Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!
My name is Jennifer Charlinski and I’m an Author, Certified Reiki Master, and Ontario Certified English Second Language Instructor. I have an interest in anything that emulates positive energetic vibes and supporting spiritual growth.
Over the last several years I’ve been actively involved in many different forms of holistic healing and non-denominational spiritual practice. I have truly come to believe that with the right inner ‘know how’ we all have the ability to live our most authentic lives and be happy doing it.
I’ve recently written my debut novel, Voice of the Red Dragonfly, a work of romantic, visionary and metaphysical fiction, divided into seven parts, corresponding to the main chakras—root to crown. It’s a story of a journey of self-discovery and how opening oneself up to the signs and synchronicities of the universe enables us to live our best lives. A little self-help through fiction if you will.
What is/are the real-life story(ies) behind your book(s)?
The premise of my book(s) is based on my life-long fascination with the healing arts. There is more to life than the physical—mind, body and spirit are an integral part of life. My mission is to encourage others to open up to the flow by expanding consciousness and allowing. When we allow the universe to teach us, we activate our spiritual awareness, tune into our personal truths and move more easily toward living a more authentic existence. I am non-denominational and dislike ‘preachiness’; my work is simply relatable, regardless whether you identify with spiritual, religious or science-based practices.
What inspires/inspired your creativity?
Society lives behind a figurative veil and more people could live happier, despite their successful careers, loving family and good health, by answering the question that tends to rise within us all at some point, “I feel like something is missing— What more is there?” Voice of the Red Dragonfly embodies a lot of visionary and metaphysical concepts, relative to modern-day life; serving as a spring board for widening perspectives on what’s possible. We are energetic beings living a human existence, it’s time we tapped into the spiritual aspects of ourselves and embrace the universe’s guidance. I’m inspired to speak my truth by sharing the message and my writing is a direct reflection of that. As a mother of three, I continually try to arm my children with spiritual awareness, from day-to-day nuances to their education, careers and relationships. Why we choose to shut down such an innate and natural part of us that is so beneficial…I’ll never understand.
How do you deal with creative block?
Nature is a healer and fortunately I live close to a waterfront. Strolling alongside the calm, sometimes lapping waves, unclouds my creative flow. Or on occasion simply unplugging does the trick; alone time is therapy for me. Meditation is also a go-to for restoring the flow; more recently using tarot as a form of meditational practice.
What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?
A book needs to tell a story through an authentic voice. One of the biggest mistakes is forcing content and dialogue just to fill pages.
Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?
In regard to fiction, ‘simple is best’. I prefer a symbol on the cover or a couple of images that aren’t typically associated with one another. I like covers that create some allure and speculation about the story I’m going to read.
Titles that I find intriguing are ones that seemingly have no relation to the novel; only hint about possible storyline. You’re not clear about the title Voice of the Red Dragonfly until you’ve dived into the story.
How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but until you’ve devised, plotted and poured over words for days on an end to convey a meaningful story, you can’t possibly understand the blood, sweat and tears that goes into every project and quite simply, there’s no place for negative feedback. Constructive criticism far outweighs negativity. For this reason, I don’t take negative reviews to heart.
How has your creation process improved over time?
As an author who is knee-deep into her second novel, there’s a definite difference between now and when I first began writing Voice of the Red Dragonfly. Now, I allow myself to write and edit simultaneously to help keep a more consistent flow, as unusual as that sounds. Most writers will tell you to just get the words down—doesn’t work for me. I used to write freely but found my tone fluctuated too much, my thoughts weaved in and out of the storyline and a general hodgepodge of ideas, that sounded good while I was typing, often landed on the pages in a muddled mess. Endless re-reading and re-vising doesn’t convolute my creative process, it streamlines my words, and boosts my confidence so I can keep moving forward and my creativity alive.
What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book(s)?
The best things about writing Voice of the Red Dragonfly is how much of ‘me’ is in the book. It feels like a memoir of sorts and that’s humbling. The worst things I encountered were keeping character traits consistent. “What colour did I say her eyes were again?” I didn’t make very detailed character sketches the first round but have since learned my lesson—huge time saver. The most surprising thing was watching the word count climb. The most I’d ever written were a few thousand-words in long essays or short stories, so reaching 85,000 words plus blew my mind.
Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?
A bit of both. I’m only going to be satisfied if my readers are able to take something meaningful away from my books; shedding light on new perspectives, and the ‘icing on the cake’ would be them applying a piece of it to their own lives.
What role do emotions play in creativity?
I don’t believe you have to feel happy to write about happiness, but from my own experiences, you have to dig deep to visualize and feel the lows characters go through in order to transfer those feelings into solid writing. I aim to show emotion through my characters’ expressions and movements; simply saying someone is depressed doesn’t evoke as much empathy.
Do you have any creativity tricks?
I speak written dialogue out loud to make sure it sounds natural and visualize scenes playing in slow motion to make sure I’ve got every detail. Lighting an aromatic candle also helps me to stay focused.
What are your plans for future books?
I’m currently writing another romantic, visionary and metaphysical novel about the mother-son bond, intuition and the tarot. In the future, I’d like to write a novella-style, fictional trilogy; relating to mind, body, spirit respectively and again interwoven with reverence for expanded consciousness. A children’s book(s) is definitely a project I’d like to tackle as well.
Tell us some quirky facts about yourself
I talk to myself in third-person because it detaches me from situations, and the advice I give myself is often much kinder. I love to smell the pages of new books. My e-reader is a blessing, but a hard copy is irreplaceable. The more senses I can activate on a regular basis the happier I am; the sixth sense included. Also, ‘Everything is Energy ~ Everything has Divine Purpose’ is a reminder I live by. My blog on my author site is also named after the phrase, and its meaning makes my heart sing—inclusivity, connectiveness and respect for all.