Saturday, August 10, 2019

#70 Inside The Emotion of Fiction: "BIRDIE & JUDE" by Phyllis H. Moore

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****Phyllis H. Moore’s BIRDIE & JUDE is #70 in the never-ending series called INSIDE THE EMOTION OF FICTION where the Chris Rice Cooper Blog (CRC) focuses on one specific excerpt from a fiction genre and how that fiction writer wrote that specific excerpt.  All INSIDE THE EMOTION OF FICTION links are at the end of this piece.  

Name of fiction work? And were there other names you considered that you would like to share with us? Birdie & Jude is the only title I ever considered for this novel. I’m not sure why I never considered any other. I think it might be because the story is about the relationship between these two women, past and present. I wanted them to be the focus.

Has this been published? If yes, what publisher and what publication date? Birdie & Jude
was self-published on March 19, 2018.

What is the date you began writing this piece of fiction and the date when you completely finished the piece of fiction? I began writing this story in early August, 2017 when Hurricane Harvey was headed toward the Gulf of Mexico. I was inspired by the stories following the hurricane and wondered what might happen if someone was stranded on Galveston Island. I finished the story in late January, 2018, but it was early March, 2018 before it was edited and the rewrites were completed.

Where did you do most of your writing for this fiction work? And please describe in detail.  Most of my writing is done at the end of the sofa in our den. I prefer to write on a laptop and I like to use a lapboard because I can change the height and relieve the repetitive typing that gives my shoulders and neck an ache. When I do formatting and editing it’s especially helpful to be able to change the height of the typing surface. I tried a desk, but I couldn’t stay in one position for long periods of time. Sometimes I move to the other end of the couch for variety.
What were your writing habits while writing this work- did you drink something as you wrote, listen to music, write in pen and paper, directly on laptop; specific time of day? I write directly on my laptop. I sit down to write about 8:30 a.m. almost every day, including weekends. I don’t write on Mondays because I spend time with girlfriends playing Mah Jonng and going to lunch. I have an insulated tumbler full of cold water beside me at all times. My daily exercise is getting up to fill my cup. I stop briefly for lunch, which is usually a smoothie, and resume writing until 3:00 p.m. That’s down time for me to run errands, take the clothes out of the dryer, and think about dinner. If I feel like I have something to say, I start writing again at 9:00 p.m. when the rest of the house gets quiet. I don’t listen to music. I like it quiet.

What is the summary of this specific fiction work? Birdie & Jude is a character driven novel about two women who become friends as a hurricane is approaching Galveston Island. Jude, a young woman, is the only survivor of a fatal automobile accident. A former foster child, she has no one left to come to her aid. She leaves the hospital emergency room in shock and walks to the beach. Birdie, an older woman, finds Jude on the beach as she is taking her dog for a walk before the storm. Birdie insists Jude shelter with her. Jude, still in shock, hesitates, but agrees and is led to Birdie’s comfortable Victorian mansion in the Silk Stocking Historical District. (Above Right)
There’s something about Jude that’s familiar to Birdie and she begins to reminisce about her turbulent youth and her best friend, Henry. She recalls high school in the 1960’s, the Civil Rights Movement (Left), the Vietnam War (Below), and her own reluctance to participate in the debutante season her parents had planned for her since birth. Jude’s recollections center around frequent moves in foster care and never living in a home she could call her own. As their relationship grows, Jude eventually agrees to house sit for Birdie while she goes on a cruise with her friends. Birdie’s nephew, Barry, is concerned. He considers Birdie fragile and worries about her taking in a stranger. However, in Birdie’s absence, he discovers Jude struggles with a terminal illness and steps in to care for her during what might be her last days. This is the story of two souls meeting each other again and their spirits having a second chance to heal old wounds.

Can you give the reader just enough information for them to understand what is going on in the excerpt? This story is about two souls being reunited in the present and recognizing each other from their pasts. Jude has come back to Birdie to remind her not to deny who she is, to live authentically, and share herself. Birdie would deny it’s religious experience, but she recognizes it’s a spiritual experience.

Please include just one excerpt and include page numbers as reference. This one excerpt can be as short or as long as you prefer. Page 15, near the end of Chapter One: “
As she and Ollie walked toward the street, Birdie turned and glanced back at the house. There was a fleeting movement, a blurred image at the edge of her vision. She could have sworn she saw a boy on a bicycle riding down the street; he was looking at her house. It could have been Henry. It looked just like him. He stood on the pedals just like Henry would do. She had seen the outline of the boy clearly, riding with no hands gripping the handlebars, guiding the bike with his balance, and swerving quickly to avoid the roots of old oaks heaving sections of the sidewalk up in large chunks. Birdie turned and looked again, pushing her sunglasses up to get a better look. There was no bicycle, but more disappointing, there was no boy.
Was the vision a distant memory, or was the boy riding so fast he was out of sight by the time she turned her head? Surely boys could still ride down her street. The live oaks towered above, casting shadows on the pavement. Some of their branches reached across the street and formed a tunnel with the trees on the opposite side. Birdie stared at them, remembering riding her own bike down the middle of the street, daring any vehicle to approach her and ruin her moment.”

Why is this excerpt so emotional for you as a writer to write? And can you describe your own emotional experience of writing this specific excerpt? In this excerpt, Birdie is thinking about a childhood friend, someone she sought out daily to make sense of her own life. He was a black boy, Henry, someone her parents wouldn’t approve of. However, for Birdie, he helped her accept her own differences even though he couldn’t get her accept herself. A friend of mine from high school told me about an incident that happened to him when we were juniors in 1968. I dedicated this novel to him and another friend. They were victims of racists, just as Henry was. They served in Vietnam, just as Henry did. When I visualize them, I see them as strong, athletic boys, proud, kind, and humble, just as Henry was. I see them like Birdie saw Henry, riding a bike with no hands, never faltering on the jagged path. It’s emotional because the sureness of the bodies is gone, but the sureness of the soul remains. What was right then, is right now. What was true then, is still true.

Were there any deletions from this excerpt that you can share with us? And can you please include a photo of your marked up rough drafts of this excerpt. I have no rough drafts of anything I write. I polish and delete. The reason is because I’m terrible at technology and can never locate something if I have more than one copy. It’s naming and renaming files and folders that gets me discombobulated. I have to streamline, or I pull my hair out. I probably took a few sentences out of these paragraphs, because it seems I always write too much and it becomes redundant.
Other works you have published? I have published in online journals and in an anthology called Brewed Awakenings. I have also published other novels and an anthology of short stories. This is a link to my author page on Amazon:

Anything you would like to add? I’m currently working on a series of Cozy Mysteries, the Meg Miller Cozy Mystery Series. It’s not the typical cozies. Meg is a widow, retired librarian, who has been inspired by the MeToo movement. She had sexual harassment in her past and recognizes it can change who people are. There is no blood or trauma, however these stories are more socially aware and realistic than most cozies. I’ve completed and published two so far, A Dickens of a Crime, Book One, and Pelican Beach Murder, Book Two. I’m currently working on the third book in the series, Mystery on Inheritance Ranch.

Phyllis H. Moore wants to live life experiences more than once: doing it, writing about it, and reading about it. The atmosphere of the south draws her in and repels her. The characters are rich with dysfunction and redemption, real. She’s had two careers and two retirements. Both careers gave her inspiration for her novels: The Sabine Series, Sabine, Billy’s Story,  Josephine’s Journals and Secrets of Dunn House, Opal’s Story, Tangled, a Southern Gothic Yarn, and The Bright Shawl, Colors of Tender Whispers, The Ember Months, Birdie & Jude, and an anthology of spooky short stories inspired by real places and events, The Bridge on Jackson Road. In 2018 she also released a new genre for her, A Dickens of a Crime, a Meg Miller Cozy Mystery. She has authored one nonfiction book, Retirement, Now What? Phyllis has been published by Caffeinated Press in the anthology, Brewed Awakenings 2, Fifteen Tales to Jolt Your Mind Awake. She blogs on her web site Follow her on Pinterest and Facebook.
Phyllis is a retired social worker and former owner and operator of a small bed and breakfast. She’s lived in the rural areas and cities of south Texas. She currently lives on Galveston Island with her husband, Richard.


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