I met Jo when she signed up for my Meet the Authors event. She's written five novels, with the latest, "Marge: Back on Track," just out. Jo's writing emphasis is on women's lives--how they cope with life-changing situations, such as a husband's stroke, a daughter's drug addiction, and mother's terminal cancer. The stories are touching and very real for those who have gone through these situations, but also uplifting in how Jo's heroine's handle life.
You can purchase Jo's books through Amazon. Visit her website for a complete list and links.
Now, on to the interview questions. By the way, I also want to thank Jo for coming up with good questions to ask herself. I'm just claiming credit for blatantly stealing the questions she asked me.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I was born in the southeastern part of Colorado, left for California as a toddler and arrived in Southern Oregon to begin high school. Keeping my restless soul in a restricted area, I have managed to stay in the Eugene area since my older children, began high school. They are all grown and very independent now so my husband and I are on our own to chase our dreams. During those years I taught school, eventually left to delve into real estate sales, and then into a stint building and remodeling as a couple. All that time, I was writing, non fiction newsletters, articles, guides and a couple of undercover efforts at short stories. When I could officially call myself retired, I began taking the writing seriously with classes, workshops and critique groups. I’m still doing those.
Now I write fiction dealing with the issues contemporary women face in their lives. My fifth novel has just been released. "Marge, Back on Track," is the second in a series of women in retirement. Marge is an athletic and active woman who leaves the career she loves to take care of her husband after he’s had a stroke. His attitude soon makes her care an obligation and stretches the boundaries of her abilities.
I also write a weekly column for a newspaper in Creswell, a nearby small and growing town. The column gives me deadlines and puts me in front of the keyboard to keep me stimulated on a regular basis. The Creswell Chronicle also archives my columns on the web so they are accessible to anyone who is interested. My children keep track of me that way.
How has living in Oregon affected your writing?
It is the basis of all my stories, they are all set in Oregon. I’m grounded now and appreciate where I am. I find a rich environment here. When I take a character to Seattle, I suffer the pain of having to go visit and research. The same applies to San Francisco or the coast. In the first retirement novel, "What Next, Ms. Elliott?", Ruth Elliott sadly needed the make a mid winter trip to Arizona. Very nice for me.
Where do your ideas come from?
Something I see, a woman walking by my house daily in very short, shorts but using a cane, an isolated farm house, a woman sitting on the curb of a parking lot to cry. Anything that stimulates my interest. The three retirement stories started from a telephone conversation with a friend-I think the honest word would be gossip.
Was there ever a moment you thought you couldn’t write?
No. Not even when I didn’t really know how. There were lot’s of moments when I was afraid no one would be interested–there still are.
How long does it take you to write a book?
Between one and two years. "Marge, Back on Track" will be officially released next week and I am revising the first draft of the next book in the series, "Anne Marie’s New Melody" (The title is always subject to change.) I am hoping to be able to hold it in my hands next fall.
How do you manage time for writing?
Mostly, I get up very early. I am active in several groups as well as serve as chief chauffeur for my mother which all take a lot of daytime hours. I don’t watch much TV so I have do have free hours when my husband is involved and I can disappear.
How can readers learn more about you?
Visit my website, http://www.jo-brew.com/. Besides information about me and about what I write, there are links to all my connections.