Writing is breathing for author Jolene Stockman

Jolene Quicke (Jolene Stockman) and Paule Quicke
Jolene Quicke (Jolene Stockman) and Paule Quicke

Growing up Jolene Stockman was described as quiet, shy and super intelligent.

These days she has to stop talking because she just can’t breathe as her words rush out in a torrent of intellectual advice after being dammed for many years.

Husband Paul Quicke and their children Quilliam (5) and Luxton (2) are her support crew.

The children’s unique names had much research and thought go into them as one of her books.

“We were told we’d probably never have kids.  Then we have gone on to have two.  Quilliam is named after quill as in a pen for me as a writer.

“Luxton is named after lux as in light as Paul is an electrician and works with light.”

She has worked hard to discover how to turn her passion for writing to work for her.  Her latest venture is working with her husband Paul Quicke operating the Taranaki franchise of Giggle TV. This is an advertising concept where companies advertise through TV commercials played on TV screens within businesses.

Looking back Jolene now realises just how far she has already come.  At 17 she decided to take tackle her fear of public speaking joined Toastmasters.  Within 10 years she was the youngest to be awarded the Distinguished Toastmaster Award which is proudly displayed in her New Plymouth home.

“Toastmasters was my university.  It introduced me to inspiring local people and unlocked so many possibilities.  Achieving their highest award is such an honour.”

She is also a Master of Neuro Linguistic Programming and is now a confident, excited, extremely talkative public speaker, wife, mother and world recognised author.

At 36 years old Jolene is author of three books Total Blueprint for World Domination (2011) The Jelly Bean Crisis (2012), and Be more you. Jawbreaker – Unlock the Universe (2013) with thousands of copies sold worldwide.

“A Dictaphone was one of the first things I ever bought as a kid because I knew I wanted to be a journalist.  I was always going to be a journalist.  Then I bought a video camera and went down that path.  It is still story telling just a different format.”

“You have to make people want to read the next sentence, then turn the page, then move to the next chapter.  I like to write fast and they are quick reads.  I don’t like to muck around and waste people’s time.  I just want to tell people what I know quickly.”

Jolene always knew that she would write a book but thought it was something she would do when she was old.  One day she suddenly thought ‘Hang on why do I have to be a grownup I kind of already know how this starts’.

To get the phone call that her book was to be published changed how she felt about life.  Thinking just to be published would be enough Jolene quickly discovered it was about being true to herself and her dream and made a tremendous decision to turn the book offer at the last minute.

“Suddenly it was simple.  This was my fingerprint on the world.  If this is the only book I ever write it is my mark on the world.

“If it’s going out there and I am going to stand in front of shelves of books holding the cover it has to be mine all the way through and come from somewhere special.

“This book feels special to me, it feels like I want to make a difference.  I can’t have the cover or the images not reflect the words.  It has to have integrity all the way through and I felt that it didn’t.”

“If this was the only book that I was going to put out I would rather that it didn’t get published and it came out not the way it was supposed to be.  I knew what felt right and I had to trust that.”

Her trust paid off and the results now speak for themselves as her second and third books have been published with more waiting to be written.

One of her mottos on life is “If you have the passion you can create.”

She recommends that you pick the thing you are most excited about and write about that.  Also she readily admits to taking things from real life as she gets little ideas and builds on them.

Jolene believes that you are never the “right age” to start writing so just do it today.

“People are full of stories their whole life.  If you can’t write or spell it doesn’t mean you can’t tell stories.”

How do you tell your story? Which of these three groups do you fit into to?

The storytellers  – Show don’t tell.  Use your senses and take your time.  Bring the reader into your word.

The Grillers – Journalism, technical writing, script writing, social media, public relations.  Get clear!  Know exactly who you are pitching to, what they are looking for and their requirements.  Get better! Listen carefully, weigh up opinions and use feedback to improve.

The Wordsmiths – What to write? Write about things that excite you.  Write about people, stories and ideas that you want to read.

All writers need to know:-

– What do you like to write? Fiction / Non Fiction

– When is the best time for you to write?

– How do you like to write? Computer / pen and paper

– Are you a ploster? (planning it out in advance or a pantster? ( making it up as you go)

– What motivates you?  How will you go from idea to finished work?

– What books are currently popular in your genre?

Some advice she always offers is never start your story with the weather.  ‘It was a sunny day in New Plymouth.’  She always starts her story in the middle and builds her characters from there.  The story is then built around her characters.

There is something inside of Jolene that demands she writes.  She goes into a zone and feels the story grow.

“It’s not something that I choose.  It is something that must be done.  I have never tried fighting it but writing for me is like you have to breathe, you have to drink, I have to write.  If I didn’t write I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t breathe, it makes everything else in life possible.”

Jolene Stockman passing on her knowledge to the next generation of writers.
Jolene Stockman passing on her knowledge to the next generation of writers.

As with her books Jolene excels at sharing her knowledge with others.  Today she is speaking to a group of gifted children from the Taranaki Explorers whose passion is writing.  This is the second time the course has been offered and just like last time the room is full and the organisers have a waiting list of budding authors.

“What you see is what you get.  I am not here to teach them, more like what can I pass onto them?

“I might only have this tiny piece that is of any good to them.  If we can squeeze that out and share it then we will all go away happy!

“I’m here to encourage them to continue and I just know that it is going to make a difference.”

The children burst into laughter and relax quickly as adult Jolene quickly shows her childish side.  She opens with …

“The grown-ups are not in charge.  They don’t have all the power.  Kids have the all the power, you can do anything!”

Speaking very quickly and excitedly the children easily relate to her.  Being in a group of like-minded people super intelligent children they quickly show their confidence and stand in front of the group to share their writing.

Instantly questions pour from Jolene as she gets pulled into the individual stories.  The ideas are so spectacular you immediately want to know way more!

Taranaki Gifted Community Trust chairperson Katja Eager explained their mission is “To be a community of people that holistically nurtures gifted children and their whanau so they grow to be well balanced adults empowered by their potential.”

“My daughter is eight and is a really keen writer.  I wanted to show her a role model, someone who did this for a job and probably started out something similar to her right now and I thought Jolene is perfect.”

Katja discovered there were many children in the region struggling with their learning even though they were bright.  She learnt that a lot of them played down their intelligence at school by misbehaving, being disruptive or would just dumb down completely to fit in.

“I started a parent support group in New Plymouth with two other families with gifted children.  We get together regularly and do stuff for children like this.  Sometimes we have guest speakers who talk to us on the subject of giftedness like Jolene today.   Now it is a network of families who do the same journey.

“If it feels fun to write you will keep writing” – Jolene Stockman

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