Coffee with Architects from Worlds Afar is thrilled to welcome Gippy Adams Henry–author of Web of Destruction.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, I moved to South Jersey about 12 years ago to be closer to one of my daughters who was pregnant at the time. Her husband grew up here. I always loved Jersey because of the shore points, so I started out in an apartment and helped my daughter with her growing family and daycare. Three years ago, I teamed up with my youngest daughter and her two young children in a house with a big fenced-in yard around the corner from her sister.
As for hobbies, over the years I have done crafts, have been a fine artist of commissioned portraits for many years, wrote short stories and poetry, and do a lot of research just for personal interests. But, since I chose to go back to college again for the last two and half years for a BS in Criminal Justice so my crime is accurate in my books, promoting my first suspense novel, and working on a sequel, hobbies are in the background except for reading and photography.
A few fun facts might be at Halloween, which is my birthday, I’ve always had a costume. My entire family does as well. So one year I went to my daughter’s home for trick or treat in the evening after we had walked the kiddies around during daylight. One of my little grandsons answered the door and hesitated as I was dressed as a fat clown (I’m average build). My daughter told him to give the clown a treat. He did. She said thank you and they started to close the door. As soon as I spoke they both began laughing and couldn’t believe it was me. I can do a man well. Same thing happened. They love it when I trick them at Halloween. Then we celebrate my birthday. Great fun.
2. When did you start writing?
I began writing as a young child. Mesmerized with letters and the fact that I could bring them together to form words was amazing to me. Today, there is a game in the newspapers where one can form many words from one word. I did that myself as a kid just using school words, and there was no such game at that time. Eventually I got into poetry, and then short stories as I reached adulthood. I’ve written many children’s stories and some suspense. I have never tried to publish them, but might someday. Poetry I have had published in various anthology’s and received awards, and along with five pieces of artwork, I had poetry published in one of Rutgers University publications about seven years ago. I’ve been told by two professors at my university that I should be paid for my writing. They were referring to the case studies and assignments, which gave me the encouragement to write my blogs, although without being paid.
3. Why did you start writing?
As I indicated above, I fell in love with words as a child. Anything to do with words was a huge part of my life, which is probably why I’m not so great at math. I became an avid reader, mostly non-fiction as I’ve always been interested in many subjects. As an adult I turned to fiction. That drew me to my great desire to help others who are victims. As a child I remember my best Christmas present ever was a typewriter at 12 years of age, and I could type 97 words a minute by the time I had my first job as a secretary. I still love the feel of the keys—typewriter or computer.
4. Do you recall the moment you first conceived the idea for your novel?
Oh yes. I had been reading about a woman who lived a terrible life and was trying to raise her children. Her husband was extremely abusive and she feared him so much, she was afraid to leave because he threatened to kill her. That is when I began my first suspense novel. The story changed along the way—tremendously. I have the original beginnings of this book and my published book is nothing like that. There are two of the same characters, but I now believe what writers say that stories take a life of their own, and characters seem to take over.
5. Tell us a little bit about your book’s title.
My title is Web of Destruction. I did not even consider a title until near the end of the book. After researching the title, I decided it fit the story, the message I was trying to get across, and there were not more than a few somewhat similar titles on Amazon. And, yes, there were quite a few other titles I considered earlier, but I think my ending of the book helped me decide to use this title.
6. Does your story have a moral?
The branding I created for myself is Crimes of Power & Victimization. I write my books and my blog about these crimes and victims of these crimes. My protagonists will always be one of, if not the main victim, but also later in the book there are investigators. Even though I write fiction, any legal or medical information is accurate, and all but one of the businesses, shops, etc. is real, as well as the descriptions of the four locations. Therefore, I would say the moral of my stories, or the goal is to have my readers close the book and think about their decisions in life, secrets, lies, lack of awareness of their surroundings, mental illnesses, anything that can harm them or those around them—even to the next generation. They are entertaining stories with lots of twists and turns, and a subtle message.
7. Of the characters you’ve created, which one is your favorite?
My favorite characters are the two detectives who enter the story almost three-quarters of the way into it. One other character I love now is the protagonists’ love of her life. A close friend of mine was visiting and my manuscript, not yet professionally edited, was on my desk. She asked to take it home and give the first read. After all the praise she gave me and excitement, she said the character, Nick, needed to be fleshed out more because she felt he was not emotionally reacting normally to the situation. He was my dream of a man, I suppose, supportive, kind and loyal, but I took her advice and had so much fun with that character, he became a favorite.
8. What does a typical writing session look like for you?
Typically, a plot comes to me. I do nothing but think about it constantly. I tease about how many more showers I take while writing a book because it seems that the hot water pounding my shoulders and back create new ideas for me. Crazy, I know, but it works. It may be two or three months down the road from the first thought of a plot until I create a board with either photographs I’ve taken or cut out of magazines of people who look like the characters in my head, locations, crime scenes, and connect them all. As a fine artist, visuals have always been important to me. This huge canvas I chalk all of this on barely fits in the room, but I manage. I study that for a few weeks, adding things like ages, careers or jobs, titles like villain, protagonist, investigator, etc. Then I begin to type. It’s rare after that I would have writer’s block because by then almost the entire story, especially beginning and ending, lives in my brain and on my board. Even then, as discussed above, it can change drastically along the way. In reference to where I write, I like it quiet when I first start the story. Once into it, I can pretty much write anywhere. My preference is to write mid-afternoon to the wee hours of the morning, of course taking a dinner break. I write mostly in the attic, which has become my studio and is very large and comfy. The only goals I set are to try and get school work out of the way the first three days of the week, and then concentrate on my novel and blogs the other four days.
9. How do you feel about outlines? Are you for or against them?
I suppose you could call my huge board of details and visuals my outline.
10. What is your favorite book genre?
My favorite book genre to read are psychological thrillers. I prefer to write what I listed above for specific reasons. I would love to write psychological thrillers, but not sure I’m capable of it. A few people commented my book could be that, but I don’t think so.
11. What are you currently reading?
I’m currently reading a manuscript of a political thriller by a Twitter buddy who sent it to me to read before it comes out on Amazon. Next, I can’t wait to read ‘Walking Over Eggshells’ by Lucinda Clarke on Amazon. My favorite writer in suspense/mystery/crime is Lisa Jackson, and my favorite crime blogs are Sue Colletta and Garry Rodgers.
12. What is your favorite book?
Although I was very impressed with Truman Capote’s famous book In Cold Blood, my favorite book of thousands I’ve read in my lifetime is The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Of course, it is a romance story and the destruction of the American Dream, but the contrasts he describes in detail and the decay, his use of color and symbols throughout the work are most impressive. The Valley of Ashes representing the poor and the constant attention to detail that most miss just in their daily lives. I can’t say enough about this author or the book. I rarely read a book more than once. I read this three times.
13. Any project in the works?
As I indicated earlier, I am doing a sequel to Web of Destruction. I’m working on the third scene now.
14. How long does it usually take you to write a book?
It took me about ten to eleven months to write this book. I edited it over and over, as well as having others read it. It sat for many months, and I would again edit it or change some things I felt might be better. I wanted to self-publish, but didn’t have the time to do it all myself because of school, so after many hours of looking into businesses that helped self-publish a book, I chose Writer’s Relief. I was familiar with them, having won a contest of $300 worth of books for something little I wrote in response to a prompt. They were wonderful and I will use them again to help me publish.
15. In your opinion, what makes a story ‘good’?
For me, the beginning of one’s story is very important. It has to draw the reader in immediately these days. Years ago, one could write tons of beautiful description about the scenery, the weather, and slowly introduce the characters. Today the world is moving so fast, everyone is busy, so we have to get the reader excited from the beginning. From there, if it is a suspense or drama novel, it helps to end each chapter with some kind of intense cliffhanger, so the reader will keep reading. I have a lot of foreshadowing in my book (which, to me, is sort of like a hint of what’s to come).
16. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Read what you love and what you would like to write. Take as many creative writing courses as you can, unless you are going to school just for writing. That will be included. Keep journals of your thoughts, events, anything pertaining to what you love to read. Keep a jar or box where you put snippets of paper with plots, characters, ideas to give your brain a rest—put anything to do with writing into it. And never give up your dreams. It is never too late to fulfill them.
And now for a game of “Which Do/Would You Prefer?”
1. Books or movies?
2. Dogs or cats?
It’s a tie
3. Summer or winter?
4. Cake or ice-cream?
Ice Cream always
5. Car or motorcycle?
6. Ebook or physical book?
Ebook is convenient, but love the feel and smell of print books
7. Nights out or nights in?
Night in. I’m basically a loner since I left the corporate world
8. Living in the city or living in the country?
Country (grew up in the city)
9. Having telepathy or having telekinesis?
Telepathy, which I’ve been told I have
10. Being able to travel to the past or being able to travel to the future?
Future. I try not to look back unless I need something for one of my books
11. Making a phone call or sending a text?
Sending a text. I detest the phone
12. Travelling by car or travelling by airplane?
Car. I’ve never been in an airplane
13. Staying in a hotel or going camping?
Definitely hotel. Had bad experience camping
14. Working in a group or working alone?
If it is writing or painting–alone for sure
15. Losing all of your money or losing every picture you’ve ever taken and every picture that has ever been taken of you?
Losing money. It can always be replaced. Photos cannot