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Meet Availia's Vision

Updated on November 20, 2014
Source

Who is Availia?

Availia is a Bay Area writer and adventurer. It is a name I created, and to me, the name derives from the verb "to avail." Had I known that the name can never be changed, in hindsight, I would have gone with J. Arnett or maybe just Availia.

Source

What About Availia's Vision?

Well, as a new hubber, I didn't realize that you could use spaces in your name, so it came off as a mosh pit of letters that I am stuck with—forever. My vision, as "Availia the Conquerer," was that I wanted to be able to write full-time, from anywhere with a wi-fi connection.

I had just read a book, where the main character dumped everything about her mousy existence, and became someone else—a better version of herself. To me, Availia is the part of myself that is brave, courageous, and dives in with both feet.

Who Are You Really?

Availia, is really Bay Area writer Jennifer Arnett. Speaking in third person, she is a contemporary fiction writer, screenwriter, and journalist. She has lived an interesting and well traveled life and her fiction reflects those experiences. Her stories are unique and deal with places and subject matter that are often overlooked.

Ok, back to first person.

What work are you most proud of?

In terms of writing, I wrote a short story called, Into Her Chambers. It was about a man who has everything going for him in life—the house, the job, the boat, the wife, and a son he absolutely adores. His son passes away and his life slowly unravels. He diverts all of his energy into finding a legendary shipwreck, but is unprepared for what he actually finds. The story is about temptation and how grief can take many different faces.

I'm not your typical writer--I don't like cats

...but I do have a little yellow bird.
...but I do have a little yellow bird. | Source

What are You Working on Now?

I am working on a spy thriller with the working title of The Takeover. The story is about a CIA analyst, Clint Kelley, who is on vacation in Hawaii when his family is killed in a helicopter accident. He diverges all of his efforts into finding out what happened to them. In process, he comes across Soviet submarines and a plot that will change the free world forever.

Why write in the thriller genre?

It suits my writing style the best. I am a very visual person, and this might sound strange, but I watch a movie of the story in my head, then write down what I see. It's usually an edited story, with multiple shots and viewpoints—even cinematography.

Thrillers aren't prized for their beautiful and poetic prose—they are more action based—very "show, don't tell." Character's actions can be just as telling, if not more so, than words or prose.

That is a very interesting writing style. Can you explain further about how you craft a story?

I first need an image, an idea, a question, or a premise. What happens if the Russians resurrect the Soviet Empire? What happens if the President is assassinated? What is it like to live off-grid in Alaska? I'm naturally a very curious person and enjoy entertaining myself with questions.

Then I think out a basic plot structure and figure out what the character wants and what drives him.. It's usually a very simple here's a premise, here's a conflict, and here's a resolution I'm aiming at. Then I pull the trigger and go for it.

I come from an acting background and apply the same intensity to my writing as I did for method acting. What's wonderfully brilliant about writing is that it allows me to play all of the characters—to get inside their heads—instead of just one.

Then I stare at the blank screen until the movie starts rolling and I start writing. I've had many of my readers tell me they enjoyed my writing because it's very visual.

A commercial for a certain food company.  Yes, I'm a zombie. Did you say there's something on my face?
A commercial for a certain food company. Yes, I'm a zombie. Did you say there's something on my face? | Source

What background do you have in film?

I wanted to be an actress when I grew up—and in some ways that desire is still there. I love telling stories, and acting and writing are really two facets of the same thing.

I originally went to Long Beach State to pursue a degree in Film Production, but ended up landing on Creative Writing. Sophomore year, I took a short story class, and that changed my academic direction. I realized that under the guise of getting an English degree, I could still take film classes that counted towards my major.

I took several film courses, and was invited to do a one on one screenwriting course with Tom Towler (Jag, The Riverman), where the purpose of the class was to walk away with a working script. My script, The Dark Horse, got some attention in the film industry, but I realized that I wasn't ready to take on the Hollywood Beast quite yet. Rarely can you work in the industry, and not sell at least part of your soul.

From the distance of the Bay Area, I have let the work come to me and have participated in a couple of projects. I acted in an un-aired commercial and wrote Unfamiliar Grounds (2014), an independent film that is making its way through the festival circuits as we speak.

My favorite activity--backpacking.
My favorite activity--backpacking. | Source
Goofing off while modeling for a hair salon.
Goofing off while modeling for a hair salon. | Source

What's something you've never told anyone?

I'm insecure about my high pitched voice and think that I should have been born in the UK. English accents are so much more soothing to my ears. When I speak with a British accent, it lowers the register of my voice, and it feels so much more natural than the California accent.

You spoke earlier about the connection between your lifestyle and the stories you write. Can you elaborate on that?

Stories are everywhere. There are zillions of interesting characters everywhere you look. They are at the grocery store, they can be found at the bowling alley, or at a youth hostel on the other side of the world.

Robert Ludlum is known for having his characters globe trot and introducing exotic locales. I once read in an interview, that he never wrote about a place he hadn't been. Everywhere he went, became a location to use in his next story.

I see what he means. It's harder to write honestly about a place you've never been, or something you've never experienced. For it to be fiction, it can't be all true, but you can write from a place of truth.

I try to method write with every locale and experience. I live a very adventurous life and that transfers into my work, even subconsciously. I've drawn on my experiences wreck diving, working at an orphanage in Mexico, following a cult through the forest, building a school in Alaska, and looking for ghost towns in the desert.

I love high adventure and have done tons of hiking, backpacking, mountaineering, ice-climbing, rock climbing, and international travelling. I studied at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, and backpacked Europe twice. All of those experiences have given me tons of material to write about.

What are your strengths as a writer?

I'm an INFJ or INFP, depending upon the mood I'm in, which makes the career choices I've made make sense. As INF's we are known for being highly intuitive, almost to a psychic level. I'm very observant of people and see things in them they often don't see in themselves. That ability to see through people's facades helps in the creation of authentic characters.

Challenging Questions

In the film version of your autobiography, who would you like to play yourself?

I would want Jennifer Lawrence to play myself. I like her almost anti-Hollywood-hype personality. I used to joke around that I would show up to the Oscars in a muddy Jeep and a dress from the discount rack at Macy's. It was an elaborate plan—I was going to buy a plain dress then sew on my own sequins and mystify everyone on "who I'm wearing."

What quality or talent do you wish you could cultivate?

I wish I could live more in the present. I know that it's something that needs to be cultivated and you have to be intentional about it. There is a part of me that has never felt settled—there is a restlessness that always keeps me looking towards the next best thing.

Can someone please get me this for Christmas!

Who is your favorite fictional character?

I'm torn between Jack Bauer and Michael Westen. Both characters are mutli-dimensional and have a hard exterior, but a soft interior. What drives them is really interesting. On the surface they are looking for patriotism or revenge, but what they really want is to be close to the ones they love—something they can never have. They are both tragic characters, perpetually fighting for the common good at a personal expense.

If you could have the career of any author, who would it be?

Robert Ludlum. He is a master at the spy thriller. His stories are better than reading a history book. He must have government insiders because his work is so realistic.

What inspires you?

Adventure. There is something about the open road, a high mountaintop, or an endless ocean that awakens something inside of me. I need a certain element of adventure in my life to stay focused and content.

When did you first realize you were a writer?

Sophomore year of college, on my way to studying film production, I changed to creative writing. I took several short story and novel writing courses and that set me on my current journey.

After graduation, I was so burned out, having written thousands of pages over 4 years, that I put down my pen for three years. I literally couldn't open a book for several months. In 2012, I joined Hubpages and the writer inside came back alive. I hope that at 70, I will still be penning wild and crazy stories for my readers.

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    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 2 years ago from California

      Thanks Mel! Yes, it's always fun to meet neighbors.

    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 2 years ago from California

      Shyron, I hope you join in.

    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 2 years ago from California

      Thanks Rolly! I appreciate the encouragement.

    • MelRootsNWrites profile image

      Melody Lassalle 2 years ago from California

      I haven't decided yet if I will take the challenge, but I have enjoyed yours and all the others who have participated. Nice to meet you through your interview and to meet another Californian!

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago from Texas

      Availiasvision, thank you for creating this self interview. I plan to join your challenge but it will have to wait for a time.

      I enjoyed reading about you and your adventurous life.

      Voted up across the board and shared.

      Blessings

      Shyron

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 2 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Availiasvision...

      Smiles to getting caught with the name which can never be changed... terrible thing they do to us, but in your case I love it... good choice.

      This has been a wonderful look at you the person and you the writer, thank you for sharing from the heart...

      Hugs and Blessings from the Fireside in Canada

    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 2 years ago from California

      Motherofnations,

      Thanks for stopping by to read my interview; I'm glad you enjoyed it. It's funny how so many people didn't understand the Hubpages name thing. I'm glad that they have changed it so that our real name can appear next to it.

    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 2 years ago from California

      Thanks Shanmarie, I'm glad that you decided to join in.

    • mothersofnations profile image

      Mothers of Nations 2 years ago

      Very interesting! I love learning about others. The following statement stands out to me most from your self-interview:

      "I'm very observant of people and see things in them they often don't see in themselves. That ability to see through people's facades helps in the creation of authentic characters."

      A quality rarely found but important and very useful. It's been nice "meeting" you here today and I look forward to reading more. God bless you*

      P.S. Obviously, I too fell into the misunderstanding about creating your name on Hubpages lol I wasn't aware I could use spaces nor did I know the name would stay the same forever, otherwise I would've separated the words. Hopefully this is something they will change in the future!

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon 2 years ago from Texas

      How very nice to meet you! I read some of the responses to your challenge so I had to come find it for myself and see what it was about. I did it and now here I am to read all about you. I love interviewing people and reading the responses has been a delight. I hope to get to know you better!

    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 2 years ago from California

      Thanks Dr. Bill. It's been fun.

    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 2 years ago from California

      Thanks Jo, your comment brought me joy during a very hard week. You have a beautiful gift of encouragement.

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image

      William Leverne Smith 2 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Jen, thanks so much for getting this series of Self-Interviews started! Since I live in the Ozarks, I've been following Jennifer Lawrence since early in the Winter's Bone production. A great choice. I'd love to see your movie! ;-)

    • YouGet1Shot profile image

      Chris Desatoff 2 years ago from USA

      Very fun. The CIA/spy stuff sounds interesting. I used to love reading Tom Clancy and Robert Ludlum when I was a teenager. One of my favorite genres.

    • Jo_Goldsmith11 profile image

      Jo_Goldsmith11 2 years ago

      wow! Really nice to meet you. What an interesting and charming person you are. Thank you so much for sharing your honesty, your experiences and for being *real*. You are too classy for the beast(s) of Hollywood.

      You are a true Star that shines brighter than any hollywood starlet. :-)

      Up, shared and voted across the board.

      Blessings & Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 2 years ago from California

      Thanks Marie.

    • Marie Flint profile image

      Marie Flint 2 years ago from Jacksonville, Florida USA

      Very upbeat and progressive.

      I had tried in my younger years to write in the mystery genre, but just didn't cut it. You are blessed to have a niche.

      Voted Up and Awesome.

    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 2 years ago from California

      I think that the Bourne series is one of the best thrillers ever. For me, it has been a lesson in building an antagonist.

    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 2 years ago from California

      Thanks Ms. Lizzy, I feel you on the little critter thing. I once had a raccoon unzip my 2-man tent and attempt a sleepover. My arms were all cocooned in my sleeping bag, so I couldn't even swat at it. Let's just say that I didn't get much sleep that night. Ya, I'm right down the hill from you. Western Canada is gorgeous. I found Victoria to be very European looking.

    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 2 years ago from California

      Thanks Faith Reaper and Suzette!

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      I love Robert Ludlum, particularly the Bourne series he created, but my favourite is the "Covert One" books with John Smith.

    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 2 years ago from California

      Tobusiness, thanks for reading and enjoying. Yay, another Ludlum fan. Glad to fins others out there. Some in the literature consider them to be cheap paperbacks, but that is the type of story that intrigues me. My English Professors scoffed at me over it.

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 2 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Most interesting, and I love your sense of adventure. I've never gone backpacking, though I would have loved to--but my phobia about meeting up with one of those creatures (featured in my interview's "least favorite word,")--kept me from trying it.

      I've also never had the budget for globe-trotting. I've been out of the country only once; to western Canada.

      Sorry you don't like cats; they are my favorite animal! ;-)

      I look forward to seeing a movie of yours one of these days, and I'll be sure and look up your other stories!

      However, it is interesting to note that we are "neighbors," as I, too, live in the Bay Area.

      Voted up and interesting.

    • Iris Draak profile image

      Cristen Iris 2 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      Thank you, Availia. I'm pleased to hear that you like the graphic; I tweaked it for weeks. I'm happy with it too. Yes, it will be on my blog next Friday. I'm going to edit my post to include a link to this article as an example of another way of going about what I'm encouraging people to do. I'm very excited about it. I'm an INTJ by the way.

      (I'm sorry if you get this twice. HubPages is acting weird and I wasn't sure if it submitted properly.)

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 2 years ago from Taos, NM

      Great interview ! I enjoyed learning more about you . You certainly are leading an interesting and creative life. I like your attitude towards life. Good luck with your independent film at the film festivals. I hope yo see it one day at the theaters.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      Wow, I loved getting to you know much better via your interview! You have certainly lived an interesting life so far and you are so young. You are an inspiration as to living life to the fullest and being true to oneself.

      I am with Ann in not knowing what INFJ means.

      You have set the bar high on these interviews, but all are unique, and so I look forward to the others.

      Up ++++ tweeting, pinning, G+ and sharing

      Beautiful!

    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 2 years ago from California

      Mary, I don't know, I think the part about being born a British Woman was kind of funny. Even small things can turn into big adventures.

    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 2 years ago from California

      Thanks Jodah. I always thought what interviewing people would be a fun gig.

    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 2 years ago from California

      Iris, I'm glad you enjoyed it. I'm very interested in reading your new blog post. Will it be on your writer/professional services blog? I followed the website icon on your profile page. I love your name graphic. Very well done!

    • Iris Draak profile image

      Cristen Iris 2 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      This is wonderful!!! I love this kind of get-to-know-ya thing! I also love it when a person knows exactly who they are and why they do what they do. I just finished writing something for my blog post next week about just this kind of thing! And I want to say that I love it when writers consider their names and create a name with a purpose. Just wonderful, Availia!

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Terrific interview, interesting subject and you just happened to mention two of my favourite contemporary writers. I must have read every one of Robert Ludlum's books. Stephen king got me with Carrie, I started reading the Dome but got caught up in the TV series. This is an excellent challenge, a great way to get to know other writers, it's been a real pleasure.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      Interesting interview and you've had a full life already!

      I don't know what INFJ (or P) is so I'm off to look it up. It's probably something obvious!

      Good challenge which I'll work on.

      Ann

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 2 years ago from New York

      I had to vote all but funny. Not only creative but personally revealing. This is a wonderful look at availiasvision and how she came to be! So many interesting things about you we never would have known. I love this idea and can't wait to read more. Plus I'm a bit jealous of all the wonderful, adventurous things you've done.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      What a wonderful interview...good interviewer and very interesting subject :)

      Well done Jennifer. Good to know all about you. What an interesting life and still a long way to go. Voted up.