About the Author
Anjuelle Floyd is a wife of twenty-eight years, mother of three, licensed Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in mother-daughter relations and dream work.
A graduate of Duke University, she received her MA in Counseling Psychology from The California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco. She has attended the Dominican Institute of Philosophy and Theology, Berkeley, California, and received her MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College, Port Townsend, Washington. She has received certificates of participation from The Hurston-Wright Writers’ Week and The Voices of Our Nations Writing Workshops.
A student of Process Painting for the last decade, Anjuelle has participated in The Art of Living Black Exhibitions 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010 held at the Richmond Art Center, Richmond, California.
Anjuelle facilitates writing groups and provides individual consultation of fiction projects. She also gives talks on The Need for Family, the Writing Process as a Path Toward Self-discovery and Healing.
Anjuelle, tell us about The House.
The House is a work of Women’s Fiction that explores the life of Anna Manning when on receiving the divorce she has requested and the opportunity to see their home, she learns that her husband of over 3 decades is dying.
The underlying theme of The House is that all of us hold regret for one action or another that we have committed. And if given the chance we would change or alter that action or make another choice. As such we are all seeking forgiveness.
All of us have injured someone. And all of us have experienced emotional hurt.
And yet ultimately our salvation, our ability to transcend the wounds and turmoil of this life rest in the co-creative hands of others and ourselves in our ability to seek atonement for the wrongs we have committed, particularly to those we love and who love us, and in our ability to forgive.
How did you come up with ideas for this book?
Interestingly I wrote The House while taking a class entitled Story Basics. Having earned my MFA in Creative Writing I was scheduled to teach the class in a masters level writing programs. My experience as a student in the class served as training for me to teach it.
The main primer for the class, Story Basics, is Writing for Story by Jon Franklin, a Pulitzer Prize Winning Essayist. In Writing for Story, Franklin addresses the importance of career writers learning to develop an outline or blueprint for writing their fiction.
Upon graduating my MFA program I began exploring various ways and methods for planning out my stories and novels, but that also left enough undiscovered territory that I gained even more excitement to write the story. I wanted to develop or find an outline that fueled my desire to write, not take it away with planning to point of leaving no mystery.
The Franklin Outline as explained in Writing For Story did that for me.
A requirement of the class is to use Franklin’s Outline or some variation thereof to plan a story or novel and then write the story or beginning of the novel, about 10,000 words.
I had intended to write a short story.
Having written 10,000 words by the end of the first of 15 weeks evidenced the outline worked for me.
Creating characters has always been easy. Developing a way to keep the story moving and not bogged down in dispensing information about a protagonist’s personality has presented my greatest challenge.
Plotting stories is where my growth points lay, most specifically deciding where and when to dispense what knowledge, as deemed by the action, interaction and conflict at hand.
The Franklin Outline cleared the path for me to write by giving me a road map, while leaving the territory untouched.
Following the blueprint I created for my story, I simply wrote plot--action, what was happening, the cause-and-effect movement of the narrative. Unlike with other stories I had written I uncovered or rather realized the personalities of my characters along the way as I wrote. This is much like what readers experience when reading a good story.
The writer does not throw at readers everything about characters all at once. Rather she or he drops breadcrumbs as demanded by the action in scenes. The action in scenes is essentially plot.
Since writing The House I have modified my method for sketching stories and novels, but Job Franklin’s Method of outlining a work of fiction sits at the heart of how I plan.
The Franklin outline helps me chart where the story is destined, and yet I have no idea the roads that the story will take in getting there--i.e. discovery.
This makes writing less stressful and fun and ultimately allows me to write more deeply of the places action and experiences my protagonist undergoes along the journey.
Those interested in learning more about The House can sample opening pages @ http://www.freado.com/book/6208/the-house
Who are your main character(s)?
The main characters of The House are:
• Anna Manning (protagonist) wife of Edward Manning
• Edward Manning Anna’s husband
• Inman Hayes (Anna’s friend and lover)
• David Manning (Anna and Edwards’s eldest child and elder son)
• Heather Manning (David’s wife)
• Theodore “Theo” Manning (Anna and Edward’s 2nd child)
• Millicent Regard Manning (Theo’s wife
• Linda Manning Oliver (Anna and Edward’s elder daughter and 3rd child)
• Serine Manning (Anna and Edward’s youngest child.)
Did you have a favorite character(s)? Who and why?
It’s hard to say which character of The House is my favorite. I love them all so very, very much. Each one is like a piece of a mosaic, a note on a sheet of music, the line of a poem.
Of course I love Anna and feel very dear to her, but as in life, the protagonist of a novel or short story or any work of fiction is known by her or his associates.
Take away or eliminate one and you’ve lost an important chord or refrain that keeps alive the music, the creation, in your thoughts and heart.
If I had to choose one entity, it would be The House, a character I did not mention, but who plays an incredibly important role in the novel. The Manning home, the house in which so much of the drama of the novel occurs provides not only a crucible, containing the Manning Family. It is also where Edward dies. It is the house he built and the place that Anna, despite their challenges, made a home, one into which Edward sought to retreat and through her compassion and regrets, Anna made safe in which for him to die.
If only we all could make the transition from this life into the next at home.
Did you have to do quite a bit of research for this novel?
No, I simply wrote from the heart. Then again, I celebrated my 28th anniversary in July and I am a mother of three. I am also a psychotherapist. These three aspects of my life allow me a level of comfort in writing about family matters.
Marriage provides an education into matters of the heart and those of human intimacy. As with anything, the more you work at something the more you learn and discover. Children also add to one’s education.
Our children are ages 23 years, 18 years and 11 years. As a wife and parent you automatically encounter people through your spouse and children. Within every person lives a thriving universe. An exponential amount of knowledge, wisdom and understanding, immeasurable discoveries await us if we but watch, and more importantly, listen.
Inherent to my work as a psychotherapist is that of listening to the stories of clients. There is a way we tell and deliver stories. The structure of that delivery reveals how we have or have not integrated the change that came about in our lives from which the narrative arises.
Stories, as are life are about change. Transformation stands central to fiction. With the evolution of character and plot that any entertaining and engaging story possess we have nothing but a string of episodes that leave us wondering and confused as to what has taken place, more over why we ever read it in the first place.
Carl Jung postulated that the house symbolizes the human psyche, mind and soul. Within my novel, The House, we see a family coming together in a time of crisis. All are or have been bruised and worn by life in which each other is central to the crises and discoveries of those closest to them. And yet the pieces come together. Change comes, throughout the course of novel, bringing with it grace and healing.
What do you hope readers will learn/discover from reading The House?
I hope that in reading The House readers will gain a glimpse of how we are all wounded and injured by life, and how each of us holds the key to another’s healing. And that by granting love, acceptance and forgiveness to those whom we love the most and who love us, we lay the ground work for our own hearts to mend.
I emphasize loving those who are closest to us, because I thoroughly believe that “charity does begin at home”.
If we cannot love those with whom we sleep, and whose faces we behold upon opening our eyes and before we leave home for the day, we have no hope of accepting and respecting others we encounter at work and beyond the scope of family.
I can only hope that readers will gain a glimpse of not so much what and who we are presently, but be provoked to inspect the integrity of the intent of our hearts and ultimately determine whether they, we, are living from that place. And if not, begin to do so.
Okay, a not-so-fun question. How important are reviews to you as a writer?
I have heard it said that reviews are not that important. In the past when most reviewers worked for newspapers and magazines I think that was the case. Most well-read individuals, and I think that readers are incredibly intelligent, knew that money dominated who wrote what about said book.
As we know the Internet has transformed the way we connect, publicity, and advertising in all aspects of commerce and entertainment, not the least of which is publishing. Part and parcel to this Amazon.com has simultaneously transformed the way we purchase. The interruption type advertising demonstrated on television commercials have lost their ability to suggest and influence what we buy.
Consumers like to read about a product in private, learn about those behind the development of a product.
We also want to know and have also come to respect what others think and write about said product. The integrity of reviewers of any product stands higher when the reviewer is not paid. Deep down we know these reviewers receive some compensation. And we would not have it any other way.
That writing reviews is not a part of their job for which they are paid and upon which they depend to earn a salary leaves us trusting them more than magazine and newspaper reviewers.
Amazon lists these reviews.
I read the reviews on Amazon when contemplating purchasing a product I have not previously used. I also read them for products that I have used but now want to compare against a similar product.
I do the same with books.
And I have found that the reviews on Amazon to be trustworthy. It means something to me when a person, who is not receiving a salary and who is also or has been a fan of a certain author takes the time to write a review for which she or he receives only the joy of having written that review. It tells me something about the product or book I am researching. It tells me something about the author.
I also like seeing how many visitors like myself found a various review helpful.
Reviews of this type are incredibly important.
Even the negative reviews play an important role. And I am speaking from the perspective of a creator of the product.
Everyone is not going to like the same thing.
As a writer and author I try to craft the best story possible with the understanding that every reviewer will not like my story or the perspective nor the moral and/or emotional stance it takes. My goal is to make sure that my story or novel is well-written, that no reviewer can say that they were confused by the plot or the protagonist’s choices that were out of kilter with her or his personality.
In crafting a story or novel I seek to honor the fundamentals of constructing and organizing a story so that the reader can relax, feel safe to and engage with the characters. I poured my heart and soul into writing a rough draft and then through revising and editing, and revising and editing and doing both some more, I work to making that story or novel the best it can be.
On completing this I release the story and begin writing and/or refining my next novel.
Doing this I feel that no review is truly a bad review, rather it either supports my work or enlightens me to something my creation contained, something that is potent and pure that some find interesting and helpful and that perhaps frightens or disturbs others.
And that tells me that my writing and characters are alive and well.
About the Book
On receiving the very thing she wants—a divorce and the power to sell their house—over which they have fought the past year—Anna Manning learns that Edward, her soon-to-be ex-husband is dying from cancer.
A faithful wife for three decades, and stay-at-home mother of four children, Anna endured Edward’s constant absence due to travel for his international real estate firm and numerous extra-marital affairs. With their children now adults, Edward has less than six months, possibly three, to live.
Anna takes him home to die in the house she has fought so vigorously to sell. But letting go of someone who has caused so much pain in your life doesn’t come easily. Edward has changed. There are Anna and Edward’s four children, three of whom who are married and struggling to endow their families with meaning and purpose.
News of Edward’s terminal illness provokes her to understand the present, rooted in a wellspring of the past and pouring into a future without him.
The House shows what happens when one adopts the belief that: All hold regret and are seeking forgiveness. Our salvation rests in the hands of others—most particularly the ones we love, and who have treated us wrongly.
Purchase the Book Online at:
WIN A FREE KINDLE!
To celebrate the release of her novel, The House, author Anjuelle Floyd is offering a (1) Kindle Wi-Fi (retail value: $139.00) as a part of her promotional blog tour. A WINNER WILL BE ANNOUNCED DECEMBER 1, 2010.
TO REGISTER ONLINE - http://bit.ly/TheHouseKindleGiveaway
For More Information
• Visit the author online at http://www.anjuellefloyd.com/
• View the blog tour schedule at http://bit.ly/TheHouseBlogTour
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