The prolific triple-threat (writer, editor, and publisher!) Jodi Lee ekes a few moments out of her busy schedule to share some memories, and insights as to how her strangely sweet story, “Bruce Too,” came about.
They struggled for a few moments, and she began to weaken. He pushed her against the bottom of the boat, the force slamming her head hard enough she saw stars, and the mouthpiece flew out from between her teeth. – “Bruce Too” by Jodi Lee
* What inspired your piece in The Refossiling?
JL: My inspiration came from a combination of things. I’d been working with some prompts through NaNoWriYe, and at the same time the call for submissions to The Refossiling came out, so the timing was perfect. Can’t forget to add Jurassic Park, too… I mean, I know the science is shaky and whatever, who cares – DINOSAURS! And not just any old dinos, either, there is a Bruce in the movie. Although technically Bruce and his watery pals are marine reptiles.
Yes, I worked in a museum (feel free to holler NNNNNERRRRRRD at any time). The original Bruce was also discovered only a mile or so from where I grew up; our area actually is a fossil rich pre-historic lake bed.
Professor Brown is sort of based on a close family friend, who is on the board of the museum here, and is like a fossil whisperer or something. He goes for walks, finds a pliosaur, or a juvenile mosasaur, or a hesperornis, or a xiphactinus. Seriously. The man is a magnet.
* Favorite / least favorite ___________ and why?
A. extinct or prehistoric lifeform / B. dinosaur-themed entertainment / C. aquatic-themed entertainment / D. undersea or freshwater critter / E. vacation destination / F. time travel destination / G. seafood dish or delicacy
A. Of course my fave extinct prehistoric anything is the Tylosaurus pembinensis, one of the largest Mosasaur species. Specifically, the original Bruce – 43 feet long and teeth the length of my hand… I’ve stood inside the replica of his skull. Er, don’t tell my old boss that.
B. The museum, either here or in the city. So many fossils! Also, I have done digs, hope to do those again, too.
C. The Abyss movie, from ’89. That water thing with the face and the stuff and Ed Harris… perfect.
E. At home, with a good book or movie.
F. As you’ll see below, T.A.R.D.I.S. to Highclere castle, about three years ago. Or whenever, really. Love that place.
G. I dunno if it really counts, but to me, old fashioned beer battered fish and chips, done like in the UK. Usually I prefer Sole, but any white fish will do.
* Where can readers and fans find more of your work?
JL: My website is literally loaded down with stuff, from bibliography listings to free reads to whinging blog posts and recipes and writing stuff… it’s all there. http://www.jodilee.ca
* Share your best, or worst, body-of-water-related memory/experience!
JL: My mom sent me to my uncle’s for two weeks every summer for swimming lessons, until I was 13. That year, she sent me to the local lake. Part of the level I was at was swimming across the lake and back. I got half-way out and realized that this was not like in the pool and omg there were giant fish with big teeth down there and holy Christ what if Jaws was real and in the lake and did they get that drowned kid out of there or is he gonna reach up and drag me under too???
Yeah, they’d gotten the kid out, and Jaws might be real but mid-central North America is NOT where he’d be… but a week later someone pulled a 42” Northern Pike out of the water. That might not be big for some places, but Lake Minnewasta is man-made and not that deep, so it was the biggest anyone had caught there (that my Gramps knew of, anyway). You ever see the teeth on a Pike? Yeah, take my 13 year old foot off if it wanted too…. Needless to say, I learned to swim fast.
* Who are your main creative influences, literary/artistic or otherwise?
JL: If I’m to be entirely honest, my grandmother. She was very creative, even if people didn’t think she was. You HAVE to be creative to stretch meals meant for two people to go to four or five, and you HAVE to be creative to make a hand-me-down look like something entirely different and brand new. You HAVE to be creative to come up with new designs for knitting patterns, and home décor. She didn’t write fiction – to my knowledge – but she was brilliant with letters and cards and stuff. She encouraged that creativity in all of her grandkids as well.
* Current ________ and why?
A. cause / B. obsession / C. fandom / D. crush / E. music / F. craving / G. peeve
A & B. WriYe, not really a cause I suppose, and definitely an obsession, but anything that gets writers together and writing, critiquing and having fun is a good thing in my book.
C & D. 1/2 Doctor Who and Matt Smith, 1/2 Downton Abbey and Brendan Coyle. I’d like to take the T.A.R.D.I.S. to Highclere and watch them film… lol.
E. Right now it’s classical-ish, ambient soft stuff that is designed to focus your mind. It does work, believe it or not. I get a lot done and time flies!
F. Lasagna, with homemade ricotta cheese, because I just did that a couple weeks ago and it was fabulous, and now I want to do it again.
G. The real estate locally. No one is interested in anything for MONTHS, and then every house we either put an offer on or want to make an offer, someone’s beat us to it. Frustrating, and it’s leaving the over-priced crap behind. Seriously, is there a sign on my forehead that says “OUT BID ME” or whatever?
* What’re you working on, what is your process/routine like?
JL: Right now, I’m working on edits for another Galleys Between novella (hopefully to release in February) and working on my novel from NaNoWriMo. I may have won (hit 50k early on) but the story was no where near finished. I figure I should have it done by the end of February.
Generally I write in the early early morning until the kid is up and doing what Carries do in the morning (either get ready for work or watch Youtube and check Reddit when its off-season), then edit or do Belfire-related stuff ‘til noon. If things go well, I can usually grab another hour or so in the evening. It’s pretty easy to get into either of the Galleys Between or New Bedlam worlds, and I’m usually able to pick up where I left off with no problems. Unfortunately, I can’t stay in one character’s head for long, so I tend to do some hopping about (making sure to change up properly first though!).
I have a harder time getting out of those worlds. I bring them with me, or they bring me to them, when I’m sleeping. That’s where I get a lot of my convoluted, twisty ideas from.
* What’s the weirdest object you own? Backstory!
JL: The knob to a 50s or 60s old fashioned heater. I was working on something that reminded me of my Gramps one night, and I got a bit weepy, and the knob dropped onto the desk beside me. Scared the jibbers out of me, and I jumped right out of my chair. Yeah, you non-believers can go ahead and chortle, but I know where the knob came from (and it was NOT from here!), and when. It was my Gramps saying hi. They had three or four of those heaters in their old house, and I used to get in trouble for pulling the knobs off, because FIRE HAZARD!
I think the second weirdest thing I own is the trunk/door key to my Gramps’ old Ford Gran Torino. That car saw more teenage hijinks than most cars should, especially when they’re owned by an elderly man. Once a weekend, he’d give in to the begging and pleading, hand me five dollars for gas (quarter tank back then!) and send me on my way. That was a great summer, and for a couple of years after I’d borrow it when absolutely necessary. The car was sold to the junker not long after my oldest daughter was born, and the following spring the Fire Department used it to practice the Jaws of Life on. When we drove past it, I burst into tears.
Weird, yeah. But those two things are pretty darn precious to me.
* Most useless advice you’ve ever seriously given or been given?
JL: “Lose weight and the pain will go away.” That’s funny, see, ‘cause the pain was there before the weight, and is one reason why I’ve gained so much. I’ve felt like there was glass in my joints since I was nine years old, and I was pretty much normal weight then.
* What kind of question do you always wish these questionnaires would ask, and how would you answer it?
Because I said so, that’s why.