A Peek Into Your Life-- Tori Knightwood

A peek into your life, is a segment spotlighting authors, specialists, and friends who brave my countless questions day in and day out. It's the best way I can share with you all, the many people who taught me the bizarre things I know, who satisfy my thirst for knowledge and adventure, and who keep me motivated.

I'm so lucky to have met Tori Knightwood! She's a very energetic and adventurous writer. She likes to challenge me and push me to try new things, which really, is a lot of fun-- writing wise.

Cripes, I was excited when I heard she published a little sample of her work. Zanzibar Dream is a collection of love scenes and poems. Ah. Such a fun read. I enjoyed the romance. Heck, the breakup was even thrilling. Oh my. And all are neatly tucked in around some powerful poetry that intensifies the connection.

Bella and Antonio share a special magic, deepened by the African setting. Only problem? It left me wanting more. Hope they find themselves in another city, another romance. Hint, hint...
So who is Tori Knightwood? Let's take a little peek.
First off, we have to... just have to, tell them a little bit about your new release to Kindle ebooks-- Zanzibar Dream. Which love scene was your favourite to write? And why?
Wow, that’s a toughie. I feel a connection to each scene and each poem, especially since I visited the setting of each scene. But, since I wrote all but one scene back in the days when I lived in East Africa, that one scene may be my favorite. I wrote the final scene when I put the others together to form a story and it was one of the easiest pieces of fiction I’ve ever written. It flowed right out of me.

I just loved The Loudest Silence, what was the inspiration behind this poem?
Once upon a time, I dated a guy who wrote me poetry. *swoon* He wrote me a poem to tell me he was falling in love with me and he wrote me a poem to express how he felt about having to leave. I wrote The Loudest Silence when I was too afraid to tell him how I really felt.

So which poem holds special meaning to you?
That would be The Sun That is You. I can remember so vividly how I felt when I wrote that, sitting in my bedroom in northern Rwanda, staring out the window through my tears.

Bella and Antonio share an exciting bond intensified by the exotic setting, have you yourself been to these places?
Yes. I worked in East Africa for a couple of years when I was in my 20s, and I visited all of those locations (and then some). I still have a few places up my sleeves for future books.

Oh so you love to travel, eh? What are the best things about visiting new countries; besides the great characters and stories you find there?
One reason I love to travel is for food. I love to try the real specialties in a country, the kinds of things you can’t get at home (although, you’re much more likely to find exotic foods now than 15 years ago). In Rwanda I tried roasted goat, manioc, and dried fish, in Zanzibar I ate a lychee, and in Uganda I ate matoke (steamed green banana mush) with groundnut sauce and peas. In Mexico, the list of foods I tried and loved is just too long but among my favorite dishes are cochinita pibil and carnitas. In France, my aunt makes this delicious vegetable soup with just about every vegetable you can imagine, including lettuce, and we eat it with a dollop of crème fraiche and, of course, a crusty baguette. Oh, now I’m salivating.

Thanks for having me, Tanya! I love to chat with friends. Next time over a cup of tea, okay?

Oh yum. After all that, tea just might not cut it, we're going out for supper! Thanks for stopping by Tori!

Symbolism; Another Backdoor

Adding any kind of symbol in our lives is like giving ourselves a life line, isn't it? From ball caps to support our teams, to dainty pendants. Each one can tell a story, each one can hold a memory that's just for us.

Lately, symbols are everywhere in my life, in my writing, in other people's writing. I can't escape them, and quite frankly, I'm finding it interesting to study them. Especially how they work and play on emotions. Anyway, maybe I was just blind to them before and suddenly I have new eyes.

Being nudged by a good symbol is like seeing the Grim Reaper. It triggers a gut reaction that we can't control. 

So what I've discovered is that if we use symbols properly in our writing it saves us time and heightens tension at key points. Our readers discover emotions we want them to experience without us having to retrace our steps. Don't you just love short cuts? A backdoor like this is magical.

Here is one easy way that works for me:
1) Introduce the symbol in a casual way or in a way the reader can't forget;

Didn't he know that was a woman's pendant he was wearing?
2) An emotional explanation of the symbol so we feel something when we see it again;

"How did you two track me?" he demanded.
My brother smiled and pointed to the pendant peeking out from his shirt.
"Damn it. You used the one thing you knew I'd never give up unless I was dead? Who had the gonads to whisper to my mother's necklace?" He glanced at me and I snuggled up against his warm chest, fondling the pendant.
"Of course it was me. I need a way to find you. You should be thankful my magical whispers worked. We just saved you."
"No. What you did was put yourself in the line of fire and I won't risk your lives. This is my fight." 
3) Bring the symbol back when it becomes important, yet you don't have time to explain why;

"I'll find him. One whisper and I'll have a location."
"Not this time." My brother tossed me the necklace he'd been clutching. My heart sank when I saw the familiar pendant.
4) Closure. Leave the reader with a sense of satisfaction or another emotion if you roll that way;

I was alone. There was no one around for miles. The pendant sank slowly at first, melting into the current, and then it snuggled into the mud for eternity.  

Another easy way, is to use symbols that the reader can identify with. These need no introduction and should be so subtle the reader doesn't even know you just used symbols to get your way. Actually as the writer, I sometimes don't even know I'm doing this. But! Now that I'm paying attention to symbols I found some fun examples where a writer can play on our emotions by simply referring to something we find emotionally symbolic.

Here are a couple examples of what I've read or done that jumped out at me;
  • The break up scene in Zanzibar Dream by Tori Knightwood; he's about to make a clean start and she says he smells like hotel soap. I just love that! I really felt like he was ready to move on. It was closure for me at a point where I really needed it. It took me awhile to figure out what the writer had done and how she'd created this magic. Soap. So simple.
  • In my own writing I found that I make my guys smell earthy when I want them to come off fatherly. Doesn't a guy who smells like leaves or pine trees just give you a warm sense of who he is? Of course I do the same for the women. They smell like lilacs or fresh bread, one tasted like apples when he kissed her. Then again, the bad guy had onion breath! lol
  • I even brought in a butterfly to sit on a dark character to prove there was good in him to the reader. It was like flashing a sign of hope before them.

There are so many examples but these are a few I saw this week. Now that I'm looking I'm seeing them everywhere and the magic and power behind choosing just the right symbol is incredible. Of course, I also see many lost opportunities. Why mention a letter and not bring it up again later as a symbol?

How have symbols invaded your life? Any other tips on how to use symbols properly in our writing? Have you read or noticed any symbols that have stuck with you? Please share them.

Oh... Here are a few other links about symbolism in writing, of course they take a somewhat different approach then I do;

Have fun writing today!
and Nicola Marsh is hosting a cool contest.