Name Jeannie M. Bushnell
Age Nothing good ever came from answering this question.
Where are you from:
I was born in Texas, but I’ve lived many places throughout my life. I find it most difficult to define where I am from. I currently reside in Charlotte, North Carolina.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life ect
I am a summa cum laude graduate of the University of Illinois. My husband and cat are two of my biggest fans. The cat doesn’t read my work, but she loves the pages of edits I fling to the floor because she loves to sit on paper.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
January 2014 is an exciting time for me, as I’ve just published my first novel, Manual Exposure. It is currently available as an ebook at both Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. The paperback version will be out shortly.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I cannot remember a time that I did not write. My love for reading was the impetus for my writing passion. I wanted to wield the power I felt writers possessed.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
In elementary school, we had the assignment to write, illustrate, and bind a book. I wrote a story about friendship between a bear and child. When I applied a large sticker on the front with the name of the title and my byline, I was sold on the experience. I happily told every stranger I encountered that I’d just written a book. I believe that was the first time I’d ever called myself a writer.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I finally had the time to dedicate to writing. I was inspired by the year I spent in Asheville, North Carolina. It is a beautiful and special place.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I would describe my writing style as colorful and humorous.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The protagonist in Manual Exposure is a photography student. Without giving too much away, I will say that one theme that runs throughout the book is related to the idea of automatic versus manual exposure settings on a camera.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Two things come to mind. While not everyone may be in love with his or her locale, you can find beauty everywhere, no matter the location. If you don’t find your location desirable, then you’ve been presented with a challenge to help create the beautiful surroundings you want.
Additionally, an open mind and heart are essential to our happiness as a species.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
A goal in all of my writing is to create characters that are realistic. While some characters may be obscenely wealthy or beautiful, their nature and behavior is authentically represented. The words that come out of my characters’ mouths are sentiments that “real” people say. I love vocabulary, but I will never stretch the profile of a character just to make them say a word I think is pretty or powerful.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I believe that my life experiences will always spill out into the pages of my work. What would be the point of those experiences if they did not influence our creative works? Having said that, I won’t be outlining the events in my book that are or are not based on my life experiences. I like to think of my work as a patchwork quilt. The quilt will always be stitched together with elements of my life experiences and my creative explorations.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
There isn’t one book that can I pinpoint as the most influential. Books are like family to me; to consider one book more important than another would be sacrilege. I think we can extract something beneficial from just about everything we see, hear, and read.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Judy Blume. I endeavor to have the courage to always write the truth. She taught me that while a topic may be difficult, it is not my place as the author either to remove that difficulty or to censor the work for the reader. Like Blume, I am a multi-genre writer. After Wifey was published, many told her that she’d never write another children’s book. I have many stories inside of me, and I am on a journey to release them. If someone is offended that I write romance, erotica, mystery, essays, children’s books, or any other genre, that is not my problem.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I picked up a number of books by Indie Authors over the holidays. I’m excited to begin reading them.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I’m currently working on two pieces. I’m revisiting the story I wrote in November (I completed the 50,000 word challenge in National Novel Writing Month), and I am preparing two novellas for publication.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
I have received a lot of support from fellow Indie Authors and bloggers. The community that surrounds Indie Authors is a strong and supportive one.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes. Writing is an integral part of everything I do.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Oh, there are always things you think you would change. I believe in my story and the way in which I’ve told it, but that does not mean that I’m perfect. While the manuscript went through many levels of edits, I can’t say that my book is error-free. I imagine there are still some mistakes floating around. I’m a very humble person, and I believe the minute you hop in the sanctimonious chair you are asking to be dumped out of it.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
My passion for writing originated with my learning to read. I wanted to become one of the writing superheroes that I admired. I was in awe of their ability to transport me to another world and introduce me to new people and places. I wanted to do that for someone.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Amazon.com offers a large sneak peek into the book.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I must have an outline. I am uncomfortable writing without one.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
No, I cannot do this. I cannot name a favorite.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I anticipate that I will travel a great deal with my books. I hope to have many book signings, and I look forward to meeting the readers in person!
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I designed the cover of my book. I took the photograph of the mountains. I purchased the main image of the couple. I’m so pleased with how the cover turned out. The setting is another character in the book, so it is only appropriate that it’s also prominent on the cover.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Restraint. Manual Exposure is my love letter to Asheville. While I may find it difficult to define where I am from, I know where I call home, and that is Asheville, North Carolina. I could have written 250 pages on the beauty of the locale, but I refrained. The genre forced me to show restraint on the amount of description I provided about the setting. Unlike many, I love Dickens and his ability to wax poetic on a setting, but I knew I could not do that with this piece.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I was saddened that it had taken me so long to do it. Then again, I can’t regret the path I chose to take, for if I had not experienced a moment of that walk, I would not be standing here now.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
It is often repeated, but you must never stop writing. If you feel the urge, you must write. Not everyone who writes wishes to be published. If you enjoy writing, you must tend to that need as you do any other that requires your attention. If you can carve out a little time every day to write a poem, a part of a story, or just a journal entry, you will keep that spark alive. If you don’t do this, you are in real jeopardy of being miserable as well as losing the desire to improve your work. For those writers who choose the path to publication, I say “Don’t freak out.”
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
If my words transport you, if they make you forget about your troubles, heartaches, and stress, then I’ve done my job. I hope you fall in love with my characters, too. I appreciate each one of you who choose to read my book. I thank you for your time and the opportunity you’ve given me to share my story with you.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies
Lots! As a crafty person, I enjoy needlework, machine embroidery, stained glass work, painting, drawing, quilting, bookbinding, polymer clay, and jewelry making.
I’m also a vegan baker and cake decorator. Additionally, I create eco-friendly pet toys.
I love to dance and travel. Of course there is my love of reading, but I also enjoy vegetable gardening.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Television: Just a sampling of my favorites: Vampires Diaries, Downton Abbey, The Good Wife, Sleepy Hollow, Derek, Super Fun Night, The Originals, Scandal, Revenge, The Goldbergs, and I tend to love all things produced by the BBC, especially Sherlock!
Films: I love documentaries! I can (and have) watched documentaries on just about any subject. I love watching the real stories behind people and places unfold. I do love John Hughes, especially Pretty in Pink. The Outsiders is another favorite film. I’m not a fan of gore or violence, so I will tend to shy away from such films.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
I love so many foods—especially Mexican food. My favorite food is probably the potato, because it is both delicious and versatile.
colors: I love a warm palette, especially fall colors, and always grey and black.
Music: My musical tastes are eclectic. I listen to classical, pop, folk, R&B, alternative, dance, hip hop, easy listening, new age, and jazz.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
That is a long list! In another life, I would have pursued a career as a lawyer, a veterinarian, a politician, a ballroom dancer, an organic farmer, an actress, an agent of the FBI or CIA, or perhaps a forensic specialist. Yes, I have a wide spectrum of interests.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Yes, my website is http://www.jmbushnell.com