Jennifer Irwin, Award Winning Author:
"Writing to me is the pain and joy of my life."
Interviewed by Elham Nosrati
September 17, 2018
This week we had the pleasure of interviewing Jennifer Irwin, award winning American author.
Jennifer Irwin is an American writer who graduated from Denison University with a BA degree in Cinema. She has been writing screen plays and short stories for many years. “A Dress the Color of the Sky” is her first novel published in 2017 which has been continuously praised by readers. The book has brought her a number of awards including three Feathered Quill Book Awards, Women's Fiction, Debut Novel, and Adult Fiction, and the Book Excellence Award for Contemporary Novel.
1- How different is writing a screenplay and a novel?
When writing a screenplay you can take into account that the audience will see things that a reader wouldn’t like facial expressions and body language. When writing a screenplay the cost of filming every scene has to be taken into consideration. If the scene is not critical to the story then it should be deleted. The screenwriter can control what a viewer sees through camera movements which is not the case with writing a book.
2- Which books have influenced you and affected your writing career the most? Why?
When I’m asked this question, I always say, Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt but I think if I reread the book now I’d have a different feeling than I did when I read it the first time. I believe that where we are in life at the time we read something in the story can affect us differently. I tend to be drawn to stories that have real life issues and where the protagonist is overcoming obstacles. I’m interested in stories about the resilience of the human spirit.
3- One of the most beautiful things about your book is the title “A Dress the Color of The
Sky”. How did you choose this title?
Thank you! The title comes from the 17th century fairy tale Donkeyskin which I paraphrase in the book. The subject matter of the fairy tale directly correlates with my book.
4- “A Dress the Color of the Sky” is about a taboo topic rarely covered in books although the gap has been there. Please tell us about the psychology research behind the story if there has been any. And the reason you chose this topic.
I’m guessing you’re speaking about sex addiction which is the underlying theme of my book. The story is about how childhood trauma affects the way a woman sees herself as an adult. It’s the story of Prudence’s journey to find self-love and heal from her past. I did quite a bit of research for the book such as attending AA, SAA, and Alanon meetings, interviewing recovering addicts and a therapist who runs a sexual addiction treatment program in Los Angeles. I read Patrick Carnes books about sex addiction and attended a childhood trauma retreat through The Meadows. I utilize much of The Meadows addiction and recovery philosophy in the story.
5- Do you have a favorite paragraph in the book “A Dress the Color of the Sky”? Please tell us about it.
"Dad offered to drag me along on his vacation to Belize with Virginia, his new flame. Her physique matched his requirements, but she was disheveled and careless in her attire and hygiene. She schlepped around her degree in clinical psychology like it was enough to keep my drug-addicted dad in check. I had to live with the unanswered questions and unresolved ache buried in my heart and my mother’s grave. With Mom gone and Thatcher out of the picture, I needed a getaway.”
I love this excerpt because it eloquently describes the frame of mind Prue was in when she met Nick. This lays the foundation as to why she would choose a guy like Nick to share her life with.
6- As a reader, I know that readers’ love, life, breath and being can be among lines of a book that writers create. Now my last question from you: As a writer “What is writing to you?”
Writing to me is the pain and joy of my life. Each blessing and every horror. My will to survive and desire to be loved, the highs and the lows of being alive on planet earth. Every great moment with my girlfriends and tough days raising kids on my own. All of it goes into my stories.
To read more about Jennifer Irwin and her book please see below:
For Jennifer Irwin's Website: