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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

V.V.B.C. Star of Flint by Jill Entrekin

Vicarious Virtual Book Club
Star of Flint
by Jill Entrekin

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General Review of Jill Entrekin's Book and Writing Process--No Book Spoilers! 

Fifteen Sisterchicks, and one visitor, had the honor of meeting Jill Entrekin, author of this month's book: Star of Flint. Jill grew up in neighboring Thomaston, GA, and is fairly recently retired from teaching English for 30 years in Clayton and Fayette Counties.

Jill attended West Georgia College, where she met Dana, the love of her life. Dana is Jill's "technical advisor" on guy things, like football and popping the clutch to start old Studebakers. One of Jill's favorite parts of editing is when Dana offers suggestions on each finished chapter, which she reads aloud to him, while sipping wine on their back porch. 

Jill's book has been a true family affair, with both of her daughters helping edit and market Star of Flint. This story from Fayette Woman magazine, gives excellent background and more details about Jill and the book. 

Taking inspiration from her background, and training from her newspaper editor/publisher father, Jill's presentation gave us her "who, what, when, where, and why" history of Star of Flint. Jill's responses to the Sisterchick's questions added more insight about the story and her writing process. 

Mowing the lawn, and walking her boxers along Peachtree City's 90+ miles of golf cart paths help stimulate Jill's creativity. Jill writes in her head, then, afterward, goes to her computer and inputs her stories with a vengeance. When she is writing, Jill loses herself in the story. If she needs to go anywhere, she has to set a timer. She said she was almost late to book club tonight, because she didn't want to stop writing! When Jill comes to a standstill, she said she prays for guidance, and it always comes. 

Jill said that she writes a chapter, then hones it for a day or two, then moves on. She doesn't have a real "plan" for writing, she just does what works for her, and occasionally will go back and revisit and re-edit several chapters at a time. Editing Star of Flint down from 160,000 words to 112,000 was akin to cutting body parts off of her baby. Jill said she wrote the foreword and epilogue after the story, but she knew the ending of the story from the beginning. 

The Sisterchicks enjoyed Jill's use of nostalgic products, foods, and activities in her book. Clove gum, Heaven Sent and Brut colognes, and Dippity Do are a few of the featured products that come to mind. Star of Flint is an easy and engaging read that evokes fond memories of life from the 50's to the 70's, with the story culminating close to the present. 
Jill Entrekin with a decorated can for a Christmas Gift, which Jill made for her Daddy.
An essay about the gift was the impetus for Star of Flint.  
 Jill assured us that Star of Flint's characters are not real people, but are compilations of real people, even though someone in her hometown has assembled a list of exactly who she says the characters really are! Jill shared memories and stories about some of the townspeople and family members whose history and quirks are captured in her book.  

According to Jill, when you're writing fiction, you're free to choose what bits of history you want to use, and what you want the outcome to be. Although she shares some details about her characters, Jill won't disclose exactly which part's of her book are based on fact. Jill prefers to leave it to her readers' to decide. 

Jill handled the delicate subjects of race relations and homosexuality with tenderness, sensitivity, and finesse. Other delicate issues were also realistically handled.

Jill said that writing the book was like having a baby. The observation was made that must mean it was like her being pregnant for two-and-a-half years, and she said, "Exactly!" Publishing the book, which she said was even harder, took another two-and-a-half years. Jill ended up using local publisher David Anders. who was her physician, turned publisher!

Jill was wearing a star necklace with matching earrings, which were a gift from her husband. Be sure to look for all the ways Jill weaves stars throughout her story. Our group missed some of that symbolism!
"Roses are red, Daisies are Yellow, In years I'll be wed, Until then you're my Fellow"
Valentine Jill made for her Daddy, which inspired a scene in Star of Flint. 
Jill was delightfully entertaining. Her personality and Southern accent were charming. She was so cute telling us about her surprise upon realizing that her book was being published digitally in "every language there is." 
Jill Entrekin, center front in pink sweater, with a number of the Sisterchicks!
Video of Jill Entrekin sharing with the book club about showing her mother an article in their hometown newspaper featuring Star of Flint

Jill signed books and chatted with members after our meeting. The Sisterchicks will be looking forward to Jill's new book, Buck's Junction, due out in 2013! She promised to come back to another book club meeting when it's published!

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