Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Serials and Scenarios - Neta Jackson Yada Yada Yada

Neta Jackson spins tales that cross cultural and generational lines.

Time did not permit me to review the Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Decked Out, but Neta was kind enough to share some thoughts, comments and quirk with the Dregs.

Fiction character you would most like to be or most identify with and why?

Ken McLaughlin from MY FRIEND FLICKA. As a kid, he represented all my fantasies--living on a horse ranch in Wyoming, always making mistakes or failing his father's expectations, longing for a colt of his own, living in his own fantasy world . . . and then seeing his dream come true. Flicka. That bit of sun on four wobbly legs . . . but I digress!

Or Anne of Green Gables. I totally identify with her imagination, her Pollyanna approach to troubles, and (hate to admit) her terrible temper (which I've outgrown, of course). I don't have red hair, but I did have curly hair which never behaved.

Some out there in writing land have strange rituals. Share yours.

Not so strange, but . . . cat bed under my desk for the cat when Dave's around, but I let the cat lie all over my papers on top of the desk when he's out of the office.

And tea. Big mugs of black tea all day long with "cream and sugar" (i.e. soy milk and Splenda). For some reason the caffeine in tea doesn't bother me at all, not like coffee, but I need something hot and liquid to sip when I'm writing.

And more seriously, every time I finish ten chapters, I send them out to a select group of "readers" who give me feedback. They have saved my butt on more than one occasion--and give me good ideas, too.

If you could change something in any novel, what would you change about it and why?

The first time I ever read the real Romeo and Juliet Shakespeare play, the ending made me furious! If they had died sacrificially, one for the other, or for a noble cause, that would be one thing. But it was such a stupid chain of near misses and misunderstandings. Horrible. I like hope and redemption, or sacrificial love, even in the most tragic of stories.

Pick one…..Pink iguana, purple cow, periwinkle giraffe. Which one and why? Can be negative or positive.

Reminds me of a childhood ditty we used to say . . .

I've never seen a purple cow
I hope to never see one
But I can tell you any how
I'd rather see than BE one!

What period of history intrigues you the most?

Late 1800s . . . before cars and telephones, when everyone HAD to have a horse (grin) and people read books and got together for entertainment. This is also the period of colonization in Africa, India, etc. I'm fascinated to read those epics from the African or Indian point of view, the real thoughts and feelings behind the smiles of those being "colonized" by the "superior" British.

What would you write if there were no rules or barriers? (epic novels about characters in the Bible, poetry, greeting cards, plays, movies, instruction manuals, etc.)

I'd love to write a dramatic play. I'd love the challenge of carrying the story primarily through dialog.

What makes you feel alive?

Dancing! I wish I knew how . . . sometimes I just turn up the music at home and dance anyway. I'm going to dance and dance and dance in heaven.

And knowing I'm loved by my husband.

How does something worm its way into your heart? Through tears, truth, humor or other?

Humor! Absolutely! I love to laugh. I love the truth wrapped in humor. I always tell young couples who are getting married: there will come times when you will feel like crying hysterically or laughing hysterically. Choose laughter.

Laughter also covers over a multitude of sins (read mistakes, boo boos, bad hair days). We take ourselves too seriously. We should humbly laugh at ourselves for the ridiculous but wonderful creatures God made us to be.

Book, music, person, food you would take with you on a very long trip.

Bible, C.S. Lewis Narnia series, my husband Dave (or maybe Pam, my speaking partner, we already travel together a lot), fruit and chocolate.

Where would you most like to travel ----- moon, north pole, deep seas, deserted island, the holy land or back to a place from your childhood, somewhere else? – and why.

NEVER the North Pole. Way too cold. NEVER deep seas. I have a love/hate relationship with boats and water. NOPE deserted island. Too lonely. I need people.

Well, sure, the holy land. Also Africa (Malawi, Uganda, or South Africa).

I'd also love to travel all over the U.S. and/or Canada by train, with a sleeping car ticket. I LOVE traveling by train, but the sleeping car makes it even better. And the changes in U.S. landscape, from prairies to forests to jaw-dropping mountains . . . totally awesome.

Favorite season and why?

Fall. Absolutely. My favorite time of year for camping. I love the crisp warm/cool air, warm enough to enjoy hiking and biking, cool enough in evenings for campfires and good sleeping.
(I'm also an October baby of course.)

Which compliment related to your writing has meant the most and why?

There are many but here are a few:

"I would really like to see the Yada Yada story continue. It is sorely needed as the racial and cultural divide in our country continues to widen. Your books have been instruments of healing."

"I have NEVER read a book, fiction or nonfiction, that has inspired me more to want to grow as a Christian."

What would you do today if you knew you had only a week to live?

Can't decide between (1) do what I'm doing right now, just a normal week of writing, meeting with my women's Bible study, loving my husband, calling my kids and grandkids . . .

OR . . . (2) dropping everything to visit everyone in my family (siblings, kids, grandkids), wrap them in my arms, tell them I love them, and tell them to follow Jesus, no matter what.

What is your favorite word?


What word annoys you more than any other?

I'm bored.

Superhero you most admire and why?

Forget Superheroes. There are plenty of REAL heroes to admire. People like Dr. M.L. King, Ben Carson, Amy Carmichael, Mary Slessor, Mary McLeod Bethune and zillions more authentic Christian heroes (you can read about them in the Trailblazer and Hero Tales books we wrote for young people). Then there's Esther and--one of my biblical favorites--Abigail.

Societal pet peeve…sound off.

Women who are so into feminism that they berate a polite male who gives up his seat or opens the restaurant door or says "ladies first." I love strong women--but a woman truly comfortable with who she is can also appreciate small (and large) kindnesses.

Thanks, Neta, from one October fan to another.

Scribble and Scrambles - Hmmm...Worth Looking Into

My friend Bonnie sent this to me....worth looking into. I'll be checking it out.

As you reflect this Thanksgiving on all the ways God has blessed you this past year, please read on to learn how you can say thank you in a tangible way by helping those who will not feast on Thanksgiving Day. “About 25,000 people die each day from hunger or hunger-related causes, most of them children.”

You can make a difference by going to (the source of the previous quote). By playing their vocabulary building game, you can donate 10 grains of rice for every correct answer.

The Web site checks out at as being legit. They report: “On 7 October 2007, the first day of the site’s operations, only 830 grains were donated. As of 17 November 2007, the number of grains of rice given away amounts to 2,457,120,420.”

The game has 50 levels of difficulty. The Web site says it is rare for people to get above level 48.

May your celebration of Thanksgiving be blessed with the riches of family and friends and His presence.

Thanks, Bonnie.