IT’S INTERVIEW TIME AGAIN, AND THIS WEEK I’ M DELIGHTED TO BRING TO YOU AUTHOR JEAN ANN WILLIAMS, ANOTHER OF THOSE FAVORITE ONLINE FRIENDS I’VE NEVER MET.
Jean Ann is offering a free download copy of Just Claire. See *below* for details
Hi, Jean Ann, and welcome to Whispers in Purple and my Cozy Den. I’m so excited to have you here to talk about your debut release, Just Claire.
But first, indulge me in some Q & A fun.
Ready? Here we go: What five words best describe you?
Determined, committed, creative, approachable, and my husband says I must add: argumentative!
Ha! Are you a plotter or a pantser, or somewhere in-between?
I’m a pantser.
Me too! What are some of your favorite things to do outside of reading and writing?
I enjoy archery, big game hunting and hiking. Spending time in God’s Word, and with my husband, daughter and thirteen grandchildren. And I can’t forget hugging my friendly chickens.
What authors have inspired or mentored you?
Laura Ingalls Wilder, Francis Foster, Deborah Wiles, Christopher Vogler, Elizabeth George, and you, Peg.
Me? Wow, you honor me. Thank you.
As a writer, what sparks your creativity when feeling drained?
I have to take time reading a great book with fascinating characters and lovely writing.
How did you come to write Just Claire? What triggered the story idea?
Twenty years ago, I felt a need to help young people by taking a grain of truth in my life as a child and creating a story that would be meaningful.
I like that. Good for you.Tell us a little bit about Claire. (Incidentally, that’s my middle name.)
Ha! A good name, to be sure. ClaireLee is a thirteen-year-old who comes to a crossroad in her life where she must face her circumstances and decide how best to respond. Her mother almost dies … and then her mother retreats from reality. This causes ClaireLee to wonder who she herself is and where she fits into the whole scheme of her life in a shambles.
Being thirteen is difficult in any circumstances. How did you choose her name, and the others’ names as well?
I chose her name Claire for her struggle to find clarity in her life, and Lee, in honor of my brother Lee Allen, whom I was very close to. I chose the siblings names: Liam for the strength and tenacity it implies to me, which fits this character; Grayson, for the implications of this character’s humility; Lolly, for how funny she can be for just being a sweet little sister; Feather, for the baby, as a delicate and tender spot in ClaireLee’s life. I decided on ClaireLee’s best friend, Belinda, because Belinda to me means a bull-by-the-horns force to reckon with as is this character; The teacher and mentor, Mrs. Reed, because she gives ClaireLee a book and she gives ClaireLee a journal to write in her thoughts; Valerie, because she validates who ClaireLee really is; Kaye, because she unwittingly is key to ClaireLee knowing the truth of who she really is and what she wants; Wendy, because she is as unpredictable as the wind.
What an interesting way to chose chracter names! I have yet to read this book–but it’s at the top of my list!–so tell us a bit about the setting.
The setting is a tiny wilderness community in Northern California, during a time in 1960, when my father was hired on as tunnel worker. Mr. Temple, Actor Shirley Temple Black’s father, funded a power plant project and building a tunnel was part of the project. My family and I lived there for about a year and a half until my father’s job was completed. I attended fourth grade there at Indian Springs Elementary School and lived in a dilapidated cabin with my family near the Pit River. The cabins were built for the families whose men drove the logs downstream to the saw mills along the banks of the Pit River. The river, which ran through the area, was one of the most dangerous log river driving rivers in the United States, known for its white rapids. I gathered a large box full of research papers, pamphlets, videos, and books to flesh out the setting for Just Claire. I even contacted and conducted phone interviews of two old log river drivers who drove logs down the Pit River. The river in my story plays an important part at the climax of the story.
About the book:
ClaireLee’s life changes when she must take charge of her siblings after her mother becomes depressed from a difficult childbirth. Frightened by the way Mama sleeps too much and her crying spells during waking hours, she just knows she’ll catch her illness like a cold or flu that hangs on through winter. ClaireLee finds comfort in the lies she tells herself and others in order to hide the truth about her erratic mother. Deciding she needs to re-invent herself, she sets out to impress a group of popular girls.
With her deception, ClaireLee weaves her way into the Lavender Girls Club, the most sophisticated girls in school. Though, her best friend Belinda will not be caught with the likes of such shallow puddles, as she says, ClaireLee ignores Belinda’s warnings the Lavenders cannot be trusted. ClaireLee drifts further from honesty, her friend, and a broken mother’s love, until one very public night at the yearly school awards ceremony. The spotlight is on her, and she finds her courage and faces the truth and then ClaireLee saves her mother’s life.
About the author:
Author Jean Ann Williams, the eldest in a large family, enjoys digging into her fascinating childhood to create stories for children. Having written over one hundred articles for children and adults, this is her first book. Jean Ann and her husband live on one acre where they raise a garden, goats, and chickens. Her favorite hobbies are hiking through the woods and practicing archery with her bow.
*About the Giveaway*: Leave a comment below, including your email address (i.e. you at abcxyz dot com) so we can contact you if you’re the winner. Download will be a free digital copy of Just Claire. Giveawy ends Saturday, Feb 6, at Midnight, Central Time. Thanks!
Thanks, Jean Ann, for being my guest here today. It’s been a pleasure. Wishing you great success with Just Claire.
And thank you, Peg, for asking me these questions and featuring me here on your beautiful blog.