I would rather be considered smart, than pretty. I was never one of the popular girls in school, blonde, athletic, with bright toothy smiles. I wasn’t a cootie kid either. I was odd, brown skinned, a fly in the cream of social acceptability in my California girls’ finishing school. But I had a secret, I knew that I was just like Peter Pan, a girl who didn’t want to grow up to be a man. I’d only ever seen Mary Martin play Peter. It was my special secret, knowing that, made me magical, even though it might not have been obvious to others.
Nicole Quinn, a WGAE member, has written scripts for HBO, Showtime, and network television. Her feature film, RACING DAYLIGHT, (starring Academy Award winner Melissa Leo and Emmy winner David Strathairn), is streaming everywhere. Her plays are published by Playscripts, Inc. In 2011 she won the Harper Audio contest to read on Neil Gaiman’s 10th anniversary full cast audiobook American Gods. She has several audiobooks to her credit.
Q. Where are you from? Does the area you live in influence you writing?
Disbelief, book two of The Gold Stone Girl trilogy is out on Kindle, 2/1, and in paperback and audiobook the week after.
I began writing in earnest when my daughter, now 28 (gulp), was two. I’d been an actor, of color, on the road since I left college, playing ingenues in Shakespeare and the Greeks, and auditioning for hookers and token lawyers for tv and film. Suddenly I was hip deep in diapers and leaking breast milk. I needed a creative outlet I could carry with me. I’d said a lot of bad lines, and some very good ones, and I also knew that women, and specifically women of color, on the screens, were two dimensional, stereotypic of females who had nothing to do with my reality. I figured I could do better. So I wrote my first screenplay, then I wrote another, and another, you get the idea. I’ve been a WGA writer since 1993.
Too many, so many! Shakespeare, Marlowe, Jane Austen, JK Rowling, AS Byatt, JRR Tolkien, JM Barrie, JM Coetzee, obviously, people with initials, and I have a preference for the letter J.
I was looking for a someone to take this hero’s journey with me. I didn’t want to go all on my own. I wanted her to be female, and not white. Mina is who arrived, she fleshes herself out daily. I can’t explain it, and sometimes I feel awkward for stating it, but it’s true, my characters create themselves. I’m just here as a conduit to push the keys, the pen. I often sit down at my desk with a plan all mapped out in my head. Hours later, I’m miles away from where I thought I’d be, and the journey has taken me where I needed to go.
It’s powerful to be able to say whatever you want, without it ever having to be wrong. My world, my rules. It’s powerful. I don’t have to ask for permission to do it. If I’m not brave enough to confront something in my own life, often my characters are able to. There’s catharsis in that.
I learned that our world, and we its mega fauna, are not thoughtful, as a whole, and that it’s time for us to change that.
I think they like knowing what’s knocking around inside my head, when my eyes get all glassy and they know that I’m a million years away. My husband, and both of my children, son and daughter, are feminists, believers in fundamental human rights. So I think what I write speaks to them.
Don’t censor your thoughts, let you imaginations go wild. Don’t write for the marketplace, tell good stories, with characters who grow and change and forgive and… Stories that have meaning often endure longer than the ones that are just about shoe leather, (running/the chase scenes).
Rupetta, by Nike Sulway
Website – http://itsanightmare.blogspot.com/
Facebook Fanpage – https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-GOLD-STONE-GIRL/1437782523133544
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