Posted by Juliet Madison
In celebration of the release of my debut novel, Fast Forward, I’m doing a series of interviews with authors about their past, present & future. Today, please welcome another debut author, the fabulous Jenn J McLeod!
I was supposed to be a multi-disciplined musician (like my Dad), study at The Conservatorium (like my Aunt), be a famous opera singer like my cousin (whose sons – Ben and Alexander Lewis – (think Phantom!) are now making their own musical mark internationally). Instead I wrote, my keyboard of choice a computer, leaving the old upright piano to languish in the living room as I followed my labyrinthine road and wrote my own story. (Excuse me while I sing my theme song…“I did it myyyyyyy way!”)
So as the daddy longlegs weave their webs around the piano’s soundboard and strings, I weave stories that give my characters a life and a voice. My stage is country NSW, my tree change many years ago like coming home. I guess it must have been all those hours I spent in my room as a child, riding my bed-end rather than practicing piano! Yep, that’s right: a pillow for a saddle, a dressing gown tie as a bridle and voila! I was National Velvet.
2. What did you do before you became a writer?
You mean besides being National Velvet? That answer is a novel in itself. Let’s see (in order): Hairdressing, cosmetic sales, retail security (nabbing shoplifters), hotel security at Sydney’s Intercontinental Hotel (where I met celebrities and heard stories I can never tell), Event Management, Road Safety Education, Corporate PR & Communications, Intranet Producer, Cafe owner, B&B Operator and finally… Author.
[Juliet – what a wealth of experience to add to your stories!]
Besides pretending to be National Velvet, you mean? 🙂 Hmm, that would be winning a national road safety award for a young driver education initiative. Here I am accepting the award with my colleague, Pam Leicester. As friends and colleagues we were a formidable team; Pam inspiring me then and more recently. (My House For All Seasons character, Sara, was inspired by Pam who is sadly no longer with us. Creating Sara allowed me to give Pam her happy ever after.)
[ Juliet – Congrats on the award! And what a nice gesture for Pam]
4. What’s your latest release about and/or what are you currently working on?
House For All Seasons is now available. It is the story of four estranged school friends forced to return the NSW country town of their youth to claim an unexpected inheritance – the century-old Dandelion House.
As restless teenagers, desperate to forget a tragic end-of-school muck-up day accident, they escape the confines of small town life and never speak to each other again.
Twenty years on, coming home to the country triggers mixed emotions and the women must face their shame and self-doubt if they are to reconcile their past with their present.
Only after spending a season each in the old place – a condition of the will – do they discover the reason for the inheritance and how they are forever tied to the house and to each other.
[Juliet – what are you waiting for readers? Dash to the bookstore now! Well, after you read this interview of course ;)]
5. What’s a typical day like for you? (If there is such a thing!)
A mess! I have no fixed agenda and I need to change that. I need to fit in the networking side of this business without losing entire days! I must write – not Facebook. I must write – not tweet. I must write – not blog. Oops!
[Juliet – sorry about that!]
Right now? As in today? As in 8 March 2013? Forgive my preoccupation, but as my debut novel has just released (with a couple five-star ratings already) I am a little dizzy (and I feel a Gwyneth Paltrow Oscars acceptance speech coming on, so we’d best move on.)
7. If you could fast forward in time to any age or year for just one day, what would you choose & why?
Fast forward! Crikey, I so wish I could go back. I would love to be doing what I am doing now as a 40 year old!
But, okay, to fast forward it would have to be to the day a book is an interactive hologram. Remember those pop-up storybooks? I loved them. I used to walk my fingers through the pages. Imagine the future: holograms that let you wander through scenes—touching, tasting, smelling, hearing, seeing, feeling… ooh la la!
[Juliet – You’re in luck, there just might be a hologram or two in Fast Forward! Great minds huh?]
8. If you could have any new technology or invention in the future that would make your life a whole lot easier (or more fun), what would it be?
A George Jetson Winnebago (ie it folds into a briefcase for easy parking).
[Juliet – Patent it NOW!]
9. What are your hopes & dreams for the future?
That people love my books and want more (so I can keep writing while travelling in that Winnebago.)
Thanks for visiting, Jenn, and all the best for HOUSE FOR ALL SEASONS!