Told at an early age not to write, Jo did anyway. Claiming to be able to follow the plot of your average dictionary, the author further admits to possessing an odd sense of humour.
Jo is an architect, amongst other things, and currently resides in Cape Town, South Africa. Toffee, the neighbour’s cat, brings fresh kitty allergies into the house every day.
Writing as non-fiction as Jo Rodrigues and fiction as Jo Roderick.
What inspires you to write?
This is an interesting question and I might not have a fascinating answer. Writing is a way of capturing my vivid imagination. Some authors write about what they see in real life, but I also write from my mind’s visions. In fact, while my non-fiction is constructed from real life, my fiction is almost entirely fictional. I never base my fictional characters on a real person.
Sometimes I get a line in my head that begs to be turned into an article, or a post, and sometimes even a book. This is how the novel I am currently writing came about. It all started through late night banter with a reader. In reply to an image she had posted on Facebook, I said, “I could so easily write my books looking out at that exotic island scene.” Minutes later, I started writing a romantic comedy about an author who lands up living in Bermuda. Needless to say, I went to bed quite late that evening, and in the early hours of the morning.
I think writers are merely chatterboxes with keyboards and computers.
Tell us about your writing process.
I tend to try to finish what I have started in one sitting. I loath leaving a piece and returning to it later to complete. This is a little harder with a novel as it is impossible to complete in a day. A few weeks yes, a day, not quite.
As an architect or an artist, I tend to see the complete product in 3D. It becomes an entity that I can rotate in my mind’s eye. I even created a 3D model for the Aeonosphere so people could see what I had imagined. The process of capturing it is about relaying the finer details to the reader. This is the reason why I write furiously to get it all down before I forget details, or get tired of the story. I am usually bored with my books before I finish the final edit. Imagine reading the same book repeatedly for weeks or months.
I do not outline very much, but I have learnt to keep a timeline for my fiction. It is so much easier than trying to remember which character did what during the last weeks of summer. I have also become a note-taker about my characters. I create a bio for each one. Every time I write something specific to that character, I jot it down. I find this helps with continuity. Sometimes I even assign an astrological sign to them.
A character trait is fun, two is great, but a character that is nothing but twitches and ticks is just an annoying parody. I like to pick one or two and stick with them. The notes help me to remember what is particular to that character.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
You must never let your characters take over! Next thing you know, they want to write their own books, and spin-off series. I simply cannot have that.
Jokes aside, I create the characters. They are what I want them to be. I do not really talk to them. I have no need to have any conversations with them as I already talk to myself enough as it is.
To me, they are all extras in my plot, and they serve my purpose in telling the story. Sometimes they change and become a little different as the writing process progresses.
What advice would you give other writers?
I have one word of advice: write! Seriously! We all have hundreds of excuses for not writing. As much as I loath discipline, writing is a field that requires a little routine. If you are stuck in your story, go write something else, but write. If you do not write, then no one can read your words.
I started writing because I started writing. You become a writer or an author when you sit down and write something — anything. What stops you from publishing? If you are awaiting perfection then you will be greatly disappointed, with little work upon your published shelf.
Pick a new word out of the dictionary and construct a sentence around it. You may be surprised where it leads you ….
How did you decide how to publish your books?
It was quite simple really. No one was interested in my first book, ‘The Book of Life’. I set it aside for many years and literally became an unpublished writer. Eventually under constant encouragement, I picked it up again, and began my final edit.
I learnt how to self-publish, created the covers, and discovered who do to both electronic and print layouts. After I had learnt enough about the industry, I wrote and published my first work of fiction in twenty-five days. It can be done. Do not let other people’s limitations dictate when and how you are published.
Now I teach and help other people to self-publish their own material. It is hard work, but ultimately you are your own reason for success.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
We have to stop cutting down trees. We must educate more people to read on E-ink devices. I still see many people that do not believe that traditional publishing industry is being brought to its knees.
I love physical books. They look terrific on my shelf, but I prefer to read novels on my E-ink reader. It’s a logical choice for rational people. Printed books take up space. The manufacturing process is not what it used to be so books do not last. Paper cannot be recycled endlessly. Please read my free eBook, ‘Recycled Thoughts’ for more information.
I am hoping for a decentralised system that combines the best elements of traditional, and independent publishing. It’s my pipe dream and I’m sticking with it … for now.
What do you use?: None of the above 🙂
What genres do you write?: Self-help, Environment, Self-Pub, Comedy, Humour, Satire, Thriller, Sci-Fi, Romantic Comedy
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.