Name: H. R. Jakes

Age: Never tell

Where are you from?

Wilkes-Barre (born) and New Hope (grew up there), PA

A little about your self, i.e. your education, family, life, etc.  

Like my age, that will remain a mystery.  Suffice it to say that I went both to college and grad school.

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

I travel regularly to write. I just got back from Italy (I was there all summer). Before that, in the spring, I was in Germany, Switzerland, and France.

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I have always written. When I was in high school, I wrote quite a bit. Of course this increased in college and graduate school. I write a weekly blog that is often funny but also, from time to time, addresses the big questions of life.

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When I was in college.

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

The power of hope, the constancy of faith, the love of life.

Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

Depends on what you mean by style. I like to blend humor with deep, probing questions. I like to put ideas within other ideas and relate them or contrast them.

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

The notion of a Curious Autobiography stems first from the person about whom it is written, for she enjoyed a most curious (in the sense of interesting) life. The second way it is curious is that she did not write it; I did. Normally an autobiography is written by the very person about whom the book is written. This one is not, or not quite.

Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Faith can’t be stifled; Hope always finds a way; Love, in the end, wins.

Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

As strange as this may sound, most of the book is historical.

Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?

My taste in books is as quixotic as it is multifarious. The books known as the classics, including the Bible, have had a huge impact on me. Old voices that seem to resound from the bottom of a deep well have always been the most interesting to me. Among more recent writers, on the big questions, books by C.S. Lewis and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, such as The Cost of Discipleship, have had a lot of influence on me, as have gentle works like those of Jan Karon or Alexander McCall Smith. For The Curious Autobiography, three works stand out: The Story of San Michele by Axel Munthe, Ovid’s Metamorphoses, and most importantly, Augustine’s Confessions.

Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

For humor and tone, Alexander McCall Smith is the most influential and enjoyable. For depth, either Bonhoeffer or Lewis, mentioned above.

Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

My Italian friends. I began writing the book in Siena when I was visiting a close friend, Piergiacomo Petrioli.

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

Most certainly.

Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

No, but I envision a sequel at some point.

Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

It was innate. I inherited it from Elaine Jakes, the very person about whom The Curious Autobiography is written.

Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?

I am currently writing blogs as I envision the direction I will take for the next book in the Curious Autobiography series.

Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Getting the time to do it. Writing a weekly blog helps me to set aside the time.

Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?


Fiona: Who designed the covers?

The press did the work on this; we modified it slightly.

Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Getting the time to do it.

Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

Yes, that I hope to write many more.

Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film, whom would you like to play the lead?

Great question.  I think maybe Helen Mirren.

Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Write every day.

Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I hope you’re enjoying/have enjoyed The Curious Autobiography; that it makes you smile, even laugh out loud; and that it makes you think about the big questions of life even as you’re smiling.

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

Notes from Underground, Fyodor Dostoevsky

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

It was, I think, Pat the Bunny; another I recall quite well is The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss.

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

Reflecting on the past, both at once. On a more comical note, the November election (also both at once).

Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?

Cicero; because he could write better than anyone I know, and he has quite the reputation as a speaker, too.

Fiona: What do you want written on your headstone and why?

He walked by faith. Because there’s no better way to walk.

Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?

I run, bike, and play some basketball.

Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?

Not really any regularly. Sports, mostly.

Fiona: Favorite foods/colors/music

Food: pizza, wine; Colors: blue; Music: various.

Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?


Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?

My website is: and there you can find my weekly blog. You can also link to twitter, facebook, google+ or goodreads from that site.
Here is the link to my book on Amazon ( There also you can view my author page.

Here is my goodreads link:

Thank you, Fiona!

          —H.R. Jakes