Please welcome Jewel to our blog.
First of all, I hardly sleep! Seriously. It’s hard for me to shut down and catch some zzzzz’s. My mind is always running about. I currently write full-time, and for this I’m very grateful. Why? I have the luxury to write either in the afternoon; or if an idea strikes me at night. I usually work about six solid hours per day on some writing related project. I’m usually doing a few things at once. More often than not, I end up working more.
What is the most difficult part of writing?
What is your best tip for aspiring authors?
Frequently Asked Questions about Jewel directly from her website at http://www.jewelkats.com/
•Why Have You Written Children’s Picture Books?
I have a super soft spot for picture books. It was through them that I learned English. Here’s a shocker: I couldn’t for the life of me construct ONE proper English sentence as a kindergartner. Yes, me! In turn, I became an E.S.L. student by day; and a picture book hoarder by night. I literally stared at book illustrations until my eyeballs hurt. I was so determined to figure out what was going on in the story text. It also helped that Mom read stories to me every day. So, in a sense, I’m indebted to not just her, but picture books BIG TIME. I not only mastered English through them; but, today, make my bread and butter as an English medium writer. Hats off to picture books!!
•Did You Always Dream of Becoming an Author?
Sigh. Make that a double sigh. If I could only sit here and tell you that I’ve been dreaming up stories since I was a toddler. Read: That totally didn’t happen! After learning English, I pretty much f-o-r-g-o-t about reading. I know, talk about sad. Throughout my junior years, gabbing on the phone became my new favorite pastime. I also took up the habit of penning letters. (Confession: A few lucky ducks got lipstick stamped smooches as a signature seal from me!) In any case, I was always communicating. In my final year of high school, my transcript confirms that my highest mark came in my English class. Yet, I still didn’t think anything of it. It wasn’t until I was 19, and in a coffee shop that one of the most important conversations in my life happened. Here’s a direct account:
Taufiq flipped a newspaper page. He looked at me for a long moment. Words formed at his lips, but stopped.
I raised a finely plucked eyebrow. “What’s up?” I asked. “Why are you looking at me like that?”
His almond eyes glanced back at the newspaper at hand. He drummed at the surface of the Mom and Pop coffee shop tabletop. “You should write for U of T’s student newspaper.”
Hot chocolate spluttered out of my short nose. “What are you CRAZY?” I said in the vein of a wild, 19-year-old woman.
Taufiq smiled at me with typical Gemini calmness. “Yes, I am serious. You write such beautiful letters…”
Let’s just say, the rest is history. I soon started writing for University of Toronto’s largest newspaper. Thereafter, I watched my words come to life on stage. At age 20, I co-wrote and toured in “Swept Away,” a forum theatre production about youth homelessness. I went onto work in mainstream print media, and now write fictional books.
•Is There A Specific Quote That Motivates You to Write?
Why, yes, there is…It goes like this: “If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” -Toni Morrison