Sunday, June 01, 2014

Author Interview: Jennifer Ott for Fantasy, Satire: Mahima Martel for Dramatic books

Her main focus in writing is love within drama, or dramatic love. She is fascinated by the human condition and what drives people to do what they do. Mostly, she found it is love, or lack of love that motivates people, whether it is to inspire to greatness, or to the depth of depravity. She has written several satire fiction, Wild Horses, The Tourist and two non-fiction books Love and Handicapping and Ooh Baby Compound Me! Her latest book is about the homecoming of a Vietnam Veteran, Edge of Civilization. Under the pen name, Mahima Martel, she published, The Insurrectionist tells the story through the eyes of a terrorist. Although considered controversial, the book has received high praise - A complex book that approaches morality, justice and humanity from many angles. The Saying Goodbye series looks deeply into a long standing celebrity love affair undiscovered by gossip columns and tabloid press. It asks the questions, What really goes on behind the scenes of celebrity relationships and the fan stories we all love to hear about.
Welcome Jennifer Ott !

Your real name and pen name?

My real name is Jennifer Ott. I also write under the pen name of Mahima Martel. I never considered writing with a pen name, however after finishing my book, "The Insurrectionist," which contains controversial subject matter. I wanted to remain anonymous. After publishing the book received good reviews and reception despite the subject of the book. I decided to then use the pen name Mahima Martel for dramatic books, while using my real name Jennifer Ott for my fantasy, satire books. This way I can better brand the books.

Please share some of the best memories of your childhood

Making home movies with my family. My father had a super 8 camera and my brothers and sisters would perform mini-movies. My favorite movie was a hysterical alien abduction movie with some really hysterically bad special effects.  Our spaceship was a kitchen colander wrapped in aluminum foil. These little movies helped encourage creativity as children and we learned to work together on projects.


About your education

Although my  8th grade English teacher encouraged me to go into journalism, I ended up receiving a bachelors degree in fashion design with a minor in fine arts. My fashion career offered my the opportunity for extensive traveling and taught me how to develop product for target consumers. Understanding target markets (readers) is an important skill for writers to learn, especially if you want to sell books. I also spent a semester abroad in London.

In regards to writing, I studied screenwriting at Gotham Writer's Workshops in NYC. Plot, character development and dialogue were pounded into my head. It is one thing I believe most writers need to learn.

What career did you plan during your education days?

Fashion design.

What languages you can speak and write?

I am dreadfully out of practice, but I used to be able to speak French.

What is your biggest source of inspiration in life?

Humanity is my greatest inspiration. After I graduated college, I wanted to get my masters degree. I applied to a school in England. Shortly I received a rejection letter stating, "Caring is not a curriculum." Personally, I believe caring should be a curriculum. We should teach people to care. Regardless the genre of my books - fantasy, satire, humor, or drama - they are all about humanity. I care deeply for humanity.

What hurts you most in this world?

Hatred and prejudice. My book "The Insurrectionist" was inspired by hatred and prejudice I see and feel in society today. It may seem odd to be inspired by something that hurts, but then confronting what hurts, can be quite liberating. In writing "The Insurrectionist," I found love.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced? How did you overcome it?

I think the same as many writers - doubt.

If you had to live a day of your life as one of the living or dead personality, who would it be and why?

Albert Einstein. To experience his mind would be amazing.

What is your favorite genre and why?

I don't have a favorite genre but I do have authors who have greatly inspired me - John Steinbeck and Milan Kundera. Their work is timeless and I don't believe fits into a specific genre.
One of my latest books, "Edge of Civilization" was compared to Kurt Vonnegut's writing, so now I am a fan of Kurt Vonnegut. :)

When did you start writing? What is the purpose of your writing?

I started writing my first novel at age 12 after watching the movie, "Bridge on the River Kwai." I was so taken with the human drama. It set off my imagination. I would say my purpose for writing is to entertain and to inspire my readers. I'd like to make people think about their world.

Which of your work has been published so far? Would you like to share a synopsis of your work?

I independently publish my own work. I have 9 books published - 2 nonfiction books and the rest are varied genre body of work, from fantasy satire, to crime drama and romance. Each book is unique and special.

What are your forthcoming writings?

I am writing a historical crime drama called "Time of Useful Consciousness." The story takes place in post WWII Germany. The book has actually be in the works for 20 years.


What are your future plans?

I will always continue writing, however I love developing and publishing books. I would love to help other authors develop their writing and products. I am also the host of two radio shows on the Artist First Radio Network.  On my SuperJenius Radio Show - I interview authors, artists and humanitarians. I will be cohosting a new show called Poets First that features poets.



What four top most things you take care of while writing a book?

Passion for their story and a love of their characters. If a writer doesn’t have passion, no matter how great a writer they are, their story will not entice the reader.

I also believe in strong character development and dialogue. You want the reader to fall in love with your characters and follow them on their journey.


How much real life goes into a fiction writing?

I would say around 50 percent. You need a great deal of real life to so the reader can personally identify with the story and the character. Books readers personally identify with are the ones they keep and encourage others to read. This is what you want as a writer. It is also important to have real life in fantasy in order to suspend belief. You have to give the reader enough to believe in order to follow you on your imaginative and creative journey.


Is high level of imagination important to have for an Author?

For fiction, yes - especially fantasy. However I feel it is important to have empathy and compassion. A writer needs feel and understand their characters. I also believe writers must be great strategists, especially when writing crime dramas. I would say every great writer should have a combination of imagination, empathy and strategic thinking.


Your dream destination on Earth?

Bali. I love the sea and the sunshine. I love tropical flowers and fruits. Bali just seems like paradise to me.

Your origin of birth and other countries you have visited/ stayed. What best things you liked in these countries around the globe?

I was born in Reading, Pennsylvania. As mentioned above I have had the opportunity to live and travel around the world. I lived in both New York City and London, currently I live near Los Angeles. I have travelled to Asia several times - Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. Recently I have traveled to eastern Europe - Hungary, Austria, Czech Republic and Germany. My favorite place was the Cancun Mexico and visiting Chitzen Itza. The best thing about traveling is meeting people from around the world and of course tasting the foods. One of my best times traveling was having lunch with some of the girls at a factory in Malaysia. It was a mixture of nationalities, cultures and we all chatting like a bunch of girls no matter the difference between us. It makes you realize people are all the same, regardless of where they live.


Your favorite time of the day?

Morning

Your zodiac/ sunsign?

Libra

Your favorite color and why?

Blue or Orange, depending on my mood. I like blue because it's cool, calm and peaceful. I love orange because there is a wickedness about the color I love.


What is the last book you finished reading? What is the current book you are reading?

I just finished Nadia Khalil Bradley's "Origin of Truth" for my SuperJenius Show. I offered a review on my website. Currently I am not reading anything.

Your favorite book and why?

First book that comes to mind is John Steinbeck's, "Of Mice and Men." Steinbeck was a master with character, character interaction and dialogue.

Your favorite movie and why?

My favorite movie is "Year of Living Dangerously," which is a Peter Weir film of the 1980's. It is drama about an Australian journalist caught the Communist Revolution in Indonesia. It's a brilliant, thought provoking film.


Your favorite celebrity and why?

Ah, celebrities come and go. As far as today's celebrities I like Jennifer Lawrence, because she doesn't act like a celebrity.

Your favorite food?

Mexican and Thai

Some quickies:
Sun or Moon,  - Sun
Laughter or Smile, Laughter
Morning or Evening, Morning
Coffee or Tea, Coffee
Mountain or Sea, Sea
Long Drive or Short Drive, Long
Silence or Conversation, Silence
Water or Fire, Water
Air or Earth, Air
Mars or Jupiter, Jupiter
Tulip or Rose, Rose
Red or Blue, Blue
Left or Right, Left
Glance or Stare Glance

What three words come to your mind for each –

Technology - overkill, man, unnatural
Life - impermanence, good, happiness
God - soul, being, spirit
Humanity - hope, help, love
Terrorism - compassion, understanding, suffering
Racism - hate, fear, ignorance
Childhood Abuse - pain, hardship, help
Love - universal, unconditional, passion
Parenting -  joy, responsibility, blessing
Old age - wisdom, blessing, sunset

State your signature line/ tagline/ best quote
 What Inspires Art - The Written Word?

  It is the human conditions – our condition – that inspires us all. 

It is why we write; it is why we read. 
Humans have a desire to feel, to see, and to think.
Oftentimes a book may challenge our preconceived notions.


 Links:

Twitter handle: @JenniferLOtt
Amazon link:




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