Name: Jann McNamara. I write under MacJanny as it suits my style of writing better.
Where are you from: I have finally settled in a lovely little Village in Ontario call Elora. It’s as pretty as its name!
A little about your self. Ie your education, family, life etc:
Single mother of three, now soon to become ‘Unsingle’. Marrying the man of my dreams next summer. He has two lovely daughters so, thank the Lord above, bonus child one and bonus child two bring it too the five kids I always wanted! I’ve worked in business and accounting at various levels until I realised just how much I detested corporate life. Tried a number of other things, such as running a very small cleaning company and then lastly, took a course to be a certified personal support worker. Love it! Now, perhaps I will stay ‘un-certifiable’ and keep my remaining sanity.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news!
My latest news? HHHmmm let me think. Oh yes, my first published book ‘The Cleaning Lady Chronicles’ is out as of mid Sept and I am having a blast finally being able to share these stories with everyone!
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Writing actually developed from verbally telling stories. I would tell people stories about things that happened in my day or characters I’d come across and I would often have them in stitches at some point. Class clown I was not. I was always terribly shy, but if you get me on a role of any subject, it’s a wee bit hard for me to stop. Almost compulsive. It became natural to start writing them down. Starting in poem form and then to short story.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I realised that people could visualise the story I was telling well, I thought ‘there I go, I think I have the knack of this!’ Once I found that little groove I fit best in when writing these verbal stories, I felt like I could call myself a writer. Everyone has their little groove where it feels like magic when they do their thing 😉 I feel like a writer when I hit that high. Sets me with the smile as big as the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland. When I hit that ‘Bam’ like celebrity Chef Emeril Lagasse when he tosses in that spice that’s just right. ‘Bam!’ as he smiles as big as I do when I hit that ‘Bam’ in a story.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
This first book ‘The Cleaning Lady Chronicles’ was inspired by all the crazy stories I told my friends and family from when I ran my little cleaning company.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I have no idea if there is a definition of my writing style. If there is, I’d love to know what it is call. I’d call it ‘conversational.’ I definitely write in first person. Its like I am having a conversation with my readers. I have been told this is what makes it hard to put down. One lady told me that she started reading in the morning at her desk, ‘Just one story to check it out’ she said. Five stories later she then said ‘Hell with it! Lets keep going.’ She also mentioned that seeing as she was her own boss and only employee, it was very unlikely she would get canned that day. Now, that’s the kind of thing that makes me grin like Alice in Wonderlands Cat friend!
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
‘The Cleaning Lady Chronicles’ just kept popping up in my head day after day, well before I wrote it. I think my brain was taunting me to write it. Evil little brain of mine.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
There is personal struggle here. The ‘Cleaning Lady’s’ crumbling marriage is a common thread. Her struggles to try and figure it all out. It is not present in every story, but it is underlying for sure. Between that, the humour, little personal triumphs, and lovely characters she meets up with that warm your heart, I’d like to say the main message that comes across is ‘No matter how messed up your life may seem at times, there is always something good in it! Even if you don’t see it right away.’
Fiona: How much of your book is realistic?
As I say in the books intro, ‘Its almost all true’ and it really is! Most stories right down to the last detail. Other stories are collaboration of events with characters from other events. All real! There really is an ‘Idiot’ ‘Captain F.F.’ ‘Grandpa Toot Toot’ ‘Fish Bowl Yoda’ and the most endearing ‘Midge.’ I am pretty sure I do not have to say, I have not used any ones real name, but every character in the book is real one way or another.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? A mentor?
Not so much a particular book, but more authors. Doctor Seuss must be where I get my silly side. Jane Austen brings me to an era I’d love to live in. Erma Bombeck allows me to show my spunk and P.S. Wall entertains me beyond entertained with very few words.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
My next book! Ha ha! Seriously, I am reading the work of few people I recently met on line. One from Milo Samardzija ‘Wassermann’s Garden’ and the other a short story written by Seamus Kane. Truth be told, when I get on a writing binge, I don’t read. I will be binging again very soon till ‘NQN’ is done so these two reads will be it for a while.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Hands down, Lindsey Clarke on Wattpad. ‘The WhiteChapel Chronicles’ series has me reading and loving a genre I never gravitate to, except hers. Love Lindsey’s brain. Her ‘Chronicles’ and my ‘Chronicles’ are very very different!
Fiona: What are your current projects?
‘Not Quite a Nurse’ is another bunch of short stories I have been collecting through my work as a personal support worker. A lot of heart warming, knee slapping, coffee spitting, fun in this collection again. There is an underlying conflict that threads them all together again, but something all together different. You could call it a bit of a ‘Challenge.’ Some stories will have you laughing and crying at the same time. Others will have you sit back and say ‘Aaaahhh.’
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
A crazy little (not so little) on line entity called ‘Wattpad.’ It is the encouragement from the readers on there that made me feel this book was possible.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Absolutely nothing would please me more! However, I do have a few patients I’d still have to see until they no longer needed me. Can’t walk away from good people, I really do love what I do.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
UM, nope! Except to add in the twenty plus other stories still waiting to be perfected. ‘Cleaning Lady Chronicles – the Untold Stories’ …book two in the series? Perhaps.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Telling stories in written correspondence with a few people. I enjoyed it way too much and apparently, so did they.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Sure! Please note that this is an unedited version available on Wattpad that I am sharing.
From ‘Not Quite a Nurse’ – a portion of ‘Don and Madeline’
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Deciding when it is done. I have to feel that certain ‘Bam’ before I can say it is finished. Keep working it over and over and over praying I am not over working it!
Fiona: Who is your favourite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I do not have one favourite author, but I would go back to two of the authors I mentioned earlier. P.S. Wall and the late Erma Bombeck. Pure magic with story telling in short story form. They can say so much with very few words. Truth be told, they are just my kind of Peeps!
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book (s)?
Unfortunately, no. But oh well. I can write while I travel for fun! And that’s good too. My stories are all based on every day people and every day events. I try to expose what’s extraordinary about the ordinary.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
The remarkable young artist Leanne McNamara did the artwork for ‘The Cleaning Lady Chronicles’ and I have to say, got it bang on! Exactly what I had envisioned. Truly talented, and I don’t say that just because she is my ‘Almost’ stepdaughter! She really is a talented artist and why she was chosen. Enrico Miglino, my publisher from Ediciones Baleares, designed the cover with her artwork. Love what they did with it.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Deciding when it was done. Way too many stories to be told!
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Being my first published book, the whole process! Everything was new.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
I think I have told a few other writers looking for advice on Wattpad to write what you like. If you enjoy what you’re doing, if you really like reading it after, then there has to be other people out there that will too.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Grad a coffee, I have a few stories to share with you J
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Not really as I read when I was really young, BUT… Judy Bloom! I do remember being completely captivated by her books. Had to hide them from my grandmother though or she would have a fit! She is most definitely the type to turn off the TV if people kissed and would tear out the bra and under-ware section of the Sears catalogue before anyone could look through! It was like getting away with something to read Judy Bloom at Grandma’s!
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Way to many things seeing as I even cry when I laugh!
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why.
Sensitive subject here, BUT, I will say the first thought that comes to mind. My Fiancé’s father. I never got to meet him. From what everyone has told me, all the stories, I have to say my Hon has taken after him completely. I would love the chance to say ‘Thank you’, and give him a nice big squishy hug!
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
I cannot for the life of me, no pun intended, come up with anything seeing as I want to be cremated. But if I was to play along, how about ‘She was a pretty alright chick!’ That would be just fine.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
I used to always have a camera around my neck but more recently I started painting again and loving it!
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
House of Cards, the news, House of Cards, the news, House of Cards, the news. Sometimes when I am watching the news, I think I am watching House of Cards! I really don’t watch much TV.
Fiona: Favorite foods/Colors/Music.
Pasta (any kind)/ all of them / and anything I hear pouring out of my Hons music room.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I am doing it still, Personal Support Worker. I get so much out of it! I describe it in ‘Not Quite a Nurse’ as a selfish unselfishness that you get hooked on. I love making other people’s day better!
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Facebook Profile Link: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100010381951356
Twitter Link: https://twitter.com/Macjanny1