Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Special Guest - Judith James (And a Giveaway!)

Please welcome my special guest , the talented Ms. Judith James!

Coincidence You Say?

First I’d just like to say a big thank you to Amy for hosting me today. As one of the original Broken Wing Questers she was one of the people that helped that book find an audience despite its low print run and limited distribution and it’s a real pleasure to be visiting her blog again today. People like her and Anna and KristieJ and others all played a part my being where I am today, with two books in print and more on the way. Yes you have to write the best book you can, but there’s also luck and timing involved, and that’s what I’m going to talk about today.

Magical thinking involves several elements, including a belief in the interconnectedness of all things through forces and powers that transcend both physical and spiritual connections. Writers and readers tend to be a creative imaginative group, and maybe somewhat prone to magical thinking Writers seem prone to two forms of this. One is the belief in meaningful coincidence, or what the Psychologist Carl Jung called synchronicity (he was a believer by the way). The other is the experience of the muse, which most writers will explain away in commons sense terms, but many have experienced. Today I’m going to talk about meaningful coincidence, or synchronicity.

I’m not particularly superstitious. Friday the 13th has always been a nice day to me. It is a Friday after all. But I have certainly experienced my share of strange coincidences while doing research and writing a book. For Broken Wing I was a little daunted by the task of researching 17th and 18th century sailing ships. I needed to know the different types from war ships to trade ships, what made up a crew, how did people get promoted, what kind of training did they take, how was a ship stocked? And that was just the beginning.

I was on my way to the library, dreading a day of searching and maybe finding nothing useful, when I stopped by the laundry room to drop of some clothes on my way out. Somebody was moving and had left a box of books on the counter to give away. Sitting right on top was Life At Sea in the Age of Nelson. It is a treasure of a book. It had everything I need to know down to the last detail in a simple and well organized format and it sits on my research self as one of the best reference books I have today.

In Highland Rebel, my heroine Catherine Drummond has a fortune built in part on the making and trading of scotch whiskey. I had placed her home on the North Eastern coast of the Highlands and as I researched the making of whiskey in the 17th century I realized I needed a river close by. I found one, the River Spey, in just the right place on an old map. After I finished that chapter I went to the liquor store for a bottle of wine to celebrate and to enjoy with my supper. On the counter was a display of little airline sized bottles of whiskey. I picked one up to take a look and the name said Speyside Whiskey. I was so surprised I almost dropped it. I babbled on excitedly to the store manager, and he went to his office and came out with a map he had of scotch distilleries and sure enough…there was a Speyside Distillery, right where I had imagined it and placed it in my book. Those of you who have been following these blogs might recall me mentioning it in a post on my Love of Scotland on Anna’s blog. I’ve yet to figure a way to use these as promotional materials but I will.

I’ve had several such coincidences where a piece of research or story falls right in my lap, just when I need it. The logical part of my brain says it’s all coincidence and easily explained. I was focused on my story and was unconsciously watching for materials to fuel it so of course I found some. The creative part says, “Are you kidding me? These things happened on the same day!” That’s a sign you’re on the right track. Your muse is hard at work and the story is finding you! I know I’m not the only one this happens too. Several friends have recounted similar experiences.
So my question is to you is have you ever had a meaningful unexpected coincidence happen in your life just when you needed it most?

Highland Rebel by Judith James, in stores September 1, 2009!

Amidst the upheaval of Cromwell's Britain, Jamie Sinclair's wit and military prowess have served him well. Leading a troop in Scotland, he impetuously marries a captured maiden, saving her from a grim fate.

A Highlands heiress to title and fortune, Catherine Drummond is not the woman Jamie believes her to be. When her people effect her rescue, and he cannot annul the marriage, Jamie goes to recapture his hellcat of a new wife...

In a world where family and creed cannot be trusted, where faith fuels intolerance and war, Catherine and Jamie test the bounds of loyalty, friendship, and trust...

About the Author: Judith James has worked as a legal assistant, trail guide, and counselor. Living in Nova Scotia, her personal journey has taken her to the Arctic and the West Coast. Her writing combines her love of history and adventure with her keen interest in the complexities of human nature and the heart's capacity to heal. For more information about Judith, please visit her website here

Thank you, Judith for stopping by. Broken Wing was an amazing story about Gabriel and Sarah. There were some of the most touching and heartfelt moments in Broken Wing. A beautiful love story indeed. I was honored to be part of KristieJ's quest to spread the word! And now to be part of your blog tour for Highland Rebel! Thank you so much.

Leave a comment and be entered to win one of two copies of Highland Rebel! Sourcebooks is sponsoring a two book giveaway!

US and Canada only.

Winners announced on Friday.


Heather D said...

Hi Amy and Judith!

I haven't had any such experiences. The only one I can think of that comes anywhere near it was more of a dejavu/dream type thing. I had a dream that my husband and I were driving north to pick my kids up from my mothers. At the time of the dream my mother and I had not talked in about 2yrs (major falling out) and she only lived 30 mins from me. Then in June my husband and I made a trip North to pick up my son and nephews from my mother who was going to have an emergency surgery.

I just wanted to stop by and show my support of both you and JJ! Please don't enter me in the contest as I have already won a copy on Anna's blog. Thanks so much Judith!!

Anonymous said...

Whoa, that crept me out. In a good way. I've never had anything like it happen to me before. Except once, maybe. But it wasn't a happy coincidence at all.
I was on the back of a motorcycle riding around with my friend. Just so happens that I start thinking about this particular scene in Gilmore Girls, where Logan, Rory's boyfriend, jumps off a plane and breaks his leg.
I was just thinking about Logan, laying on bed with his broken leg, and I picture the cast and everything. 5 seconds later I hear, "look out!" and we crash. Yep, I broke my leg. Yep, I had a cast put on exactly the same way as Logan. Coincidence? Probably. But the thought of it being something else is always on the back of my mind. I am a reader after all.

Please do enter me to the contest =)

Cecile said...

I have never had a life altering coincidence, but a few over my lifetime that have made me stop and look to the heavens and give thanks.
I want to stop by and show my love and support!!! Please enter me in the contest!!!!
I love hearing more about the authors we read about... I went over to Kristie J's place and dropped my name there too..!!

Hey Amy!!! ((((Big Wave, Smile and hug your way)))!!!!
I hope you ladies are having a wonderful day!

Amy M said...

I cannot think of any life altering coincidences. Now, they probably have happened, maybe I didn't realize it or pay any attention. I do believe that unexplained things happen for good, or bad reasons.

Thanks for the contest.

Amy M
atc218 at aol dot com

Patti said...

Life-altering coincidenc? Nah. Funny little nothing coincidence? As a teenager my friend worked at BK and I was visiting him at work. I suddenly thought and asked him "what would happen if BK ran out of buns? What would you do?" Two weeks later they did...He told me they had to send someone out to buy out the local grocery store of buns!

Please enter me in the contest - this looks like a great read!

Morning Glow said...

You definitely need to enter me in this one, this book looks amazing! I've been wanting a copy of my very own for what feels like ages now.

Morning Glow

ohmorningglow AT aol DOT com

Christine said...

Hi Amy and Judith! :)
What an interesting post on synchronicity. Your meaningful coincidences are quite powerful ones... and the fact that they happened on the same day is even more amazing.

I've had similar things happen, although perhaps not as meaningful, but still the kind that makes your heart skip a beat and you hear that "Twilight Zone" music in your head. Most of my "meaningful coincidences" involve thoughts or reminders of a friend with whom I've been out of touch for a significant time and it makes me think I ought to give them a call and then Pow! We either bump into each other or she calls me!

Judith James said...

Wow some interesting comments. Heather, I’d definitely call that a meaningful coincidence; Hilda yours as well. Did you ever see the Final Destination movies? That would creep me out too but I would pay attention to you on a plane :)
Cecille thanks so much for your love and support it is much appreciated!
Amy could be you're right. You only notice them when you're half looking, or they take you by surprise.
Patti I think you should try that more often. You can experiment with "what if Morning Glory wins a book?" I'll let you know :)
Christine what you describe is exactly what I mean. It doesn't have to be life altering, it just is meaningful for you in a surprising way. To think of a friend and then hear from them or bump into them definitely counts. Does it mean more? Is it some kind of guidance or affirmation? That's where I'm not sure, but to imagine so makes life more interestng I think :)

tetewa said...

No such exsperience for me, sounds good!

throuthehaze said...

I love the cover! This is exactly my type of book and I can't wait to read it!
throuthehaze at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

I can't honestly say that I've ever had one of those meaningful coincidences. I'm sure there must have been something but nothing comes to mind. This was a great post, though, and I enjoyed reading it.
wandanamgreb (at) gmail (dot) com

etirv said...

Aloha Amy & Judith!
Never been to Hawaii and could have gone anywhere but was addicted to Jack Lord and Hawaii 5-0 so I chose to go to graduate school in Hawaii and ended up marrying the guy who picked me up from the airport! Some coincidence.

By the way, loved your Speyside Whiskey story, Judith. DH loves his scotch!


Judith James said...

Tetewa, throuthehaze(great name)and Wanda, thanks! And thanks for stopping by. Etriv , sounds like that was more than coincidence...that was fate!

Anna said...

Amy & Judith,

Wonderful post. I don't believe I've had anything like that happen, at least not that I can recall. :) No need to enter me in the give away, just wanted to stop by and say Hi!


Mari said...

Yes, I have had an eerie coincidence in my life.
I just went through a bad break up and was feeling full of despair and depressed. I was sitting in the park one day and an older gentleman approached me and said I looked like I needed to talk.
He was a complete stranger.
Well, I unloaded and told him what had happened.
He listened quietly and then told me that no matter terrible things I had said or done, that if I apologized and was sincere, I would be forgiven.
He said that I was not a bad person.
Then he handed me a book with inspirational quotes.
It was sooo weird, but I felt so much better afterwards,it was like a higher power was responding to my sadness.

Cybercliper said...

Hi Amy and Judith. I discovered the truly amazing Broken Wing through Amy's blog and it was fantastic. I'm pleased to see more Judith James work is coming!!

I don't think I've had any coincidences that were as monumental as yours. Mine are usually along the lines of finding things. A friend looking for a book long out of print, and I'll find it at a flea market or in a junk store within a few days. During the holidays co workers will tell me what ever hot toy their looking for because they always appear in my path. Could be worse - I guess I could be good at losing things :-)

Armenia said...

Judith that was great post. Its amazing how things sometimes seem to just fall in your lap whether you meant for it to happen or not. I like how Speyside Distillary was discovered, just because you were looking for a bottle of wine.

I can't recall having a meaningful coincidence right now.

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

I can't think of any experiences off the top of my head, but I'm sure I've probably had at least one in my life! Anway, thanks for this interview, I'm dying to read this book! Please count me in! Thanks to both of you!

Maureen said...

Those were some wonderful coincidences. I can't think of any great coincidences off the top of my head that have happened to me. Broken Wing was a wonderful story and I'll be looking for this new one.

Mary G said...

Hi Amy & Judith.
Awesome interview. I emailed Beth Kery with a compliment on her book release date (which I was not aware of)& she asked if she could share my email with her blog group & she invited me to join. That's how I ended up meeting Lea who lives near me & Kristie J who I've met & Amy who I plan to meet.
I just didn't expect my first (& only)internet date to be a bunch of girls LOL.

Mandi said...

Hi Amy and Judith!!

I am sitting here staring at my computer trying to think of a meaningful coincidence..I know I have had them..but I am drawing a big old blank.

My Blog 2.0 (Dottie) said...

Hi Amy and Judith!

I've had deja vu moments and it's usually from something that's happened in a dream or it feels like I'm repeating something I've done better. Life altering, I don't think so, but the deja vu feeling always freaks me out a little bit.

Please count me in, I loved Broken Wing!!

Dottie :)

I Heart Book Gossip said...

Hi Judith and Amy!

Congrats on the book release. I loved Broken Wing.

Please count me in.

cindyc725 at gmail dot com

kalynnick said...

I really want to read this book. I will shop by Borders soon to get it.

kalynnick AT yahoo DOT com

Judith James said...

Thanks Anna, I had so much fun visiting with you the other day :)

Mari, the hair on arms stood up when I read that one. Very odd, but in a wonderful way.

Thanks for the kind words Cyberclipper. That sounds like a handy sense to have. The fact it happened more than once, to the point friends make use of it, is really interesting. I love stories like that. The world is more mysterious than we know.

Thanks Armenia! The sad part of that story is I bought a few of course, several to save and one to savour, and discovered that unfortunately, I really don't like Scotch.

Julie I see it's your dream to visit the Highlands. Wish you all the best with that and good luck with the draw.

Maureen it's so nice to see you here. Thanks for your support and good luck with the draw.

Mary you just described a meaningful coincidence that lead to a series of events that led you here to a conversation on...better stop my head is spinning

Mandi I'm just delighted you stopped by, coincidence or not.

Hi Dottie, Recognizing something you dreamed about would freak me out a bit too, but it seems to be something a lot of people experience, and makes life more interesting I think

I heart, thanks so much, and Kalynnick, Bless you for the trip to Borders.

Thank you all for sharing your stories and for your good wisher, and thanks to those who have read Broken Wing, or have read or plan on reading Highland Rebel. Good luck with the contest and all the best in life and love. A very special thanks to Amy for having me here today, and for her support almost a year ago. I hope you enjoy a well earned rest, and rather selfishly hope you will be back with us soon

All the best


Pam P said...

Judith, loved Broken Wing.

Sometimes out of the blue I'll think of a friend I haven't seen or talked to in a long time, and then get a phone call or visit from them a few days later. A few times, they'd appear in a crazy, mixed-up dream that made no sense. A bit of intuition I guess.

Anonymous said...

Hi Amy & Judith!
I loved "Broken Wing" and I am looking forward to reading Highland Rebel and many more books from you in the future.



booklover0226 said...

Highland Rebel sounds exciting. I look forward in reading it.


booklover0226 AT gmail DOT com

Marilyn Shoemaker said...

Yes when I met my husband. His department "farmed him out" to where I was working at The Boeing Company to my location. That's how we met, a whirl wind romance which lasted for over 25 years.

Tracy said...

Wonderful post Judith and Amy.

I have Highland Rebel and am looking forward to reading it.

(Please don't enter me into the contest. :))

Mina Wolf said...

Would love a chance to win a copy of this book! I really enjoyed Broken Wing

ibeeeg said...

Great post. The coincidence regarding the Speyside Whiskey is amazing and incredibly cool!

My gosh...I am raking my 40ish brain and for the life of me cannot come up with any unexpected coincidences. I am certain there has been as I know I have had deja vu experiences. But nothing is coming to mind.

I have been reading several descriptions and comments in regards to Highland Rebel and I am very intrigued. I know I want to read this story!

Please enter me into the giveaway.


RachieG said...

Hmmm...Unexpected coincidences...This week while I was at margarita night with a friend, a friend of ours we had just been talking about walked in. Completely out of the blue and it was great to see her. 5 years of not seeing her and talk about her...boom! There she is! :)

Highland Rebel looks GREAT! Congratulations and much success to you!!

rachie2004 @ yahoo (d0t) com

Lyoness2009 said...

I think karma is at play in our world. Not sure of an exact coincidence, but I think if you do good, good things will come to you. A freidn of mine had been having money problems and about two weeks ago won 1,000 from a dollar scratch off her boyfriend bought her. I was so happy for her. So, sometimes good things happen for a reason!

lyoness2009 AT hot mail **dot** COM

Blodeuedd said...

Really interesting post :)
Good luck all!!

Left you an award over at my place

Shaymless Aymless said...

Count me in!

chey said...

No such experience for me.
Your book sounds like one I'd like to read.

Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Beth said...

I haven't had such a coinsidance. Thanks for the giveaway. Please enter me.

lizzi0915 at aol dot com