2017 Unpublished Fiction
A Promise to Lena
J. J. White
At the 2017 Royal Palm Literary Award Banquet, author J. J. White won First Place for Unpublished Fiction. Each year at the RPLA Banquet, authors experience the joy of earning accolades for all the hard work that is often done in the privacy of the home with little to no recognition. We’re showcasing the best of the best with our First Place winners spotlight. Not only does RPLA recognize extraordinary talent, but we’re giving readers an opportunity to sample excerpts from the winning stories.
Click the link to read a sample: Excerpt from A Promise to Lena
Q: Where do you get your story ideas?
A: Generally, my story ideas come from historical events that I or others close to me have experienced. What I try to do then is frame the story arc around a protagonist involved in that experience, whether it’s a Vietnamese village massacre, or as in the case of my winning entry, the Berlin Airlift.
Q: Anything in particular about your award-winning RPLA entry that you’d like to share?
A: There are a few chapters that revolve around Lt. Gail Seymour “Hal” Halvorsen who earned the moniker, “The Candy Bomber,” during the Berlin Airlift. I was fascinated with his story and how he achieved fame by dropping candy to the starving Berlin children from his C-54 Skymaster. I hope that when the book is published, readers will be curious enough to further research this extraordinary airman.
Q: Who do you credit with inspiring your writing?
A: When I was in high school, I completed a short story assignment given by my English teacher, Dr. David Wortendyke. My story was compelling but the writing, punctuation, and grammar wasn’t. I received an “A” for the work, but it came with a note from Dr. Wortendyke that read: “Great story, John. Now, learn how to write.” It took several years, but I finally followed up on his advice.
Q: Any tips for new writers?
A: These tips are overused, but I think still the best advice for new writers.
- Read and write whenever you can and as much as possible.
- Throw out your first four or five books. They are probably poorly structured and poorly written. It’s usually around your sixth book before it’s good enough to be published traditionally.
Thank you for sharing, John, and congratulations!
Visit his website: www.jjwhitebooks.com