Friday, June 29, 2012

Guest Blog: Kathleen Toomey Jabs

Today we welcome author, Kathleen Toomey Jabs who is promoting her book, Black Wings. She writes about what inspires her to write. Click on the banner above to check out the rest of her tour!
Welcome Kathleen!

Author: Kathleen Toomey Jabs
Publisher: Fuze Pubishing
Date of Publication: December 2011

LT Bridget Donovan suspects the worst when her former Naval Academy roommate, Audrey Richards, perishes in a botched take-off from an aircraft carrier. The Navy says it's an accident, but facts don't add up. Could it be suicide, or murder? Donovan's unofficial investigation into what really happened, both during their past Academy days and in Richards' final hours, forces her to examine the concepts of honor, justice and the role of loyalty in pursuit of those ideals.

Kathleen Writes:

I am drawn to questions of justice, to complications, to situations that don’t resolve themselves easily. When I’m faced with all that chaos, I want to make order. I want to understand the motivations behind the actions. I want to dramatize scenes. I’m interested in people. In Black Wings, I explored the world of the Naval Academy during the early years of female integration as well as the world of Navy combat aviation, but mostly I explored the conflicts and struggles of Bridget Donovan and Audrey Richards, Academy roommates, rivals and dear friends.

We live in a world of unprecedented military power and activity—from surges in Afghanistan to extended ship deployments to drone strikes. Every day military news is blitzed on the front page then quickly replaced. Amidst the slew of facts and official statements, I find myself wondering about the private dramas unfolding. I’m hungry to write stories about the characters who witness, train for, and, ultimately, are affected by these events. People like Bridget and Audrey. People who often don’t have a voice in the news.

I write because I have questions I can’t answer. Because writing helps me make sense of the world. I am motivated to write to face my doubts and fears, to try and understand the world through people, and because I think that words matter.

Some days it seems impossible to understand even our own actions, motivations, memories. The search for explanations leads me to fiction. Fiction is my attempt to know the world through people—at their best, at their worst, in moments of suffering and despair, in times of discovery, in love and in death.  Stories, for me, take the very ordinariness of life and make it extraordinary. They show a profound paradox: we are all unique, but all the same.

I’m constantly inspired by other writers. As a lifelong reader, I love books. I love to be drawn into the story, hooked into a character and carried along as she faces a conflict and makes decisions. Once I started writing, my reading changed. I began to read as a writer. Now I study the scenes for the craft, the art, the way perspective shifts, and characters are inhabited. I love to unpack the structure and analyze the voice.

Some of my favorite writers are: Alice Munro, Wallace Stegner, Robert Stones, James Salter, and DH Lawrence. I read Stone and Salter for the way they describe the military world and complicated global interactions. I read Munro for the way she gets inside her characters’ heads.

I needed to up the ante in one of my arguments in Black Wings and I turned to Munro for help. I had a particular story of hers in mind and I reviewed the gradual, escalating tension, the shock and surprise at how people are sometimes goaded into saying things they regret. I looked at Munro’s scene then at my own. Mine faltered in comparison. I kept rereading Munro then I started in on my revisions. Today that’s one of the more powerful (and painful) scenes in Black Wings. I was holding back, protecting my characters and Munro reminded me to rip off the band-aid and expose the rawness.

Good writing does that. A good story offers you a glimpse of life’s dichotomies, a heightened awareness, a sharpening of the senses. Ultimately, I’m motivated to find truth and inspired by all those who have gone before me. I want to bring characters to life and tell their stories.

 About the Author:

Kathleen Toomey Jabs is a 1988 graduate of the United States Naval Academy. She served on active duty for six years and is currently a Captain in the Navy Reserve. She holds an MA from the University of New Hampshire and an MFA in Creative Writing from George Mason University. Her stories have been published in a number of literary journals and received several prizes, including selection in the National Public Radio Selected Shorts program. She lives with her husband and two children in Virginia.

Price: $19.95 paperback, $9.99 ebook
ISBN: 9780984141272
Pages: 314
Release: December 2011

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Tribute Books said...

Kari, thanks for featuring Kathleen today and congratulations on your 2 year blogoversary!

Kari Boardman said...

Thanks! :)

Unknown said...

Kari, I really appreciate the opportunity to be featured on your site. Thank you! Cheers, Kathleen