What Comes Before

Rosa Jordan
Rosa Jordan Author Interview

When a group of writers come together In Search of a Happy Ending, they discover the stories they write down are not the stories that need to be told and together they discover their own happy ending? What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

Actually, the stories they write ARE the stories that need to be told, but not the COMPLETE story. Pi, for example, writes cops-and-criminals stories with no indication that they reflect his own background. Eve is trying to write about the relationship between Fidel Castro and Celia Sanchez during Cuba’s Revolution, but is having difficulty because she has never been either a revolutionary or deeply in love.

What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

This is a story about stories. Everybody has one (or several.) Caring enough to find out what other people’s stories are is a way of connecting with people who on the surface seem very different, and there’s much to be gained from those connections. Those too self-centered or judgemental to take the time to learn other people’s stories impoverish themselves unnecessarily.

Another idea this story is meant to dramatize is that of “present-time comparisons;” that is to say, the value of comparing what they are doing right now with what else they might be doing right now, and choosing the activities that are most satisfying, instead of comparing what they’re doing now with things they used to do which are no longer options. When 35-year-old Eve becomes dispondent about no longer having the stamina she used to have, Scott gently points out that if he compared his present soccer skills with those he had when he was 25, he’d never show his bony legs on a field again. But he can still get great pleasure by comparing how much he enjoys seniors soccer with, say, sitting around the house doing nothing.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

The importance of finding ways to make life meaningful, regardless of how long we have to live or imagine we have to live. As Eve tells Raynee, who is always insisting that stories be given a “happy ending,” it’s not the end that counts, it’s what comes before.

Because so many elements of modern life tend to isolate us, it’s important to be pro-active about developing connections with others. Not only do such connections enrich our immediate life, they make it more likely that we will have the support of others when we need it–as each of us do at some point, no matter how self-reliant we try to be.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I’m three-quarters through a long “creative nonfiction” biography of the Cuban revolutionary Celia Sanchez, Fidel Castro’s “significant other” throughout the war against the Batista dictatorship, and for the next twenty years when she more than anyone else worked to create a Cuba that conformed to revolutionary ideals of social justice. It has three sections: Clandestina (the years she was working against the dictatorship before she met Castro, Guerillera (the two years she during the war when she lived with him in the Sierra Madre), and Architecta (the twenty years following victory when together they pursued revolutionary goals: his to make Cuba free of US domination, hers to build the infrastructure (homes, hospitals, schools, recreational facilities, and much more) to enhance the quality of life for everyday Cubans. CELIA: THE WOMAN WHO SAVED CASTRO & THE CUBAN REVOLUTION (working title) will be finished by the end of 2022. As for when it will be available, that’s up to the publisher. By now I have enough experience to know that finding a publisher can take several years, and is likely to take two years after that for the publisher to bring it out.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Vancouver Sun | Nelson Review | Rosa Jordan

Six months in the life of a Vancouver writing group; each member has three stories: the one they are writing, the one they are living, and the one they are hiding. Eve tells no one that her cardiologist has indicated that she is in danger of imminent death. But if she, only 34, is running out of time, what about the others? The group leader, Hector, is 86, and his wife Golda is even older. Celebrity-seeking Chelsea’s recklessness is so extreme that no one wants to ride in a car that she is driving. High school dropout Raynee thinks five huskies are all the protection she needs for solo mushing in the mountains. Perhaps Pi’s bloodthirsty stories peopled with characters who always end up dead are not fiction? Is Scott’s prostate cancer really in remission? And why is enigmatic Lisette convinced that if the family she has fled ever locates her, her life will be over? As the novel unfolds, a theme emerges from the very different pieces of writing presented for discussion. Each is a reminder of the tenuousness of life. As members of the group discover each others’ past secrets and current crises, unexpected relationships develop that may save some of them, but lead to the death of others. The stories they are writing will be altered, the ones they are hiding will be exposed, and the ones they are living will be given entirely different endings.

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on January 8, 2022, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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