The book and author spotlighted in this Ink Splat is Clementine For Christmas by Daphne Benedis-Grab. We even have an author interview! Submit a response to the challenge and you may have a chance to be published online! What are you waiting for?
Characters are the heart of a good story and the best, most memorable characters come alive as we read about them. Characters come to us in all kinds of ways but when you have one the next step is getting to know them, making them fully formed and three dimensional with their own backstory, preferences, and quirks. So once you have a character in mind, try interviewing them using the following questions and any others that feel relevant.
Where do you live and who do you live with?
How old are you and when is your birthday? What did you do for your birthday party when you turned 5?
What makes you happiest?
What is your deepest fear?
What is a secret you share only with your closest friends or maybe not with anyone at all?
What is your favorite kind of ice cream?
If you were an animal, what kind would you be and why?
What are six words that you would use to describe yourself?
What did you eat for breakfast this morning?
Not everything you discover about your character can or should be in your story – but knowing all this information makes the character come alive as you write.
Submit your response HERE!
Clementine For Christmas By, Daphne Benedis-Grab
It’s the holiday season in Frost Ridge! Josie usually keeps to herself at school, but the holidays are her favorite time of year, and she comes out of her shell when she and her dog, Clementine, volunteer with the kids at the local hospital. Josie loves dressing up in silly costumes, singing carols, and helping to prepare for the big Christmas Festival. That is, until she learns that this year’s Festival has been canceled. Meanwhile, Oscar’s parents’ constant fighting makes his home feel like a battle-field. To make matters worse, he gets into trouble at school and has to spend the holiday season volunteering at the hospital – even though he hates Christmas. Gabby’s life seems perfect…but Gabby also has a secret that could ruin everything, and when she winds up in the hospital, she’s sure the truth will be discovered. As if things couldn’t get worse, Josie’s beloved Clementine disappears, Oscar’s parents separate, and Gabby’s secret is uncovered. Together, can Josie, Oscar, and Gabby find a way to save the holiday, or will this be the worst Christmas ever?
An Interview with author Daphne Benedis-Grab:
I adore pretty much everything about the Christmas season: the carols, the tree trimming, the lights, the cookies. Then there are the deeper things that touch on the meaning and mystery of Christmas, that spirit of giving and friendship and love. I enjoy writing books that celebrate these things and also show the struggle to get past our own fears to a place of connecting with others.
2. In Clementine for Christmas, the story is told from multiple perspectives. How did you move the plot along clearly while still developing each character’s side story?
It took a lot of edits. But I started with an outline. I find that with the different characters, who each have their own arc and are also tied in the central story, I have to think the whole thing through. Each chapter has to turn the wheel forward, moving towards the final resolution, and for me that is the easiest to achieve if I map it all out before digging into the actual writing.
3. Clementine for Christmas has quite a surprising twist towards the end! What advice do you have in terms of setting up and revealing a twist?
I love a good twist and I’m pleased to hear it surprised you! I think the secret is having it carefully plotted, with seeds planted early on, so that a reader can go back, examine each event that happened, see the seeds and realize it all fits together and leads up to that twist. The trick is seeding it enough that it does make sense, yet not giving away too much because then readers will see it coming and it’s not a twist at all. I find for this to work, it’s important to have a critique partner read through an early draft and tell me how well it’s working and how I can make it even better.
4. There are many lessons to be learned from Clementine for Christmas: the value of friendship, learning to be oneself, the power of an apology and forgiveness – the list goes on! Which is your favorite and why?
All of these values are extremely important to me but there are moments in my life where one is especially central to my thinking, and right now that would be the power of apology, of owning our mistakes instead of denying them or hiding from them. It’s one of those things that is simple and easy to say, yet so hard to actually do.
5. Is there anything else you would like us to know about Clementine for Christmas?
That I hope readers connect to the characters and have moments that make them laugh, make them tear up a bit and leave them with something to think about. To me it’s essential that a book have an emotional impact and I very much hope that that’s what people experience when they read Clementine.
Thank you Daphne Benedis-Grab!
Clementine for Christmas is available on Amazon!
Look for more information about Daphne Benedis-Grab and his books here!