This is an interview that I did with Amara of Castles in Clouds (castlesinclouds.wordpress.com). It shows some of the "behind-the-scenes" behind my short story With Truth and Grace.
Amara, of Castles in Clouds: Hi Jordan, it’s great to have you here.
Jordan, of Defending the Legacy: Hi Amara. I’m glad to be here on your new blog!
Amara: You entered a story for a contest. How did you hear about the contest?
Jordan: A book-loving friend of mine named Schuyler M. announced it on her blog at www.ladybibliophile.blogspot.com. At that time, I had not written a short story for five years, but this gave me a push to get started.
Amara: What gave you the idea for your story?
Jordan: The story was supposed have a Christmas/winter theme and needed to include at least one of the picture prompts that were provided. The first picture I saw showed a mask, and I debated if I should write a story of the 1775 American invasion of Quebec. Then I saw the picture of a figure falling from the sunset to a city below. This picture gave me a challenge because of its surreal nature (because I write mostly historical nonfiction), but I eventually fashioned the concept of a messenger sent to change the main character’s wrong ideas, much like A Christmas Carol or It’s a Wonderful Life.
As for the main character’s journey, that was written from first-hand experience [laughs]. Once, I believed that with enough power, I could remake the world into a better place. But just like the character in the story, I came face-to-face with the disaster this type of power could have. To write this story, all that I needed to do was to take these real-life lessons and turn them into an enjoyable story.
One of the most important plot points in my story is Isaac Watts’s Christmas carol Joy to the World. I was four years old when I first heard the carol’s 4th verse, which states that Christ rules the world with truth and grace. That verse has always been a favorite of mine and I was able to use it to set up both the story’s conflict and its resolution. Because of the story’s theme and that verse, it seemed appropriate to call it With Truth and Grace.
Amara: How long did it take you to write?
Jordan: I began writing the first draft on November 9 (as soon as I had determined the outline for my story) and finished it a week or two later. Then it was proofread several times, polished for clarity and finally submitted on December 5.
Amara: Have you written any other short stories previously?
Jordan: I have written quite a number of them. One of my earliest self-directed writing endeavors (as opposed to writing assignments for homeschool) was a story about space exploration. This was written in 2002-2003. In 2007, I entered a short story verbosely named The Great Adventure of a Mouse and Toy Soldiers for our library’s contest. Next year I entered the contest again with Sir Christopher and the Dragon. A few more stories intervened before 2010, when I wrote one that I still consider a gem: Lay Down Your Life (which can be read at www.faithful-legacy.blogspot.com/2010/02/valentines-day-newsletter-part-3.html). This was my last short story until 2015, when I wrote With Truth and Grace.
Amara: That’s great. Do you have plans for any other stories?
Jordan: I certainly do. One that I hope to write soon is called The Homeschool Spaceship. This is (very loosely) based off my original 2003 story of space exploration. I am looking forward to sharing it with you all in the near future.
Amara: Thank you for taking time for this interview, and I look forward to more stories from you!