Where Honesty Never Ends.
Greetings and thanks for visiting The Review Board.
For this issue of the TRB Author Spotlight we are bring you an interview with Author Jessica Talbot.
Conducting the interview is Mini Truth.
Hi, thanks! In 2016 I had the pleasure of reading Ms. Talbot’s “Picaflor” and reviewing it. Today, I have to opportunity to spend sometime with her. So without further ado, I’ll dive into the questions.
Jessica, in your memoir you depicted the tale that took you to South America and eventually Argentina. Apart from having had a fortune teller dictate that choice, were there any other elements that played a part in your decision, or was it a spur of the moment choice?
Yes, I was unhappy in my job, feeling overwhelmed and fearful of staying on the same path. Also a friend had recently died and that helped spur me on to make a change, or take a chance on life. To jump in and find out if I could swim!
Could you tell the audience the significance of the Hummingbird, please?
-It has many meanings in the story. It was the tattoo I got in Cusco as a reminder of the time and the personal changes that happened there, and of the possibility of flight when needed.
-Also, they are one of the few birds that can hover and they only one that can fly backwards. For me that meant something. That we can (and sometimes need to) fly back and revisit things, and also hover in a place/state of mind…to then be able to move forward again.
-Also in many cultures (especially in South America) they are believed to be messengers from another plane of existence, where our loved ones that have passed on reside…When a hummingbird visits us, it is said to be a bringer of a message from those people, to tell you they are present and alright.
What are the major differences between where you grew up and where you live now? Would you ever go back home to Australia?
-I feel like I have 3 home countries: NZ where I grew up, Aus and now Argentina. NZ and Aus are easier countries to live in for many reasons. Things in general work much better there, and there is less corruption, less poverty etc. But what I missed there was the connections that I have here. People place emotional connections and being with friends and family very high on the list of important things in life. I needed that and it’s what keeps me here…and all the kissing and daily hugging helps, too! I think in part it’s so important here because things are harder here…people need each other more and don’t tend to drift apart like in some ‘easier’ countries. Perhaps it’s also a cultural thing as well.
-I could end up back in Aus or NZ. Never say never! But I feel more at home here and we just finished out first house/nest/home here.
Do you have any other hobbies outside of writing? If so, please tell us about them and what makes them special to you?
I’m actually more a visual person, I think. I enjoy painting and creating and renovating furniture etc. Writing has also been a struggle/challenge for me, as I have dyslexia. Painting is easier and I feel freer and more lost in the moment painting. I have had a few expositions in the past, and I now have a studio to paint in…so in the future I will be concentrating on visual arts, rather than writing. I love reading, horse riding, cooking and movies as well.
Random Question 1 : What are your thoughts on the variations between American Written English and European Written English?
-I used Australian English for the book, as my first editor was from there and it’s closer to UK English/NZ English which I grew up with. Also, there was a publisher in Aus interested in the book initially, so it made sense to write it in Aus tralian English. I don’t think there is a great difference, except for some spelling. I do dislike gonna/gotta/wanna etc!!!
Is that anything you would have done differently during your backpacking adventures? If so, what was it and why?
-There are things that looking back were ‘mistakes’ and even dangerous, but I don’t really believe in mistakes as being bad things. They are what they are and they teach us things we need to know. I don’t regret anything, even though there were some really hard things to deal with and some very sad and intense moments. They all got me to where I am. I am still learning as I go…moving, pausing when I need to (going back when I need to, to see how to go forward without making the same ‘mistakes’).
Random Question 2: Do you have a favorite superhero? If you do, who is it and why?
-I was fascinated with Superwoman when I was growing up. I loved how strong she was and her belt of cool tools!
Apart from Picaflor, are there any other writing projects in your past and/or future? If so, what?
-Picaflor was the first. In fact I gave up on any writing from about 15 years onwards as I was concentrated on science, maths and psychology. I came back to it because I had this book in my head and I needed to write it (and to prove to myself I could do it). I have thought of writing another one, but I’m waiting to get inspired…and it would probably be fiction this time!
Random Question 3: If you had your own country, what would you name it, what would the flag look like and what language would you speak?
-I would love to have a country that had the best of NZ and Argentina. Kiwilandia would be its name. The flag would have a silver fern and the Argentine sun symbol on it. Official language would be Argykiwi…similar to Spanglish, but with its own special slang.
Lastly, has having written Picaflor changed your life in any way? If so, how?
-I think it freed me up to move forward, finally. It taught me a great deal about myself. Not just from trying to understand how the journey got me to where I am, but also in getting through the challenges of writing and self publishing it. It improved the relationships I have with my parents/siblings, even though there were difficult moments along the way…we got there in the end and there is more honesty now, more forgiveness, more kindness and understanding of how we all missed things from each other, and how we were all doing our best with what we had/how we felt etc. People don’t normally go out intentionally to emotionally hurt each other, but we do and it does mean something/it does have lasting effects on us/future relationships/happiness etc and it does need to be understood and worked through for all to move forward. Picaflor helped us all with that and I hope it may help others, too.