What it Interiority?

Today I welcome Evy Journey back to my blog with another novel, Sugar and Spice and All Those Lies. She visited recently with Welcome Reluctant Stranger, and I'm happy to welcome her return today. She's going to talk about...

The Importance of Being Inner-Directed

By Evy Journey

I once did research to expand and improve the Wikipedia entry on the novel North and South by Victorian writer Elizabeth Gaskell.

Why am I telling you this? Because in my research, I learned from Jill Matus in The Cambridge Companion to Elizabeth Gaskell that Gaskell focused on the “interiority” of her female protagonist, Margaret Hale.

That piqued my interest. I am a big fan of interiority.

All my heroines from Margaret (in a N&S sequel I wrote) to Gina in Sugar and Spice and All Those Lies are high on interiority. They have rich inner lives.

But what’s “interiority”?  You have it; I have it. Some people prefer to ignore it. Some like to wallow in it. I know I do. A few even live inside their heads much of the time. No, they’re not crazy. Not usually, anyway. 

Interiority is your deep, usually guarded inner life. You may not talk about it much although you may engage with it a lot. Among other things, it’s where your secrets are kept. It helps make you self-aware.

Ms. Gaskell shows her heroine’s interiority as she rationalizes her actions to herself and struggles to accept her feelings for the hero whom she initially rejects.  As she does so,  Margaret is refusing to succumb to the brutality of Victorian repression which saw women  as “angels of the house” incapable of rational thought and opinions.

Gina, in Sugar and Spice and All Those Lies mulls over her experiences a lot, assessing what they mean, learning from them.  For instance, she tries to understand why she feels responsible for her friend Cristi’s actions almost to the extent of obsessing about it. She thinks it’s guilt:

Guilt, I think, gets planted more deeply in our guts, our hearts. It endures like embers that keep giving off heat even when you can no longer see them glow.

Gina’s attempts at understanding herself and the world around her is one reason I wrote this novel in a first-person POV (point or view). As she reflects, Gina begins to make more sense of her reactions, of her passion to cook, and eventually, of who she is. She grows. She overcomes expectations by society—and also her mother who lost her desire to dream when her father was murdered—that she can’t rise above the life she was born into.

In this age of information and social media overload, interiority may frustrate modern readers impatient with the inactivity of thinking. Many of us prefer action and excitement.

Thank you Evy. I'm particularly interested in your choice to write in first person - and I've suddenly realized how well that relates to my first-person novel, Infinite Sum. I'd never heard the word Interiority, but it makes sense.

Thank you so much for visiting my blog.

And now, here's a little more information about Evy and her book. Keep reading down the page to enjoy an enticing excerpt.

Evy Journey, SPR (Self Publishing Review) Independent Woman Author awardee, is a writer, a wannabe artist, and a flâneuse who, wishes she lives in Paris where people have perfected the art of aimless roaming. Armed with a Ph.D., she used to research and help develop mental health programs.

She’s a writer because beautiful prose seduces her and existential angst continues to plague her despite such preoccupations having gone out of fashion. She takes occasional refuge by invoking the spirit of Jane Austen to spin tales of love, loss, and finding one’s way—stories into which she weaves mystery or intrigue.

Her latest book is Sugar and Spice and All Those Lies.



Cooking a wonderful meal is an art. An act of love. An act of grace. A gift that affirms and gives life—not only does it nurture those who partake of the meal; it also feeds the soul of the creator. These are lessons Gina learns from her mother, daughter of an unfortunate French chef.

Gina is a young woman born to poor parents, a nobody keen to taste life outside the world she was born into. A world that exposes her to fascinating people gripped by dark motives. Her passion for cooking is all she has to help her navigate it.

She gets lucky when she’s chosen to cook at a Michelin-starred restaurant in the San Francisco Bay Area where customers belong to a privileged class with money to spare for a dinner of inventive dishes costing hundreds of dollars. In this heady, scintillating atmosphere, she meets new friends and new challenges—pastry chef Marcia, filthy rich client Leon, and Brent, a brooding homicide detective. This new world, it turns out, is also one of unexpected danger.

Can the lessons Gina learned from her mother about cooking and life help her survive and thrive in this other world of privilege, pleasure, and menace?

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I’m alive. I’m dead. I’m in-between. In that limbo where my vital signs hover just above death. I rise above my body and look down on it, lying on a gurney. Hospital staff are rushing me along the brightly-lit hallway to the operating room. One of them holds an oxygen mask on my face. Another, a bag of intravenous fluid connected to my veins by a tube.
I’m not ready to die yet. These good people anxious to rescue me don’t know that my resolve is the only thing that is keeping me alive. No, I’m not ready to die—I’ve only just begun to live. I have yet to prove to myself, to the world, that I have what it takes to prevail.
My family—now on their way to the hospital—doesn’t know yet exactly what happened to me. And except for one detective, neither do the police. I see him now by the foot of the gurney, keeping pace with the nurses. He’s scowling, his lips pressed into a grim line.
A tall, taut, and solitary man, he has deep-set gray eyes clouded by too many images of violent death and a lower lip that hangs perpetually open in disgust or despair. So much darkness he has already seen in his thirty odd years in this world. He needs to piece together the facts that constitute the attempt on my life, events that may have led to it, and various fragments of my past to understand what brought me to this point.
The first time I met him, I fell in love with him. There was something primal about him, some paternal, animalistic instinct to save hurt or fallen victims. Like me, maybe. It gave him power and it made him irresistible to me.
But fate is fickle. It teases. It entices. One day, something quite ordinary happens to you. Yet, you sense that that ordinary something can change your life. Not necessarily for something better, but for something new. Fate is dangling before you the promise of a world that, before then, was totally out of your reach. How can you not seize it?
Now, of course, I see the end of that promise. And it’s not where I want to be.
It’s tragic, don’t you think, that the end of that promise should be right here on a gurney, with me fighting for my life? It certainly is not what I hoped for.
How could it end this way? I embraced life, took chances, but half-dead on this gurney, I wonder: Am I paying with my life? But, like I said. I’m not ready to die yet.





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