Homestead Farm where I grew up, and two of my fantasy art watercolors:‘Celtic Greenman’ ©1999 J. Currie Virta and ‘Inquiring Mind’ ©1997 J. Currie Virta
Do you write as yourself or under a pseudonym?
I write under my maiden name: J. Winfield Currie Why? Two reasons: It had a nice ‘ring’ for an author of historical fiction, and I also wanted to separate my writing from my graphic design and fantasy artwork which is all created under my former married name: J. Currie Virta
Ever since I was a kid in grade school, I have used my writing as a means of ‘escape’, beginning with simple, short stories that I illustrated, and graduating to more serious subject matter as I grew up. As an adult, my stories became much lengthier and more involved. When I finally created a tale of impressive size, “Beyond All Reason”, I showed it to several people who suggested that I try getting it ‘out there’ for others to enjoy. That sounded good to me.
Historical Fiction/Romance set in the Revolutionary War Era: my comfort zone partly due to where, when and how I was raised. Granite foundation blocks under the Georgian Colonial Farmhouse I was raised in were set in 1722. My grandmother, Bertha R. MacLean, purchased the farm from heirs of Revolutionary War Chief Justice Nathan Cushing. She was also one of the first women to pass the bar in Massachusetts and helped found Portia Law School in Boston in 1908 with Dean Arthur Winfield MacLean; the first known husband and wife Team of Law at that time. See where my unique middle name came from? My grandfather, a direct descendant of the Union Army General Winfield Scott, ‘Old Fuss and Feathers’ himself. By the way, Portia Law School for women-only at its founding is now the noted co-ed New England School of Law.
Never give up your dream, or your individual unique ‘voice’. No matter what others might strongly suggest, remain true to yourself. However, if all you’re seeking is instant success and lots of money, you better find a good daytime job.
No, I have marched to the beat of a different drum all my life; I am who I am, and don’t attempt to imitate anyone else.
After realizing all the time involved in seeking a traditional publisher I decided to self-publish. I’ve worked with three different self-publishing companies and have had varying experiences: from good to really bad. But it’s all been a great learning curve; I try not to repeat the same mistake twice.
My goal was to take many of today’s emotional problems and wrap them in a different era (the Revolutionary War). Life’s inherent problems are universal, transcending both time and place; wrapping them in a good storyline with a bit of action, adventure, and several fascinating characters, had the makings for a great novel. From reader feedback, many seem to feel I’ve accomplished that. I sure hope so.
I tend to ignore reviews of any kind; after all it’s only an opinion. I’ve roamed through many book stores and thumbed through lots of books bearing a large ‘Gold Seal of Quality’, and have yet to purchase one. Give me a lesser known author with a unique ‘voice, and that’s the one I’m apt to take home.
No outside influence of any kind. From my first book in 2003, I wanted to develop a stand-alone look—whether it was an ‘in look’ or not. I come up with the concept and my Graphic Designer (www.ranagraphics.com) tweaks them into a finished product. We’ve worked together for so many years he doesn’t even need a sketch: a sentence or two and we’re on the same page. I also like the continuity that flows throughout all my books; it identifies me.
At this point in life it’s easier than when I was working long hours in retail hardware, which I thoroughly enjoyed for almost 28 years. I’m a high energy individual with obsessive focus and drive when I’ve set my mind on a goal.
Never! My dreams would give Stephen King nightmares!
I market myself as hiring people gets costly. As a graduate of Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, MA, with a degree in Graphic Design, I create all my postcards, bookmarks, business cards, posters and flyers for my ‘speaking gigs’. FYI: I wear my men’s Revolutionary War Era greatcoat, waistcoat, breeches and boots for all appearances.
Write and re-write and don’t rely on spell-check. The more often you write, the smoother and easier the flow. Trust in yourself and weigh the odds before following certain ‘dictates’ as to how one should proceed correctly; they have the potential to rob an author of their unique ‘voice’ and style. Why would you choose to sound like everyone else?
I have always loved the early American era of westerns and the likes: my comfort zone. But it was the movie “The Patriot” in 2002 that I became obsessed with. After seeing it numerous times I wondered if anyone as evil as the Colonel, so marvelously portrayed by English Actor Jason Isaacs, could become a decent human being? Perhaps a female not from his social status, a rebel on the opposite side in a bloody war with a fiery passion that intrigues him … and could I make her believable? A challenge arose and I dove in.
I started to write one book, but readers got back to me, wanting to know more about Kathryn and Jason; once you ‘buy into’ my two main characters, you won’t want to let them go. One book became three, which I brought together in “The ‘Beyond’ Trilogy” last fall. A Prequel and Fourth Book are well under way and a Screenplay of Book I, “Beyond All Reason”, is now in the works on the West Coast.
There needs to be more communication and follow-through between departments within each publishing house; they also need to work on their organizational skills.
Stephen Tyler of Aerosmith got it right. “Life’s a Journey; Not a Destination”. Tell yourself that regularly and have patience.
Kathryn, my rather outspoken and opinionated Scottish lass, has many ‘bon mots’—here’s one of my favorites on aging: “Passion does not diminish or die with the passing of years; it merely learns to pace itself out of necessity.”
Lets have a looksy at her books...
I have to admit I love history and even have a History and Sociology Degree myself! I cant wait to read the trilogy and you can too here :