, but you have to do it, and one of the ways I like to do it is by thinking about the oceans. What’s your favourite ocean?
It’s all about the Pacific Ocean and those wild and wonderful waves.
They really are wonderful waves there. Where is the line between insanity and creativity?
Directly under my feet.
*Laughs* I think that’s a good indication that you’re having a lot of fun! We’ve almost reached the end of the interview now, but before I let you return to your post-apocalyptic worlds is there a line you can share from ‘The Ribbon Tree’ to entice those readers on the fence to pick up a copy of your novel?
“You’ll never know what it’s like to feel invincible. To have so much hate and hopelessness that nothing seems real anymore, and everyone just becomes dust in front of your eyes.”
Hopefully, we haven’t all become dust in your eyes. Jeffrey thanks for explaining the emotional context behind ‘The Ribbon Tree’, and I hope you can continue making progress on your sequel draft.
Excited to read the book we discussed today? Find it here on Amazon: ‘The Ribbon Tree ( ASIN: B0716VT5KQ )‘.
Want to find out more about Jeffrey Aaron Miller? Connect here!