Saturday, September 20, 2008

Newbie Blogger

My name is Jennifer Bokal and this is my first time posting a blog in The Writer's Vineyard. My first novel, Celtic Heart, was a August 2007 release from Champagne Books. I am sure that I am not alone when I say that having a novel published was dream come true.
Like I said, this is my first time blogging at TWV, so I asked Kimber what other authors usually say in their blogs. She told me the first blog was easy. Most people introduce themselves and chat about why they write. It is hard to ignore good advice, so here goes...
Like I said, my name is Jennifer, but most people call me Jen. Aside from being a writer, I am a maternal goddess. My husband and I live in Upstate New York with our three daughter, one dog and two cats. The cats are really quite kind in living with us stupid people (even thought I am deity) and allowing us to cateer to thier every whim. I enjoy reading, skiing, yoga, once a week I take a dance class and every so often I get a full night of sleep. In June of this year I enrolled in an MFA program for Creative Writing at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, PA. Even though my first semester is not yet complete, I can already see an improvement in my prose.
There are two ways that I can chat about my writing. I can either tell you why I sit down at the laptop and create stories or I can talk about what inspired me to write Celtic Heart. Since my ideas about why I write are changing as a result of my studies, I am going to tell you why I wrote Celtic Heart.
Being Scottish by heritage, I knew that I wanted to write a story set in Scotland. I wasn't crazy about a kilt-wearing Highlander. (I know, shame on me!) So what's a girl to do if she wants to write about Scotland, but not a Highlander? I started reading books about Scotland's history, hoping that some creative lightening would strike. In one of my books, I discovered that in the early 1st Century, the Roman Army invaded Scotland. Because the Celts would attack and flee, the Roman's never really had any permanent settlements.
Now there is some conflict.
A huge military machine versus a rag-tag band of warriors.
After doing more research, I began to see that the Roman and Celtic cultures were polar opposites. More conflict.
At that point, I knew that I had a setting.
The characters came to me soon after I decided to pit the Romans against the Celts. My hero, Antonius, is a Roman Legionnaire and my herione, Maeve, is a the daughter of a Celtic Druid. It was loads of fun making up trouble for both Maeve and Antonius and the book is something I am especially proud of. Feel free to visit my website to read some excerpts.
Thanks for reading my blog and I will see you next time!