Oooh! I haven’t done one of these for ages!
Some of my most creative thoughts happen when on a dog walk, as do my best conversations with my dog-walking buddy. So I thought I’d invite some of my author friends along to join me and my Ruby and see if I can find out a little more about them and the book they’ve released.
The relative flatness of Cambridgeshire is somewhat uninspiring, Jeanne, so please do tell me something about where you come from and where you live. It will be exotic by comparison!
Jeanne was born in Texas and grew up a beach bunny, but has now been landlocked in the Midwest for many years. She’s been writing professional since 2012 and currently serves as the president of Saturday Writers, a 100+ member writers guild in her area.
Jeanne writes character-driven stories that mine the emotional depths of humanity, usually, but not always, some form of Women’s Fiction. Her first novel, Bridge to Us, released August 20, 2019, was originally released in 2016 as The Art of Healing (which I reviewed here) It’s a love story that explores the idea that everyone deserves a second chance at love, even if they don’t know they want one.
She’s had over thirty short stories and essays published in a variety of anthologies since 2014.
The Art of Healing, now Bridge to Us, has been available for a few years now so how do you feel it has been received so far and what do you do to promote it?
The reviews are fantastic and most people who read it, love it. Unfortunately, the title and cover screamed non-fiction, self-help. Therefore, after battling with myself for two years, I decided to relaunch with a new cover and title. The new cover more appropriately reflects the genre of Women’s Fiction, and the title, Bridge to Us, now says “love story.”
When life falls apart, Julianne must embark on a journey of the heart and soul…
Julianne Garvoli is content being a devoted wife and pediatric nurse. She is following her every dream, or so she believes. After her idyllic world is shattered, she must reconcile her lost past to rediscover her deepest passion.
World-renowned photographer, Jokob O’Callaghan, lives a life most could only imagine, traveling the country with his wife—until cancer delivers a direct and devastating slam. Numb with grief, he walls himself off and focuses solely on his art.
Sparks ignite when Julianne and Jokob cross paths at his art exhibit. Tragic circumstances and long silent dreams work to sever their bond. Can they find a way to bridge their differences, in order to heal, follow their hearts, and learn to love again?
Check out this super book trailer!
You’ve got my undivided attention Jeanne, this is your chance to tell me about Bridge to Us and convince us all to buy it and move it up our to-be-read list?
I enjoy a good love story, but I’m not all that attracted to first loves, unless they are tragic in some way. I rarely read them and can’t seem to write them. Instead, I write stories that take broken people and put them back together through second chances love.
Bridge to Us puts Julianne—a 26-year-old newly divorced nurse who doesn’t date and thinks most men need mommies—and Jokob—a 30-something widower, who also doesn’t date because he heart is still broken into tiny pieces—together at one of Jokob’s art shows. In spite of their resistance to dating, they agree to spend time together on a non-date on one of his sunrise photo shoots
Both are attracted to the other, but Julianne’s desire to never allow another man to derail her dreams, and Jokob’s wound, work at odds on their path to finding joy and happiness.
I notice you publish a lot of anthologies. Are you the organiser for these coming together, and what is your process for choosing the authors that participate in them? Do you have other work in the pipeline, how are they going and do you want to tell us your plans for any future publications?
Several of the anthologies are the result of short story contest wins via Saturday Writers. We host contests 9 months out of the year and all winners and honourable mentions are published in our yearly anthology. My first published story
was actually an essay I wrote right after Robin Williams’s suicide. Having experienced the loss of a loved one via suicide a few years before, and having grown up with a suicidal mother, Williams’s death hit me hard. I wrote, Yes, it’s Personal out of that grief. It was published in the 2014 Saturday Writers anthology.
I’ve lost count of how many anthologies via other producers I’ve been published in, but I believe it’s six. Most of those I’ve heard about in a variety of ways, often via Facebook.
In late 2018, I began a short story workshop on Facebook using the theme of the earth elements. I invited writers I already knew to participate and some of them invited a few others, for a total of thirteen. Two of the participants had to drop out so we ended up with eleven stories, ranging in word length from just under 3000 to just over 10,000. We spent months critiquing and editing and fine-tuning each story until they shone. Then in March 2019, I published Elemental Tales: A Multi-Genre Stone Soup Anthology, Exploring the World through a Tapestry of Elementals.
The 11 authors in this book found a way to interpret the earth elements in unique and unusual ways. Do you like Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Mythology, or Magical Realism—you got it! Or maybe you prefer Fairy Tale/Fantasy—yep, in there. A little Slipstream or Grit Lit more your speed—in there, too! There’s even some Contemporary Fiction and Middle-grade to satisfy everyone’s tastes. The inside is just as yummy as the cover.
I am still in the consideration process for whether to produce another “Stone Soup” anthology, but if I do, it will be via a similar process of workshopping short stories. These are more geared to newer writers still learning the craft. It’s one way I give back to the writing community.
My current work-in-process is book 2 of A Love Lost and Found Novel series, Ocean to Us. Like Bridge to Us, it is a second chances love story, but is also a seasoned love story, with protags who are over the age of 40. Both the male and female main characters have experienced long-term relationships that have ended. It’s based on my short story, “Born in the Sign,” that was published in Elemental Tales. This is a fun one that involves sailing and crossing oceans to find love. It’s partially influenced by my 2017 trip to Tanzania.
I am also working on a novel entitled, The Things We Do Not Speak Of. I’m a bit like you—I love to blend genres. This is a coming of age/southern mystery/small-town tale about a fourteen year-old Somali refugee who comes to live in the fictional town of Savannah Falls, South Carolina.
Which part of the writing process do you find the most satisfying? Getting that first draft completed, editing or finally getting to hold your published book in your hand?
Oh wow…hard question. I love creating story, so the process of the first draft is always an amazing discovery. I’m an odd duck—I don’t outline or plan in any way. I write chapters out of order, depending on which characters are speaking to me at the moment. Then somehow I piece it all together (I heard this recently referred to as a jigsaw writer 😀 I often do the same thing, Jeanne!)
I actually don’t mind editing—it comes naturally to me, so much so, I’ve started taking on clients. Peeling apart a scene to find just the right way of saying something is an intriguing process.
But holding a newly pressed book is such a mind-blowing experience. I’ve fallen in love with the matte finish and use it for everything now—it feels yummy in my hands.
A few quick fire ones.
India or Iceland?
India—I don’t like the cold
Red or white?
Red—I plant tons of red-flowering plants to attract the hummingbirds.
Which superpower would you like to have? And Why?
Probably the power to heal. Because who wouldn’t want to help others?
What piece of advice would you like to give your 16-year-old self – if you were given the opportunity to use a time machine!?
Don’t wait until you’re in your fifties to take writing seriously. (Couldn’t agreed more!)
Continue to exercise—you’ll miss your knees and the ability to eat anything and not gain an ounce.
I believe that perfect days are unplanned, BUT if you were to plan your perfect day what would it look like?
Gorgeous sunny day, pool temp of about 87, a great book, and my sweetie. What could be better than that? Or a beach…beaches are always good.
Sounds wonderful, and thanks for joining me Jeanne and I wish you every success with your writing.
You can find Jeanne in all of these places:
Amazon – http://bit.ly/JeanneFelfeOnAmazon
Goodreads – http://bit.ly/JeanneOnGoodreads
Bookbub – https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jeanne-felfe
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/author.JeanneFelfe/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/JFelfe
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/jeannefelfe/
Love that trailer!
It’s super isn’t it
Loved Jeanne’s story in the Stone Soup anthology! She’s such a wonderful writer and person. :> Thanks for the great interview!
Thank you, Ekta. I haven’t read that story so will have to check it out as I thoroughly enjoyed reading Bridge to Us. I think you can tell what a lovely person Jeanne is by her answers to my questions