As a psychotherapist for many years, I wanted to create a novel that was entertaining, but also gave the reader insight into the therapeutic process as well as the characters’ psychological makeup. One night in the dark my imagination took over. What if a stranger were to waltz into my bedroom? Would I be able to see them? What could happen? Where would it lead? My answers were the ignition that started the engine of my story, OUT OF THE SHADOW.
The book tells the story of two strong women who have to overcome adversity to stay alive…and thrive.
Having survived a rape and her husband’s murder, all Becca Rosen wants to do is settle back into a “normal” life, but how normal can life be when she’s being stalked by a psychopath with an agenda—and an attitude. The police are no help because they’re convinced, with her history of mental illness, Becca has faked the rape to get away with murder. On top of that, Becca has begun to have flashbacks and nightmares of childhood abuse, possibly at the hands of the rapist. Not knowing where to turn, and feeling like she might go crazy again, Becca hires Psychologist, Sarah Abrams, to help her unearth who’s behind the crimes of the past…and the present.
Three men come into Becca’s life around the same time. While each of these men has his charms, Becca can’t be certain whether any one of them is the real killer. Or could it be someone else? Together Becca and Sarah start on a course of hypnotherapy to discover the abuser’s identity. Will their work reveal the real killer before it’s too late, or will Becca once again fall prey to this demented criminal?
When did you first realize you had a gift for writing?
Writing is a lifelong passion. My mother was a writer and English teacher, voted Most Likely to Succeed in high school, and she always encouraged me to express myself through the written word. It’s a joy to sit down at my computer and hammer out a a story, allowing my imagination to transport me to another time and place. If I don’t write, I begin to develop a mental itch that nags at me until I scratch it by sitting down and working on a project. That takes persistence and focus and being able to set aside other distractions. It’s not always easy to do, but if I want to remain somewhat sane, I have to do it.
Who influenced you the most? Who are your favorite authors? What are you reading now?
There are so many authors who have influenced me over the years. In high school and college I devoured anything by Hemingway, Joseph Conrad and D. H. Lawrence. Later, I fell in love with the magical realism of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ One Hundred years of Solitude and Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita. More recently I can add Jodi Pincoult, Khalid Hosseini and Abraham Berghese, to the list. Right now I’m reading Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl and loving it. Her intelligent, contemporay style of writing is thrilling to read.
What was the most important thing you learned at school?
The most important thing I learned at school is how to craft a story. I don’t care whether you’re writing fiction, non-fiction, articles or poems, story is at the basis of all good writing. All well-written stories follow a certain structure and must have conflict and tension. We intuitively absorb a mental concept of story from our exposure to it, but the true craft must be studied and understood. I also learned about human nature, about what makes us tick, which is essential to character development. In my opinion, a characters’ motivation is what drives a story worth reading.
Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process?
Actually only a little, because my process varies from day to day. I would love to tell you I write daily, but that wouldn’t be honest. I go through periods when I write all the time, but then life happens or I become involved in another project, and I don’t write at all. Of course, as I said earlier, I can only go a short time without writing before the “itch”hits again and I’m back at my computer, often for long hours, totally absorbed in story.
I’m interested in how or why you chose to be an independently published author instead of going the more traditional route?
My first novel, Kiva Fire (about to be re-released as THE SPIRIT KEEPERS, 2013), was published by an Internet publishing company in 2001. This was before Internet publishing had taken off and, while the company did minimum promotion, there really wasn’t much activity. Months ago I sent OUT OF THE SHADOW to a few agents, and a couple expressed interest, but they both declined because they weren’t sure they could sell the concept at this time. The most difficult challenge I’ve faced is the challenge of not fitting in with what is fashionable at the moment. I don’t write to mimic the what’s popular, I write because I’m motivated to tell a story and I want to share it with others.
Then I realized that publishing a novel online was no longer a ticket to obscurity, but was a viable option. Things have changed so much in Internet publishing the last couple of years. Now I have the opportunity to publish a novel myself and take all the responsibility for maintenance of my website, and other vehicles for self promotion. It’s been a whirlwind of activity lately and has taken almost every moment of my time, but I love it. It’s given me the chance to develop my own outreach and to really connect with people who are interested in my work. It’s been a joy so far.
J.S. Winn earned a graduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and worked as a psychotherapist for over 25 years. She has one prior novel published in genre and a play produced by the Actor’s Alliance Festival in San Diego. Her poetry has been published in a compilation, For the Love of Writing, by the San Diego Writer’s Workshop in 2011, and her play, Gotcha!, is being read at the Village Arts Theater in Carlsbad, California, in May 2012.
She presently lives by the beach in San Diego County, California.
Where can we buy your book?
OUT OF THE SHADOW tells the story of two women caught in the same deadly web. Rebecca Rosen survives a rape and her husband’s murder only to begin having flashbacks of childhood abuse…possibly at the hand of the rapist. She hires Psychologist, Dr. Sarah Abrams, to help her uncover the truth. Will they discover the killer’s identity in time to save Becca’s life, or will she wind up at the mercy of this demented criminal?
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