"The Lonely Teddy Bear? A story of Ying and Yang" assures the sunny author, Chelsea Radojcic
DISCLAIMER: IF YOU CONTINUE TO READ, READER, REMEMBER THAT THERE ARE VARIOUS SPOILERS IN THIS INTERVIEW. IF YOU DON'T WANT TO RUIN THE SURPRISE, BEFORE TO READ THE INTERVIEW, PLEASE BUY The Lonely Teddy Bear and READ IT!!!
I fall in love for The Lonely Teddy Bear. I had just finished to review the book about the biography of Louisa May Alcott and I found, while I started to read Chelsea Radojcic's tale another great reading. Bucolic world, a great narration, clear, no boring times, captivating.
Substantially there is to say that the element: surprise in this book plays a great role.
It's a book at high emotive impact and you will "feel", profoundly feel the story, trust me.
So, for this reason I contacted the author for asking her something more about the creation of this book.
I discovered a very nice, sunny, young and enthusiastic author, and this one is our Q&A
This interview this time via e-mail.
Where were you born and what kind of studies did you attend?
I was born in Volusia County Florida and attended Allied School College where I studied in the field of Pharmacy. I have no formal training in writing, only practice since childhood.
When did you discover your passion for writing?
I have loved reading and writing books since I was five years old, and I've loved telling stories since I was even younger than that.
I've known since I was five years old that when I grew up I wanted to become a professional writer and share my stories with other people.
I have always wanted to have my books published.
I love writing most all genres, a little bit of everything. I specialize in writing children's stories, although I have only had one children's book published as of yet, Virginia Stars in a School Play.
That book is VERY different from this one.
I am very passionate about poetry and enjoy a good suspenseful thriller. I don't enjoy gory stories however, which is why although some of my story The Lonely Teddy Bear contains graphic plot twists, I did not go into great detail...
I do not have the stomach for graphic descriptions. Not going into too much detail can also be good sometimes because that gives the reader his or hers own imaginations limit to work with.
Your family was a creative one with other writers?
My parents had two children, myself and my younger sister, Isabella. I was born the writer, and Isabella was born the artist.
She is actually my partner in Children's books, she creates my Illustrations. I do not have any other writers in my immediate family, however, my father used to tell me many different stories as a child.
When did you start to write?
I started writing at the age of 5, possibly sooner, but that is the earliest that I clearly remember. I would write stories all the time and staple them together and then put stickers all over the front like a book cover.
I always put the month/date on my work as well as my name next to the words "written by" or "author."
Who are your favorite authors?
Where do I begin?
Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Neil Shusterman, Alice Hoffman, Stephanie Meyers, Edgar Allen Poe, Lois Lowry, James Patterson, William Joyce, Shel Silverstien, Suzanne Collins, Kate DiCamillo, Scott Westerfeld, Barbara Brooks Wallace, and the list goes on and on and on...
Why did you think at the Lonely Teddy Bear as at this peculiar human being?
As crazy as it may seem, this story was originally intended to be a Children's book.
I started it out as a book about a sweet teddy bear who was so sad and lonely in his yellow house and I had intended to make him leave his home in search of adventure.
It was meant to be innocent with good morals and a happy ending.
I actually envisioned the story being along the lines of the sweet tale of The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo.
However, upon reading the opening paragraphs to my husband and best friend, they both thought it would make a great thriller.
I at first said, "NO! This is a supposed to be a sweet book about a teddy bear," but after reading it again, I realized its mad potential to be a brilliant book unlike any other that I have ever read. I wanted this book to catch it's reader by surprise, and to make them think, truly think.
I wanted this book to have depth and just a twist of darkness.
As people, we sometimes tend to have a small craving for that dark twist... and so often in books, the bad guy doesn't get away.
But what if, we made a story about a seemingly charming and charismatic sweet teddy bear who is kind, deep, caring... and then have the reader come to love him... by the end of the story, no matter how crazy and horrible that character may truly be, part of us wants to root for him, part of us wants to see that happily ever after of the two "bad characters."
There was something so satisfying about ending the story on this "happily ever-after" note. Originally, I was going to end the story differently.
I was going to have Janie and Jink die in a fire. Janie would discover the truth about Jink and try to abandon him again, this time of her own initiative, but Jink would not be able to handle losing her again, so he would start a fire, and keep her locked away close to him, so that they could burn together, at last able stay together for always.
I like the way I truly ended the story better though... it leaves you feeling strangely satisfied.
What kind of fascination did you find in Jink and Janie? The power of their love?
The love Jink and Janie share is something that only a good story can truly capture.
Their love is unconditional and unbreakable.
Throughout their entire lives, they never let that love cool or fade.
They were in a way, "one" you could say...
Ying and Yang, never whole without the other piece.
Their lives were lived in a constant state of emptiness without one another.
If you get into the details of their personality types and understand their mental disorders, then it becomes even more impressive that they remain strong and loyal to each other.
Jinks motive for killing are different than Janie's. Jinks is out of care... if you notice throughout the story, Jink only kills people who he connects with on an emotional level. He respects all of the people he kills. This is evident by the way that he treats them.
For example: Amber's Death.
Jink poisons Amber and she dies in her sleep. Once she dies, he neatly tucks her into bed. He is gentle with her. Jinks reasons for killing are complicated. As years pass in the yellow house, something snaps inside his brain. Once that happens, he changes. He had never previously killed before...
Jink kills partially too because he wants for those people to be "at peace."
His reason for killing the baby was because he found it to be so beautiful.
He wanted to capture that beauty, so that it could never be changed.
Also, the baby is symbolic. Just as a child would cling to a teddy bear for comfort, a teddy bear would cling to a child. Which is why the child was then stuffed as a teddy bear would be.
This idea came from my husband, which at first I was quite appalled by, because it is a horrid concept. It truly is terrible if you think about it but it is undeniable poetic in a way.
A very dark way...
Then you have Janie.
She is an entirely different type of killer.
She kills out of vengeance and necessity.
She kills her parents because she is angry that they took her from Jink.
She kills the neighbor boy, simply because she needs an escape route and she knows that if she uses him to fake her murder, then she can truly be free to stay with Jink.
So really, her motives for killing have always been for Jink.
The character building behind The Lonely Teddy Bear had several inspirations; the notorious and charming killer and cannibal Hannibal Lecter created by Thomas Harris- Jink reminds me in many ways of him in his presence, his class and style, his manners, his grace and charisma, his smooth talking and his love for fine things.
Hannibal Lecter too had a woman he loved. Of course his love for her was different and in a more romantic way, but their love too was very unusual and hard to describe. I remember the first time I discovered the story of Hannibal, and of course it was awful but strangely romantic and I was fascinated by the love that he had for Clarice. Another inspiration was from the story of Arsenic and Old Lace, based off of Joseph Kesselring's play which of course was then adapted into the lovable black and white film starring Cary Grant in the 1940's, which is how I first discovered the story. I thought of 'Arsenic and Old Lace' in the scene of Amber.
In a way, Jink too had the same motive and innocence in the killing... he killed as an act of kindness, just as the two sweet old ladies in that story did. He felt such pity for Amber's sad story and past, such understanding to her pain and troubles, that he thought it a kindness to let her rest in peace.
My last inspiration was from Stephen Kings Secret Window/Secret Garden story in which you realize in the end of the story, the main character is a crazed killer who has mentally "snapped" after a traumatic incident prior, which causes him to become schizophrenic.
Of course, Jink is not schizophrenic, but the reader is equally as surprised that the story they were reading has suddenly shifted toward the end, and of course, they both have the satisfying ending of "the bad guy getting away with murder." It can be unsettling in a way, to think they can walk away unscathed, but there is also something fun and dangerous about it too.
Can you please explain to me why the comparison with the teddy bear? I know what it is a teddy bear of course, but I want to know why you choose the teddy bear for describing someone as Jink is.
The teddy bear is a symbol: a symbol of comfort, a symbol of home. As children, particularly as little girls, which is why the connection to Janie as a little girl is so meaningful, we will have a teddy bear or doll that is our favorite.
When we fall down and scrape our knee or when we are feeling sad, that teddy bear or doll is there, waiting to comfort us.
We hold it close and squeeze it tightly as our tears fall down, and something about just holding onto it gives us children a sense of calm.
We feel better, comforted, loved by it.
Sometimes, as children, those connections or attachments to dolls or teddy bears can be very strong. Of course, as adults, we understand a toy could never love us back and we no longer need that comfort of toys and of course we do not have those strong attachments to them either.
In this particular story though, it's interesting because that connection for Janie and Jink never fades as time goes by.
It is possible that because of Janie's young age coupled with the trauma of the war, the trauma of the moving away, and the loss of her beloved teddy bear and best friend all at once has caused something inside Janie to become stuck in time, and she is never able to truly move forward from that moment.
So as years pass by, she remains stuck in that fragile childlike state, in which she has such a strong emotional attachment to Jink that she cannot break it.
That attachment manifests itself into a need, something that she can no longer function or exist without.
According to you, what can move people as these ones to act in such perverse ways? Because in this case we don't speak of killing a person pretty quickly. There is a sort of ritual with body dismembered and put in the garden...
This story is merely fictional, and quite unusual even for a fictional tale.
In reality, I have spent a lot of time studying the mind, things such as psychopaths, schizophrenia, the criminally insane and otherwise.
There are many different reasons. In this story, as mentioned before, their reasons for killing are different.
Janie feels sorry for Jonas, but he has gotten too close to the truth, and nothing is more important to her than Jink. If something gets in the way, it must be removed.
She is clever too, she knows how to cover her tracks.
As far as "dismembering..." the story does say "they began to cut" however, it was vague on purpose, allowing the readers imagination to do the work.
The reasoning behind it, is completely to the readers opinion.
If I hypothetically speaking, were to have a particular symbolism in my own mind behind this, I would keep it secret, because my goal is to entertain and engage my readers... and isn't it most fun when we get to help create the story ourselves? I have always enjoyed reading books that left some work for the reader...
Who was your favorite character of this book?
I really love all of my characters, even the ones who did not last long.
I love Sam's trust and kindness... He is so open minded and generous with other people, even though he himself has been through so many difficult things.
I love Amber, if for no other reason, she is wounded and yet strong and determined to continue going forward.
I would have to say though, that Jink is truly my favorite character, crazy and all. He is so charming and just has a soothing proper way about him. I love his manners, his bow tie, his fondness of chai tea, and his intense love for Janie. He is so loyal to her, and his love is boundless and without limits. He is truly unwavering in loyalty.
When did you decide to write the story of Jink and Janie? Did you read in the past stories like these ones?
I wrote Jink and Janie's story in the dark part of the month of September in 2015. I wrote the entire book in 4 days. I barely slept or ate in those four days. I sat day and night staring at my computer, occasionally getting up for the restroom or to stretch. I then edited tirelessly after the book was complete and assigned others to edit what I had already edited. Then, I had it edited by a professional editor for the final cut.
I can honestly say, I have never heard of or read a story such as the one of Jink and Janie. The closest I can think of, are the three story inspirations I listed above in this interview, but none of them were quite like this story. I give my compliments to the overactive imagination on this one.
I read that the book is having a wonderful success. Did you expect it?
I do not yet have many reviews or sales on 'The Lonely Teddy Bear' as it is still a very new book and I am still a very new Author.
Also, this is a self published book, which can be harder to get the word spread.
However, the feedback I have gotten so far has been a tremendous inspiration and encouragement to my writing.
I am pleasantly surprised at how well it has been received by my readers.
I was very nervous when I posted this book, nervous at how people would see it, and wondered will people enjoy the story?
I went through a brief moment of doubt, just recently.
I felt very discouraged... like perhaps I was not a good writer and should give up, but like always, regardless of whatever doubts I have, I was too stubborn to quit.
Fortunately, that feeling was very brief and soon I was motivated once again.
I definitely do not feel like I am "great," in the eyes of others and am grateful for "decent," because honestly, I write because I love to write, and that is what truly matters, that is what is important.
Chelsea is more than sure of it:
When you LOVE doing something, that is worth your time and effort, it is worth working hard for.
Being determined to not give up and to continue going, despite what other people think, whether good or bad, is very important.
Are you writing another novel?
I am writing two novels right now... thanks to the inspiration I have received from a few very kind words and interested readers.
Surprise, surprise, if you loved The Lonely Teddy Bear maybe the story will continue...
Yes. Two more stories devoted to the re-telling of The Lonely Teddy Bear. These books will be from different perspectives. One from the life of Janie, and one from the life of the detective, Jonas.
Apart writing which other hobbies have you got?
I love photography! Love, Love, Love. And of course, I love reading. I spend a lot of time with 2 my dogs, 2 cats, and my very wonderful and supportive husband. I like being outside, and I love being near the water more than nearly anything else in the world.
Have you never been to Italy? The eBook will be translated here?
I have never been to Italy, but I would love to visit. I am looking into getting my book translated and hoping to make it available in many different places, Italy being one of them.
Anna Maria Polidori